Does your daughter want to pitch? Nearly every pitcher on the over 20 State Championship teams McLean has fielded since 1994 started pitching with Sabrina Moore at the McLean Little League pitchingclinic. Even if your sights may not be set on pitching for high schools and state championship teams, if your daughter would simply like to learn to pitch, well enough to make a game of it, this is the place to learn how to do it. While all aspects of the game take instruction and practice, softballpitching is not something easily learned without the kind of ongoing instruction and practice girls get in the clinic. Especially for girls just starting out in pitching, learning through the clinic gets them started on the right path. Beyond learning to pitch, just the extra work throughout the winter in throwing and catching can make all the difference in the world to a young player’s ability and confidence in the spring. Whether they continue pitching or not, over the years, almost every MLL softball all-star team player has spent some time in the winterpitchingclinic.
As is customary, McLean Little League is sponsoring a softballpitchingclinicon Sunday afternoons to enable interested girls to practice the fast pitch style during the off-season. Sabrina Moore, who has been leading the clinic for MLL for many years, along with Gloria Neeld, who has ably assisted Sabrina for the last six winters, will once again hold 45-minute sessions for girls of all ages and experience, on selected Sunday afternoons/evenings from early November (per below) through the middle of March.
(Note, unless more than two winter sessions are cancelled due to weather there will be no makeup date; if needed a makeup date will be scheduled at a later date toward the end of the clinicdates.)
Cost: The price per girl for the 14 winter sessions is $240 (additional siblings are 1/2 price).
Location: All winterclinic session will be held Sundays at the Chester Gymnasium at the Potomac School, 1301 Potomac School Road, in McLean.
Nov 5, 12, 19
Dec 3, 10
Jan 7, 14, 21
Feb 4, 11, 18, 25
Mar 4, 11
Times: The times for the 6 winterclinic sessions each Sunday are as follows:
(a) 1:30-2:15 PM
(b) 2:15-3:00 PM
(c) 3:00-3:45 PM
(d) 3:45-4:30 PM
(e) 4:30-5:15 PM
(f) 5:15-6:00 PM
Assignments to sessions will to the extent practical be based on age and relative level of experience; i.e. the earliest sessions are typically for beginners; and the last session are typically for high school players. With all sessions, however, we allow flexibility to meet participants schedule requirements and participants may, on occasion, attend the clinic at different times to avoid particular conflicts that may arise. So please, if you may be worried that particular times might conflict with a basketball schedule or other activity, don’t let that dissuade you from participating. Just sign up for the times that you think likely will work best and then adjust as necessary. Space is limited, and enrollment will be first come, first served, with preference given to last year's enrollees.
If you are interested in attending, please register online via the McLean Little League website by navigating to the home tab then scrolling down and clicking on Register Online or just click on the following link: http://assn.la/Reg/?r=4:131424.If you are unable to click on the link just copy and paste it into your internet browser.
We will do what we can to give you your first choice of session, but no guarantees can be made. Email confirmations of your session assignments will be made for early enrollees by the first weekend in November and thereafter as soon as possible following registration.
Clinic Rules/ Reminders PLEASE READ:
As sessions are inside the gym, use soft indoor balls only (we supply) at the clinic. (Please remember to leave the balls at the clinic.)
Pitchers must supply their own catchers—generally a parent. If a non-adult is catching, they must wear a catcher’s mask.
When using the gym, both pitchers and their catchers should wear basketball or other soft white shoes at the clinic; nothing that will scuff the floor.
Catchers may not use shin guards-these too scratch the floor.
For those wanting to sit on buckets or chairs while catching in the gym, please put the chair or a bucket on a mat which you should bring. We normally have a few chairs at the gym suitable for use there, and if we do, please use those.
Watch for emails Sunday morning if there is a potential the clinic may need to close due to bad weather, but use your judgment too. As everyone knows, sometime the roads inside the beltway can be just wet, while to the west it is a skating rink.
Additional information re: use of pitching tunnel (in MLL Board Room): for those who, in addition to attending the pitchingclinic, may be working with or looking to work with private pitching coaches.*
As many of you know, we have a pitching tunnel in the MLL Board Room which we make available for private pitching lessons over the winter. Softball pitchers use of the tunnel this year will be limited this year to those MLL players (and, subject to space availability, alums) who are also participating in the clinic and will be coordinated with individual pitching coaches. As the availability of the tunnel is limited and needs to be coordinated with other uses of the facility it is essential that those wishing to use it let us know right away, with their registration, that they wish to do so and identify their pitching coach. Please send an e-mail to Brad Prendergast if you are interested in using the pitching tunnel this winter.
If you have any questions regarding any part of MLL’s softballpitching program, please contact Brad Prendergast at
or Angela Watts at
In accordance with the McLean Little League (MLL) Constitution, the MLL Board is soliciting proposals for the MLL League Administrator position. Please see theattached file for a description of the process and position, and contact Gray Fontenot at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Regulation bats to be used in little league will hit the market on September 1, 2017. These new bats MUST have the USA baseball marking on them, otherwise they are not legal for use in LL. With the baseball marking, the diameter can go up to 2 5/8".
Every current LL bat will be illegal starting January 1 2018 so players will not be able to use them for any part of the 2018 season including during the February tryouts for AA-Majors Baseball. Players CAN use the new bats in Fall 2017, but do not need to use them prior to January 1st.
Please visit the link below for more information about this important change. Please contact any of our baseball VPs if you have questions about this important change.
Congrats to our 8-10 and 9-11 softball teams who won their respective State Softball tournaments this week. Our girls are representing McLean and doing it with style. Congrats to Coaches Loving and Colder and their teams. MLL Softball taking VA by storm!!
Just wanted to remind everyone that MLL is only using our Twitter handle @MLLUpdates to notify families of field closures and weather cancelations. You can access this in several ways.
1) Via Twitter: Follow @MLLUpdates
2) Via text: You must send a text to 40404 that states "Follow MLLUpdates." Do not include the quotes or period in your text. Once you do this, you should receive a confirmation text plus the last tweet that was sent from our account. You do not have to have a Twitter account to do this.
3) Via the website: Our Twitter account is linked to our website. The most recent tweets appear on the right side of the page. If they are not appearing, please click on the @MLLUpdates link and it will take you to our Twitter page. You do not have to have a Twitter account to do this.
For returning families...IMPORTANT...we NO LONGER update any other Twitter account or the field hotline. If you previously relied on those methods, please switch your notifications to one of the above.
Hundreds of college athletes were asked to think back: "What is your worst memory from playing youth and high school sports?"
Their overwhelming response: "The ride home from games with my parents."
The informal survey lasted three decades, initiated by two former longtime coaches who over time became staunch advocates for the player, for the adolescent, for the child. Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC are devoted to helping adults avoid becoming a nightmare sports parent, speaking at colleges, high schools and youth leagues to more than a million athletes, coaches and parents in the last 12 years.
Those same college athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame.
Their overwhelming response: "I love to watch you play."
There it is, from the mouths of babes who grew up to become college and professional athletes. Whether your child is just beginning T-ball or is a travel-team soccer all-star or survived the cuts for the high school varsity, parents take heed.
The vast majority of dads and moms that make rides home from games miserable for their children do so inadvertently. They aren't stereotypical horrendous sports parents, the ones who scream at referees, loudly second-guess coaches or berate their children. They are well-intentioned folks who can't help but initiate conversation about the contest before the sweat has dried on their child's uniform.
In the moments after a game, win or lose, kids desire distance. They make a rapid transition from athlete back to child. And they’d prefer if parents transitioned from spectator – or in many instances from coach – back to mom and dad. ASAP.
Brown (pictured below at podium), a high school and youth coach near Seattle for more than 30 years, says his research shows young athletes especially enjoy having their grandparents watch them perform.
"Overall, grandparents are more content than parents to simply enjoy watching the child participate," he says. "Kids recognize that."
A grandparent is more likely to offer a smile and a hug, say "I love watching you play," and leave it at that.
Meanwhile a parent might blurt out …
“Why did you swing at that high pitch when we talked about laying off it?"
"Stay focused even when you are on the bench.”
"You didn’t hustle back to your position on defense.”
"You would have won if the ref would have called that obvious foul.”
"Your coach didn't have the best team on the field when it mattered most.”
And on and on.
Sure, an element of truth might be evident in the remarks. But the young athlete doesn’t want to hear it immediately after the game. Not from a parent. Comments that undermine teammates, the coach or even officials run counter to everything the young player is taught. And instructional feedback was likely already mentioned by the coach.
"Let your child bring the game to you if they want to,” Brown says.
Brown and Miller, a longtime coach and college administrator, don't consider themselves experts, but instead use their platform to convey to parents what three generations of young athletes have told them.
"Everything we teach came from me asking players questions," Brown says. "When you have a trusting relationship with kids, you get honest answers. When you listen to young people speak from their heart, they offer a perspective that really resonates.”
So what’s the takeaway for parents?
"Sports is one of few places in a child's life where a parent can say, 'This is your thing,’ ” Miller says. "Athletics is one of the best ways for young people to take risks and deal with failure because the consequences aren’t fatal, they aren’t permanent. We’re talking about a game. So they usually don’t want or need a parent to rescue them when something goes wrong.
"Once you as a parent are assured the team is a safe environment, release your child to the coach and to the game. That way all successes are theirs, all failures are theirs."
And discussion on the ride home can be about a song on the radio or where to stop for a bite to eat. By the time you pull into the driveway, the relationship ought to have transformed from keenly interested spectator and athlete back to parent and child:
"We loved watching you play. … Now, how about that homework?"
FIVE SIGNS OF A NIGHTMARE SPORTS PARENT
Nearly 75 percent of kids who play organized sports quit by age 13. Some find that their skill level hits a plateau and the game is no longer fun. Others simply discover other interests. But too many promising young athletes turn away from sports because their parents become insufferable.
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Even professional athletes can behave inappropriately when it comes to their children. David Beckham was recently ejected from a youth soccer field for questioning an official. New Orleans radio host Bobby Hebert, a former NFL quarterback, publicly dressed down LSU football coach Les Miles after Alabama defeated LSU in the BCS title game last month. Hebert was hardly unbiased: His son had recently lost his starting position at LSU.
Mom or dad, so loving and rational at home, can transform into an ogre at a game. A lot of kids internally reach the conclusion that if they quit the sport, maybe they'll get their dad or mom back.
As a sports parent, this is what you don't want to become. This is what you want to avoid:
• Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship: The best athletes keep their emotions in check and perform at an even keel, win or lose. Parents demonstrative in showing displeasure during a contest are sending the wrong message. Encouragement is crucial -- especially when things aren’t going well on the field.
• Having different goals than your child: Brown and Miller suggest jotting down a list of what you want for your child during their sport season. Your son or daughter can do the same. Vastly different lists are a red flag. Kids generally want to have fun, enjoy time with their friends, improve their skills and win. Parents who write down “getting a scholarship” or “making the All-Star team” probably need to adjust their goals. “Athletes say their parents believe their role on the team is larger than what the athlete knows it to be,” Miller says.
• Treating your child differently after a loss than a win: Almost all parents love their children the same regardless of the outcome of a game. Yet often their behavior conveys something else. "Many young athletes indicate that conversations with their parents after a game somehow make them feel as if their value as a person was tied to playing time or winning,” Brown says.
• Undermining the coach: Young athletes need a single instructional voice during games. That voice has to be the coach. Kids who listen to their parents yelling instruction from the stands or even glancing at their parents for approval from the field are distracted and can't perform at a peak level. Second-guessing the coach on the ride home is just as insidious.
• Living your own athletic dream through your child: A sure sign is the parent taking credit when the child has done well. “We worked on that shot for weeks in the driveway,” or “You did it just like I showed you” Another symptom is when the outcome of a game means more to a parent than to the child. If you as a parent are still depressed by a loss when the child is already off playing with friends, remind yourself that it’s not your career and you have zero control over the outcome.
FIVE SIGNS OF AN IDEAL SPORTS PARENT
Let’s hear it for the parents who do it right. In many respects, Brown and Miller say, it’s easier to be an ideal sports parent than a nightmare. “It takes less effort,” Miller says. “Sit back and enjoy.” Here’s what to do:
• Cheer everybody on the team, not just your child: Parents should attend as many games as possible and be supportive, yet allow young athletes to find their own solutions. Don’t feel the need to come to their rescue at every crisis. Continue to make positive comments even when the team is struggling.
• Model appropriate behavior: Contrary to the old saying, children do as you do, not as you say. When a parent projects poise, control and confidence, the young athlete is likely to do the same. And when a parent doesn’t dwell on a tough loss, the young athlete will be enormously appreciative.
• Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach: The mental and physical treatment of your child is absolutely appropriate. So is seeking advice on ways to help your child improve. And if you are concerned about your child’s behavior in the team setting, bring that up with the coach. Taboo topics: Playing time, team strategy, and discussing team members other than your child.
• Know your role: Everyone at a game is either a player, a coach, an official or a spectator. “It’s wise to choose only one of those roles at a time,” Brown says. “Some adults have the false impression that by being in a crowd, they become anonymous. People behaving poorly cannot hide.” Here’s a clue: If your child seems embarrassed by you, clean up your act.
• Be a good listener and a great encourager: When your child is ready to talk about a game or has a question about the sport, be all ears. Then provide answers while being mindful of avoiding becoming a nightmare sports parent. Above all, be positive. Be your child's biggest fan. "Good athletes learn better when they seek their own answers," Brown says.
And, of course, don’t be sparing with those magic words: "I love watching you play."
Click here to contact Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller.
-- Steve Henson is a Senior Editor and Writer at Yahoo! Sports. He has four adult children and has coached and officiated youth sports for 30 years. He can be reached at
and on Twitter @HensonYahoo