Time to get back to the “main dish” in high school baseball

Final Point with Kyle Salomon,

Baseball is one of the hardest sports to play, but it is a very simple game as long as you can do three things.

As a baseball player, if you can hit, throw and field, you have what it takes to be good. Of course, as you get older, with each level the game gets more and more complex, but those three basic fundamentals never change.

I played high school baseball and several years of collegiate baseball. When you talk about teams we had the most respect for, they were the teams we knew could hit the ball with authority, pitch it well, field the ball and play catch.

That was eight years ago when I graduated from high school, so not that long in the grand scheme of things, but from what I have seen across the state of Oklahoma in high school baseball is disappointing.

I don’t know if it’s a lack of talent across the entire state or if it’s just poor overall coaching throughout Oklahoma, but those three basic fundamentals have become lost arts.

It is truly hard for me to believe the talent level across the entire state is that bad, so I lean toward the overall coaching as being the reason for poor play in high school baseball.

Too many coaches are worried about what I call the “snacks” or “appetizers” in baseball rather than actually worrying about the “main dish.”

If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, well, you’re about to find out.

The snacks or appetizers in baseball are what I refer to as bunting, pick-off plays, bunt coverages on defense, first-and-third situations and numerous defensive situations with runners on certain bases.

The main dish in baseball is very simple. It’s the hitting, pitching, fielding and throwing aspects of the game.

I have seen many high school baseball teams from all over the state play this season, even the squads that are considered to be the favorites to win the state championship, and I have not seen a team that does the main dish very well. The reason is coaches are too concerned with the snacks or appetizers.

Research shows that the snacks and appetizers of baseball only happen 10 percent of the time during a game and that high school baseball coaches spend up to 90 percent of their practice time working on these things.

My question is plain and simple – why would you work on things that you will only have to deal with 10 percent of the game for 90 percent of your practice?

Instead of working on bunting or bunt coverages, why not work on hitting the baseball with power? Develop your players into hitters that can drive the baseball into the gaps, pitchers who can hit spots and change speeds and fielders who can handle the ball and make the throws they need to make.

Now, I’m not saying we just forget those snacks and appetizers completely. They are still very important, but don’t get carried away and spend your entire practice covering these things.

It seems like every high school baseball coach in the state of Oklahoma wants to bunt a guy over and then sacrifice him in with “doing your job” baseball. How about driving runners in with gap shots and home runs?

So please, high school coaches in our great state, let’s get back to the main dish and put aside the snacks and appetizers for a while.

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