Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Paying attention to the game

If you have a young son or daughter who plays sports, you've probably told them once or twice to "pay attention" and "watch the game" while they're in the dugout or on the bench or sideline.

A story in yesterday's LA Times about Joe Torre and the Dodgers shows that this message is something that pro coaches stress, as well:

Paying attention is what Torre has stressed to his players. He's told them to pay attention to what's happening in the game regardless of whether they're playing. He's told them to pay attention to the situation when they go up to hit.

That was one interesting piece of the story.

The other was this quote from Andre Ethier:

"It's tough when you have a new system, a new manager. Baseball's baseball, but each manager has what he looks for and what he wants guys to do, how he wants them to play. It takes time to get everyone to completely buy into it and do what it takes to win on an everyday basis."

It's refreshing to hear a player talk about "buying in" and about how it takes time for a new system to catch on. Coaches and GMs talk about it frequently, but when players recognize that it takes patience and practice for a new system it makes the transition not only smoother, but faster -- and more enjoyable.