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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2011 > Coach's Box - February/March > Feature Story

Feature Story

Volume 6, No. 2 - Feb/Mar 2011

LittleLeagueConnect.org Developed by PowerChalk Helps Players, Coaches Visualize Improvement

By Matt West, PowerChalk, LLC

Just the other day, I was remembering my days as a Little Leaguer. It was the early 1970's in Southern California and I can remember watching the "Game of the Week" on Saturday mornings. Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek were the announcers, and as much as I loved watching big leaguers play, my mother would laugh at how quickly the sound of the TV was drowned by the "thump, thump, thump" of a shaved tennis ball against the garage door.

Those days were filled with incredible memories of line drives, curveballs on the outside corner and diving catches. I can still remember imitating the over the shoulder catch of Willie Mays and throwing my patented "Jim Palmer" high fastball. What I wouldn't give to have those memories on tape.

The driveway and Little League gave way to playing high school, college and professional baseball with the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners organizations. I retired and went into coaching, and as a pitching coach and manager in the Braves minor league system, I spent countless hours watching, studying and working with players. One of the most important and effective teaching tools was identifying a good "model" for a player and then working with them to visualize that motion of that model. Obviously some could "see it," and some couldn't.

Today, in all sports, there have been improvements to the gear. Bats, cleats and gloves are better, but frankly, they don't make the players better. I remember my stepfather telling me after I dragged him to the sporting goods store and showed him the glove of my dreams, "It isn't the equipment, Matt … it's the operator of the equipment."

I know that he was right, but at that time, neither of us had seen video analysis. As a professional coach, and with the hindsight of experience, I can now say it's the only equipment that consistently makes players better. In its newest forms, you can put your swing or your pitch side-by-side with your model. You can slow the movement down and study every nuance of a motion. You can gain insights that even the pro you're modeling may not have fully appreciated. In short, video analysis is a game changer.

And now through an exciting partnership between Little League Baseball and Softball and PowerChalk LLC, comes Little League Connect - a coaching resource from Little League® Baseball that allows coaches, players and parents to collaborate with video.

Using Little League Connect on the Internet, you can load and share video clips, mark-up and provide audio comments, and even do "live coaching sessions." Coaches and players can be together or in different locations. It requires no software installation, is easy to use, and affordably priced. Makes me wish I had a Jim Palmer video and a shaved tennis ball!

Go to www.LittleLeagueconnect.org, and sign up for a free account. Practice hard and now with Little League Connect, practice smart.

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