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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2007 > Coach's Box - Feb/Mar 2007 > Good at Bat

Good at Bat


Volume 2, No. 2


February-March 2007


Use the “Good at-Bat” approach and have players hit over .400!

Calculating batting averages for Little Leaguers the way they do for Major Leaguers doesn’t make sense. The only “at-bats” that count for a MLB player’s average are singles, doubles, triples and homeruns. If a major leaguer hits a ball through the shortstop’s legs and ends up on second base, it is ruled an error and the player is 0 for 1 with a batting average of .000. Hitting is arguably the toughest skill in any sport; and many Little League players often go long stretches during the season without getting a hit. 
The following approach sets you up to pat your players on the back every time they have a “good at-bat”, not just when they get a clean hit.

A “Good at-Bat” is:

  - A single, double, triple or homerun (of course these are all GABs)
- A walk (why not give a player credit for working the pitcher for a walk)
- Hit by a pitch (getting hit by a pitch puts the hitter on base and is a good play)
- A line drive out (this is an excellent effort, so the player should get credit for a GAB)
- A fly ball, ground ball or a pop-up (hitting is such a tough skill, so when a
  little leaguer puts the ball in play regardless of the outcome I like to reward him with a GAB)
- Swinging at a third strike and striking out (I want all of my players to be aggressive and
  swing the bat, especially on the third strike, so this is also a GAB)

The only situations that I would not give the player credit for a “Good at-Bat” was when:

  - A player does not swing at a called third strike. (Just waiting for a walk is not a good
  at-bat. I want the players to be aggressive and not be afraid of striking out.)
- Swinging at a ball way out of the strike zone on a two strike pitch. (If the pitch was
  out of reach, I want players to learn to be a little more selective.)

Using this GAB approach, most of my players hit over .500 for the season and all of
my players hit over the .400. Lots of players will go 4 for 4 and have a 1000.00 GAB
average during the game. This approach almost guarantees that every player has some
success at the plate in every game.

I like to keep track during the game and post each “Good at-Bat” for each player on a chart at the end of the dugout. This way every player could see how they were doing and that I was proud of their efforts at the plate, even if they didn’t get a clean hit.

Coaches, describe the GAB stat to your parents. They will be more positive with their own son or daughter during the game and it gives them something very positive to talk about on the way home from the park.

Give the GAB stat a try and celebrate every player on your team hitting over the magic .400 mark!

Big Al
For al and AL

Al Herback and Al Price, authors and instructors of the Little League Education
Program, authored this coaching tip. The training materials they have put together
include hundreds of drills, competitions and fun activities. They also include
progressions to help you teach the fundamental skills and guidance on how to
 plan practices for all levels of play. Please go to www.alandalbaseball.com for more
information on the complete program library and to order your own set of training
materials. To date, thousands of leagues and over one million coaches, managers,
players and parents have taken advantage of the training materials.

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