Baseball, the American pastime and dream of every little boy, whether he plays sand lot ball or little league
with organized teams, coaches, uniforms and team moms. For two summers I have coached eleven to
twelve year olds to fulfill their dreams. The
hallenge was working with fifteen young semi-talented, individual, hope to be baseball players.
The first meeting with these prospective players reveals critical information. There were players
who had played since they were five years old, with hopes of being the next Cal Ripkin and those who were
buying their first glove, never to have caught
ball before. It was a shock to the coach's male ego to realize that the only girl on the team had the most
potential. It was also necessary to recognize that desire can be a stronger force than natural ability with an
excellent player. The young playe
who wanted to excel with his whole heart, practiced daily, pushed himself to be the best was a joy to work
with, in comparison to the multi-talented, experienced player who was only out on the field for individual
self glory instead of a team effort.
Team spirit is the most important factor to the success of any team. Building team spirit in a
group of insecure, young adolescents is generated from the coach down, with each player appreciated for
his or her individual skills and contributions. Pla
rs were encouraged to compliment one another instead of criticizing each other's weaknesses. The role of
the coach was to praise the accomplishments of the players and not criticize faults and errors, which
became contagious with each player on the team
s the season progressed. By promoting this type of atmosphere and minimizing individual competition, the
players tried their best for the success of the team and a winning season.

Nick Inhelder
Although winning is the key objective of all sports, it was not the crucial element on the "Yankee"
little league team. Most importantly, it was working with youth to teach the fundamentals of baseball, to
enhance their self-concept and promote the c
araderie of team spirit. A careful blending of these elements will result in a winning team. The Arapahoe
Baseball League of the eleven / twelve year old Yankee teams for the summers of 1994 and 1995 swept
the league and won the tournament championsh
s with an over all record of 27 and 4.
The Yankees were winning teams according to their win-loss records and league statistics. More
importantly, each youth was appreciated for their unique abilities, cooperative effort as a team and progress
made in the development of their talents. The
eat times we had together and the dreams we shared will always be alive in the minds' of the Yankee little
league players and the coach when called to conscientiousness with the famous words, "PLAY BALL !"