By Ken Kaiserman
We love sports for so many reasons; including how much fun they are to
play. While we want our kids to have fun playing, we are also interested
in using sports for their other benefits such as exercise, building
generational connections and family bonds as well as developing skills for
socialization and other key life skills. Sports are a wonderful teaching
device because it is easier for kids to learn when they don’t even
recognize the transference; they practice and learn through sports because
they love sports. They want to get better and all the while we’re teaching
them about sports we’re also espousing how to succeed in life. Imagine if
we could figure out how to make math and science this much fun! Since a
goal as parents is to prepare our kids to go it alone one of the best
tools through sports that we can give them for their life journey is
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The 3rd generation of the Casey machine has arrived. Introducing the innovative micro-adjustment system that allows for instant pitch changes for game like training. This ground breaking, patent pending design allows a coach to quickly and precisely move the selected pitch up/down or left/right. This is ideal for positioning a pitch to an exact location for repetitive training or for mixing up pitches to replicate game situations.
- Adjust pitches in specific increments for pinpoint control: Adjust height in a 36" range, Adjust left/right in an 18" range
- Center-of-Gravity design allows for full 360 degrees left/right rotation and 120 degrees vertical pivot
- Position indicators index pitch locations and changes
- Variable speed control up to 100 mph
- 110V, AC, ¼ hp Power Supply
- 1200W Continuous Duty Generator Use
- 18 Inch Micro Horizontal Adjustment
- 36 Inch Micro Height Adjustment
- 360 Degree Rotation
- 8 Second Recovery Time
- Defensive Drills: Fly Balls, Pop Ups, Line Drives, Ground Balls, Catcher?s Pop Ups and Catcher
- Dual Concave Wheel Design
- High-Speed Spin-Balanced Aluminum Hub
- Innovative Center-of-Gravity Design
- Lightweight 91 Pound Design
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Official Pitching Machine of Major League Baseball
- Pitches Thrown: Fastballs, Change-Ups, Curveballs, Sliders and Any Other Breaking Pitch
- Powder-Coat Finish
- Quick-Release Legs
- School Purchase Orders are Accepted
- Speed Range of 30 ? 100 MPH
- Throws Regular Baseballs or Dimpled Balls
- Different Power Supplies Available.
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
I was recently lucky enough to meet Roger Kirtz, an expert in mental
conditioning. I was having coffee with a friend whose son plays travel
basketball with my oldest boy, talking kids sports, motivation, and work
ethic. Roger overheard and we got into a great conversation about these
topics that are so dear to all of us “Sports Dads”. Roger has a master’s
degree in sports psychology, with a clinical background, and a lot of
experience working with top athletes. Before moving to Beverly Hills this
year to set up a private practice he worked at International Management
Group helping young athletes. In case you’re not familiar with IMG, they’re
a very elite sports, entertainment and promotional agency boasting top
clients from every sport. Furthermore, IMG has developed unique mutli-sport
training academies with students from over 80 countries. These devoted
junior athletes focus on their complete intellectual and athletic
development, 24 hours a day, 7 day a week, including academics, physical
training, skill development, and yes, mental conditioning. Therefore, my
friend and I were very interested to hear what Roger had to say.
Roger defines mental conditioning as a proactive mental approach towards
performance; it includes goal setting, preparation, how to deal with
pressure, relaxation, establishing routines and developing awareness. Roger
says: “mental conditioning can make a huge difference all the way through
for young athletes. If a kid is in control and can establish mental
awareness by setting short term goals and then being responsible for
accomplishing those goals they can really gain confidence and help make up
for any physical differences.” Essentially, mental conditioning provides
tools that are used off the field that will contribute to enhanced focus and
better on field performance.
Nobody has better mental conditioning or on field performance that Tiger
Woods. Anybody that has watched Tiger over the years knows how tough he is
in the clutch and how he makes impossible shots seem more routine than death
or taxes. In interviews, despite being the best golfer in the world, Woods
has discussed his endless passion to improve. When answering questions about
how well he’s playing he states that he’s “never there” because there is
always room for improvement. It is this drive that compels him to greatness.
Tiger understands how the mental side of what he does, including daily
goals, is the main advantage he has over his completion. Proper mental
conditioning is just as important as physical conditioning, if not more so
and is often what separates people at all levels of competition. The same
approach Tiger takes everyday can help your kids.
There are a few basic steps that kids can take. Beginning mental
conditioning would include setting goals to have an understanding of what it
is that you want long term, medium term, short term and to accomplish daily.
Coach’s Corner, Continued
It is the daily goals that are the key to success in everything and provide
superb mental conditioning. How we define success is a part of the goal
setting. For example, if a kid wants to play in the NBA that is simply too
large a goal and so far in the distance that they can’t measure their
progress. Instead, they also need small, attainable goals. An example would
be trying to be the best on a local club team and setting daily and other
understandable short term goals to help accomplish that first step. Setting
short term goals is crucial because they are attainable and it’s easier to
see real progress. Reaching the short term and midterm goals creates a sense
of accomplishment that leads to real confidence and a solid mind set for success.
Roger has seen kids begin to flourish when they begin to work on their own
mental conditioning. He feels that all athletes and individuals, as well as
parents and families, can benefit. There is really no ideal age to begin and
Roger has worked with kids as young as 8, as soon as they’re cognoscente
enough to understand the concepts and get solid results. Awareness,
preparation, goal setting, all fall into place regardless of skill level or
what area you’re focusing on. Roger consistently sees changes with his
clients based on small, incremental growth. It is the small changes that
lead to big changes; it works every time. Goal setting is empowering at any
age, from 10 to pro, once you learn how to properly do it and how to achieve
Even better, from my personal perspective, is that anybody can benefit and
the concepts of mental conditioning as they cross over from the athletic
field to everything else in life. Mental conditioning and sports is another
tool to teach skills for life. Because kids love their sports they’re much
more willing to try new things to get better. As they develop the skills of
goal setting, focus and awareness, they can use these same tools for
improved results for schoolwork, jobs, relationships, and other aspects of
life. The tools developed through mental conditioning transcend sports and
the specific skills are easily taught because kids feel it is in their
self-interest to get better at the sports they love.
Using mental conditioning is a great way to improve in sports and in life.
Even better, because kids will focus on improving their sports skills,
parents have an opportunity to provide tools that will be hugely beneficial
for a lifetime. IMG has a slogan: “You don’t have to be sick to get better”.
There are always ways to enhance your preparation because you can always do
better dealing with obstacles in life and in sports.
If you’re interested in learning more about mental conditioning, or setting
up an appointment to meet with Roger in the greater Los Angeles area, he can
be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at (310) 270-3183.
Monthly Trivia Test
We’ve got great Trivia games for beginning to master SportsKids – try our “Half Court Shot” Basketball Game and find the answers to these questions at the bottom.
1) If a person is 6’ tall and has a 28” reach, how high do they need to jump to touch the rim?
A) 1’ 8”
D) 1’ 6”
2) Earned run average is calculated by multiplying the earned runs allowed by 9, then dividing the total by a pitcher’s innings pitched. So, if a pitcher gives up 3 earned runs in 18 innings, what is the ERA?
3) A batter’s slugging percentage is the total bases/at bats. During a game, a player grounds out, flies out, homers, and singles. What is the slugging percentage?
4) What is the highest score a bowler can have without any strikes?
5) The Kentucky Derby is 10 furlongs. At the turn of 8 furlongs, if a horse has a time of 1:36, how fast is the horse running?
A) 25 MPH
B) 30 MPH
C) 35 MPH
D) 40 MPH
There are trivia games in general sports, baseball, football, hockey,
basketball and “Sports Math” in three different skill levels. Test your
sports skills against kids around the world in the
SportsKids Game Section.
Answers: (1) A (2) D (3) B (4) C (5) B
Monthly Sports Poll
1) What do you think is the most important factor for sports success?
- Mental Conditioning
- Skill Development
- Athletic Ability
- All of the Above
2) Have you ever been involved with a professional teaching mental conditioning?
3) Does your child set short and longer term goals for success in sports?
4) Does your child keep track of their goals by keeping a log, diary or checklist of accomplishments?
Last month’s Poll results:
1) Do you feel it is important to play some sport in high school?
- Yes (74.11%)
- No (25.89%)
2) How many organized sports do your kids play each year?
- None (17.86%)
- One (12.50%)
- Two (16.6%)
- Three (23.21%)
- Four or More (29.46%)
3) Do you play on any organized “travel team” in additional to the local league for any sport?
- Yes (43.32%)
- No (52.68%)
4) On average, how many activities a week do you have for sports, music, drama, or other programs?
- None (14.29%)
- 1 to 2 (40.18%)
- 3 to 4 (16.96%)
- Five or more (28.57%)