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I'm coaching a new 8U team starting very soon.  Obviously, we will keep score of the games, but I do not want to publish stats for 8 years olds.  Last season I had an 11 year old tell me his OPS was .950 and it pretty much scarred me for life. (haha)

I want to focus on player development with these young kids and instill confidence, but some metrics are helpful.  I like the idea of tracking "Quality At-Bats". 

What would qualify as a Quality At-Bat?

A hard hit ball is obviously one metric....  

What are some other other hitting outcomes that are worth tracking?

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We track 10 outcomes... 1.) Hard Hit ball 2.) Base hit 3.) move runner from 2nd to 3rd with less than 2 out 4.) sac bunt called by coach 5.) 7 pitch at bat, non K 6.) 10 pitch at bat any outcome 7.) Drive in a run 8.) Forced error 9.) Walk 10.) HBP

We shoot for 50% QAB, and our leader is usually around 60%  We don't post batting average any more, just QAB%

Considering coming up with a weighted QAB stat that doesn't treat a forced error the same way as a home run.  Obviously one is more valuable than the other.  I'll update if I ever get to it.  Hope that helped!

Thanks Kyle!  As always, you're extremely helpful.

Kyle, Good stuff. I may start using this too with my own stats. However, when measuring quality at bats, I feel you could measure some things as more quality than others, such as a 10 pitch K having less value than a 10 pitch HR, or a hit worth 1 RBI being less than a hit worth 3 RBI, extra base hits being worth more..I think you see my point. Just something to think about

Yeah, that was the weighted QAB I talked about at the end.  We usually have a kid keeping the chart, so to make it too complex would just make it inaccurate, but I do see the need to differentiate between between moving a runner from second to third and hitting a home run. 

Also, Bill- Thinking about tracking QABs for 8 year olds... maybe as simple as...

1.) Putting a good pitch to hit in play 2.) Hitting the ball hard 3.) walk 4.) HBP 

Are these in any particular order? I like your criteria and we use very similar data points, but I was curious how you would rate a walk less than a sac bunt or forced error. A walk is a keen eye that gets a player on base which should be the ultimate goal of any coach; get base runners any way you can.  Best to you and your teams. Oh and iScore does a great job at keeping all of these stats for you. No, I am not an iScore salesman-ha, just a satisfied user.

Maybe compound the QAB if the hitter achieves two or more qualifiers during the same at bat.  Such as: base hit with 2 rbi would count 3 or walk with bases loaded would count 2.

A side note based on the picture above: why do the field conditions have to be so horrible in amateur baseball?  If you want a quality at bat, how about a quality batter's box?  No offense to your league because this is in all leagues all over the country.  I grew up playing on crappy fields.  It is hard for the batter to get a good swing tyring to hit out of that sand box.  I see cigarette butts in there.  Coaches spend hours teaching hitting mechanics but won't put 20 minutes into repairing the mound or batter's box after the game and that goes a long way to improving performance.  Just sweep away that sand and trash and pebbles and cigarettes, wet down the solid ground, pack clay to a level surface, then but a 1/4" layer of the ash tray filler/sand back on top.  I understand the desire to get home after games and practices but respect for the field has always been a priority of mine and it might be the single most contributing factor to improving player performance at the amateur level.

Michael-  Not to get too far off topic, but you're 100% right about field conditions. It's a huge problem.  That picture was taken at a field in Great Lawn in Central Park, NYC. It should be immaculate. It's playable, but it's an all dirt infield. In our area it's all dirt infields or turf fields. The turf is a nice smooth surface and nice when it rains, but I miss the old fashioned grass infields. 

We have volunteered to work on fields, but the Parks department will not allow it. On the flip side, if there's even slight rain, they won't let you on the field.

I went out to Long Island to Baseball Heaven, a big facility about 90 minutes outside NYC with 8 or 10 fields and it's all new turf. Ripken Baseball's facilities in Myrtle Beach and Aberdeen are all turf. Even the Brooklyn Cyclones, a NY Penn League Class A team owned by the NY Mets ownerships rebuilt their field on Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy with turf.  The new turf has a grass-like feel, but it's spongy when you walk on it.

It seems as though no one wants to take the time to groom a baseball field anymore and it's a shame.  I remember my Dad and other Dads taking their own lawnmowers, rakes, hose to our field and taking on grounds keeping responsibilities to give us a great looking field.

From the same game as the above pic, here's another pic.  My son it a sharply hit base to RF. Took one step out of the box and slipped in the sand. I was pitching, so I turned to watch the ball as he hit it hard, then look over and he's on the ground outside the batters box.  He was thrown out by the RF.   <end of field condition rant>

Start another discussion or better yet...a group!  We use High School fields in my Men's league and I rebuild the mound after every game, even after pitching nine innings.  Although we pay a few thousand dollars for use of the field, it is still a privilege to have a full size facility for grown men to play baseball so we have to leave the field in better condition than we found it.

When I coached the boys, we used county parks that were not maintained other than mowing.  The city fields had another layer of government to take care of their fields but nobody would fill holes the right way.  They just rake loose dirt into the hole and call it a day.  That don't cut it.

I am an advocate of privatizing all recreation departments and getting the bureaucrats out of the business.  As long as a tax cut was part of the deal.

Hey guy's

Your comments below are very informative.

The photo above reminds me of what I view batters doing during their approach to contact, which are the the eyes not being locked in on the ball out of the pitchers hand to point of contact, Yes, {To Point of contact,} I stress to point of contact to encourage batters to keep their heads very still in order for them to visualize, to keep their eyes on the ball as long as possible. What I am seeing in the photo above is that at this stage of his swing the batter,s chin and head are elevated too much which forces the eyes to be focused up above and out front of and off of the line of ball travel, batters must keep their heads centered between hips and feet,  hands, arms, shoulders etc must be behind the ball as the youngster above is doing very well but proper eye to ball focus during his stage of his swing is paramount to making  good hard contact, all in all this youngster is in great balance which makes his approach to contact {SUPER} if he keeps his hands, arms and shoulders etc. behind the ball and stabilizes his front leg which allows his hips to function properly.

Hey Michael'

Good for you, for bringing out what I call {THE ATROCITY} of {BALL FIELD} {ABUSE.} }LOUSY MAINTENANCE.} you have hit the nail right on the head, I have played on some of the best and some of the worst kept ball fields, what it amounts to is, is the field {PLAYER} {SAFE}?

Most people do not understand that 75 percent or more of the game is played on the dirt, 100 percent on soft ball fields., They also do not understand or do not concern themselves with the fact that a poorly maintained field is the cause of bad hops, poor footing etc which is of the utmost importance to a players safety.

I do feel sorry and sympathize with those who have to maintain and play on a all dirt infield.

Professional grounds keepers have it fairly simple in one respect due to their keeping in very close, daily contact  with their players concerning how playable their field is. players have daily first hand knowledge of all aspects of their playing field which is very beneficial to a grounds keepers quest of keeping their field in great safe playing condition.

We have a could be nice ball field which was recently rejuvenated app. one year ago, brand new mound etc which in my opinion could be the nicest player safe field in Southwest Mo. other than Hammonds, Spring field cardinals field,  but they do nothing to the mound during back to back games, after single games or last games of the day they sometimes throw a tarp over the non manicured dry mound and get back to it when necessary. I won't even mention the negative and unsafe aspects of the infield.

It doesn't take a lot of money to keep a field in excellent playing condition, but it does take someone who is interested enough to coddle and take regular care of what needs to be taken care of. Some field maintenance experience is always helpful.

Water is the glue that holds the clay in particular together,  regular watering is also necessary for the whole field.

Get on the internet as I do and learn about field maintenance from the major league head grounds keepers, get your info. first hand from the very best. There is great info out there from the best in the business, free of charge.

Great Baseball-N

Don Ervin

Take a look at the App iScore-a very good App to use for game scoring and stats, etc.. There are a lot of criteria they have listed for a QAB. I think any hard hit ball regardless of a base hit or not, LD, hard FB, 7+ pitch AB, if you can track battling from an 0-2 count, situational hitting(hitting behind a runner when necessary), BB, Advanced runner, hard GB,  and I am sure there are others that could be included, but this is pretty much what I look for in a QAB. I am also careful on SO's look depending on the Umpire. I have seen some good hitters called out on strikes that weren't even close, so I usually make a note.


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