Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Youth sports done right: our DALL 9-10 squad

BruceGallaudetW

By
From page B1 | July 18, 2014 |

When the Davis American Little League All-Stars finished their impressive run in the 9/10-year-old postseason, the team ended the playoffs with a 6-3 record.

In winning the local District 64 tournament, a sense of accomplishment was painted on the faces of these 13 youngsters.

Even two weeks later, in losing two straight games at the next level, you could barely tell the difference in demeanor.

The smiles were still there. The pizza tasted the same. The kids learned a little more baseball and the families continued on with their summers — none the worse for wear.

It was youth sports done right.

Managed by Keith Millward and coached by Stephen Inouye and Chris Trinidad, our DALL tournament team should serve as a blueprint to follow for all kids’ squads — in any sport.

I had a chance to chat with Millward and Inouye about their formula. They validated something I’ve known for a long time: Confidence and communication are foundations to almost any accomplishment.

“As far as the levels go, I think in some ways (9/10) is more challenging in regards to the parents and playing time,” says Millward, who coached varsity baseball at Fairfield High for seven seasons (1999-2006). “The high school level, it’s pretty clear-cut: It’s competitive baseball by that point. The lower Little League levels of all-stars — and even our regular season — it’s pretty clear the priority is participation and fun.

“(All-Stars are) in a gray area where it’s Little League, it’s participation, it’s fun — but now we’re also going to make it very competitive where the goal is to represent your community and win.”

Inouye, who managed the AAA city champion Angels with Trinidad as his right hand, says getting the all-stars to understand the “next level” — and bringing the parents along with the game plan — was the secret.

“You have to remember, every one of these kids pitched, played shortstop, were the stars of their teams. Every one. All of a sudden now, someone is getting one at-bat,” veteran coach Inouye told me.

Making sure it’s fair is “sometimes walking the line,” believes Millward, who managed the major-division Red Sox, for whom his son Owen played:

“(As coaches), we had to choose our words carefully and constantly re-evaluate our priorities and keep the kids motivated and excited, but still try to play the best combinations in an effort to try to win most of the time,” Millward says.

“You must make sure everybody gets the constant reinforcement for their contributions, no matter how small. To me, this level is the challenging level.”

And how do you get all the parents on board?

“It’s impossible,” Millward admits about making everybody happy. “(As coaches) we just had to be at peace with this — it’s impossible to create an environment where every parent is going to be satisfied completely.

“But I think you avoid a lot of trouble by communicating in the beginning.

“The very first thing I said to each family before they even accepted a spot on the roster was ‘It’s a situation where not very much playing is guaranteed and I just want you to have a conversation with your son and be sure that he’s excited about participating … even if his playing time might not be very much.'”

Trinidad, Inouye and Millward were constantly evaluating players, constantly giving their charges chances to show their stuff in practices and games.

Case in point: Colin Walsh …

The versatile AAA Yankee didn’t see mound duty until the final playoff game — with his team trailing 6-0. All Walsh did was hold North Oakland scoreless while so motivating his teammates that Davis rallied to lead, 7-6, before falling late.

Millward says his staff reiterated every day to the players: ” ‘Don’t ever stop trying to improve and showing us what you can do — every time we practice, every time you get an opportunity in the game.’

“Colin is a perfect example of that. He wasn’t part of the (pitching) equation up to that point, then he was player of the game.”

Inouye praises the DALL parents for their support from the stands and during discussions with their kids in the car, the living room and wherever the subject came up.

“It prepared the kids for the experience,” Inouye adds.

Millward and Inouye were delighted with the support from DLL President Paul Hasson and his experienced board, who provided just the right framework from which coaches and kids can grow.

“Kudos to Davis Little League, in general, for their policy of inclusion and really urging everybody to play a lot of kids at a lot of different positions,” Millward continues. “And by not having the regular-season games count toward the postseason, it really takes away all the motivation for coaches to be cut-throat and play to win during the regular season.

“So all these kids — not just the all-stars — have had an opportunity to play at lot. In Davis Little League you’ll never have a kid who goes through his whole career just playing the minimum.

“By the time these kids get to (season’s end), they’ve played a lot of baseball.”

And Hasson and other board members are sensitive to the fact that Little Leaguers want to try other sports.

There are coaches’ and players’ clinics during the year, Fall Ball later on and fundraisers here and there, but participating in other sports is encouraged.

To wit? Millward and his son Owen will turn their attention to hockey while Inouye’s family focuses on soccer for a while.

But come next spring, you can bet this trio of Davis American coaches will be back — and it might be a good thing to feature them prominently when DLL conducts that first coaches’ clinic.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-320-4456.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Need for local foster parents grows

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Tactical robot decreases officer risks

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Woman confronts suspicious follower

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

    UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Workshop will answer financial aid questions

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Enterprise observes holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Give blood and get a free movie ticket

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Thanksgiving feast is open to all

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Museum announces holiday schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Swing your partner!

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

     
    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Open your heart

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    There’s only one way to fix this

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Students barking up the wrong tree

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

     
    Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

    Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

     
    Daryl Cagle cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

    Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    Easing the stress during college application season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    When the computer stares back

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A16

     
    How I want to be remembered

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

     
    Watch out for holiday weight gain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

    .

    Sports

    Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men finish off Furman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Late shot sinks Aggie women

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

    Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

    By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

     
    Honey, spreads showcased at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8