Ask The Coach Guidance for those lost in sports

April 01, 2001

Dear Coach: My high school baseball coach has named me captain of
the team. What exactly does a captain do?
LOST LEADER

Dear Leader: Consider yourself honored. "A good captain is
tremendously valuable," says Greg Hamilton, coach of the
Canadian national baseball team. "A captain doesn't have to be
the best player on the field. He needs to be someone who
provides leadership and is a conduit between the players and the
coaches." That's a pretty vital role in a team sport, in which
communication is essential. "A quality leader isn't going to be
afraid to be candid with the coaches," says Hamilton. "He also
has to have the respect of the players, because sometimes he has
to be very direct with them about their performance."

Dear Coach: At what age can a young pitcher start throwing
breaking pitches?
THROWN FOR A CURVE

Dear Thrown: Age is only one factor in determining when a child
is ready to try the curveball. "For safety's sake, we say 14, and
that's for a kid who has been pitching for at least three years,"
says Lyle Micheli, director of sports medicine at Boston's
Children's Hospital. "Little League elbow can do permanent damage
to the joint." Kids who are ready to snap off a curve should
start with three training sessions a week, each consisting of no
more than 15 breaking pitches. Remember, when in doubt, go
slowly. "A young player should not be throwing more than 300 real
pitches a week," says Micheli. "Don't just count the innings
pitched."

GOT A PROBLEM FOR THE COACH? GO TO CNNSI.COM/COACH

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)