Tomball, Texas — All players on the Tomball Kings Juniors roster for the Spring 2020 baseball season will keep a daily, hand-created journal of their efforts to improve as athletes and young men during the course of the season.
Players may keep the journal in any form they wish, from loose-leaf sheets to spiral-bound notebooks to composition books, so long as they use paper to record their activities.
All journal entries must be by hand, in pencil or ink. Writing is required. Cursive is optional. Drawing is encouraged. Penmanship matters.
Each player’s journal must contain a record for each day commencing March 3, 2020 and ending May 31, 2020. Players may, of course, extend their journals indefinitely.
Each daily record must contain at least one entry for each of the following activities:
- Mobility improvement
- Aerobic conditioning
- Wall ball or catch
- Progress toward the fifty-day, push-up challenge
- One unsolicited activity of gratitude for mom and dad
Entries of “zero,” “none,” “nothing done,” and the like are acceptable entries. For example, if on a given day, a player took no action in one or more of the five activities, he may fairly record that fact. But each player should make an entry in each of the five categories, every day.
Three of the activities — (i) mobility improvement, (ii) aerobic conditioning, and (iii) wall ball or catch — will be undertaken for time, to be measured in minutes, with ten minutes as the minimum initial time interval. The players will record how many minutes they spend performing these activities during the day. An entry of “zero” or “nothing done” would be the appropriate entry for any of these three activities if the player fails to achieve at least ten minutes of continuous effort, each time he attempts an activity. But, players can take credit for multiple sessions per day, so long as each begins with the ten-minute, minimum initial time interval. Thus, two sessions of fifteen continuous minutes each may be recorded for the day as thirty minutes of effort, or as two separate sessions of fifteen minutes each, as the player prefers.
The mobility-improvement activity means continuous time spent performing the dynamic (preferable) or static stretching routines each of the players has learned, whether from coaches Wilkins or Coleman, or any of the varsity players. Skipping is highly encouraged as a mobility-improvement activity.
The aerobic-conditioning activity means continuous time spent walking, running, hiking, swimming, bike-riding, rope-jumping, skiing, dancing, wrestling, or boxing.
Wall ball or catch
The wall ball or catch activity means continuous time spent playing wall ball or catch. Mindfulness of the teaching that coaches Wilkins and Cason have provided with respect to hitting the glove-side shoulder is highly encouraged. Either activity may be played with or without a glove.
Fifty-day, push-up challenge
This challenge is to start by performing a single, good-form push-up the first day, and then to add one additional push-up on each succeeding day, until on the fiftieth day, the player can complete fifty, good-form push-ups in single workout session. The fifty push-ups may be spread across multiple “sets,” e.g., three sets containing twenty, twenty, and ten push-ups, respectively. All players at Saturday’s practice accepted this challenge and learned from the varsity players in attendance what constitutes a good-form push-up. If players need to work up to the point where they can complete the initial, good-form push-up, such as by doing wall, knee, or half push-ups, that is perfectly acceptable. It is also acceptable to extend the push-up challenge beyond the conclusion of the season. Players should record in their journals for this activity what they actually did, even if that means an entry such as “two sets of ten wall push-ups.”
One unsolicited act of gratitude for mom and dad
The most important activity of the day is performance by each player, without solicitation or prodding, of at least one act that honors mom or dad — an expression of thanks for their love, the home they provide, and the gift of baseball that they afford to their son. The range of possibilities is unlimited, but might include: completing a scheduled lesson without being reminded; taking care of the dishes after dinner; cleaning out the garage; weeding a flower bed; preparing a meal or snack for the family; vacuuming a car; reading to a younger sibling; or, writing a thank-you note.
Weekly inspection and end-of-season review
On Saturday of each week, players will present their journals to their parents for inspection and review.
At the end of the season, players will present their journals to their teammates and coaches for review. Teammates and coaches will vote for the best journal, using criteria of completeness, faithfulness, penmanship, organization, and artistic merit. Players may not vote for their own journals.
We believe that if each player faithfully completes this project over the course of the season, making a sincere and diligent effort every day to improve in each of the five activities, he will be pleasantly surprised by the growth in his confidence as an athlete and sense of accomplishment, all achieved in a relatively short period of time.