SKULLCANDY CRUSHERS BASEBALL
The Skullcandy Crushers Baseball teams were born out of a collective desire to return to the roots and traditions of great baseball: SPORTSMANSHIP, SKILL DEVELOPMENT and TEACHING THE WHOLE GAME.
In an era where youth baseball players in many markets are playing 90+ games a year, parents feel entitled to bark at umpires, opposing coaches, and their own player’s coaches; players are slamming bats at the plate, vocally and with body-language objecting to calls or pitches; and new teams are formed over playing time and politics. We have chosen to do our part to reverse the trend and focus on one key motto:
“You Never Know Who Is Watching”
We believe that the beauty of baseball is it’s metaphor for life. It is a game of failure more than success, individual struggle in a team setting, and most of all training for how to handle that failure and that struggle in life. Our coaching staff teaches sportsmanship at all cost. Crusher players select an opponent in each game that embodies the Crusher principles and issues a set of Skullcandy headphones as a gift. Over the years, we’ve awarded the walk-off, the shut-out, the ESPN highlight, the grand-slam for sure, but by and large, the boys issue the awards for something they know they should be doing: helping a guy up after a tough slide, running full-tilt through the bag on a swinging bunt, or taking the field every inning like it might be the last game the player will play.
Having a corporate brand adds a new element for our players. However, it is not different than later in life. How one behaves in and out of brand is a reflection of that entity not just one’s self, much as players represent their parents, their team and the game when on and around the diamond as well as anywhere in uniform. We choose to represent that corporate brand to the best of our abilities and respect it like respecting our parents.
We often borrow from Coach Scolinas (RIP, Coach, you were one of a kind) and utter the phrase, “17 inches, no compromise”. We can’t do much about the era of entitlement at home or millennial behavior in the workforce but to educate on the players on the life risks and simply state, “Your plate might be 30 inches at home, but it will always be 17 inches on the diamond.”
The coaching staff of the various Skullcandy Crusher teams do not concern themselves with an obsession on winning. We believe the boys take care of that themselves and assuming academic standards are met will be reinforced in high school. Our summer teams have enjoyed the range of tremendous success and disappointment despite well-qualified squads. Our spring efforts are designed to have seasoned players combined with a select few committed development players. Our fall programs are focused on maintaining skill around another sport. Our winter programs encourage alternate sports but also rest and skill-specific training. We encourage all of our boys to participate in a different primary sport in fall. Some choose football or fall lacrosse but some choose water polo or golf. Frankly, the worse they are at it the more they have to grow. Only doing what one is good at doesn’t teach anything about how to be great. Work ethic, passion and desire lend to becoming great but learning to invest the time to go from bad to good also has merit. Too many young men and women (as well as adults) are unwilling to try something where they know they will show poorly. As a result, the Skullcandy Crushers implement agility and strength into our practice routines that incorporate awkward and unusual skills so our players learn to try and improve.
We, as a staff, go out of our way to provide a positive experience for every player, only requiring maximum effort, not maximum success. There is a big and often misunderstood difference. We remind the boys that the scores don’t matter until a third party is keeping score and another third party is writing about the results (for most, their High School Varsity Team). We assure you that college recruiters will not be asking your players about how many wins they had at 13 years old, nor their youth batting average or home runs. We have some teams that choose league play and move up or down seeking competition that is commensurate with skill and training but endeavoring to find a challenging environment, rather than winning for the sake of winning. We also have tournament teams that play each tournament with the intent to win but not without character building moments and sportsmanship at all costs. We’d rather see our players take three quality, on-time swings than bunt two runners over or bunt a run in. Don’t get me wrong, we are old school, we teach bunting, but rarely do we execute them in youth baseball when there is an opportunity to swing, regardless of score.
The Crushers are not an egalitarian society. We don’t equalize at bats or bat 12 just because that is the roster. Nor do we hand out participation awards for showing up. We don’t concern ourselves with equal defensive playing time or innings pitched or balls thrown except to protect developing arms. We believe in rewarding those that do the extra work, work hard in practice, and ask for the extra reps. We let our best players carry the team but only if they are also outstanding teammates and assist in the development of baseball acumen and skill with their teammates.
In the end, we put a premium on practice over games. We ask our parents to come watch practice if they want to see their players grow as athletes and not evaluate them solely on game performance - game attitude yes, game performance no. As a coaching example, we have been able to recreate every throw, catch, pitch and hit plus a proper warm up over a 5 hour double header in 22 minutes in a cage. There is neurological value in game speed and game situation but not at the expense of skill development and quality repetitions.
Crusher parents do not address their player by name during the game. Parents may use their player's number and only after a play is complete. As an organization, players, parents, and coaches, we do not challenge umpires and opposing coaches in youth baseball or make our emotional disappointment known. Parents are not allowed in the dugout nor are our players allowed to eat (gum, small candies, and water are the exceptions) in the dugout nor leave the dugout except for a bathroom break.
Lastly, we value education over sports. Ninety-nine percent of youth athletes will use their brains over their athleticism for a career. We prefer tournaments played on Saturday and Sunday so as not to miss school and we recommend high school coaches consider the academics of underclassmen rather than forcing players to sit through upper classmen games as a priority. Imagine the global problems we could solve putting the energy into education and learning that many parents put into youth sports.
Thank you for your interest in our program. If you’ve made it this far and believe in our principles and changing the tide of youth baseball, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be pleased to communicate with you on how to become part of the Skullcandy Crushers program.