Japanese baseball finds itself at a crossroads

By Jack Tarrant

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Given how much they practice you would think that Japanesewould dominate the world's baseball scene. Instead it is still a minor talent wroth only a handful of players making it to the US leagues.

The sacrificial bunt is still popular here despite analysis showing it is counter productive to getting runs. I saw it yesterday at koshien - the bunt resulted in both batters getting out. It is clearly something that appeals to the Japanese psyche and is more important than actual success.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As a HS student in Australia, I played soccer, rugby & AFL during the winter, & cricket, tennis & golf during the summer.

This variety kept me interested in my main sporting passion - soccer.

Also the different skills learnt in the various sports complimented each other.

Why Japanese schools insist on students choosing one sport (or activity) & having them do it all year round, for three years is dumbfounding.

Too much of anything (including a good thing) makes you resentful, which in many cases can turn to hatred.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I love sports and would love my kids to play sports in the future but I also believe in family time too. Many kids here practice baseball 7 days a week with Saturday/Sunday being the entire day. Also there seems to be no off-season or holidays.

When I played in little league, we practiced 3 days a week after school and our games were Saturdays. We had a nice, long off-season too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

tooheysnew - I agree.

I can't understand the approach that dictates you must choose only 1 sport and stick with it for 3 years.

And in addition practice it 5 ~ 7 days a week, 50+ weeks a year. What a Grind!!!

It's a no brainer. To develop healthy young bodies and minds, introduce them to and let them participate in a variety of sports. They can learn different strategies, techniques, skills, and exercise different muscle groups. Also the variety would enable them to form wider friendships both with peers and coaches.

And the strangest of all to me, is that generally Jnr/Snr high sports clubs have only ONE team. Many members never get to play in a tournament or only very rarely. The Best are almost always chosen. The others are just for support - or lackeys in some case. If you want to enjoy sports and improve all round skills, the best way is to play games on a regular basis. Schools could have an A team, a B team and a C team..... allowing all students to participate in games against like teams from other schools. And why can't teams play a season of games (on Saturdays for example) instead of all squashed into summer vacation tournaments or similar events.

None of this is in the too hard basket - but it involves a breaking of the mindset that dictates - this is how we have always done it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Imo over-competition in sport isn't a good thing for kids' physical/mental health, especially in schools. Kids/teens should mix with others - different backgrounds, mindsets, social groups etc - to broaden their horizons.

And competition/training should be limited to a couple of times a week. Kid wants more? Join a club.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Further to browny's point about who gets to actually play, I live in Nagano and if you look at the roster of the Nagano team who played this year at Koshien, a private high school called Massho Gakuen, most of the kids are from Kansai. They had all been recruited and chosen to go there so they had a shot at playing at Koshien, something unlikely had they gone to a strong school in Kansai. At a strong school, you'll end up watching in the stands.

Generally speaking, only private schools can recruit nationwide. It is a huge advantage that nobody really talks about because no-one wants to admit their prefecture's glorious representative is actually full of ringers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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