It's really been a while since I've written a Wheelin' With WEB column. Really should do this every week, just to keep up on some of the other activities that are going on around us...like the weather!

The big question on all the coaches' minds is, "When are we going to get outside?" While the weather would be OK for today, today being Monday, the fields, and courses, and maybe even the tracks, are snow-covered, and/or, very wet.

I took the opportunity to send out an email about how the weather is affecting the coaches' practices, etc. Some of them responded and I'd like to share them with you.

My questions were: Since we don't have any games/matches to write about, I'd like to get your thoughts on the WEATHER! 1) What impact has it had on your program? 2) Are there any advantages? 3) What are you doing to motivate the kids while they can't get outside? 4) Any other comments?

Lane Powell, Fillmore Central girls golf..."Initially, it was nice, as we were able to focus on stages of the swing, putting and chipping. Now, it is a problem, as we have not been able to read greens or learn yardages for particular clubs for the ladies. The girls have been GREAT about it, willing to keep working on the point of contact, and their short games. The only really bad thing is, that once we do get on a course, it will be meet, followed by meet, etc. These players can gain more if we allow them a practice day in between meets."

Keith Larson, Fillmore Central/Lanesboro baseball..."Not getting outside for throwing seems to be the biggest concern we have right now. Being a first year coach we have plenty of things to work on inside so it might be a advantage to us. Our biggest concern right now is our pitchers and getting their arms game ready. With our seniors being gone for a week our practices have had small numbers so our reps have been up. Hitting is not so much of an issue since we have an indoor cage and can get about 70 to 100 swings in for each player per day. We have brought in a couple of Mankato State alumni players to help motivate the players; Scott Hanson pitched for three years and has been taking the lead with our pitchers and Mike Schibersky played outfield for three years and talked to us about hitting. We are ready to get outside and start playing some games."

Tris Tollefson, Fillmore Central/Lanesboro softball..."1. The weather has impacted preparation for our season in many ways. Outfielders are really affected the most. They haven't got much of a chance to judge fly balls. Throwing for outfielders is also tough in a gym. You have to be creative in thinking of ways to practice cutoffs and relays. Infielders get a lot of ground balls but haven't got a chance to work on a dirt infield. Pitchers haven't thrown off a pitching rubber much. Let's just say that the game of softball is not meant for a gym!

"2. The advantage I would say is that we have spent more time on fundamentals. Breaking skills down in the proper way. We have worked very hard on our swings and hopefully it will pay off when we start playing some games.

"3. I really take my hat off to the kids in our program. Practice in the gyms can get quite boring. They haven't complained at all. They have worked hard and have kept a great attitude. I know deep down they are pretty sick of the situation but they really haven't shown it. We have tried to come out with little competitions and tried to pitch live with some base running. But there is only so much you can do in a gym.

"4. We are very hopeful that the weather will straighten out soon and we are excited about our upcoming season."

Brad Holten, Fillmore Central boys golf..."The boys golf team has been working inside in the gym with various stations, as well as outside on the practice facility at the community center. This is about as rough of spring as I remember in 14 years of doing this. I am not sure when we will be able to play. This week doesn't look good either. It has been good from the standpoint of working with a younger team but they really need time on the course to learn course management. The boys know there will be a tough competition to make the top six so I think that serves as a motivator. It has made for some boys anxious to get on the course but every team is living through it."

Jim Hubka, Kingsland track, boys and girls..."The main impact that it has had on our program is not being able to get a full outdoor meet in. With the lack of facilities here at Kingsland I am used to dealing with uncooperative weather by having alternative workouts when we are unable to get on our dirt track. We continue to hit the Olympic lifts in the weight room on a regular basis and we try to get down to LeRoy and their pool when we can.

"The main disadvantage of the weather is the athletes not able to compete against their section competition. It's nice to see and compete against others before conference and sub-sections roll around.

"I'm looking forward to our meet in Winona tonight!!"

Brian Baum, Chatfield baseball..."1. The impact has been huge as we will basically be playing our first game without any situations being done outside. So situations and catching and fielding a ball in outdoor conditions has not really been done either. We have not even been able to throw to any bases yet.

"2. Allowed us time to get our pitchers ready mechanically and physically before the first game. Also able to fine-tune our swings somewhat as well as working on our bunting. Were also able to set up a routine for pitchers to throw to hitters and bunters every two to three days.

"3. Try to change things up as best you can. One day working on mechanics and footwork with infielders, another day outfielders, another day pitchers making throws and covering the base, bunt situations, etc.

4. I am hoping that having a veteran team will help us out of the gate. They have been there before so with lack of outdoor practice, their knowledge and understanding of the game at the varsity level will be heavily counted on.

"*Bill, as of now both baseball and softball are planning on playing tomorrow. I will keep you posted."

And there is one final comment, from Chris Heppding, Chatfield boys track. Chris probably had the most succinct response, and of course, I quote, "It sucks! :(

Obviously, nobody is happy about the conditions, but this is Minnesota, and we either love it, or leave it!

Recently I was down in Texas spending some time with my wife, who was caring for her ailing mother. For the most part the weather was absolutely gorgeous...that is if you like 90 degree weather; of course I didn't mind. Saw a couple ball games, one baseball and one softball, and I saw the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA-Developmental League) play. I also saw the RGV All-Star basketball game.

When I went and saw Sharyland High School play baseball, their record was 21-1. They are the #20 ranked baseball team in Texas, Class 5A (biggest class). Their catcher has signed with Texas.

Saturday night after the Vipers game, I got to sit down with Royce White (on assignment to the Vipers from the Houston Rockets). That was a hoot too.

Thanks to all the coaches for responding on such short notice.

That's it for now....I'm heading to Winona to watch Kingsland run track! See you next week. Easy does it-one day at a time. WEB