910 year old All-Stars prepare for tournament

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Demopolis Dixie Youth “AAA” All-Star team has three more days to prepare for their encounter with the Linden All-Stars in Linden Saturday night. But coach Darren Anderson says that for his players, sometimes the point of practice isn’t as much game preparation as a run-up to their post-practice snack–and that’s the way it should be.

“You ask them what the best part is, they’ll say the popsicles,” he says. “We’ve got a great group of kids. We’re trying to make this as much fun for them as we can.”

Of course, the necessities of competition mean there has to be practice before the popsicles, which is why the 9-and-10 year olds have been shagging flies, fielding grounders, and sharpening their swings under the lights at the SportPlex this week. The night-time practice times, Anderson says, are to help prepare the team for their 8 p.m. game time Saturday–the latest any “AAA” Dixie Youth game started this season was 7–and to spare the kids the

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withering afternoon heat.

“It’s a lot cooler than it is in the daylight,” Anderson says “We practiced in the afternoons a couple of times, and they were losing a lot of water out there.”

Anderson says that “teaching proper mechanics” is one of the biggest challenges facing a coach at this level, but he feels fortunate that he’s receiving a lot of help in his efforts.

“We’ve got a lot of Dads who are coming out and helping us, and that’s key,” he says. “You can’t spend enough time with them on an individual basis. In two hours of practice, they all have a few minutes of individual time, but having the Dads give us so much help is a big plus. I can’t thank them enough.”

Members of the Demopolis “AAA” All-Star team are Tanner Cox, Jake Freeman, Wesley Anderson, Tyler Charleston, Darrius Zanders, Michael Brooker, Rob McCarter, T.J. Reese, Will Tucker, Colton Dodd, Josh Mangum, Bradley Simmons, and William Tutt. The All-Stars are coached by Darren Anderson, Kenny Freeman, and James Charleston. Their game against Linden will be Saturday at 8 p.m. at Linden’s Scott Park.