Ahwatukee Foothills PONY Baseball Association: Mike Kirby

Mike Kirby
Position: Pinto Division Director
Email: kirby@wertech.com
Profile: Hello AFPBA Families:
My name is Mike Kirby. I have been the Pinto Division Director since Fall 2013. I have also coached for a few seasons in the Pinto division.
My 7 year-old son has played in the PONY league since the Fall of 2012. I played baseball when I was a kid back in Philadelphia, a little in college, coached middle school, and played/coached in the local adult leagues here in Arizona. I know what I expect in terms of my child’s development with sports, and especially with baseball. Through my five seasons in PONY, I’ve had nothing but a positive and consistent experience with the coaches and parents that have been a part of this organization. The field locations are close to home, game and practice times are predictable, uniforms are great, and the emphasis on child development is paramount.
As for Pinto Division baseball, the rules encourage development of all players at each position; the machine pitch is at the best height, distance, and speed settings and allows the players to focus on the hand-eye coordination and timing as they get ready for the kid-pitch level.
I am involved in the League because I have an opportunity to hang out with my son more, to assist with his physical, social, and mental development through team sports. And because I love baseball. Additionally, this is an opportunity to give back / invest in the local community. I also have the privilege of positively influencing the development of many children each season just by playing the game of baseball. That’s an impact on 60 to 80 kids per season that I would not normally get a chance to provide! Lastly, I am lucky to have worked with Parent Coaches / Volunteers that invest a lot of their personal time (aside from extremely crazy work and family schedules) to do the same thing season over season.
I was influenced probably most of all when attending Opening Day ceremonies in the Spring of 2013, when Ron Ensley was speaking about an amazing story from a Champions Division game. One of those stories where you had to put your sunglasses back on because it was too darn inspirational for a grown man to hear. I was sold after that and wanted more….well….wanted to start out slow as an Assistant Coach, but ended up as the Director and head coach of a team the next season. So it’s been quite busy…more than I expected on top of managing a team of 80 people at the office each day. But well worth it when you see the impact on the kids.
I look for the “Delta” in each kid at the end of the season. It won’t feel like a successful season unless I’ve seen an incremental change in each player. So I’d like to continue seeing the junior players progress in their physical and mental development on the field, and the senior players take on the leadership role as mentors for the new kids in the division. This league operates on volunteers, from the board members to the coaches, to the team parents, to that crazy guy that teaches all of the young umpires and helps keep the fields ready for game time.   I want to see more of that in this league, more parents stepping up and offering assistance to help keep the machine going. Every little bit helps for spreading the wealth of tasks that must be executed each season. Seeing the kids continue have fun playing on the field, and that the game of baseball has left a positive imprint in each player’s mind when they walk away from the season is one of the things I value most.
Looking forward I want to continue making sure we get constructive feedback from the player families to understand what they liked and/or didn’t like about the season, and continuously trying to improve the player experience.
I also want to say thank you to all of the Pinto parents for getting your kids to practice and games on time, and for working on their baseball skills at home on the off-days – that makes a significant difference in their progression. A huge thank you to all with the volunteers in the League, especially to the new coaches that braved the task for the first time and have made such a huge difference! I know this is a lot of work, and we really appreciate it.
Michael Kirby
AFPBA Pinto Division Director
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