If you take a look at most rec league teams in your area you will probably find each team consists of about 10-12 players that are made up of one or two All Stars, four or five “decent players” and the rest get stuck on the bench or in positions they don’t want to play and might get to hit once or twice if they are lucky.
As parents, if your kid is one of those that gets stuck in the outfield and doesn’t hit often or even if they are a “decent player”, what are your options to help your player get better? You’ve probably seen the Travel Ball programs, the Academies, the camps and clinics and of course private lessons but those seem to be geared more towards the All Stars than the rest of the team and they are expensive. How can my kid get better?
You might think, “I don’t know anything about baseball, isn’t it enough for him/her to go to practice twice a week? Shouldn’t the coach be helping him/her? How can they get better if they don’t get a chance to play more in the game? My kid isn’t ready for private lessons or isn’t good enough for Travel Ball.”
The fact is, a typical youth baseball coaching staff has 10-12 players to deal with during a practice and most of the time is spent trying to get through the drills so that the whole team gets to participate. There is typically very little one-on-one instruction or coaching going on during practice. The result is, your kid isn’t getting any one-on-one so they probably won’t improve and therefore their playing time won’t increase. It can be a very frustrating experience for a parent. We want nothing more than for them to succeed and most importantly have fun! What is the answer?
As parents, we have an incredible amount of influence over our children. If we’re stressed, they will be stressed. If we’re pressuring them, they are going to feel pressure. But, if we’re having fun, they will most likely have fun!
The most important thing we can do as parents to help our young baseball players, is practice with them! Take a few hours a week to go to the park and play catch or pitch plastic Wiffle Balls to them in the back yard. Buy a tee and a net if you can and let them hit plastic balls in the garage. This extra time together can be rewarding in many ways outside of baseball as well.
If you don’t have much(or any) experience coaching, that’s where www.smarterlessonsonline.com comes in. All you have to do is send in a video of your child hitting a baseball and you will receive a lesson that is designed to empower you(the parent) by providing the insight, drills and tools to practice effectively with your kids. The lesson will not only teach you what drill to use to help your kid’s specific problem(s), but exactly how to implement the drill, what common mistakes are made by when performing the drill and what positive things to look for when your kid is practicing.
The unfortunate fact is that your player probably will not improve much just by going to practice a few hours a week. If you want to see them improve, spend some time with them. It’s fun for both of you!
Who knows, you might find out that they improve enough to take private lessons or even play All Stars or Travel Ball. But if they don’t, at least you got to spend more time with them. I’m pretty sure most of you don’t want to try to learn how to play video games so that you can spend more time with your kids!