Baseball has often been called the American pastime and its popularity proves that the moniker is well-deserved. Millions of baseball fans go to stadiums all over the country to watch their favorite teams throw some ball and hit home runs.
Well, they used to.
The current pandemic has stifled sporting activities, but it’s not just professionals who’ve had to stop playing. In 2018, over 25 million children in America were involved in baseball games. Fifteen million of these children were true enthusiasts who played over a dozen games in a single year. In that same time, the number of kids playing baseball increased by 3 percent.
If you have kids who are passionate about baseball, you may want to keep their skills sharp despite the community restrictions. Here are some tips on how you can effectively continue your children’s baseball training at home.
- Gather All Equipment
You can’t practice baseball effectively without the right equipment. Aside from balls, bats and gloves, you need all the requisite safety equipment such as helmets and pads. This will prevent your kids from getting hurt as they throw ball around in your yard. Aside form these basic equipment, you can splurge and buy a ball throwing machine or a speed gun equipped with radar. This advanced equipment will allow you to perform more complex training and drills.
- Set Up a Safe Space
Baseball can cause a lot of collateral damage if you’re not careful enough with your set up. Professional baseball player Joe Kelly broke his own window training pitches in his backyard. Setting up a safe space to practice in is an important part of remodeling your home for your kids. You can achieve this by surrounding an area with chain-link fence or even just sports netting. You should also install shutters on any window facing your backyard to prevent window breaks.
- Recreate the Diamond
Doing drills is one thing but nothing beats running the bases along a baseball diamond. Your yard will surely be smaller than most stadiums, but a regulation baseball diamond is only 60 feet on each side. Even if your lawn isn’t big enough to accommodate this, you can still make a passable baseball diamond with a chalk tracer and some paving stones for the bases. This will enhance your drills with your kids and make things seem more real.
- Focus on Footwork
Too often parents and coaches focus their children’s training on how to swing the bat or their stance when catching a ball. However, you should never forget to drill your kids on their footwork. Their feet and their stance are essential if they want to hit a baseball with more power or be able to change their position and catch a lowball flying at them. If you keep correcting your kid’s stance and their footwork, they’ll be better than ever when the stadiums and dugouts open up again.
- Emphasize Basic Fitness
Every sport requires excellent physical fitness and baseball is no different. Don’t forget to incorporate basic fitness exercises into your baseball drills. Among the most important basic drills include running to build up speed, jogging for enhanced stamina and squats to improve leg strength. These basic drills are just as important to your kid’s baseball skills as holding a bat correctly.
- Make Drills Fun
Finally, don’t forget to make drills fun. Your kids may have the potential to be great baseball stars in the future but that doesn’t mean you should make exercising a dull affair. Don’t take yourself too seriously and always be encouraging when you’re training your kids. Gamify the drills by setting rewards with milestones. Keeping this fun will go a long way in motivating your kids to practice diligently.
America may have had to find a different pastime this year, but baseball will make a huge comeback soon enough. These tips will ensure your kids will have the best training possible when that time comes and you can watch with pride as they dominate the dugout.