As the leaves begin to fall, for many boys and girls growing up this is a time of changing from baseball to football or soccer. The Little League World Series is over and for a majority of youth baseball and softball players they will stop practicing baseball and move onto other sports that will provide them with other skills that will assist in their development as an overall athlete.
However a growing trend of ball players are playing baseball/softball year round to hone and advance their baseball/softball specific skills with the hopes that this year-round dedication will give them an advantage when they enter high school. From personal experience as a high school, college and professional player and now as a coach, those players who have that dedication do end up having an advantage adjusting to year round high school programs. This creates quite a quandary for a parent as they attempt to help their children reach their athletic dreams and potentials: how do I help my son or daughter who excels in baseball/softball and another sport stay on track with year-round players, and/or should they dedicate themselves to one sport?
The answer to the question of whether a child should dedicate themselves exclusively to one sport is no. Children need to experience sports that interest them; the experiences alone will provide them with essential lessons in teamwork, responsibility and communication that will be invaluable in life. For those boys and girls who excel in two sports and play them competitevly to high school, there are some simple guidelines that will help him remain ready for each baseball/softball season.
- Play catch – it’s important that their arms stay in shape so when the spring comes they will be ready. Once a week for ten to fifteen minutes ranging from 60, 90 to 120 feet depending on you’re the dimensions your child plays on.
- Get your swings in – tee work is not the most popular thing, but it’s the tool that has produced Hall of Fame swings for decades and is cheap and easy to use. Seeing live pitching is helpful, but when it is raining or snowing use a simple tee and wiffle-ball in a designated area.
These two things will allow those boys and girls who don’t play year round baseball/softball keep pace and ready for the spring season.