Tuesday, March 13, 2007

little league baseball  

posted by Michael Piwonka 5:24 AM
Mason has been playing soccer the last few years, and decided that he would like to give baseball a try this spring. So I signed him up for a "coach pitch" league.

At the first practice this past Saturday it became apparent that Mason was behind the other players, some of which have been playing for 3 or 4 seasons previously. Not only do they know all the rules, but they have a good grasp of the strategies. What's more, one of the players practices switch hitting in the batting cage.

But Mason has made dramatic improvements in only a few days. He is coordinated and athletic, but inexperienced. I've been impressed with his work ethic as we practice in the yard, and I think he'll be closing the gap in skill quickly. He is excited, and having fun.

I've purchased him a new bat, which seems like a prerequisite these days. The coaches supply bats, helments and balls, but every young player feels that they need their own bat. (When we were at the store, I saw some bats, made for little leaguers, priced at over a $100! Obviously, we didn't get one of those.)

In coach-pitch league, the team's coach pitches to his players. Each player gets 5 pitches to hit, or else they're out. It probably puts more pressure on the coach to get a pitch over the plate than it does on the kids to hit it.

I think that Mason's coaches are excellent. They have individual hitting, throwing, catching and fielding instruction. They have learned from prior seasons the delicate combination of instruction and laughter that it takes to keep 7- and 8-year-olds interested.

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