The shift from 1974 to 2007 has been dramatic. Baseball once relegated to the dreams and comforts of summer is now a year round ambition for a surprising large number of players. Not only for paid players but for the amateurs as well.
Way back when, well if you were born after 1985, pre Baseball season followed the winter sports of basketball and in some areas soccer. As each Team Sports season has gotten longer in all age groups, with the exception of High School Sports, the down time and need for pre season conditioning has diminished.
Many training exercises in other sports cross over. Running, Sprint Training and over all Conditioning are several of the cross over items. Some movements are directly related to baseball while others a good for general athletic mobility. Man Team sports predominately have the athlete in a upright athletic position. Back straight, knees bent, weight forward on the toes.
Fielding, butt down hands out, and batting are the most notable baseball specific activity. Time should be set aside every couple of weeks to reacquaint the muscles with those movements. Simple stationary fielding drills in the back yard are excellent. They are quick, fun and involve family.
Thirty perfect swings with the bat, nothing to hit or strike, is also excellent and unique to baseball. During any season players should enlist the 6 second swing on a regular basis. Adapted from Tai Chi, players take a deliberately slow and controlled perfect swings.
From the step and continuing with a complete follow through, encourage your player to close their eyes and visualize a perfect swing at a perfect pitch. Relaxed and in balance from a comfortable starting position take an exhale breath and close your eyes. Visualize a pitch being released and going in slow motion, take the perfect stride in slow motion. Rotate the hips and load the core. Hands to the ball, roll trailing hand over leading hand, striking the ball, while close to the body and complete with the follow through.
This entire process should occur over a period of about 6 seconds, a true eternity when compared to live action. As a reader are probably wondering what Tai Chi has to do with batting.
A quick check on Chinese history will reveal centuries worth of expert swordsmen. The stroke of the sword is not so dissimilar to that of a bat swing. Each needs balance, power and targeting. As a comparative youngster to the human experience, baseball can learn a great deal from the activities of swordsmen that have been perfected and examined over hundreds of years and thousands instructors.
Simple drills not only provided muscle memory for doing them correctly, but when the parents are involved on such an individual and intimate setting, it makes up for time lost to the shows their Kids watch on Nick and other teen and pre teen targeting programming.
Parents compete with several media over the attention of their children. In 1974, competition was with the radio, shortly thereafter, MTV. Today, kids are bombarded from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep with sounds and noise from all sorts of things vying for their attention and spending dollars. Television, Radio, Public places at large and the internet.
As a Parent, the most important thing you can give to your child is yourself.
What better opportunity than to separate your and your child from all the noise and participate together in a single activity. This is where baseball memories start. These memories are held closest to the heart.
So, once or twice a month, regardless of the season or the weather, take time with your child to practice a little baseball. Keep things simple, keep them brief and try a few yourself.
Much of baseball is situational. If this happens then I do that. Learning correct technique is best learned when you teach. Let your child teach you a little. Reinforcement of proper technique is quick and deep. Strengthening the connection between you and your child.
It is amazing what you each will learn together.