I hope you're all staying active and being creative about how to spend your time with no school to go to! I wanted to send you the latest update from the league. When I started writing this email the 7U-14U coaches' meeting was on Wednesday, April 8th and practices were scheduled to begin on April 9th. As I was finishing up this email I received a message from the league reflecting the update to the Ohio stay-home order. This situation is certainly dynamic!
As of now, the coaches meeting will be May 2, with practices to start May 4 and games to start May 23. The league still intends to play a full 14-16 game schedule if that time frame holds - which means the season could very well extend into July.
In the meantime, get out and play ball as much as you can. Christian and I played every day from Friday through Sunday. Get some swings, field some grounders, play catch with Dad or Mom! If you dont have a parent who can pitch the ball over the plate, set up a tee and take some swings on the tee. Speaking of which, here is a little advice of something you can do to get ready for the season (when it finally arrives!).
A batting tee is NOT just for little kids! :) The keys to hitting are balance, a level swing, and keeping your eyes on the ball. If you go watch big leaguers take batting practice, they hit pretty much every pitch hard. You know how they do that? They don't take bad swings (until they have to face Stephen Strasburg anyway). You know why they don't take bad swings? They spend COUNTLESS hours hitting a ball off a tee... and they always have and they still do it now! Their swing looks pretty much the same EVERY TIME. They've worked on it for so long they don't have to think about it anymore.
When you're hitting off the tee you know when you take a bad swing - because you'll either hit the ball into the ground or you'll hit the tee under the ball. Hitting off a tee will help you improve your balance, keep your swing level, and keep your eyes down on the ball. If you pop the ball up off the tee it usually means you dropped your back shoulder (which means your bat drops too) or you pulled your head up too early. As a bonus, when you're hitting off a tee you can get a LOT more swings in an hour than you can get when someone is pitching to you. There are no bad pitches, you don't have to stop when Dad or Mom get tired of pitching, and if you're hitting into some sort of net you don't have to waste time chasing down a bunch of baseballs.
So, you want to really improve your swing between now and May 4th (haha... May the 4th be with you, that just occurred to me)? Get a tee, get a bucket of balls, set up a net and practice your swing on a tee... over and over and over again. Get your parents or a sibling to take a video of you swinging on the tee and look for how your swing breaks down when you don't hit the ball hard. And watch video of Ken Griffey Jr or Mookie Betts taking swings. Divine.
I'll try to make a habit of sending out tips between now and when the season starts. Just because we can't play together doesnt mean you can't go play ball!
Have a great week,
- Coach Nik