3 Things To Look For In A Youth Baseball Camp

Apr 01, 2019 by Nick Rotola CEO of American Baseball Camps in  baseball camps baseball dad baseball mom Youth Baseball Advice
3 Things To Look For In A Youth Baseball Camp-min

Kids don’t get better unless they play a lot of baseball. A great source of baseball during the summertime are youth baseball camps.

They break up the monotony of baseball games and practices and they are usually designed to quickly and effectively make your kid a better baseball player. But what makes a great youth baseball camp?

What should you look for when signing your kid up for one? We list our top three things to look for in a youth baseball camp.



#1 Relevancy

The things learned at a baseball camp have to be relevant to a kid’s baseball life.

Camp coaches need to be clear with your kid in how the things learned at camp can actually be applied in a game. If camp coaches are just discussion theories with your kids and tweaking mechanics your kids aren’t going to take anything away from the camp.

A good camp gives a kid tangible adjustments and teaches the kid how to apply them. Find an instructional youth baseball camp that is delivering relevant information!

#2 Fun

Youth Baseball Camps should be mostly about having fun. Why? Baseball players perform best when they are having fun. This doesn’t mean picking daisies and playing with bubbles.

What we are talking about here is finding a camp that the kid’s not going to hate. So many of the youth baseball camps we have researched have the kids bouncing around from drill to drill going through the motions and grinding it out.



This can hurt a kid’s motivation and drive for the game of baseball. Instead, put him in a camp where he is having the time of his life & getting a lot better. Why are MLB guys always joking around and having fun in the dugout?

The game is supposed to be fun, and players perform the best when they are having fun.

#3 Affordable

Youth baseball camps are huge in the development of young ballplayers, but that doesn’t mean you should have to refinance your house to pay for them. Find a quality youth baseball camp that costs around $50-$75 a day.

Anything higher than that and you’re looking at greedy camp coaches/owners. There is no reason to be paying $400 for a 3 day camp just because it’s led by an ex-Major Leaguer. Quality instruction can be found for much less.

Youth baseball camps are about giving back to the next generation of young baseball players, not about profits. So, find a camp that meets all of your baseball camp needs, and is affordable too.

– Blog written by ABC Founder Nick Rotola. American Baseball Camps offers baseball camps all across the US. View their Baseball Camps Page, or visit their American Baseball Camps Home Page.




Youth Baseball Tips: 3 Practical Ways to Get Better

Apr 06, 2019

Visualize Yourself Being Successful

According to one of our favorite pieces of research the mind cannot distinguish between real and imaginary in sports. Another study we have found links how you perceive the ball when you hit to success. Those more familiar with success viewed the ball as bigger, and therefore hit better.

We are seeing that perception and reality are often treated the same by the mind. In other words, trick your mind by imagining yourself having success at the plate, then see the ball as bigger because you are familiar with that success, and hit better! You also will become more comfortable in situations that you have “already been in.” Why are older guys so much more comfortable when they play? They’ve played more. You want your kid to be more comfortable at the plate right? Have him hit 3 times more often by imagining himself in the box, and being successful.



I don’t know why more people don’t try this it is easier than it looks. Just have your youth baseball player when he’s laying in bed at night, or right before an at-bat, close his eyes & visualize driving the ball into the gap, or driving the ball the other way, or bunting for a hit. Wherever he needs to improve, teach him to visualize it, and he’ll be able to do it.

Play Up & Play A Lot

For this one we are going to use a well known example and a personal example. The well known is Bryce Harper. Bryce, like many big leaguers, played up growing up. His parents started him in t-ball at age 3 on his older brother Bryan’s team. Bryce continued to develop up to the age he was playing even into HS when he skipped his Junior year of HS, took the GED, and played up with his brother again at the College of Southern Nevada. In a rare interview with ESPN, while in HS, Bryce Harper and his parents attribute much of his success to playing up and to playing hundreds of games a year.

My personal example is Tampa Bay Rays Cather Derek Norris. This guy was coached by my dad in Wichita and played up his entire life. He played two years up with his older brother Nathan. Derek was always a really good player but never really stood out from the bunch, until he got to HS and played with kids his own age. Derek went on to become a HS phenom whom got drafted in the fourth round.

Have More Fun

Many of the guys I’ve played with at the Division 1 level have said that “baseball isn’t fun anymore with their head coach” and almost in the breath they say “we had the talent but had a terrible year.” Compare that to a team like Oral Roberts where I play, with a players coach that encourages fun at the field (as long as you’re still focused) and you see that we have a very successful program. I am telling you players play better when they have fun.



The moment that baseball becomes more about pleasing parents, or pleasing coaches, a kid loses interest. Make his practices fun, make his games fun, and make his tournament experiences fun. We’ve noticed with American Baseball Camps that kids don’t even notice they are getting really quality reps in and getting better when we make the games and drills as fun as possible. Make baseball fun again, and your kid is going to perform a lot better. This is confirmed by research from changing the game project.

 

– Blog written by ABC Founder Nick Rotola. American Baseball Camps offers baseball camps all across the US. View their Baseball Camps Page, or visit their American Baseball Camps Home Page.




Two Strike Approach - American Baseball Camps-min

What Is A Two Strike Approach & How Do I Teach It To My Son/Daughter?

Sep 17, 2020

A two strike approach is a plan a hitter executes when they have two strikes on them at the plate.

Many at-bats get to two strikes in youth baseball, so it is important to have a strategy when the time comes!

Know that hitting with two strikes is significantly harder than hitting early in the count, which is already hard.

Below is a table of MLB statistics in each count, note that the two strike counts are the lowest.

This graph doesn’t tell the whole story, however.

There are a lot of things really good hitters do with two strikes that help the team tremendously but don’t count toward batting average!

Also, this graph is for the MLB. We’re talking about much harder pitches to hit with two strikes and much better defenses. Your results from reading this blog are going to be much greater than theirs, because your son/daughter is going to know things that the pitcher on the 12u team your playing doesn’t know yet.

Here’s the list of positive, non batting average, things that come from a good two strike approach:

  1. Walks
  2. Ground balls where you get out but the runner scores from third
  3. Fly balls where the runner tags up and scores or advances one base
  4. Errors inflicted from putting the bat on the ball and making the defense make a play
  5. Limits strikeouts
  6. Improves on base percentage
    1. Improves steals
    2. Improves runs scored
  7. Makes the pitcher throw more pitches
    1. Tires the pitchers out earlier
    2. Tires the defense out
  8. Makes you one of coach’s favorites

Those are some pretty great things that happen when you have a great plan with two strikes, now let’s jump to the plan.

 

Step 1: Get Up On The Plate

9 out of 10 youth baseball pitchers will try to throw outside when the hitter has two strikes on them at the plate. This doesn’t change when you get older, in D1 and Pro-Ball it’s still like 7 out of 10.

1a. Make It Easier

When you know the ball will likely be outside, you can take that pitch away by scooting up on the plate. You’re making an outside pitch look like its down the middle – making it easier to hit.

1b. Take The Umpire Out Of It

Pitches that seem outside when you are up on the plate are going to be really outside, limiting the amount of times you get screwed by an umpires bad call on the outside corner (big plus! & sorry for the language!).

1c. Make The Pitcher Nervous

Have you ever tried to play catch with someone, when someone without a glove is standing right by them? Isn’t it a lot harder than when that person is standing further away? Same concept with pitching to someone that is standing close to the plate, it sucks. Want to get in the pitchers head and have more success with two strikes? Get on the plate.

 

Step 2: Don’t Be That Parent

I think we probably touch on this point in every single blog post, but gah-lee it doesn’t help your kid at all to yell at him during his at bat.

Learning a two strike approach is something that happens in the off season, in a practice, at home. It’s not a matter of yelling get on the plate when your son has two strikes on him.

If you don’t trust my opinion as a former D1 & Professional ballplayer & founder of this company, then let me hit you with the science here:

  1. Hitting a baseball is the hardest activity in any sport.
  2. Males have smaller corpus collosums, making them worse at multi-tasking than women. What does this mean? We can’t focus on hitting when our parent is yelling orders at us. It seems like it makes it better, it’s actually much worse.
    1. More on this: “The corpus callosum is the fiber tract that joins the left and right hemispheres in the brain and is often cited as one of the regions that show robust sexual dimorphisms: Women tend to have larger and more bulbous corpus callosa than men. This finding has been interpreted as showing that women have more communication between hemispheres, and think more holistically.” (Great Courses Daily)
  3. Confidence is the most important factor in hitting. Confidence is challenged by doubt & worry. Both doubt and worry are inflicted when you yell at a hitter during his at bat.

Instead: sit back, relax, and trust that your son/daughter will do what you have worked on. If not, it’s no big deal. Like every good manager says, he’ll get em next time.

 

Step 3: Practice It

Did you ever wonder what they do at most youth baseball practices? Play catch, ground balls, fly balls, hit, maybe base running at times.

Coach does not have the time to develop every player like they should.

Also, not to offend people, but honestly – you get what you pay for with a youth baseball coach & no one cares about your son/daughter like you do so don’t expect him to.

I will say, if your son/daughter is tough to get out with two strikes – coach is going to love him!

 

So as a parent, how do you practice a two strike approach? Oh crap, hadn’t thought of that. Just kidding, here’s a list:

  1. Wiffle balls are cheap, he already has a bat. Throw a glove on the ground that’s your plate.
  2. Tell him: lets work on your two strike approach, this is what you do when you have two strikes on you at the plate: 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or full count.
  3. Help him with the setup.
    1. Scoot closer to the plate
    2. Choke up about 1 inch on the bat
    3. Widen his stance – this limits movement, most specifically head movement. Head movement can make it hard to make contact!
    4. Tell him to swing at anything close, and to be ready for an outside pitch.
  4. Throw him outside a lot and get him used to hitting balls just off the plate.
  5. Mix in balls often and instruct him not to swing at them. Sometimes kids can get carried away with the phrase ‘swing at anything close.’ So reinforce pitch selection, and only swinging at pitching you can hit.
  6. Have him explain what a two strike approach is back to you that way you know he knows it.

Work this into your backyard routine, as you should be doing as often as he is up for it.  Remember, getting better and becoming a great baseball player needs to be his dream, not yours! Don’t be overbearing, but do everything you can to help him!

Thanks for taking the time to read about the game your son/daughter loves so much.

 

This blog was written by Nick Rotola, Founder of American Baseball Camps. Nick played D1 ball as a SS/CF at Oral Roberts, a powerhouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nick played two seasons in AA American Association where he played outfield and hit leadoff/ninth. Nick is the author of  many of our blogs, and of the e-book: At Home Baseball Program – Click Here To Download That Book

6.5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Kid In A Summer Camp-min

American Baseball Camps — 6.5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Kid In A Summer Camp

Apr 08, 2019

Yeah… A lot has changed since you were a kid. Obesity is also up, anxiety is way up, and even though kids are more connected than ever before, they are proven to be more lonely.

Not good, right? It gets worse. A recent study shows that kids spend an average of 6.5 hours in front of a screen each day & growing!

That is why we have compiled our 6.5 reasons why you should get your in a summer camp for kids.

#1 Happiness

study performed by students at Northwestern revealed that there is a “dark side” to media, and that your kid’s social media consumption should be monitored. Even though they may not intend it to, children being exposed to the wrong messages often enough can be desensitized, more aggressive, and less happy. Spending time outdoors, however, raises levels of Vitamin D, promotes social skills, and develops athleticism. Leaving you with an overall better-developed & happier camper.



#2 Social Skills

study from New York Behavioral Health finds that too much media for your kid could inhibit his/her social skills. They highlight significant risks associated with too much media, such as: cyberbullying, social skill reduction, and “facebook depression”. All-in-all, they find that the more your kid communicates with friends outside, rather than on social media, the better his social skills will become.

#3 Obesity Rates

Childhood obesity rates have maintained around 17% for the past ten years. Statistics by kidshealth.org show that children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight. They also recommend that parents place limits on screen time, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of being physically active.

#4 To Face Challenges

Camps like American Baseball Camps provide fun and challenging games and activities that help kids persevere and conquer challenges. We believe that when kids are encouraged, and treated like they are great, they tend to rise to the occasion and play better. Either way, facing tough challenges at camp helps kids to find their creative/competitive/athletic side.



#5 To Try New Things

New activities that take kids out of their comfort zone can have remarkable benefits! We find that the kids that come into our camps, sometimes timid, leave happy and outgoing!

#6 Developing Friendships

Developing friendships is a big part of what you get with camps like American Baseball Camps. Being able to socialize is one thing, but being able to quickly develop friendships is another! We at American Baseball Camps preach being a team player. We find that working together as a team is a much better lesson to teach than trying to do it all by yourself. Teamwork is important in baseball and in life. We see this as having multiple applications for the child’s academic life, sports life, and home life.

#6.5 Making Memories

Camps can be the highlight of your child’s summer! Great camps create memories that stick with a child for a lifetime! Enough with all the media. Encourage your kid to put the phone down, and get outside and make memories that he’ll never forget!

Thought this blog was beneficial? please share on FB and like us on FB & Instagram!

To sign your kid up for one of our camps — Check out our camps here!

Blog provided by American Baseball Camps — ABC’s mission is to make baseball fun again so they provide great summer fun camps for kids ages 12 and under. If you will share this blog post and use coupon code: “blog” at checkout, you can receive 20% off your order!\




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