The “X FACTOR” In Youth Baseball

May 26, 2017 by Nick Rotola CEO of American Baseball Camps in  baseball camps Youth Baseball Coach

The Prepared vs. The Unprepared

I was working on hitting with a 6 year old kid the other day. Just as a favor, one of our family friends asked me to work with her boy. This kid plays t-ball in Oklahoma and is a pretty good little player.

But as I was tossing the ball to him he kept swinging and missing. He said with the utmost confidence “I can’t do it”, even though he ended up foul tipping it, and then connecting with one a few tosses later.

It occurred to me that this particular kid, who is a pretty good player, had never attempted to hit a baseball that wasn’t on a tee! In fact, I’m not so sure he had ever practiced outside of baseball practice. This is what we are going to call the under-prepared player, and he is placed in a severe disadvantage.

On my circuit around the state talking with Youth Baseball Coaches about American Baseball Camps, I overheard a certain coach talking to his 7U team. He was cancelling practice for the next day because he didn’t want the kids to get sick with the cold-front (the forecast was 60 degrees).

This encounter helped me realize that the X FACTOR in youth baseball is getting better outside of organized baseball. You cannot rely on your 9 year old kid’s coach to develop him fully as a player. My friends’ kid practices maybe once or twice before the season, and then plays one game a week. I’m telling you, if your kid is only playing baseball when he has his uniform on, and mom is taking pictures, he is going to have a tough time being great.

When I was 3 years old, and this can be proven with video, I asked for & hit in a batting cage throwing 36 miles per hour. What kind of a 3 year old asks to do that on his birthday? This is because I grew up around baseball, I watched my brothers play, I watched my dad coach, and I was hungry to play! I played all the time, I threw the ball up to myself, and threw into a net when I didn’t have anyone to play catch with. I was always playing wiffle ball, and watching my brothers’ games. Do you think by the time I was 6 I didn’t believe in myself that I could hit a ball tossed to me? No I was the kid saying “I’m going to smoke this ball.”

The difference in baseball environments between myself and the aforementioned 6 year old is what I believe to be the X FACTOR in Youth Baseball. It is what can set your kid apart from the pack.

To demonstrate this further lets take two kids and you decide which one will be the dominant player on his team.

Player #1

Signs up for t-ball and is excited for his first practice.

Practices a couple times before his first game and spends approximately 1.5 hours a week playing.

Mom leaves his glove and bat in the car until the next game

Player #2

Signs up for t-ball with a comprehensive understanding of the game and how it works. Including an understanding of the force out rule.

Practices almost if-not everyday with friends or family in the backyard with a bat and a ball, or a broomstick and a tennis ball, anything they can get their hands on.

Sleeps with his glove on his nightstand, loves to play catch and have dad hit him ground balls and fly-balls in the backyard

The Highest Probability of Success

What I am saying is not that player #1 will never be successful, or that parents need to drill their kid to be like player #2. My point is that baseball is a sport that requires “reps.” Why do division 1 shortstops take 100 ground balls a day? Because it makes it so easy by the time they get one in the game that it becomes routine. It takes practice to become a great baseball player, you can’t just show up and rely on athleticism.

Baseball is a beautiful sport because it is proven that a kid that gets more reps outside of baseball will be better than a more athletic kid that doesn’t understand or practice the game.

You can’t make a kid love a sport, and you don’t want to be that baseball parent that is resented for trying to force work-ethic. But you can certainly help cultivate a baseball environment at home. Your kid will never be great if he is only doing baseball things at the field twice a week, with a practice every other.

The kids that have a passion for the game have been and always will be the best.

That is the X FACTOR in youth baseball, getting extra baseball reps outside of baseball practice/games.

“Those that fail to prepare are preparing to fail” – Ben Frankin

 

–  Blog written by an American Baseball Camps Coach

Best Summer Youth Camps In Hackensack/Newark

Mar 01, 2019

Outdoor recreation is on the rise once again! With all that’s going on these days and all the technological stimuli association with being a kid, there is nothing better than letting him/her get outside and play a great sport in a fun and encouraging environment. So if he does want to put down the phone for a few days this summer, and you are looking for a great baseball camp to put him in, we have identified our 3 favourite in the Hackensack/Newark area this summer!

Enjoy! And keep helping your kid get better and gain confidence in the game of baseball.

#3 Hackensack Jr Baseball Camp

Website: http://www.hackensack.org/Sports

Ran by: City of Hackensack

Camp Dates: N/A

Duration Each Day: Day Camp

Facilities: Foschini Park

Price: $125

Ages: 6-14

Coed: No

Email: hackensack@tcjwl.com

From the Website: N/A

There is very little information about their camp coming  – from what we hear you are welcome to contact them at their front office at any time for more camp information!

#2 MOTT-LEENEY BASEBALL CAMP

Website: https://www.newarka.edu/page/sports-camp-detail?pk=72107&fromId=187155

Ran by: Newark Academy

Camp Dates: 25th – 29th June

Camp Duration: Day Camp

Facilities: Newark Academy

Price: $395

Ages: 6-14

Coed: Yes

From the Website:

The Mott-Leeney Baseball Camp, celebrating its 50th year, is the flagship summer sports camp program at Newark Academy. This camp has provided outstanding instruction to young

#1 American Baseball Camps Hackensack New Jersey Baseball Camp

Website: americanbaseballcamps.com

Link to Camp: https://americanbaseballcamps.com/product/hackensack-new-jersey-summer-baseball-camp/

Ran by: Professional Baseball Players & American Baseball Camps Staff

Camp Dates: On the camp page above.

Duration: 8:30-3:00 (Early & Late Care Included)

Facilities: On the camp page above.

Address: On the camp page above.

Price: $199.99-$249.99 (Depending on how early you sign up)

Ages: (6-12)

Coed: Yes

Email: americanbaseballcamps@gmail.com

From the Website:

The emphasis of this camp: Developing character traits in young ballplayers with a confidence-building, teammate oriented, self-esteem building baseball program over 4 days. We want to challenge ballplayers in all facets of being a baseball player including being coachable, being a good teammate, talking to coaches and umpires correctly, appreciating the sacrifice of parents and understanding the benefits of working hard.

The mission of American Baseball Camps is to give kids the tools they need to be successful, and the confidence to turn those mechanics into more success on the field. We also reward being a good teammate at the end of every camp day, because we know that is how kids are going to stay in the game longer, make more friends, be liked by coaches, and have a lot more fun playing the game.

American Baseball Camps — Five Ways to Build Your Young Slugger Up

May 04, 2017

“Do you realize your son is playing the biggest self esteem destroying sport in the world” – Steve Springer

This couldn’t be more true, this game will knock your child down enough. Baseball parents! You have to find a way to build your kids up, trust us we’re active D1 players at big time programs and we STILL need encouragement from our parents! You love your son more than anything, here are 5 ways we think will really give him that confidence he needs to be successful in Baseball.

#5 Snap his slump by shaking things up.

We know from experience that the best way to get out of a slump is by shaking things up. Whether it’s getting him a new bat, his favorite seeds, or batting gloves, or even a new bat grip. Shaking things up always helped us feel fresh on the field. Mix up the way he prepares and practices. Maybe jam to his favorite songs on the way to the game. This also includes shaking up the way you talk to your kid during/after the game, which we cover in (#4).

#4 Adopt a “so what, next pitch” mentality

Never yell at him or show him up on the field. If he makes an error or strikes out in a big situation, the game is already beating him up enough. He doesn’t need you adding to the pressure. Teaching your child to have a short memory and turn the page after a mistake on the field will help him to not carry things over in life. You’re simply saying “so what” and moving on to the next pitch. There is no reason he should take a mistake into the next at bat or make an error in the field because he is thinking about his last strikeout. Teach him to say “so what.” He’s a kid and baseball is just a game. Keep it fun while he is young so you don’t run him out of the game. 

#3 Try focused drills and make them fun

“Be where your feet are” – Nick Saban

Inability to focus can hurt players and give away at bats. So try running drills that teach him to lock in and be in the moment. One of our favorite drills for this growing up was the “errors drill.” If you make an error your out and have to wait for the next game. This teaches focus and helped me lock in for every ground ball. Try fun incentives. If you can hit 3 balls in a row into the back net off of the tee we’ll get ice cream. Keep it fun and light and help him to play focused, and in the moment.

#2 Reward quality at-bats NOT hits

Steve Springer (mental game of baseball coach) is really the guy on this. If you are not following him yet on twitter as a baseball parent you should! We were required to listen to his audiobook at my division 1 program and it was huge for us! The idea of it is your child can’t control if he gets a hit or not, there are simply too many variables. So instead of rewarding hits (which are out of his control), try rewarding quality at-bats. So what does a quality at-bat consist of? Our D1 program considers the following a QUAB (Quality At-Bat).

Single 

Double

Triple

Home Run

Hit by Pitch

Catchers Interference

Walk

8 pitch at-bat 

Hard hit ball

Get him over

Sac Fly

Sac Bunt

RBI

So in a game where you have to stay positive, you can see that by rewarding quality at bats your slugger will be proud of himself MUCH more often! This will pay dividends for his play, trust us! 

#1 Keep the Game fun 

This game can beat you up and make you want to quit. But that didn’t exist in the sandlot/wiffle ball days when kids were just playing because they wanted to have fun and loved the game! Encourage your kid to play wiffle ball with his friends or try having a home run derby at the field he played at 2 years ago with a little shorter fence. Baseball parents have to make baseball fun again if they want their kid to be the best player he can possibly be!

     – Authors: Anonynous 1 & 2 (For NCAA reasons)

American Baseball Camps was created to make baseball fun again! It is ran by Division 1 players who know that having fun will heighten self- esteem and make kids play better on the field. Our camps feature slip n’ slide wiffle ball, pitching dunk tank, and campers’ choice baseball drills! Camp cities are: Wilmington NC, Phoenix, Wichita, KC, OKC, Tahlequah, & Tulsa.

Best Youth Summer Baseball Camps In Sacramento / Citrus Heights.

Mar 01, 2019

Outdoor recreation is on the rise once again! With all that’s going on these days and all the technological stimuli association with being a kid, there is nothing better than letting him/her get outside and play a great sport in a fun and encouraging environment. So if he does want to put down the phone for a few days this summer, and you are looking for a great baseball camp to put him in, we have identified our 3 favourites in the Sacramento / Citrus Heights area this summer!

Enjoy! And keep helping your kid get better and gain confidence in the game of baseball.

#3 Skyhawks Baseball Camp

Website: https://www.skyhawks.com/kids-sports/baseball/california/citrus-heights/95610/

Ran by: Skyhawks Camps

Camp Dates: July 8th – 12th

Duration Each Day: Day Camp

Facilities:

Fairs Oaks Park

Price: $259

Ages: 6 – 12

Coed: No

Email: skyhawks@skyhawks.com

From the Website: N/A

There is very little information about their camp coming in the summer – from what we hear you are welcome to contact them at their front office at any time for more camp information!

#2 Hornets Youth Baseball Camp

Website: http://collegebaseballcamps.com/hornets/

Ran by: Sacramento State University

Camp Dates: 06/17/2019 – 06/21/2019

Camp Duration: 5 Day Camp

Facilities: John Smith Field

Price: $271

Ages: 6-12

Coed: Unknown

Email: N/A

From the Website: Hornet Baseball Camps are designed to teach students solid fundamental baseball skills as well as to raise their level of understanding of the game of baseball. Our purpose is to provide each camper with the instruction and encouragement needed to develop individual skills to a greater level. In addition, we want the camper to be aware that individual skills are best utilized when they are incorporated into a team concept. We will emphasize how individuals work together on a field to form a baseball “team.”

#1 American Baseball Camps Citrus Heights California Baseball Camp

Website: americanbaseballcamps.com

Link to Camp: https://americanbaseballcamps.com/product/citrus-heights-california-summer-baseball-camp/

Ran by: Professional Baseball Players & American Baseball Camps Staff

Camp Dates: On the camp page above.

Duration: 8:30-3:00 (Early & Late Care Included)

Facilities: On the camp page above.

Address: On the camp page above.

Price: $199.99-$249.99 (Depending on how early you sign up)

Ages: (6-12)

Coed: Yes

Email: americanbaseballcamps@gmail.com

From the Website:

The emphasis of this camp: Developing character traits in young ballplayers with a confidence-building, teammate oriented, self-esteem building baseball program over 4 days. We want to challenge ballplayers in all facets of being a baseball player including being coachable, being a good teammate, talking to coaches and umpires correctly, appreciating the sacrifice of parents and understanding the benefits of working hard.

The mission of American Baseball Camps is to give kids the tools they need to be successful, and the confidence to turn those mechanics into more success on the field. We also reward being a good teammate at the end of every camp day, because we know that is how kids are going to stay in the game longer, make more friends, be liked by coaches, and have a lot more fun playing the game.

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