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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun Indoor Baseball Drills For Kids - A Tip From the Pros For What to Do on a Rainy Day

By Matt Mc Dermott

Have you ever been at a loss for what to do on a day when it rains before youth baseball practice? You want to keep the kids' enthusiasm high, but you may not have access to a huge indoor facility where you can do all sorts of advanced practice techniques. If that is the case, you may be wondering how you can beat the other team which may have better access to indoor equipment and facilities.

Take a tip from the pros on what they do on rainy days. It will help your kids have a new indoor baseball "drill" they can do any time; and it works perfectly with what they do already!

One of the benefits of having been in the minor leagues is that you see kids when they have the opportunity to come on the field after games. They imagine all sorts of fun scenarios such as hitting the winning home run, striking out the last batter, and turning an amazing 6-4-3 double play. If you use their imaginations properly, you will have a great "rainy day" technique which will help your kids get better.

Here are some visualization suggestions:

In a quiet room tell the kids that they are going to work on hitting. Choose a specific task to help them focus, such as seeing the pitch leave the pitcher's hand. Instruct them to see the situation as if the kids are already at bat (not like they are watching themselves on a movie screen). Have the kids see themselves successfully completing the task. While the ideal number of repetitions is 21 or more visualizations, that is probably unrealistic. Have the kids do 3 or 4 repeats of successfully accomplishing the task, and then make a change. For example, have them repeat everything again except this time the pitcher is throwing from the other side, the sky is overcast, or the team is down by 2 runs. Again, choose one change and have the kids repeat a successful visualization 3 or 4 times
Move on to defense and choose one aspect on which to work, such as fielding a ground ball to the back hand side (or catchers blocking a ball to the back hand side). Again, have them visualize 3 or 4 times and then make a change (overcast, team is up by a run, bases loaded and 2 outs, etc.).
Move on to base running, repeat as above
Move on to throwing, repeat as above

There have been numerous reports of basketball players improving their free throw percentages just by using mental imagery and many other articles citing the benefits of mental imagery for athletes (e.g. Teaching your kids this skill early will give them a jump on their competition.

Over time, you can have your kids successfully practice all sorts of situations so that they are familiar with the scenario before it ever happens. In addition, they have only practiced success in their minds so they reduce the odds of making errors or failing to perform in clutch situations.

This indoor baseball drill for your kids will help them go a long way in learning what elite athletes already do today. Since young kids already have active imaginations when it comes to baseball, it should be an "easy sell" on your part. If there is any hesitancy, tell them that pro baseball players use this skill to overcome hitting slumps and they should be fine with it!

Matt was a backup and bullpen catcher in professional baseball for parts of 5 seasons, and he gave post-game lessons to kids after home games throughout his career. He gave these suggestions to kids and their parents during some of these lessons, and repeatedly was thanked by parents for how much their kids improved. If you are a youth baseball parent and want to better enjoy your time as a parent in the youth leagues, then learn the same advice which professional baseball men give their closest friends who are Youth Baseball Parents. You also can get a free report taking these visualization suggestions to the next level, and you will help your kid overcome being nervous when at bat.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick