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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rediscovering the Magic of Youth Baseball

Rediscovering the Magic of Youth Baseball
By Guest Author Dave Rosene

I have seen significant changes how youth baseball has been 'taught' in the U.S. since the 1960's, and the changes haven't been positive. I didn't say coached because coaching refers to strategy and competition, and the concentration of youth baseball must be on skill development, rules understanding, and team play. We need teaching coaches for that, because today's players show deficiencies in these areas more than previous generations. When people of my era started playing baseball, it was the most popular sport in America and engrained in our culture. There were many different forms that helped improve individual skills: fast pitch, whiffle ball, ledge, penner, or just throwing popups to yourself, and we didn't need parents to organize these activities. We called our friends who would call their friends, we threw off walls or our house steps, and we had games with whoever was around and made up our own rules. We became better players by thinking or playing baseball every day. Plus we learned the game by watching baseball on television or going to major league games if we were lucky enough to get tickets.

Most youth American players today lack the knowledge and experience that we had because they have more options to take up their free time and they therefore have varied interests. By not spending more time practicing, playing, or watching baseball, they are lagging behind kids from other countries in skill development and general baseball knowledge. Why do Latin American players dominate professional baseball? In most cases playing baseball is the only sport available to kids there to participate in, and by playing constantly they progress quickly.

Can we and should we go back in time to help our youth rediscover the magic of baseball? How can we, as teachers and coaches, make the game relevant and necessary for players who get distracted and sidetracked easily. We have to show kids what made us love baseball, and pass along that love. That's the challenge we want to take on. In future articles we will discuss how to effectively teach and coach our youth athletes to maximize their talents while identifying the negative methods to avoid that I've seen too much of in the past 30 years.

DNA Sports specializes in personalized baseball and softball skill programs, college recruiting education and preparation, and coaching clinics. Learn more:

Dave Rosene - Co-Founder, DNA Sports

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Have a great day, Nick