Youth clinics keep baseball’s future bright
While high school baseball has been put on hold by the snow piled on area baseball fields, the high school players and coaches got to share some of their baseball knowledge over the weekend.
Youth baseball clinics were held in New Richmond and Somerset on Saturday. The goal of both clinics was to impart strong fundamentals to the next generation of baseball players coming through each school’s program.
More than 60 campers took part in the two sessions held in the New Richmond High School gym on Saturday. The morning session was held for kids in grades 2-4; the afternoon session for kids in grades 5-8.
Both sessions followed the same format. The first 45 minutes was spent on pitching skills. The rest of the time was divided among three stations where the kids worked on infield skills, outfield skills and hitting. At the hitting station the kids were videotaped so they could see their hitting form and what could be done to make it more effective.
Tiger varsity baseball coach Chad Fehrman said the two sessions are run with different goals in mind. He said the first session is planned to give the younger players a strong base of fundamental skills. The older kids already know the fundamentals of the game, so they can be taught some of the more detailed points of the game.
One of the things taught in the session for older kids is the terms used throughout the Tiger high school program. This is done to help them make a smoother transition when they reach the high school level.
This year’s Somerset youth clinic, was designed for kids ages 4-8 and their parents. The parents weren’t just observers in this camp. The parents were on the gym floor of the Somerset Middle School along with their kids, learning the proper techniques along with their children. The parents worked with their kids as the high school players and coaches provided guidance.
Somerset varsity coach John Ball provided a list of age-level expectations that parents can follow, so they have an idea of what skills their child should have developed at each age. The campers used wiffle balls and tennis balls so there was no fear factor about being hit by a baseball. Each camper was given a wiffle ball at the end of the camp.
The clinic was organized to have the kids go through stations on throwing, fielding and hitting. They were taught the proper progression of throwing and fielding skills. They were taught the basics of batting, like choosing the right bat and using the proper grip.