This section of the BASES web-site is dedicated to the coaches and individuals who make youth sports possible. If not for those dedicated individuals who donate countless hours of their time instructing, managing, organizing, and planning, the tremendous programs our youth have access to today would cease to exist. Without these special leaders, the lasting memories of youth sports would never have the opportunity to be created.
The goal of this portion of our site is to gather the collective insights and experience from the world of baseball and softball training. We want to provide you, our coaches and parents, the best and most concise information available. The information we bring to you here will contain both fact and opinion. In some cases, it may even stir debate. Debate is good, however, in that it brings out the passion for the game that dwells in each of us.
BASES Athlete - The Evolution of an Athlete (Athletic Conditioning Program)
Autumn (of 2009) as we were making the decision to change our facility name, we researched hundreds of different name options using the internet. During our search we stumbled upon one of the most complete and comprehensive training programs for youth athletes that we have ever seen. Coincidently, it also uses the acronym B.A.S.E.S. to describe itself. In this case the letters stand for Balance, Agility, Strength, Explosiveness, Speed. These describe an integrated system of athletic training using a tiered approach to conditioning. This program has been developed by a group of the most experienced and respected athletic trainers and doctors in the world. Although the acronym (BASES) is the same, please understand that the BASES Baseball And Softball Essential Skills Training Facility is in no way affiliated with BASES Baseball, LLC, that owns this program.
Click the image at the right to open the BASES - Evolution of an Athlete web-site home page. From this page you can learn about the program and navigate to the specific sections that lay out the conditioning program and provide video of each excercise component.
BASES Athlete HOME PAGE
Coach's Column How to Become the Best Hitter You Can Be
There are two components needed to become a better hitter, instruction and practice. Actually, these two components apply to becoming better at almost any physical task, not just hitting. You can improve your skills by a measurable amount with dedication to either component. If you practice, you will improve your performance. If you receive instruction, you will improve. If you combine the two components, you will become the best you can be (within the limits of your efforts). They say "practice makes perfect". What they really mean to say is "perfect practice makes perfect". If you practice incorrect skills, you will only reinforce those incorrect skills. You may improve your overall ability in the process but you will not be able to reach your full potential.
For example, back in the day, I learned my keyboarding skills on an ancient device know as the typewriter (most of you younger athletes probably have seen these devices at flea markets or in old movies). I started my typing career using the "hunt and peck" method. I eventually got faster and I improved my typing speed. I typed enough that my hand and mind developed "muscle memory" to the task. I never received formal typing training, and, as a result, I never fully realized my potential at the keyboard. Sure, I'm pretty quick at the keyboard but put me up against a trained typist/keyboarder and they will put me to shame. This is much like the ball player who develops "natural" talent and plays a lot of ball to hone those skills. Without formal training in the proper mechanics, the athlete will continue to reinforce his/her "muscle memory" in both the correct parts of his/her mechanics AND the incorrect parts. Those incorrect habits will be the toughest to change, as would be my crude typing skills. To go back and take a typing class to learn to make my fingers navigate this keyboard properly would be extremely challenging.
So, should I have taken a formal typing course when I was younger? Should your son or daughter take formal lessons in hitting or pitching for their sport? The answer to both is maybe. It all depends on what you want to do with that specific skill. Personally, I would recommend some formal training for any athlete that enjoys their sport and is playing at an "above average" level. The extent of future training would depend on their level of commitment and overall work ethic. On the other hand, if your child isn't sure if they even have an interest in the sport, relax. Don't make them take lessons just to "improve" their self-image. Their real interest may lie in some other area, such as, music, academics, or the arts. Some people are lucky enough to excel in multiple areas and should get training in whatever they pursue. That's when the "scholar athlete" is born (a definite financial advantage when it comes to college scholarship opportunities).
There are several different options for baseball and softball players to begin their formal training in the field (pardon the pun). Group clinics or lessons are a great way to get general information. Private lessons provide a more individual training for the serious player or even those who do not perform well in large groups.
If you are not sure into which category your child falls, ask them. They'll let you know what their dedication level for their sport is (at least for right now). Encourage them. If they express interest but you are still unsure, call us. We'll be happy to help you and give you honest feedback. BASES has a program for performing a very inexpensive "skills evaluation" to help you and your child determine if formal instruction is right for them. If you end up doing lessons then your "very inexpensive" skills evaluation ends of being free because the money you have already spent for the evaluation is credited toward your first lesson.
By the way, if you view the money you spend on your child's athletic training as an "investment" into a future pro career, please get real. On the other hand, a much more realistic expectation is that your child's athletic ability can become an "investment" into providing for his/her college eduction (but that's tough too!). As the NCAA says in their TV ads, "there are over 400,000 student athletes in college today, nearly all of them will become professionals in something other than their sport." So push the academics, no matter what the ability level of your child. You will not go wrong pursuing education.