When is Baseball Training Worth Paying For?
The dilemma – most families do not have a lot of extra funds to pay for baseball training, on top of the standard league fees they already have. On the other hand, getting that additional training may make all the difference whether a child has baseball success or not. With that in mind, choosing the best times to pay for baseball training is crucial, so players improve without breaking the bank.
Paid instruction is much more necessary now because kids no longer play pickup games in the area as players did years ago. Without playing in non-organized ways, kids do not have the opportunity to get the baseball training needed to perfect their skills. Paying for baseball training is one of the only options for improving a player’s skill level.
A top concern is getting your money’s worth for instruction. Many baseball instructors are well-intentioned but do not know the correct things to teach to warrant their pay. In general, coaches who work at a baseball-training facility know more than the average youth coach, and a parent does, so it is not a total loss. Some parental research about quality coaches in your area may be necessary to find the best ones. There may be a reason some coaches charge more than others do, and the extra expense is often worth it. Below are suggestions for when to pay for additional baseball training.
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When to Pay for Baseball Training
- When parents or team coaches’ level of expertise is not adequate to help the child improve, and the player is very frustrated with their results – this is sometimes difficult to discern but if players say that playing is not worth it anymore, paid training may be the last resort. When players struggle to the point where their frustration and lack of confidence is very apparent – an objective, new outlook from a professional may be the difference maker at these times. When parent or kids always seem to get mad after practicing together, and the team coach is inexperienced, it is not worth forcing the situation, so seeing an expert can help.
- When youngsters will not listen to their parents. This scenario is a much more common situation than one might think, and especially when kids become teenagers.
- With young players – Having children started at a young age (8 or so) with the knowledge, drills, and skills to do things fundamentally correct can save years of future frustration. Additionally, it is essential to remember that it is easier to start new habits than to change existing ones. Unfortunately, this is often the age when parents may not have the necessary funds, but it can make all the difference in players’ development, for the stated reasons.
- To begin the season – even one session with a quality sports coach can put players on the path to success. A great coach should give players a focus and the areas of most-needed attention for the season.
- When a player is going to move up a level – when kids have had only moderate success at the previous level and are attempting to go up to the next one, they may need more skill development at tryouts to make the team.
- An extremely dedicated player of any age – players who cannot seem to get enough quality work at their baseball skills will benefit from professional instruction.
- When players show signs of burnout – this may be hard to tell and a tough call, but a quality coach can re-energize a player who seems like they are about to give up.
When Not to Pay for Baseball Training
- When players are in a groove or having sustained success – not a good time because trained coaches are there to find fault and strive for perfection, so changes made or suggested may not show immediate results. Even more important, players who are doing well are much more resistant to change and rightfully so. It will be a waste if players do not buy into the idea that they need improvement at this time.
- When players already have a knowledgeable coach, who provides an advanced level of expertise. Often, good coaches teach the same things with different terminology. It is best to wait when the player struggles for an extended period before trying some new training.
- When parents have more interest in the sport than the child does – the hard work may turn kids off even sooner than would have occurred without the extra instruction. Parents should talk to athletes and feel out their interest in additional baseball training.
- When players are physically or emotionally tired. It is never a good time for additional baseball training, where they will have to work even harder.
There are different levels of paid baseball training, ranging from high-end lessons to lower end camps. Usually, the smaller the class size, the quicker the improvement comes. Attending baseball camps are great for kids whose parents are looking for some help, some fun, and for getting kids out of the house.
Of course, parents can save money by learning more than they currently know by reading books, watching videos, using internet sites like this one, and by attending coaching training sessions.
Other Baseball Training Ideas
For parents who do not want to get outside help for their young ballplayers for whatever reasons, here are some baseball training ideas they can do.
- Get up to date on your baseball knowledge – many avenues exist for this, including baseball instruction books, online videos, and baseball seminars. Coaching clinics are often free or cheap, and no one knows if you are a coach or not so any parent can attend.
- Meet with your child’s coach to find out the things they are teaching and for any baseball coaching tips they can provide for when you are working with your son or daughter. Also, find out what areas of the game your child needs the most work.
- Practice with your child as much as possible, with the thought process of patience and “less is more.” That idea means that kids often figure things out or at the least, improve just by doing, so parents do not have offer constant instruction. Anytime players appear frustrated, change up the action. Every child is different, so observe their mood and body language when working with them.
- Only practice for as long as kids want and cover different skill actions whenever time and space. For example, when a player appears tired or bored with practicing their catch, jump to something else like hitting practice.
- Have a regular time or days of the week for practice. Kids like routine, and for the serious players, they will begin to look forward to these sessions.
- Watch for free clinics for players in the area or even scholarships for attending baseball programs.
When working with your child, be sure and keep these baseball training ideas in mind, so kids do not get mad and want to stop practicing with you.
- Keep the ratio of praise to constructive criticism at about 4 to 1. Kids today need and respond to approval more than in the past, and many despise disapproval, especially from mom and dad.
- Shape the critiques in ways that do not attack their character. Any words that kids perceive as an attack may get them upset. The best you can, describe the action – that swing, throw, catch, was not right as opposed to “Quit doing that” or “Why aren’t you doing what I told you to do?” Those last statements should never come if you want your child to continue wanting to work with you.
- Remind players often that your critiques are not to be taken personally but as a means to improvement.
- Turn things into a contest or have them imagine game situations as often as possible. Those things make things more exciting and increase the time they are willing to practice.
Three reminders that are important to pass on to youth baseball players are the following:
- Remember, your game results are directly attributable to the amount of practice you put into something.
- There is no reason to get so upset after not playing as well as you want when you do not practice.
- I am always willing to help you; just say the word.
Finally, video taking makes baseball training much more straightforward than years ago. Parents can take in-game footage of the player’s actions to analyze themselves or to pass on to their personal or team coaches. Little is better for helping kid’s development than expert analysis of players in-game moves. Know the root cause of an athlete’s moves is crucial. Many coaches can tell of the visible incorrect skill movements, but finding the real reason behind one’s flaws makes all the difference.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is now available. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte on YouTube with over 120 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.