Many kids put away their bats, balls, and gloves during the winter and wait until warmer weather comes to begin practicing again. Though the weather outside may be frightful, downtime during the holidays is a great time to help your kids hone their baseball skills before the new season begins. Try these tips to spend time with your son or daughter while you practice baseball together.
Practice Swings with a Mirror
One of the more challenging aspects of baseball is hitting with a bat. Though it seems like a simple process, batting contains several mechanics that your baseball player must master. Swinging a bat is a reaction to an object that is flying at your child. It is also an object that is relatively difficult to hold and control as the player swings. Your son or daughter must follow a perfect path to optimize the hit, which allows enough force to maximize the hit.
Standing in front of a mirror and practicing their swings is a great way to get ready for spring. To do this, your child should stand in front of a full-length mirror. Make sure they are standing far enough away that they don’t inadvertently hit the mirror. Your child should hold the bat at a 45-degree angle behind their back shoulder. They should follow a smooth path and end with the bat in front of their shoulder at the same 45-degree angle as they swing. It can be tempting to start swinging fast but encourage your child to start slowly. As they continue to get better, they can progressively get faster.
Get a Glove Ready for Play
It’s not just your child’s skills that need to be perfected during the holidays, but their glove needs to be broken in as well. This is a fun thing to do while watching a holiday movie together. Have your child carefully bend their mitt, practicing gripping a ball and catch a ball while throwing it gently in the air. Both your child and their glove will be ready for play once the snow melts.
Go Running Together
One of the best ways to get faster on the field is by learning how to run properly. Take advantage of the extra time you and your child have off of work and school by running together. Find a running program and set aside time several times a week to run. Make it a friendly competition to see who can run the farthest or the fastest lap. By building up their endurance, your child will have the necessary skills to perform better during baseball season.
Field Ground Balls
A long kitchen or a basement is a great way to stay indoors while practicing your child’s fielding skills. Have your child kneel indoors on several pillows to protect their knees. Roll the balls quickly along the ground to them and encourage them to move from side-to-side to catch the balls properly. Learning how to field balls indoors can make being in the outfield easier when the new season begins.
Perfect Batting Grip and Stance
There are several ways to grip a bat; each way can give your child a different way to control the bat and change how the ball is hit. In addition to swinging, have your child stand in the mirror and perfect their batting grip and batting stance. Mastering these basics skills can help your child hit the ball with more power and force.
Practice Pitching Indoors
A good general rule to follow is not practicing pitching when the outside temperatures drop below 30 degrees. This is because pitchers typically have their hands exposed while pitching the ball. Cold temperatures can quickly harm their hands and damage them over time. Protect your child’s hands and bring the pitching practice indoors in a basement or finished attic. Set up a net at one end and coach them in pitching the ball repeatedly. Using a pitching analysis app may be especially helpful. These apps can help your child reach a new level of pitching skills by capturing their pitch. These videos can then be analyzed and sent to a coach who can offer feedback and suggestions on improving.
Don’t let the holidays equate to downtime when it comes to baseball practice. Take some time each day to help your child practice and watch them grow out on the field this upcoming season.