Making Younger Athletes Excited About Practice

"Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason, mastery demands all of a person.” – Albert Einstein

Have you ever gone to a professional baseball game—or any event for that matter—and wondered how the given athlete or performer is so darn good at what they do? How is Kris Bryant of the Cubs in the cage during BP and effortlessly sending baseballs into orbit over the left field wall?

Experts say it takes 10,000 hours to master something—that averages out to learning your craft just about every day for 6-10 years!

10,000 hours may seem like a bit on the extreme side, and may be the fast road to burnout-ville. As a coach, is there another way to get your future hall-of-famer to practice, without risking their future interest in the game or worse...your relationship?

I say yes.

How?

Make It Fun

A theory I follow with my younger students is to make it fun. Baseball can be slow, drawn out and dare I say boring for a 5-year-old. Given that, the best way to teach is to incorporate aspects of the game of baseball into another game. For example, when I teach base running, I make it like a game of tag. I'll put a runner on each base, and the only way to not get tagged out is to advance to the next base as you would in a live game. Another great game we play is kickball. This has all the makings of a baseball game, just more fast-paced and much easier for a youngster to succeed at and understand.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Younger minds are more impressionable and will remember short spurts of fun. Keep them hungry and wanting more by always keeping activities short and sweet. If it's pitching to your little guy or girl in the back yard or playing catch at the park, keep it quick. Young minds tend to have a really short attention spans. Make it fun and keep them moving. Think about calling it quits when you see their interest drifting. They will remember the great times and will stay hungry for more the next time if they are not forced to it!

Coach Kevin is a draft pick of the Cincinatti Reds and the founder of ProHitting.com.

 

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