I know practice hasn’t started yet for major league teams, but it has for the younger crowd.
With my 12-year old starting his first season of travel ball, baseball practice is already a reality. His team has weekly get-togethers at a batting cage for strength and agility training and batting practice. They’ve had two field practices this month, sandwiching them between the snow flurries and freezing temperatures that have dotted this January. The fact that the team has gotten any field time is good, with an early March game to start the schedule. The current schedule is 18 league games, with a league tournament and at least five non-league tournaments, for a season minimum of 35 games. It’s a time for my son to push himself.
It’s also a time for my younger son to discover how much he really likes baseball.
My older son enjoys baseball and plays rec ball every spring. He used to play in the fall as well, until marching band forced him to make a decision. Despite his love of the sport, he knows he doesn’t have the talent for it. He tends to be one of the weakest players on his team and plays rec ball for one reason: he’s able to get on the field.
However, my younger son, who loves pitching and playing third base, wants to prove himself against other kids who want to prove themselves.
We’ve told our son that if he wants to do well, he needs to practice and hustle. We’ve told him we can’t do it for him. We will be at every game. We will take him to every practice. We will take him for extra cage practice. We will support him with pitching lessons. (We will also support him by selling tickets for the team raffle.) Still, if he desires to get better, he needs to want it. It has to be his desire not ours.
That may be the hardest lesson to learn for him…and us.
His first practice game is this Saturday. We hope he’s ready.
And before the ice melts, he and his brother will play hockey in the driveway. :-)