A great Little League® experience comes down to one thing: fun.
Santa Monica Little League in California recently hosted its annual Fun Day and Skills Clinic which was open to everyone interested in enjoying a day of Little League. This event began as a free clinic in 2015, and was expanded this year to include more games and player development opportunities.
“The idea was to bring Little League to the community and advertise that spring season registration was open to everyone,” said David Harris, SMLL League President. “Our plan for the day was simple, we wanted any player, at any skill level, to improve their game and have fun doing it.”
The City of Santa Monica has partnered with SMLL to make sure that every child who wants to play has an opportunity to do so. Both the league and city see the Fun Day and Skills Clinic as an opportunity to promote community spirit and cohesiveness in a safe environment.
On a typically warm and sunny Southern California day, more than 20 Santa Monica Little League volunteer coaches and nearly 100 children shared the fields for the SMLL Fun Day.
Volunteer Dave Reyes and SMLL Board Member Mark Kapczynski organized and operated the free clinic. The players, ranging in age from 5 to 12, ran through six drill and instruction stations. The clinic focused on teaching good foot work, and allowed each coach to note areas that they might help a player develop. Later in the day, the younger and older players were separated and proceeded to play games on the league’s two fields.
“The event was designed to create a relaxed atmosphere where kids could pick up their gloves and families could kick back and enjoy good food, great company, and watch their kids have fun,” said Mr. Harris. “For the volunteers, it was great to see them provide so many kids with instruction in a non-competitive environment.”
Several of the SMLL sponsors lent their support to the event by providing an assortment of products at no cost to the league. Some of the sponsors were represented by employees, who volunteered throughout the day.
“The feeling that people kept talking about was a reflection back to their days growing up,” said Mr. Harris. “Most everyone there could relate to a time when you would just grab your glove, head to the field, and play pick-up games all day long. That was a great time, and this was just a great day. The kids had a blast.”
The only formal moment of the day belonged to Mr. Harris, who welcoming everyone and directly thanked the parents for supporting their kids’ Little League experience.
“The day is so important to us because it brings the entire community together,” said Mr. Harris. “It promotes the inclusive nature of Little League and the importance of not just building better baseball players, but better citizens.”