Like Little League®, summer is all about kids having fun. With the warm temperatures and school out, summer presents some great opportunities for you and your Little Leaguer® to practice baseball or softball skills in unique ways. Whether you are spending time at a park, on a beach vacation, or hitting the pool, below are three fun tips perfect for June through August:
Head to a park, but leave the bat and baseball or softball at home. Instead, grab a tennis racquet and some tennis balls. Don’t forget your Little Leaguer’s glove. It’s time to practice some sky-high popups. Be sure to have a clear distance, free of people. Have your Little Leaguer face away from the sun, and get in ready position – feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, arms slightly extended. Remind your Little Leaguer that once the ball is struck to get under the high-pop, and catch the tennis ball like he or she would on the ball field. For this tip, you can hit the tennis ball, or for added fun, have one of your Little Leaguer’s friends try. Whoever hits, be sure to use an uppercut swing. He or she may be the only person catching, but be sure your Little Leaguer still “calls for the ball.”
Have your Little Leaguer take off his or her sneakers, and head to the part of the beach with the deepest, softest sand. Measure off 60 feet, 70 feet, or 90 feet, which is the length of the base paths for the several Little League divisions. Running in deep sand compared to the packed down wet sand near the water will help build leg muscles and increase speed. Time each sprint, and record it. When back home, go to your field, and record your Little Leaguer’s time as he or she races from home to first in cleats or sneakers. Compare both sets of times.
– Want a great way to improve your Little Leaguer’s strength at the plate? Have them put on their bathing suit! In shoulder-deep water, without a bat, have your Little Leaguer get in their batting stance. With hands raised out of the water, pretending to grip a bat, have him or her start to swing in a slow, controlled manner. Have them drive their hands through the water, rotating their hips, and finishing high, just like they would at the plate. This water-resistance drill will strengthen your Little Leaguer’s core, arms, and shoulders, and get them ready to drive the ball deep next year!
No matter what your family plans are for this summer, have some fun spending time with your Little Leaguer, building on the fundamental skills they developed this season.