Today we’re going to be talking about youth baseball instruction… We want to cover when a good time to start lessons is, how much your player should be doing, our thoughts on position specific training, and of course costs!! Youth Metro Baseball lists indoor training facilities in MO, KS, OK, AR, TN, KY, IL, IA, & NE, so click below and find a facility near you!
When Should I Start Lessons
Youth baseball gets fired up pretty early… Meaning there are competitive teams forming and training as young as 4 or 5 years old!! I would say that playing catch, hitting whiffle balls, hitting off a tee, and even WATCHING baseball are the best things to do with players ages 3-5. Make it fun and they will want to keep going!! Ages 6, 7, & 8 are usually when kids start yo play baseball. Obviously it starts with tee ball, then moves to coaches pitch or machine pitch. This is the age that I would suggest to start lessons for kids! The reason I suggest it this young is to get the absolute basics down to start!! I’m not saying to go out and take lessons all year, every week, or multiple time a week… I’m saying find a local instructor and get a “6-pack” of lessons. Something that your player can go to for 30 minutes and LEARN THE BASICS!! After that you can continue the drills at home or continue with the instructor if you and the player are excited about it!! At worst you have learned a few drills and have a good base to start with!!
How Much Training Should I Be Doing
This one can get tricky because of 2 factors… 1. How much desire/passion does the player have & 2. How much money and time is available?? To answer #1… Lets say that the player is an AAA/Major player. They likely have a strong passion, are excited to practice and play the game, and enjoy competition.
Ages 6-8: 1 “6-pack” of Hitting Lessons & 1 “6-pack” of Throwing/Fielding Lessons
Ages 9-11: Weekly Hitting Lesson Jan- June & Sept-Oct. Give the player a break in July/Aug and also Nov/Dec
Ages 9-11: Weekly Pitching Lesson Jan-March, then bi-weekly during the season Apr-June & Sept-Oct. Give the player a break in July/Aug and Nov/Dec
Ages 12-14: Weekly…1 Hitting Lesson 2 Strength/Speed Training Classes 1 Pitching/Catching/Infield Lesson Dec-March. Drop to 1 Hitting Lesson and 1 Pitching/Catching/Infield Lesson each week Apr-June. Let the player rest in July, or 1 month after the season ends. Aug-Oct back to 1 Hitting Lesson and 1 Pitching/Catching/Infield Lesson each week. Take off Nov to relax!
HS Showcase: 6 Days Training EVERY WEEK!! 1 Hitting Lesson 1 Pitching/Catching/Infield Lesson & 4-5 Weight/Speed Training Sessions. This is what it takes to take your game to the next level!
Position Specific Training
This is an awesome topic!! Baseball today is getting so specialized that being Elite at a position is very valuable!
If you are a pitcher that was blessed with the ability to throw hard, getting your mechanics down and injury prevention have to be a BIG part of your training!! When you are 9u-14u DO NOT LET ANY COACH ABUSE YOUR PLAYER by overusing him in tournaments! No one cares about a trophy you won when you were 10u/12u PERIOD!! Instructors can help bring you pitcher along by getting command of the fastball first, then learn a proper grip and arm action of a quality change up, and then getting into the proper grip and arm action for a curve ball. When you are mature enough for breaking pitches they will help guide you, to ensure the grip and arm action are not going to cause possible injury.
If you are a catcher lessons can ne what sets you apart from the competition! Catching is all about effort and attitude, so if you have the desire to work hard catching will take you a long way! Taking personal catching lessons will ensure that you are getting work on ALL areas of the position. It’s very difficult to get catchers specific work at practice because of the time limitations at youth practice. All it takes is 1 30 minute lesson each week working on blocking technique, receiving, and throwing out runners. Elite defensive catchers that can hit a little bit are sough out players… If they can hit with pop they are draft prospects!! If you are a young player that isn’t very fast this is a real option to look at!! But you have to be willing to put the work in!
If you are a position player(infield/outfield) the amount of individual lessons wont be needed as much as just plain old work!! It’s not a bad idea to get with an instructor for a “6-pack” of lessons to get an idea on ALL of the footwork for your position. Once a player has gotten the basic fielding fundamentals down they need to start working on the position specific footwork and footwork around the base(tag plays/dbl plays/picks/etc). If you have speed an/or power at the plate you need to work hard on your fielding to stay ahead of fellow prospects when growing as a player.
Expected Costs and Ideas To Save
Right off the bat you can expect to pay $40-$70 for basic instruction… Hitting, Pitching, Catching, or Position Specific they all start in that range. Most instructors rent a cage at a facility and can be flexible on their fees. A good way to get a little discount is to pre-pay for bulk lessons, meaning you might be able to get 20 lessons for $500($25 each) if you pay up-front. You can obviously negotiate for more or less, but that is an excellent way to save a little bit! This is why I suggest to get a “6-pack” to start to see if they will cut a little cost and you can see if it’s for you or not… When your player gets older and older, the demand for training goes up and up!! Of course the costs can get outrageous if you are training 5 or 6 times every week!!
A monthly membership to a facility might be something that you take a look into. A membership typically gives you access to the cages, bullpens, and weight/speed training equipment for around $40-$100 per month. That wont include the instruction or any other programs they might offer, but it will get you access to work on your own!! When you have a lesson (pitching/hitting/catching/etc) write down the drills/workout and get a friend or family member to work out with you. They wont be doing the working out, but you will!! So simply by taking 1 lesson you can get 2 more workouts doing the same drills each week… And if you have a membership at the same facility you take a lesson at there is a good chance someone will “help you out” when they see you working your tail off!! That’s the way good instructors are wired!!
The internet is also a great way to gain knowledge and find drills or workouts! Simply go to YouTube and search for the specific thing you are looking for. There are thousands of videos available for every position. At the end of the day its about working you butt off! If you have a bucket of baseball and a net you can do just about anything you want!!! Especially with the right desire and work ethic!!