Baseball Homework & Expectations
I would like to begin by recognizing that while the ideas raised in this article can be applied to older players, the emphasis is on players 6-12 years of age. This is simply due to the fact that this stage of development is extremely critical.
Virtually from the moment a child commences school they are introduced to the concept of homework. I often shared the belief with my friends that homework is a teacher’s way of making the after school hours miserable for the students. I’m sure you will all agreed that the students who enjoy their homework are the same students who consistently receive good grades. Yes, this is a very obvious statement to most. Very simply, children enjoy doing things when that they excel. Once a student achieves a desired level of success, actions are generally taken by parents and teachers to ensure the help required is given to these students to continue to advance their success.
Why is this rarely applied to sports, and specifically baseball and softball? Why is it that helping a student reach their academic goals is any different to an athlete achieve their athletic goals? If they are both equally determined, why is one accepted and one is not?
I believe that all children should strive for excellence in every aspect of their life. This is not a radical belief by any means. If what I am discussing is not achievable for an athlete, then perhaps the child is involved in too many sports or extra-curricular activities. After all, a child can not be involved in everything.
A 10-year-old student who dedicates at least 1 hour per day to homework set by the school is considered the norm. But an athlete who dedicates at least 1 hour every day to working on improving their skills is seen as a radical. But they are not! Taking the time before or after school each day is crucial. Don’t use excuses like poor light or rain to limit yourself. Have a plan B, C and D. Remember, nobody achieved excellence in their life because they were blessed with endless sunny days. The recipe for success will never change. You must dedicate the time to improving your craft.
I have raised this topic before in a previous post, but I would like to briefly revisit for the benefit of all those young ballplayers out there who perhaps have not taken the time to consider their own training routine. Let’s give our fictional ballplayer the name of Sam.
Fictional Sam’s Study & Practice Habits
Sam dedicates 1 hour a day, 6 days a week to homework and/or study.
- 1 hour x 6 days = 6 hours.
Now add 1 hour a day to baseball/softball (not including team practice or games)
- 1 hour x 6 days = 6 hours.
- 6 hours a week x 52 weeks = 312 hours a year.
- 6 years (from age 6 to age 12) putting in 312 hours a year = 1872 hours.
1872 hours before his teenage years have been dedicated to personal development. This is a significant number of hours not including the additional team practices. But make no mistake, personal practice (coach or no coach) is paramount to the achievement of excellence.
Those players who only work on their game while at team practice may see the following numbers.
- 18-game summer season at 2 hours a week from ages of 6 to 12 years = 180 hours.
- 180 hours dedicated to development over the course of 5 summer seasons.
Now that the numbers are in front of you, you can start thinking about your goals. What does Sam do in his workouts? Can he work out by himself? Does he need Mum or Dad? The answer is NO! He does not need anybody but himself as long as Sam is creative in developing baseball/softball specific exercises and continued to push himself.
Samples Exercises You Might Consider
- Playing catch against a wall or bounce back net
- Throwing balls against a wall and receiving ground balls
- Hitting balls off the tee
- Band workouts for the entire body
If Sam is not creative, his development will stall. It won’t always be fun, but development is not always about having fun, rather dedicating the time and effort to to the pursuit of excellence. Remember, children will like anything if they can see positive results. Sport is always more enjoyable when you are good at it!