Christmas Holidays, Time On!

As the Christmas holidays near, many of you may be looking forward to the conclusion of the school year, the summer season winding down, or playoffs for the teams still in contention. For those of you who strive to improve your game, what can you do as a player to best make use of this ‘time on’?

As you can see, I have used the term ‘time on’ as opposed to ‘time off’ for the simple fact that ‘time off’ implies a break. Diamond Dreams does not serve up breaks on our menu, not in the middle of the Aussie summer. This is prime baseball and softball season!

As a kid growing up, the Christmas holidays were both frustrating and beneficial. I remember being extremely frustrated that the summer season was put on hold simply because school was on summer break. This made no sense to me. Why were we wasting the best part of the year doing nothing? Obviously as I got older, I could understand why this was so however, my argument still holds some truth. Whether you are headed up the coast or overseas or even staying home, enjoy time with your family, but do not waste your whole day.

Self-improvement can be achieved no matter where you are. Whether it’s running on the beach or playing catch on your coastal getaway, there is always something that can be done. Although many of you are stuck at home while your parents work through December and January and access to a field is difficult, this doesn’t have to stop you. Some ideas of what can be achieved at home include:

  • Speed: Running sprints
  • Agility: Shuttle run, box and ladder drills.
  • Arm Strength and Endurance: Playing catch and long tossing
  • Bat Control: Tee work, dry swings, pepper
  • Position Specific Training: Double play footwork, catcher’s footwork, etc.

It’s crucial to maintain arm strength and endurance while on break. This allows you to pick up from where you left off prior to the holidays and possibly helps your team push for the finals. Find a friend and throw at least twice a week. This simulates your team practice and weekend games. If it is not possible to throw with someone, as weird as this might sound, find a wall and throw against this. Improvisation is the key to finding ways to help yourself. Big league ballplayers didn’t achieve success because everything went right for them. At some stage, you have to take responsibility for your own development.

Set yourself a goal to improve at least one part of your game defensively. You can be as specific and as detailed as you like. For example, challenge yourself to improve your transfer on cut off and relays, work on fielding the backhand, or even your bunting skills. Being specific is great as it provides you with a clear goal that can be easily evaluated.

For me personally, I had to impose certain rules on myself. No television until it is earned. Go for a jog, run hill sprints, get some conditioning in. Do this two or three times a week before you flop down on the couch in front of the television or Xbox.

For all of you who have heard your parents say “it is good to have a break,” that may be true, just don’t take the break in the middle of the season. That makes no sense! Take advantage of this time off school and get out there. School holidays are not for ‘time off’ they are for ‘time on!’

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