Opening Day for the 2017 Wickford Little League season is just a few short months away. Yes, I know, it is January 1st. Yes, I know the temperature outside is hovering around 30 degrees. Yes, most of us are still in football or basketball or indoor track mode. However, there is no shame is working on baseball skills during these off season months. You have heard all the quotes – “Practice makes perfect,” or “The best athlete is made in the off season,” or “Baseball withdrawal is real.”
For the next few months, I will be introducing training aids, talking with local sports and conditioning experts, as well as experienced coaches on how youths can get ready for baseball season. A lot of boys and girls who play for Wickford Little League are involved in other sports, which I highly applaud and recommend. Sports like basketball, indoor soccer, and track enhance and strengthen kids physically and keep their level of competitiveness up. Training aids are also a great way to get repetitions on the basics of baseball – hitting, fielding, throwing, catching. One training aid I picked up this winter for my Wickford Little Leaguer is the SKLZ Hit-A-Way® Portable Training Station.
The SKLZ Hit-A-Way® Portable Training Station is a compact tool for hitting. It comes mostly assembled and takes about 5 minutes to set up. There is a tether cord with a baseball attached to it that you swing around a pole. When the ball comes into the hitting zone, hit it. The ball then winds itself back around the pole, then unwinds a few times back into your hitting zone. You can adjust the height of the “pitch” to get repetitions up and down the strike zone. This is a great bonus for a young hitter or someone that struggles with high/low pitches in the strike zone.
Whether you are primarily a left handed or right handed batter, or if you are working on both sides as a switch hitter, this Hit-A-Way® is a great training tool. It takes up very little floor space and is easy to move (it has transport wheels). The tripod design gives it a nice solid base for repetitive hitting training. I tried for about 10 minutes today and it works great. The ball comes right into the hitting zone after unwinding from the pole. You have time to get into your hitting stance, load up, take your step towards an imaginary mound/pitcher, then swing away.
Nothing beats good quality batting practice. Seeing pitches from a pitcher’s hand prepares you as a hitter better than any training aid, in my opinion. If you do not have an indoor baseball training facility need you with a batting cage, an indoor hitting aid can be your next best option. This SKLZ Hit-A-Way® is a great station for hitting, hand-eye coordination, and practicing good habits. It is a compact station that even folds up and stores under your bed or in your garage or a closet. From what I read online, the reviews were mostly positive as well. I picked up my Hit-A-Way® from Dick’s Sporting Goods locally here in RI, and it looks like other retailers carry it as well. Happy Off-Season Training!!!
The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.