Growing up playing baseball in Rhode Island in the 1980’s, my typical season was April 1 to about Labor Day in September. For the most part, the weather and playing conditions didn’t cooperate until about mid to late April. Late spring and summer, the conditions improved and we would play 5 to 7 days a week some years. Once September ended and fall came around, the cold weather crept in, leaves fell on the fields, baseball was put into hibernation for me until Spring. I tucked my glove away, put my bat and baseballs in my storage bin, and threw my cleats into my closet to sit for 6 months until April. I played basketball and indoor soccer as a youth athlete, so I wasn’t necessarily hibernating physically. It was just that baseball was an outdoor sport and the New England fall and winter conditions were not conducive to playing baseball outdoors.
Fast forward to modern day baseball, 2019. Baseball in New England is still played outdoors, and the season has expanded tremendously. AAU baseball teams meet year round – on and off the field. Little League® organizations have a spring season, district and friendship tournament season in the summer, and fall instructional leagues that carry into November (in some cases). And indoor baseball facilities have become incredible resources for players year round, especially on raining days and the colder months of the year. This expanded season of training and development allows coaches to evaluate and instruct players, players can improve their physical skills through drills and repetition, and baseball can continue to be vital in the hearts and bodies of so many players here in Rhode Island.
Cross training my body by playing different sports in the off season was so important in my athletic development. Soccer gave me the cardio and conditioning to be physically fit and have endurance. Basketball helped me with start/stop movements, hand-eye coordination, and quickness. Also, by playing sports during my baseball off season time, I stayed in a competitive mode mentally. I didn’t always win games or matches, but the competitive juices continued to flow throughout the fall and winter months. So, when it came time for baseball tryouts, practices, and games in the Spring, I was physically and mentally ready to play from the first pitch.
In visiting several indoor baseball training centers this off season, I have noticed several constants. One, the trainers are all parents of either softball or baseball players. In speaking with the various trainers, money and memberships are secondary to the best interest of the kids, their safety, and their development. Two, there are baseball coaches on staff with incredible knowledge of the human body and bio-mechanics. If you can work with a baseball coach who knows how to get the most out of your swing from a bio-mechanical and baseball aspect, you will make progress. Third, there are enough facilities here in Rhode Island to satisfy a huge and growing population of youth baseball players. I have visited facilities in Pawtucket, Coventry, Exeter, Warwick, and Cumberland – just to name a few, and there are plenty of other locations.
How do you choose which facility will work for you? Yes, location is important. Yes, membership or hourly rates are important. But beyond that, what are some factors to which you should consider? Do your research from an organizational standpoint. What do you want to improve on as a league? Are you pitching rich but defensive poor? Do your hitters have hitches your current coaches can’t fix? Are you lacking athletically and need to upgrade your league from a conditioning aspect? At league meetings, discuss what your league’s players need to work on. Then call around and get the credentials of the staff at any one of the many baseball facilities here in Rhode Island. Work with the trainers over the phone or in meetings to discuss a plan of action. These trainers are very, very good at what they do and have degrees and certifications and years of experience teaching baseball, fundamentals, and mechanics. Most played at the collegiate level, some even at the professional level.
And if you play a sport in the off season, continued success and health to you. Remember, your competition is working out this off season and you should be too.
Here are some of the facilities available to you here in Rhode. I have visited some this off season and look forward to meeting those coaches from other facilities I have yet to visit. Again, this is just a short list of the indoor facilities available. Great bunch of coaches, trainers, and staff that I would trust sending my own son to. Click on the link to go to their information page.
If I missed an indoor baseball facility on your list of options for Rhode Island baseball families, contact me so I can visit and learn more about this facility.