This Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to watch the 13/14 and up Instructional League practice being run by KPerformance Baseball and Mark Cahill. This fall baseball instructional league is such a great concept and I know other leagues and cities are doing similar programs. It focuses on skill development and practicing good situational baseball habits. Being a North Kingstown resident and having the practices at Lischio Field in Slocum, this particular fall baseball league was a no brainer for me and my baseball son, Harrison. It was a beautiful morning weather wise for baseball and I was excited to meet and greet some of the other parents, whose sons were also attending the practice.
When I met up with Mark prior to practice, he mentioned and referenced me to the updated batting cages. He, along with Jack Pyne and Ray Leblanc, worked on the cages and made them look professional. Now, teams from North Kingstown, visiting teams playing Juniors, or private instructors can utilize this new and upgraded batting cage area.
Coach Mark is a professional baseball coach. His decades of knowledge as a baseball player, coach, and instructor are just so impressive. Today, there was a group of about 9 youth baseball players on the field working with Mark for this instructional league. The players got to work on defensive skills in the outfield, footwork and defense on the infield, throwing runners out from right field – all while Mark was coaching and teaching with constant feedback. Getting your body ready to field the baseball, knowing where the ball is going, setting your footwork up for success, being prepared defensively were all points stressed and reinforced by Coach Mark.
When it came time for hitting/batting practice, Coach Mark worked in situational hitting. Not the typical “here is 10 pitches and hit them as far as you can.” Coach Mark had them thinking about driving runners over from second to third by hitting the ball to the right side. Bringing the infield in with a runner on third and telling the hitter to work on driving the runner home. Getting the ball in play on a hit and run play. All great situational hitting that will improve these players’ abilities in game situations come their next game or next season. I love the situational hitting batting practice concept.
I asked my son Harrison how he liked the league so far. He loves the situational approach to practice in the field and at the plate. And he loves Coach Mark’s sense of humor. Coach Mark would jab in a few jokes or digs – nothing offensive or rude – just clean fun and ribbing. Most of these players have extensive playing time (via AAU programs) playing under Coach Mark or are enrolled in hitting instruction with him. It was all in good fun and not one single parent or player took any offense to anything he said. In fact, it was rather comical at times and the parents in the stands were laughing out loud.
I look forward to attending more practices, conversing with the parents, watching the positive development on the field and at the plate for Harrison and the other youth baseball players. This fall baseball instructional league that Coach Mark Cahill is coaching in is phenomenal and I highly recommend him as a coach and baseball mentor.