Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things Obsessed Baseball Parents Are Curious About

By Brian Schofield

It's hard for some parents to sit back and relax while watching their kids participate in baseball. As long as they don't become controlling and abusive this is usually a positive situation for a kid wanting to succeed. It is true that some parents can get out of control and have selfish desires but when their heart is right and they just want their kid to be the best they can be, here are some of the common questions they will ask.

I want my son to be a switch hitter. How early should I start and when do I say enough is enough?

All kids tend to have strong sides and weak sides but if it is worked on as young as possible, those weaknesses can be made strengths. I wish I would've learned at a young age because with my speed I would've been a great left handed on-base hitter, but instead I waited until I was too old to try to add switch hitting to my skill set. Switch hitting isn't as popular as it once was and has lost some of its luster. I believe developing a talent for switch hitting creates value for players. Take Chipper Jones and Carlos Beltran for example. Both players bring a lot of value to their teams as a result of their dual threat at the plate. For younger players, one thing tends to get in the way and that is success. Most parents and kids for that matter simply don't have the patience for failure. Switch hitting is a struggle because the dominant side will do well while the hand you are learning will be behind. Parents want kids to be on all star teams and so do the kids. If switch hitting is important to you, realize that it is a long term commitment and shouldn't be given up on easily.

My son is afraid of the ball. Can his fear be fixed or is he destined to play outfield?

No, he isn't destined to play outfield. It also depends on how old your son is, but no matter what it doesn't mean he is destined to play outfield. It is very common for players to be afraid of the ball. The ball is hard and when it hits you, it hurts. I grew up extremely afraid of ground balls that were hit right at me. I had to practice and practice to get over that, but it happens eventually. Don't make too big of a deal about it because you don't want to push them away from the sport altogether. Be encouraging and understanding and it will eventually fade. Let me say this, I was a shortstop for years before I was moved to the outfield for my last year of high school and I felt right at home out there. I loved the outfield and was a natural with it. There is nothing wrong with being an outfielder.

My son is 12 years old and wants to start throwing curve balls. I'm a little hesitant about it and I don't know how. What should I do?

This is a very personal situation for most players and their parents. If you have ever watched the little league world series, you will notice that the pitchers will throw fastballs and curve balls at such young ages. How many pitchers do you see that go from the little league world series to the pros? It doesn't happen very often. I personally wouldn't let my 12 year old throw a curve ball. I would look at the big picture and do everything I could to teach him a change up and a fastball or even a cut fastball before anything that involved using the elbow in that manner. I look at the healthiest pitchers like Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and you'll notice that they don't throw curve balls. Maddux throws fastballs, cut fastballs and change ups. Clemens throws mainly fastballs and splitters. Glavine just throws variations of them. My favorite pitcher, Kerry Wood, is the opposite. He throws everything from curves to sliders but he is hurt nearly every season. If you have a son that you believe has a future in pitching, save his arm at 12 so he can pitch well when he is in high school. By doing so, I believe that you are increasing his shot at getting drafted down the road. Again, that is just my opinion on the matter.

Brian Schofield is sr. writer for the baseball training site BigLeagueSkills.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_Schofield

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick