What does a typical practice look like for a Rec Baseball Team? Most will have one kid hitting while the other 10 or 11 are in the field. This is far from ideal. Not only are kids not getting enough reps, many will now lose interest and will try to occupy their time doing other things like playing with dirt, talking to a buddy, or sitting down. During practice a kid will likely get most of their reps in hitting and throwing. They may swing 12-15 times. They may throw 15-20 balls while trying to play catch. But even these are low numbers. The amount of grounders they field or pop ups they try to catch are much lower. And unfortunately, most rec teams will only practice once a week.
How about a game? This is even worse. Say a game is at 10:00am. Your child is likely to arrive around 9:30-9:45. They will put their bag down, chat a little bit and then will probably play catch. Outside of that, most will never swing a bat or work on their fielding before a game. Once in the game, many will never have a ball hit their way. Between innings, you will not likely see a first baseman rolling infielders grounders. Your child may only get 3 at-bats. And how many swings will they take during those at-bats? Let’s be generous and say they will take 3 swings. That’s a total of 9 for the day. So, 9 swings, playing catch before the game, and likely no action in the field. Where’s the opportunity for development?
Three months of limited reps? Do you really expect your child to see any improvement? SO, what are your options? You could always work with them at home. You can hire a private instructor at $100/hour or you can pay $1,000+ for a travel program.
Getting in lots of reps should never come at a high cost. I understand that volunteers make up the coaching staffs for Rec League teams; but that is a poor excuse. Rec Leagues should be hands on with their volunteers. Send someone to show them how to run a practice and what drills can be done to maximize reps. Once the volunteers see it in action, it will be easy for them to replicate.
You will have parents that don’t care about how much their child improves as they are not looking for their child to become a major league baseball player. But, as a parent, I want my child to be given the opportunity to see if they could be good. And if they see improvement, maybe that will push them to work harder. And the more success they have, the more fun they will have in the end.
As we get ready to start another season of Fall sports, we really should take a long look at how many reps are kids are getting. Are the reps they are getting enough to help them in their development? I guarantee you the answer, in Rec Leagues, is NO!