Today is the day you've been waiting for: your little one is finally old enough to participate in little league baseball!
You've been dreaming of the day you can start to share tips and coach him on you and your parent's favorite pastime. They're rearing to go out their and play, and so are you!
However, before your future all-star can take to the baseball diamond, they need a proper pair of baseball cleats. That can be tricky to accomplish the first go-around.
Here are a few tips for picking out his or her first pair of cleats and setting them up for success on the field.
Admittedly, not many youth cleats are made of the comfiest or best materials. That said, it's really more about getting the most support for their feet as possible.
You want to look for a pair of cleats that will provide stability as they feel out their first year of little league. The season is bound to be full of them falling down and slipping, so get a cleat that's made to combat that.
Make sure to look for materials that are as lightweight as possible and provide breathability throughout the shoe.
Don't focus too much on a cleat being water-resistant or any of those other features. Odds are, your kid will grow out of these cleats before next season so getting a youth cleat for longevity purposes doesn't make a lot of sense.
Just aim to find a style that's made of mostly synthetic leather. Those are the ones that will provide the most stability for your child's ankle and foot.
Youth baseball cleats come in a whole bunch of different and crazy color schemes for you to choose from. Depending on where you shop, it may be difficult to find ones with a modest color theme.
However, don't settle for crazy colors just because you don't want to spend the whole day shopping for kids cleats.
Almost every cleat model will come in several different colors. If you're looking for one in particular, as the footwear associate if they can order those in for you.
Another thing to note would be to stay as close to black and white as possible. You may be tempted to buy those royal blue cleats that match your child's current team's colors.
However, it's possible he doesn't play on the same team next season or they switch colors. Then your kid is stuck with royal blue cleats on a red-uniformed team.
Instead, get your fix of team spirit by making custom baseball pins for every team they're on throughout the years.
Many parents make the mistake of falling for the advertising with brand-name baseball cleats for their children.
Let's face it: your child isn't at an age where they'll be picking up top speed or diving for that hot corner line drive down the third baseline. The name of the game is stability; that's the most important thing right now.
Because of that, you'll want to follow this rule of thumb: the higher the cleat, the better.
Try to stay away from low top cleats as much as possible. With low top cleats, your child risks twisting their ankle as they round a base.
Learning to play with cleats on is as much of a learning process as learning how to field a ground ball for your child: it takes time. Set them up for success with either mid or high-topped cleats.
They provide as much security for your son or daughter's foot as possible. After all, that's the entire reason you're buying them in the first place.
As with any other waking moment of being a parent, buying your child's baseball cleats will be a process of give-and-take.
Your child will primarily be interested in certain cleats for their styles and colors. Meanwhile, you'll be most interested in the stability, price, and flexibility of the cleat.
That can lead to quite the battle because, as previously mentioned, more and more brands are creating cleats with wild colors for that reason.
Take the time to explain to your child what's most important to you in the cleats. It may not make sense to them now, but they'll at least know you're trying to protect them as they play.
Give them a few options to pick from as far as color and style by selecting a few that fall in-line with the features you're looking for.
Another way to avoid this whole fiasco is by finding cleats that their friends have on the team. Ask their parents where they bought that specific pair and schedule a time to visit the store.
That way, you and your child will both have an expectation of the exact shoe you're looking for. It will help avoid any arguments while at the footwear department.
As with anything else that you purchase for your child, make sure their baseball cleats serve two purposes: security and their sense of style.
If they end up with a pair you find ugly and hard to look at, don't sweat it. The good news is they'll grow out of them in a year!
Be sure to read this article on ten common baseball injuries to prepare yourself for what's ahead.
For more inquiries, please reach out via our contact page and we'll be delighted to discuss with you further!
The Little League World Series is unique for a lot of reasons. For starters, it's about the only time you'll see pre-teens featured on ESPN.
It's also a way for both U.S. teams and international teams to come together and share the game they love. Where else will you find a game between Hawaii and South Korea?
In 2018, Hawaii claimed the crown. When the 2019 edition kicks off in August, there's no telling what will happen. Little League baseball is as unpredictable as any other sport.
The unpredictability can be instructive. Both children and adults can learn lessons from baseball during the games in Williamsport. Here are five of the best ones.
In real life, you might expect every day to be a smashing success. But baseball and life are a lot alike. There will be days or weeks when you strike out.
The highest Major League Baseball batting average of all time belongs to Ty Cobb. He had a batting average of below .400, and he's still considered one of the greatest ever.
A good swing isn't enough. Sometimes, you also have to wait for the perfect pitch.
12-year-olds don't play baseball the same way as adults. Obviously, they aren't as good as someone who plays for the Red Sox.
But they also aren't as aware of the cameras. There are memorable players, but the showmanship feels more wholesome at 12 than at 22.
They aren't just there to "have fun." Every player who makes it to Williamsport wants to win.
They train hard, but they're also still kids. They don't (or at least shouldn't) play with all the weight of an adult in the big leagues.
When you win, it feels great. Losing feels terrible, especially on a stage as big as the Little League World Series.
But you generally learn more from the missed opportunities. The grand slams are fun to watch on TV. But the muffed catches stick in your head more.
That can be good or bad. Failure can haunt you if you aren't careful.
The trick is to learn from that failure and become a stronger, more resilient player and person.
Sure, there are a lot of cliches about team sports. But when done right, the sense of unity can be inspiring.
If one player fails, then strong teams will treat it as a collective mistake.
If the mistakes are on the team, then so are the successes.
The score in the first inning might not be indicative of the score in the sixth inning. If you get behind early, you have to keep going.
Don't try to make up all your lost ground at once. Do the best you can to chip away slowly.
It sounds corny, but the only thing worse than losing is giving up. Play until the game gets called.
Everyone who plays the sport learns at least a couple of lessons from baseball. Baseball life lessons can even occur off the diamond.
Of course, the Little League World Series isn't only about life lessons. It's also highly entertaining for players and spectators alike.
You can enhance the entertainment value by bringing baseball pins to trade in Williamsport. Contact our team for a free trading pin quote.
If you are a Little League coach, watching your team get a home run is quite a delight.
But it's easier said than done, right?
Teaching kids the proper technique and psychology to learn how to bat properly can be a challenge but hitting drill can help their overall performance. For one, they are still developing physically. Their muscles and body structures are often changing, making it hard for them to feel like they can consistently swing a bat the same way every time they get to the plate. Fortunately, we've got some great hitting drills for you to use with your Little Leauge team that are fun and will improve your teams batting skills.
Sound interesting? Read on to find out more.
Sure, every kid loves the chance to step up to the plate and practice hitting balls. And traditional batting practice has consisted of primarily that. The coach, or another player, throw pitch after pitch to each kid. And by way of repetition and getting accustomed to balls flying towards them, they slowly learn how to quickly respond and make contact with the ball. When players start hitting the ball more, they also start having more fun. And that's really what they are here for, right?
Now, we're not saying batting practice is bad, or that it's not necessary. There's always going to be positives for your players in seeing pitches in real time and trying to hit them. But batting practice is only one of many hitting drills you can run your players through. Here are a few of our favorite hitting drills that will jump-start your team's hitting prowess!
Hitting off of a tee might seem like something players stop doing once they are old enough to have pitches thrown at them. But hitting off of a tee can actually be valuable for hitters of all levels and ages. For more novice players, it's great for flattening out their swing and helping them feel what it's like making solid contact. For more advanced hitters, it's a chance for coaches and batters to look at each aspect of the batter's swing. The ball stays at the same spot, so the only variables are what the batter is doing as they swing through. For this drill, place the tee on home plate. Have a batter step into the box. Then have them place their feet together, but with slightly more pressure on their back foot for balance. Then have them swing through the ball and make contact. You can look at their swing to see if there are holes or inconsistencies.
This is a timing drill. You start by placing a small object somewhere on the field. It can be a glove, another ball, or even the lid of a cup. Then, either toss or pitch the ball towards the batter. Their goal will be to hit the ball before it passes the mark in their vision. This forces players to get out in front of pitches, making contact in front of the plate instead of letting the ball jam them up. And if they start doing well with this exercise (i.e. hitting ball after ball into the third base dugout) then move the object closer to the batter.
The next drill is one that involves two different colored Wiffle balls. (If you don't have two colors, use spray paint on a standard white Wiffle ball.) Have the batter stand at the plate. You stand across the plate from them with both Wiffle balls in hand. You toss them both Wiffle balls, but when they are in the air towards the plate, you call out one of the two colors. That's the color of the ball they need to it with their swing. And they need to avoid hitting the other ball, if possible. This drill teaches them ball vision and hones their focus so that they are really concentrating on which ball they are supposed to hit.
It's great for learning how to hit pitches that break or have any movement on them. Which can only help drive their batting average up, right?
Hitting to the opposite field is an important skill for batters to have. In this drill, you set up at least a handful of players in the field. They should all be on one side. So, for a left-handed batter, make sure to have at least a second baseman, a shortstop, a center fielder, and a left fielder. Then stand to the side of the batter and toss him balls. They get to keep batting as long as the ball goes to the opposite field. If they pull the ball at all, they are 'out' and the next batter rotates through.
Finally, this drill goes outside the norm of the usual hitting drills. You'll need a heavy bag (a.k.a. a punching bag that boxers use). Have the batters take full speed swings at the center of the bag. The trick here is to make sure they are making solid contact with the bag and to make sure their follow through is through the mass of the bag. In other words, they should hit the bag with their bat, and the bat should stay in contact with the bag. They shouldn't ever have their bat recoil back. This ensures that each batter is following through with power. It helps improve torque and get more strength in their hands. Together, those translate to power hitting.
These are five great hitting drills, but there are tons more out there that can be valuable to hitters of all ages and skill levels. If your team gets a little tired of these five, switch it up and try a different five.
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In recent years, youth baseball has been forced to compete with several other sports while trying to win over the hearts of kids everywhere. Basketball and football have become increasingly popular and have cut into the total number of kids playing Little League baseball.
However, baseball is still the most popular sport in the country as far as kids are concerned. A 2016 study showed that baseball and softball actually combined to be the most popular team sport that year. And it doesn't look like that's going to change anytime soon.
There are so many great reasons to sign your child up for youth baseball if you haven't done it already. Let's take a look at 8 of those reasons now.
It might not always look like it when you're sitting down and watching a game. But there are many movements that take place in youth baseball that will benefit your child's health.
From swinging a bat to throwing a ball to running around the bases, your child will be in motion all the time while playing baseball. This will get their heart rate going and help them build up their endurance. It will also help their muscles get stronger and make them more flexible.
Kids aren't born with good hand-eye coordination. They need to learn how to be coordinated, and playing youth baseball is one of the best ways for them to do it.
Just about every single aspect of playing baseball involves some level of coordination. Whether you're judging where a fly ball is going to land or keeping a close eye on a pitch coming towards the plate, you need to be able to demonstrate good coordination to be a successful baseball player.
Kids who play baseball at a young age are able to develop coordination skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
There are far too many kids today who spend their entire lives playing on electronics. And while there are some benefits to doing it, there is also a long list of negative effects that kids can suffer from if they spend too much time looking at a screen.
Some of these negative effects include:
It can feel almost impossible to get kids to put their electronics down these days. But offering them the opportunity to play youth baseball is one effective way to do it.
When kids grow up, they will likely need to be a part of a team every day at work. But unfortunately, many kids don't learn how to demonstrate teamwork when they're younger.
Baseball is a sport that requires teamwork during each and every inning. You need to be able to rely on others to do their job out on the field, and you also need to make sure you're reliable and your teammates can trust you to do your job.
From the moment your child starts playing baseball, their coach will preach about the values of teamwork and show your kid why teamwork is such a beneficial part of the game.
Not every kid is going to be a star Little League player. There will be some kids who, quite frankly, don't blossom into excellent players. But that doesn't mean they won't walk away from the game with something!
There are many kids who make lifelong friends by playing youth baseball for even just a few years. When your child plays baseball, he or she will need to communicate with others on and off the field. This will help them form strong bonds and will, in all likelihood, translate to them making good friends.
There are going to be times when your child wins in life. There are also going to be times when they lose. They need to know how to act in both scenarios, and more importantly, they need to know how to be good sports.
This is another thing your child isn't going to be able to learn without experiencing both winning and losing from a young age. Playing baseball will allow your child to see what the highs and lows of life feel like.
It will also give you the chance to talk to your child about showing good sportsmanship at all times. It will show you how your kid handles winning and losing and allow you to step in and speak about the importance of treating everyone with respect, regardless of whether you win or lose a game.
While youth baseball players will ultimately decide the outcomes of games, there will be several adults who will play a part in their success. Coaches and umpires will be at every game to help guide the way, and it will be important for kids to show the proper respect to these adults.
When your child plays baseball, he or she will need to learn how to listen to instructions from the coach. Your child will also have to learn how to listen to what umpires say and treat them respectfully, even if they make calls that don't go their way.
While all of the reasons listed here are important, this is really the most important one of all. Youth baseball can teach kids a lot about life. But at the end of the day, it's the fun that kids have that they will remember for a long time.
If your child doesn't have enough fun in their life, sign them up for baseball. It won't be long before they're having a great time every time they step on to the baseball diamond.
Do you want to make sure your child has as much fun as possible when they start playing baseball? You can do it by being a great Little League parent. You can also do it by providing your child with pins that will allow them to show off their love of the sport.
Contact us to check out the incredible pins we have in stock.
Ever dealt with a crazy baseball parent? You know, the kind who yells from the bleachers, berates the coaches, and makes fun of the kids trying to have fun on the field?
Or, maybe you've gotten a bit too caught up in the competition yourself? Have you found yourself screaming from the stands, bad-mouthing your child's coaches, or raging against the umpire's call?
Whether you're dishing it out or taking it, Little League Parent Syndrome (LLPS) is a real thing. Seriously. Coined by psychologists, it describes the irrational way that some adults behave during youth sporting events.
LLPS dampens team spirits, places too much pressure on kids, and ruins what would otherwise be a fun learning experience. Let's stop LLPS dead in its tracks this season! Read on to find out more about how to be a good and supportive baseball parent.
Ten thousand youth athletes were asked to rank various aspects of athletic competition by importance. Do you know where "winning" ranked?
Turns out, most kids want to play organized sports so that they can hang out with friends and teammates. They like the confidence boost. And they enjoy the chance to learn something new.
But there's a flip side. The parents of these youth athletes were also asked to rank organized sports by benefits. Where did parents rank "winning"? As you may have guessed, winning came right at the top. The focus on triumphing at all costs is where the problem lies...
Kids have the wisdom and discernment to see baseball for what it is, an enjoyable experience. And baseball parents need to be brought around to this way of thinking. It only takes one parent exhibiting signs of LLPS to ruin the game for everyone.
So, what causes some parents to flip the switch on LLPS? Psychologists believe a mixture of factors could be at play. For one, some parents project themselves onto their children. They attempt to re-live their own baseball dreams through their kids.
Comparing your son or daughter to anybody, including yourself, is unfair and harmful. Instead, recognize your children as the independent, autonomous human beings that they are. Your kids have strengths and weaknesses all their own. They have their own interests and dreams, too. Never try to recapture a piece of your own youth through them.
Other parents heap unbearable pressure on their kids. They want baseball to "pay off" through a college scholarship, professional contract, or both. But what are the odds of actually earning a baseball scholarship? Or, a pro contract? They're right up there with picking the right lotto numbers.
So, start guessing...
That's not to say that little leaguers don't go on to play in the pros. But those who do have developed a serious love of the game. And they respect their teammates and sportsmanship. They're not the kids whose parents mortified them from the bleachers with violent rants.
Finally, there are those adults who measure their worth as a parent on how well their kids perform. The truth is, though, how well your kid plays ball is not a reflection on your parenting skills.
But you know what are indicators of effective parenting? Whether or not your kid behaves on the field, how well they participate, and if they can lose with grace.
Every baseball parent gets frustrated now and then. After all, little league adds stress to your life. You have the gear to buy, practices to attend, and volunteering to do.
We've all witnessed what looks like coach favoritism or unfair ump calls at some point. We all want to make sure that we get our "money's worth" out of the season. When our team loses or our child becomes a benchwarmer, it's easy to feel disgruntled.
This is when it's important to ask yourself how you're giving back...
Are you actively volunteering with the league? Are you paying fees on time and making donations when needed? Are you modeling good behavior for your kids by following field rules and being respectful?
Instead of second-guessing every move your team's coaches are making, remember to thank them for volunteering their time. Learn to trust them and respect their decisions. After all, it's impossible to know what the strategy is let alone read a coach's mind from the bleachers.
Still feel like you have a better approach than your kid's current coaches? Then, why not become during a future season?
You'll soon realize that it's a tough, often a thankless job. But if you're in it for the love of the game, your reward will be the experience. Coaching little league puts the game back in perspective.
If you're irritated by something that is or isn't happening in your league, offer to lend a hand. Little leagues are notoriously understaffed and could use the extra help. Getting involved "behind the scenes" or as a coach will help you gain perspective.
How baseball parents behave directly impacts whether or not their children grow up to love the game. The baseball field should be a welcome place where kids build confidence, learn discipline, and work as a team. It should be a place for fun, experimentation, and growth.
Good parenting involves providing our kids with opportunities to try, fail, try again, and eventually succeed. It involves teaching them how to be patient, deal with disappointment, and develop self-reliance. Winning has very little to do with baseball in the large scheme of things.
Model the behavior you want to see in your kids from the bleachers, in the dugout, and on the field. Stop focusing on umpire calls, player positions, and the score. Instead, use baseball to teach important lessons about conduct, teamwork, and resilience.
After all, it's not about winning. It's about developing life skills and build self-esteem. It's about creating memories that last a lifetime.