So it’s cold these days in Pennsylvania. We’ve been playing a lot of catch with foam and plush baseballs in the kids’ playroom. But it has been a while since we’ve been able to get out in the backyard for some real baseball.
And just as the metaphorical winter rust was starting to form, along came Tim’s Little League, Liberty Youth Baseball, with its Winter Clinic! We all met up at the Life Sports Center at Albright College. The clinic started out with a little pep talk from Liberty’s fearless leader, Jason Weigand (in blue), and…
…Kutztown University’s head baseball coach, Chris Blum.
The indoor training facility was really big and cool. It was split into four separate areas. After the boys split into groups, each group headed off to one of five stations.
Tim was in the youngest group. Most of his ground were 5-6 year olds and a couple were 7-8 (I think). Their group started in the hitting station.
First, a coach went over the proper grip of the baseball bat, stance at the plate, and swing:
Next, half of Tim’s group went to a batting cage and the other half went to a group of three batting tees. Unfortantely, I was chatting with someone while Tim was in the cage hitting live pitching (thrown by former Major Leaguer, Eric Valent,) and I forgot to get a picture of him hitting. But here he is exiting the cage after his final hack:
Although he hadn’t hit live pitching in probably a month, Tim hit pretty well.
And then it was off to the batting tees:
By the way, I only had my phone to take pictures and this training facility has huge windows all the way down both sides of the building…so it was tough to get pictures that were even half-way decent.
And here is my favorite picture that I go today:
After everyone in the group had hit in the cage and at the batting tees, all of the groups switched stations. Tim’s group moved all the way to the other end of the building…
…where they practiced fielding grounders…
…and making the throw to first base (although, in reality, it was more like throwing to third):
All of my fielding pictures were blury, but here is one of my favorites:
The next station was pitching and catching. But the 7-8 year old division in Liberty (which will be Tim’s division for the 2013 season) is coach pitch, so Tim’s group just practiced catching:
The day after our final MLB game of the season, Tim got a new Tim Lincecum signature glove that he’s still getting use to. But he did a good job catching normal throws and little pop flies tossed by Eric:
Tim really likes playing catch now. I love it.
The next station was practicing baserunning. Once again, I was busy chatting. I failed to take any pictures during the baserunning station.
At the final station, the boys practiced taking grounders and fly balls like they were playing in the outfield. After fielding the ball, the boys practiced making strong throws in to the infield:
The most amusing part of this station was that the kids were also supposed to be practing calling the ball like an outfielder. The comical part was that the boys were screaming out, “I got it!” and “Mine!” while they were at the back of the line, but then you could hardly hear the boy at the front of the line calling the ball. and a lot of them wouldn’t call “I got it” until right after they caught the ball.
Here’s another shot of Tim winding up for a big throw:
After the final station, the boys gathered again for a few parting words…
…and then they came in for a big “Liberty” chant:
And that was that. A great clinic. Lots of fun.
On the walk back to our car, Tim posed with a nice silver fire hydrant:
(If you haven’t noticed yet, getting his picture with fire hydrants is kinda Tim’s thing).
On our way home, we stopped off at the local Rawlings outlet store. And then we capped the afternoon off with a 1-on-1 game of baseball in the backyard while Kellan napped. We practiced all of the techniques taught during the clinic and Tim was looking really good as he beat me in our game — of course, he never actually let me bat.
We’re aleady looking forward to the next Liberty clinic in January!