VOICES: Youth Baseball Practice Begins

Coaches watch throwing and catching skills at a pre-season practice at the Clayton Avenue baseball fields on April 1. DAN DEDONA/LOCAL/NEWS

WAYNESBORO–It’s a common thing in a great baseball town like Waynesboro.  As soon as the grass begins to turn green and the temperatures get above 60, youth league coaches want to get their teams out on a field.    

Each coach will have a lot of questions.  Some of his team will be newly minted 12-year-olds who played with them the year before.  Some will be young rookies picked up in the draft.  Who will pitch?  Who will catch?  Who’s on first (not like in Abbott and Costello)?  Do they have a lot of hitters or do they need to work on that?

Fields are tough to come by.  In the regular season each field is scheduled for two teams.  In the pre-season, every coach wants to get their team out and practicing.  Mostly this will be in evenings or on weekends.  A little more weekend time, but twice as much demand and no more fields. 

Coaching is deep in Waynesboro.  Knowledge of the skills and techniques needed to play the game well are broadly known by coaches and assistant coaches.  This shows years later in the quality of the High School and Post 15 Legion teams who tend to be very competitive.  It also shows during the youth league season as the young players are brought along by their coaches and each team gets better. 

Coaches approach the pre-season many ways.  Some don’t touch a bat for the first few practices so they can work on throwing and fielding skills.  That’s especially true for young teams.  Others with an older team with a lot of 12-year-olds just do a normal practice.  They’ll work on infield and outfield, batting practice, and pitching.  It all depends on what the coach thinks he has coming back and what he thinks he got in the draft. 

You’ll see a lot of this practice activity in the coming weeks as the coaches get their teams ready to play ball.  Some of you might just stop by to watch the preseason work – to get a little closer for a short time to the game you played and loved.  Even if you can’t stop, a brief tip of the hat to the coaches might be in order.  They are taking the time to share their great love of the game with the next generation.  Winning a few games would also be good.

Dan DeDona is publisher of Local.News and a youth sports enthusiast since his children were young.

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