Baseball and the Holiday Season
In my childhood, during the holidays, baseball season was something I spent time dreaming about and wishing the spring season would get here sooner than later. What I mean is that the baseball ‘season’……like we know it today…..did not come about until after January. When the baseball season began, it was closer to Valentine’s Day rather than any other hallmark time of the year. The holiday season was the hope of a new glove or bat, but then it sat around until the season began. Football might have wrapped up…..basketball season was well under way….and of course there were your customary games of hide ‘n seek, tag and by chance the possibility of playing wiffle ball if nothing else was appealing.
How times have changed over the past 40 years? And especially over the past 5-10 years. High schools play year round. Travel ball continues to become the go-to past time for the ‘serious’ (and sometimes non-serious) ball player. Rec leagues have both fall and spring baseball plus all-stars during the summer months. But the real player in this world of baseball is the showcase circuit. The never-ending world of weekend after weekend….after weekend…..non-stop circuit of $500 weekends by every known baseball organization in the country. Even the colleges are lining up their budget ‘trucks’ to bring a showcase to their university in order for young men to show off their talent and skill sets to coaching staffs.
And we thought that cheerleading, ice skating and band competitions were REALLY expensive…..
Why Chinese Restaurants Are Amazing……Until an Hour Later
The baseball world is inundated with organizations such as Perfect Games, Top 96, Under Armour, etc., that want to see what baseball players have to offer in terms of skills and abilities for the professional and collegiate world. The excitement of seeing a college recruiter with the cool polo shirt and school insignia on it is as intoxicating as anything for a young impressionable young man. Playing on top flight university baseball diamonds, sitting in the dugout with other players and having aspirations of grandeur is enough for any parent to just sign the check or run the card without any hesitation to the return on that investment.
It is a lot like eating Chinese food. Tastes great and you leave satisfied…..but an hour later you either feel awful for eating it or you are hungry for something else. This is where you as the parent and responsible person in the family must decide what is the best thing you can do for the future of your baseball playing child.
Here is a surefire way to look at maximizing your baseball spending dollar.
The mindset is that you have to play in front of a large number of people in order to get noticed. In many ways this could be true……and for a certain number of people it is true. However, if you have not really developed your skill set in terms of pitching velocity….running speed…..arm strength…..or power in hitting a baseball……then going to a showcase will not give you much of a return on your investment.
Great investment people will do everything in their power to show you ways to maximize your hard earned dollars. We trust them because if you are successful in your earnings then they will be successful as well. Those professionals will show you the right ways to earn money on the money you spend on whatever the investment might be. Instead of just always buying Apple, Google or Facebook stock and getting very little return on the maximum amount of money you invest with them, they may steer you to something smaller in terms of company size that will pay a bigger dividend in the long term…..(I will admit that I am not that ‘up’ on investment lingo…but I think I am in the ballpark with my analogy).
Baseball showcases are the same way. The top showcase companies want you to think that you have to spend your money with them because you might get the best exposure. However, if you do not have the right skill set then spending the money to go to that showcase might not be right for you. I would offer to say that you might be more responsible in spending your money on the right type of training that specifies in your child’s skill set ….(meaning if they are a pitcher than they should work on their velocity and arm health……..and a word of advice that despite what ANYONE says about throwing velocity and them telling you it is not the most important thing, it really is THE number one thing of importance to a college and especially to a professional organization). Go with the path least traveled and develop the skill needed to make an impact in front of the showcase personnel. It has worked with many professional and collegiate athletes including my own son as well as my assistant, Warren’s son, Trevor. We both have saved thousands of dollars on going the showcase route and both of the boys have done well in their baseball lives.
I am not saying that showcases are bad. They can be fun and give you a good idea of where you really stand once an evaluation is given to you by someone who is being objective about where you are in terms of baseball skills. But the bottom line for many of them is that they would love to see you every weekend and every camp they host……and that is not a good return on your money at all. If you really want a more detailed answer about all of this, please feel free to contact me. I have saved many clients a lot of money over the years by helping them to make an educated decision based on numerous factors.
And a Final Note…….(cue the drum roll please…..)
We are in the beginning stages of big developments for ThrowZone Academy in 2015. One of the first announcements is the start of our travel ball program for Spring 2015. The inaugural team will be a 14U 60′ X 90′ team consisting of 8th grade and a few 7th graders to form the TZ Academy baseball program. The genesis of the program was a belief that there are players in our community that really needed to be trained in a more consistent manner based on the expectations and requirements of the high school baseball programs for their incoming players for the summer and/or fall seasons. The goal of TZ Academy is to focus on the process of the game of baseball – building skill sets, teaching fundamentals required by these mentioned schools and the mental aspects required to succeed both on and off the field as a HS athlete. We will play the game with the goal of doing activities on the ball field correctly (Process) as opposed to winning games (Result). Respecting our opponents, umpires and those in the stands will be stressed however, as players on the field we will focus on what we can control (Process) and not what goes on around us (Result). Players will be handed a handbook that will serve as our Modus Operandi. Practice will focus on specifics in the game (Process). Games will measure where we are as players and THEN as a team we will go back to practice and focus on areas of need to better our development. These will be focus points so that when the player moves onto the next level they will be as best prepared for their HS team.
We hope to further this development of multiple teams in the summer and fall season. Ultimately teams at each age group will be represented in this teaching philosophy, our approach to pitching and throwing development, that we believe so much in at ThrowZone Academy. The coaching we have begun to assemble will keep all these philosophies in tact at every level. We hope that you and your child will take part of this program in the near future.
Once the month of December turns to 2015 mid-January, we will be excited to announce major news that will have a big impact on your child and family with the totality of their baseball development. Stay tuned……
From my family at home….Sondra, Ryan, Josh, Lauren and myself……and my family at ThrowZone…..we wish you the holiest and happiest of the Christmas and Holiday seasons. May the blessings of the season be with you through the remainder of the year and in the future!
And from a personal standpoint, I ask for prayers and thoughts for a dear member of the ThrowZone family who is in grave sickness. In respect to the family, I will keep the name only as dear friend to us at our facility but know she really needs blessings and wishes of comfort in her journey to her maker. She is a BIG fan of the game of baseball and loves to watch her son, a ThrowZone client, pitch on the mound. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for myself as well as her family.