Teaching kids the game of baseball is something every father looks forward to. Once winter gives way to spring, fathers, sons, and daughters everywhere head to the yard or baseball field for games of catch. Teaching kids the fundamentals of baseball can be a lot of fun, and the fundamentals for kids and big league players are the same: throw, catch, run, hit. If you teach your kids how to do these four things, they can play baseball for the rest of their lives.
One of the first things babies learn how to do is throw, so it will come as no surprise to learn that throwing a baseball will likely come naturally to kids once they grow up. Catching takes a little more practice, and some kids will be scared of the ball at first. This is a good time to encourage kids and to make them feel like it's ok to be a little scared and make mistakes. In time, you'll have the special first game of catch that you'll always remember.
Running the bases and hitting are the next two fundamentals that kids should learn after learning how to throw and catch. Hitting a baseball from a tee is a great way for kids to learn how to swing the bat properly. And after a nice hit, kids need to know what to do next. If you don't teach your children how to run from first to second to third to home, they will run aimlessly around the diamond after a hit, which may be funny but not altogether the best way to play the game.
Just remember that baseball is supposed to be fun. Don't stress out too much about getting your children started early; you'll know when they're ready to learn the fundamentals of baseball
Baseball is America's pastime for a reason. Some might think it's because of history, but it's really because of family. People don't often go out to rowdy football games with their families. A football is also something that daughters may want to throw around in the backyard with their dads. It's a baseball, or in some cases a softball, that really fits naturally and makes the connection.
If you're just starting to throw the ball around with your son or daughter, make sure you visit a sporting goods store or online store to purchase softy balls. These are balls that look exactly like baseballs, but are soft. Obviously, they will help prevent injury. They will also play a huge role in your child's confidence level, as it will teach them not to be afraid of the ball.
Always start your backyard catches with simplicity. That means you should stand close to each other. The more successful throws and catches he or she makes, the more they're going to believe in themselves. Once there is success at that level, you can increase the distance between the two of you. It's similar to playing long toss, but a lot slower of a pattern.
If you get to the stage where your son or daughter is confident and has made accurate throws and catches, it might be time to move up to a real baseball or softball. If you can do this, that would be great. Whether it's a son or daughter, they start early with baseball and softball. To have a head start would be great advantage.
That said, whether they perform well on the field isn't as important as what happens in the backyard. That's where Dads and their children bond, and where smiles are more common than balls or strikes.
Playing baseball with your kids is more fun than sitting at home on the couch watching a professional baseball game on TV that is always interrupted by commercials for Viagra and hair replacement products.
Photo Credit: (Flickr/sponselli)