Final Details about the start of Baseball Camp at Concordia University (WI)
This is a final reminder and update for the U.S. Baseball Academy session at Concordia University (WI), which will begin Sunday, Jan. 9, and run Jan. 16, 23; Feb. 6, 13, 20. If you can't locate your registration confirmation or confirmation e-mail, and there is any confusion over what time your session is, you can see your registration by visiting our web site, www.USBaseballAcademy.com.
REMAINING SPOTS: A limited number of spots remain in several sessions. If you have friends or teammates who may be interested, please tell them they can still register by phoning our office at 866-622-4487 to pay with a credit card. They must be registered and paid in advance of the first session.
SCHEDULE: Sessions will last for 55 minutes. Each session will begin promptly, so please arrive a few minutes before your sessions begin. Players may stretch in an out-of-the-way place while the previous session ends, but must stay clear of interfering with other sessions. Players will NOT be permitted to throw balls or swing bats in the hallways or other areas of the building.
EQUIPMENT: Every player in the hitting camp must bring a bat. Because some players may be taking more swings in a shorter period of time than they are accustomed to, it would be wise to wear batting gloves if you have them. Participants in the pitching camp should bring a glove. It is not necessary to bring a baseball. Remember, participants in the pitching camp must supply their own catchers. Because our coaches are working with the pitchers in a hands-on manner and all pitchers are participating in throwing drills simultaneously, each player needs to have someone catching for him. The catcher can be a parent, older sibling or friend. If the catcher is a friend or teammate, a mask is required. We do not want two players in the same session catching for each other, because each will only receive half as much instruction. Participants in the catcher’s session should bring their own gear: shin guards, chest protector, mask and a protective cup. If you do not own your own catcher's gear, you should be able to borrow it from your coach or league. Players should wear something comfortable for working out. Baseball pants, sweatpants or shorts are best. We will be inside, so wear gym shoes, not cleats or spikes.
SAFETY: It is important that players not swing the bat unless they are at a station being instructed by a coach. If a player would step out of a station and swing the bat, or if players walking onto the floor to start the day swing their bats, there is a good chance someone could get hit. DO NOT SWING BATS unless you are in a station being instructed, and it is your turn to hit.
THE ITINERARY: This is a progressive program over a six-week period. Each week the drills are different, becoming more advanced each session. Hitters will complete up to 36 different stations and drills during the program, and pitchers between 15 and 20. Week 1 is designed to provide a good foundation for Week 2, etc. Some of the drills and stations in Week 1 may appear basic, but we need to ensure everyone has a proper foundation for the rest of the program. Some of the drills and stations may appear unusual, but each drill has an important purpose, and coaches will explain the reason each is in the program. (Why will players hit badminton birdies? Why will they be hitting deflated soccer balls? To teach them to stay in balance with hands back on off-speed pitches, and to teach them to drive their hands hard through a ball at impact.) Please work hard in every drill, and if players or parents don't understand the purpose of a station, feel free to ask the coaches afterward.
SPECTATORS: Parents are welcome to watch from the sidelines during the hitting program and to listen along as the Site Directors explain each station at the beginning of the session. Once the rotations begin, we ask that parents watch from a distance so as not to make the hitting area more crowded and louder than it already is.
WEATHER: Because we have reserved the facilities for the six days of the camp and will likely not have access afterward, we will avoid postponing sessions due to weather at all costs. The only exception to this would be a literal "snow emergency" that forces closure of the entire facility, regardless of our desire to open it. In the event that we would not be permitted to open the building, we will post a note on our web site. Please make sure that you check the web site before coming to camp if the weather is questionable. On our web site, www.USBaseballAcademy.com, there is a scrolling "News Ticker" at the top of the page where we will post any cancellations. Any sessions postponed due to weather will be made up. If weather turns bad during the day, parents or emergency contacts should be available to pick players up if necessary.
MAKEUPS: If you miss a session because of illness, vacation, or a schedule conflict, there can be no make-ups. We pride ourselves on maintaining the player-coach ratio and limiting enrollment in each session. If we allowed extra players in a hitting session because they missed the week before, it would be unfair to others and would compromise the instruction for everyone.
THE SITE: The site director for your local program is Val Keiper, Head Coach, Concordia University. The following directions are supplied by the Site Director:
Concordia University – 12800 Lakeshore Drive, Mequon, WI 53092
From the south and west -- from downtown Milwaukee take Interstate 43 North to the Mequon Rd. exit. Left on Mequon Rd. to Port Washington Rd. Right (North) on Port Washington Rd. for 2 miles to Highland Rd. Right on Highland Rd to campus.
Left into campus - look for signs to Field House.
From the North -- Interstate 43 south to Hwy C exit (Cedarburg). Right on C to Port Washington Rd. Left (south) on Port Washington Rd for 2 miles to Highland Rd. Left on Highland Rd to campus.
Left into campus - follow signs to Field House.
I hope you're looking forward to camp with as much enthusiasm as we are. Call us or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Important Program Note for Parents
U.S. Baseball Academy is a progressive program that works through each of the building blocks for successful hitting, pitching and catching. For hitters, that includes grip, athletic stance, stride, balance, proper alignment, weight transfer, hand position, bat angle, path of swing, power position, contact points, bat lag, extension, pitch recognition, mental aspects, and many others. For pitchers, it includes various grips, stance, arm slot, arm action, balance point, hand and wrist position, release point, proper alignment, power position, follow-through, mental aspects, and more. For catchers, players work through stance, receiving, blocking, throwing, fielding drills, the mental side of catching and dealing with pitchers and umpires.
Because a flaw in any of the above areas will cause a player to be unsuccessful, each drill in our program is designed with an important instructional aspect in mind. The series of more than 30 hitting drills and 15 pitching drills will either confirm that the player has mastered that building block or identify a flaw and provide an avenue toward fixing it. Many stations will include a “player-assistant” in addition to the station coach. While the player-assistant is not technically coaching and is not factored into our coaching ratio, he is there to increase the repetitions each camper gets at that station. Each participant works with the adult coach at that station for instruction, and the player-assistant for repetition and reinforcement. If these player-assistants were included, our player-coach ratio would be about 3 to 1.
This is a teaching camp. If you are expecting to see your player take 200 swings a day in a cage against a pitcher, you will not find it here. You can get that by putting tokens in a machine at an arcade, but what will the player learn? Rather than improve, he will simply be driving bad habits deeper and deeper into his muscle memory. Pitchers who haven’t thrown a ball in months would tear up their arm throwing full speed in January or February. They will not throw off mounds. Here, drills will break down mechanics and build muscle memory so players understand how to pitch and have success when they get on the field. The goal is not to get hitters out in the middle of winter.
As is the case at colleges and even Major League spring training, many of the drills will use hitting Ts, soft toss, and similar techniques. Young kids may think they are boring. You may think they are repetitive. They are not. At each station, the coaches are working on a specific “building block.” Feel free to ask the coaches to explain the specific purpose of any drill you don’t understand. Consider these stations as an example…
- Two Ts the same height, one directly in front of the other, with the player trying to swing through both balls. If the player hits the back ball and misses the front, his swing path is off in one or more directions (up, down, around), and we can work to fix it.
- Two Ts, one on the inside corner and one on the outside corner, with a coach commanding which ball to hit. This drill works on pitch recognition and different contact points depending on where the ball is pitched.
- Chest-high Ts focus on a top-hand dominant swing at the top of the strike zone.
- Knee-high Ts focus on a bottom-hand dominant swing low in the strike zone.
So, if your player tells you he hit off Ts all day, or he hit soft-toss, it’s important to understand what is happening at each station. Tony Gwynn, one of the greatest hitters of all time, hit off a T for 30 minutes a day throughout his Major League career. He was known to say, “If you can’t do it off a T, you sure can’t do it off a pitcher.” That always reminds me of one of the most memorable calls to come into our office in 20 years. A parent considering signing up her son for the camp asked if the kids hit off Ts in the program. She was told that yes, some of the drills involve hitting off Ts and soft-toss. “Tees are for T-ballers,” she responded loudly. “My son is a fourth-grader. I’ll take him to a batting cage.”
Good thing she wasn’t Tony Gwynn’s mom.
We hope your player has a successful experience with us.