Tuesday, September 16, 2008
One of our readers posted a comment that stated that it can get expensive for a high school baseball player in a cold weather part of the country to continue to work out in the winter months. Working out several times a week in indoor cage facilities and clubs can get a little cost prohibitive. We have several friends in the Mid West that we talk to frequently and they controlled costs by turning their basements into batting and pitching tunnels. The upfront cost is a little expensive, but the long term savings for those that are serious about baseball is worth the expense.
Most batting cage facilities cost around $25 an hour and if a player wants to spend 3-4 hours per week for the 12 weeks of harsh winter months, it can costs upwards of $1,200 per season to keep a players swing in shape. For a seasons worth of batting cage fees, that player could install a 55ft. indoor batting cage in their basement.
Batting Cages Inc. (1.800.463.6865) sells a trapezoid framework with net and L-Screen all for for $769. Of course, a cage and L-Screen is just the beginning. Throw in Balls, plates, tees, and buckets too. And, for those days when a player just wants to hit by himself...we are big fans of a somewhat low cost automatic soft toss machine. It's called The EZ-Toss and it's a rechargeable swing trainer that will help players at any level improve hand-eye coordination and sharpen their hitting skills....for only $279. So, for $1,200, you can have your very own personal hitting facility that will last for years.
I know Dad, you always had the plan to turn that basement into your own personal sports bar. That's a project you can tackle after your son heads off to college. Until that time, if your son really wants to play at the next level, this is a great way to keep him in the game and as a bonus, bond a bit more with him. A cage also turns your house into the team hangout. We know families with cages in their basement in the Mid West whose sons friends always came over to hang out on one of those cold, dismal winter days to hit and get winter off of their mind. It's uplifting to play what is usually a traditional summer sport, in the dead of winter. It really gets your mind off of the cold weather.
Our article on the strength of southern schools yesterday wasn't meant to be a slap in the face of northern programs and players...It was meant to say that northern players need to re-think their work habits. Youth and high school age baseball programs like the New England Ruffnecks are constantly keeping their players busy with off-season indoor practices, and work-outs. One of their facilities is the expansive Harvard Indoor Bubble (pictured above) as well as Babson College, Stonehill College, and Tufts University. It's no surprise that because of their dedication top off-season conditioning and baseball drills, a majority of their players go on to play D-I ball.
All it takes is a plan and the desire to implement it guys...A re-thinking of priorities. It IS easier for a California or Florida player to stay in game shape, because he is playing outdoor games scheduled through Christmas. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are the better athletes...just more seasoned players. But, a northern player can definitely close the gap with a strong regimen himself...that mimics the game day activities. And, if northern players compliment their winter baseball practices with their high schools off-season strength and conditioning program, they will spring into the baseball season fresh, and ready to play, no matter what the weather conditions.