ND elementary baseball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 8, 2007

ND introduces elementary intramural baseball

North Delta School recently began intramural baseball, a new sports program for elementary school boys ages 5 through fourth grade who attend North Delta School. More than 40 students are participating in the new program.

The program has a heavy emphasis on the instruction of fundamentals and is the collaboration of dads/volunteers Cooper Lewis and John Howell Jr. The two baseball enthusiasts noticed disturbing trends among young athletes—baseball burnout and heavy pressure on winning at the expense of learning fundamentals—and put this intramural program into motion to address the problem.

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The broad goals of the program are as follows:

-To strengthen the bond between students and their school and coaches

-To lower the “burnout” rate currently seen among teens by lowering the stress on players in the early years of baseball. Emphasis will be shifted from winning a Little League title to learning the proper fundamentals of baseball in a fun-but-disciplined environment.

-To give young players the opportunity to learn multiple positions at an early age.

-To offer a baseball program that does not conflict with a student’s school schedule.

The intramural program fits into the larger plan for baseball at the school, which calls for increased developmental work in the middle school and junior high, as well as the launching of Green Wave traveling summer teams that will enable the athletes to enter the competitive realm at an appropriate age and after learning the appropriate skills. The school will be announcing the hiring of a new assistant baseball coach in May who will be working to oversee the middle school and junior high development of players.

“We are off to a great start with the intramural program,” said Howell, who serves as an administrator at North Delta. “It is amazing how much children can learn when the emphasis is on teaching fundamentals. We have also enjoyed strong parental support for the program.”

Games are played on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings on the school’s girls’ softball field, which is equipped with a portable mound to make the transition from softball to baseball.

Several dads also assist with the program, especially on practice days when the players are divided into small groups and run various baseball drills.

See page B3 for teams.