Parents: How You Can Develop His Baseball Instincts?
Updated: May 12
Right now your son would be developing his instincts by playing games.
But because at the time of this writing we're in quarantine, your son like every other youth player, is not playing any games.
What if there was a way for your son to sharpen, develop, and accelerate his baseball instincts.... even though he's not playing right now?
If you son inherently enjoys baseball, then there's a way and it's not hard for him to do.
If your son has a natural interest in baseball, he's well-prepared to start developing his instincts today... and there's something you can do to help him with that!
Now that I'm a father of two, I see more of the wisdom that my parents had when raising me. I believe that a significant part of my development as an athlete and baseball player in particular, was that my dad helped me to become a student of the game.
Interesting fact! My dad did not play sports growing up. His knowledge came through books...blogs or websites like Athlete's Approach were not available when he was educating himself. He saw that I took an interest in baseball, read as much as he could, and did his best to teach me.
He helped me in my baseball career when I was a young child by buying me books about baseball. An all-time favorite was Ted Williams' The Science of Hitting.
He bought me biographies of baseball players like Bo Jackson and Hank Aaron. He even got me a Bo Jackson poster for my room.
One year for my birthday, he created board game for me. He took a wood board, painted a baseball field on it, bought baseball action figures, and that was it. It was the best gift I got that year.
I would use that board game growing up to imagine scenarios, move players around, and play baseball. I guess there's an app for that today!
As I grew older he would write reminders for me and tape it to my desk... phrases like, "Run hard on every play... head down on the ball.... get a good jump... be aggressive..."
Again, this was a goldmine for me because I loved the game.
Between the posters on my wall, the books in my shelf, the board game on another shelf, and the baseball reminders on my desk, I realized what my dad did.
He allowed me to engage with the game in different ways in different opportunities.
You can surround your son with opportunities to engage the game in different ways.
Video recording for replay
Watching games was so important for me growing up. Growing up in the 1980s, I did not have cable, so I was relegated to limited access of games when they aired on free channels. To increase my uptake of baseball viewing I would video record the games. You can imagine my VHS collection.
This was how I was able to watch baseball as much as I wanted, whether it was baseball season or not.
I remember watching players on the then California Angels and LA Dodgers and seeing guys make plays, watching situations unfold. Without realizing it, I found myself making similar decisions on the field after watching them on my ol' skool VHS tapes.
The key to developing instincts within in your son is showing him what's possible.
Watching baseball showed me what was possible with my potential and what was possible in the game. This was a mental game changer. The limits fail off and I was able to see myself performing at a higher level.
You can do that today for your son by giving him opportunities to engage the game.
Right now MLB.com is offering games to view for free.... lots of games in fact. Even if they remove this opportunity, your son can go on Youtube and search for full games and find some to watch.
The more he watches the game the more he's going to see what's possible and he's going to start seeing more than the average player his age.
Your Investment will yield a return.
All the investment my dad made in the camps, the books, the time he'd let me watch the same Dodgers vs Giants game that we recorded the year before, yielded a return on investment.
A couple of months ago I was catching up with the Detroit Tigers scout that signed me out of Princeton University in 2004. He recalled a play I made that he saw when scouting me and remembered how he was impressed with my instincts on that particular play. He said the average player would not have made the decision I made.
I attribute my baseball instincts to the environment at Princeton because it was a great place for me to develop. But I also attribute it to my dad making an investment in my knowledge of the game, surrounding me with different ways to consume, engage, and experience the game, all of which helped me discover what was possible.
You can do the same thing today for your son.
And he can start experiencing what's possible for himself.
If this resonated with you at all and you thought of someone that could benefit from reading this post, please share it with them right now.