Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Quick Tip #44

Backyard Creativity

You can be creative in your own backyard. Years ago when all my peers in our Little League were buying equipment for their kids, I stood on the sidelines and watched. Many parents set up batting cages, bought nets, screens etc. Then I came up with an idea. I couldn't afford to buy this stuff but I wanted it just the same. I bought a 10X12 blue tarp from the home center along with 4 bicycle hooks and 4 bungie cords. I found two trees in my backyard and screwed in the hooks, took the bungie cords and hooked them onto the bicycle hooks and fit them perfectly into the little rings on each corner of the tarp. I created my own hitting net for under $30.00. My kids and I had a great time doing different drills like the toss drill and hitting off the batting tee into the tarp. I later perfected this and attached the tarp to the bottom of my deck and it worked just as well there. I invented games like putting a square within a square on the tarp using blue painters tape. We played a game trying to hit a "rag ball" (called it Rag Ball Home Run Derby) made up of rags covered with masking tape into the squares. If you hit the rag ball into the large square, it was a single, into the small square, a home run. Anywhere outside the square was an out. This was and is a great game. 

When I was a young kid, my oldest brother and I would play a game called "error" for hours. We took turns throwing a tennis ball on the roof of our house and staying close to the house had to react to catch the ball before it hit the ground. Tennis balls would get caught in the gutter from time to time but this game was great!
  If you have trees in your backyard, surely you have one that has a "v" going in at least two different directions. Start close and have your t-baller try to throw the ball without hitting the tree. Every time he succeeds, move back a few steps. 
  Don't let the price of some baseball and softball equipment keep you from practicing with your kids. Be creative! you don't need a huge amount of space and in fact if you are in the inner city, a flat wall works great with many drills!

Marty Schupak is President of the Youth Sports Club and T-Ball America. 

He also has a new blog called Schupak Sports.

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