Home Run Robber: A Fun Baseball Drill For Young Outfielders

I want you to use your imagination and read the next few lines with the voice of your favorite baseball play-by-play announcer in your head. Cool? OK…go!

“[INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] steps to the plate. It’s the bottom of the ninth. Two down. The tying run is on first base. A home run would win the game. Here’s the pitch…..Swing and a long one! This ball’s got a chance. It’s high. It’s deep. It’s gone! A game-winning homer! I don’t believe what I just saw. Holy cow!”

You’ve been there. I know you have.

Every guy who grew up playing sports has pretended to hit the game winning homer. But have you ever pretended to make the game saving catch?

It’s just as exhilarating. Here, I’ll show you. Imagine that you’re playing center field in the biggest game of your life. Now get that play-by-play voice back in your head. Got it? OK…go!

“It’s the bottom of the ninth. Two down. The tying run is on first base. A home run would win the game. Here’s the pitch…..Swing and a long one! This ball’s got a chance. It’s high. It’s deep. It’s….caught! He caught it! The center fielder scaled the wall to make an unbelievable, game saving catch! I don’t believe what I just saw. Holy cow!”

Equal awesomeness, right?

That’s the idea behind a game I recently started playing with my boys. I call it “Home Run Robber.” They call it, fun!

It’s Super Easy
All you do is:

  • Have your son stand near a fence (make sure it’s not a chain-link fence with a sharp top)
  • Stand about 20-40 feet away and toss balls that will barely creep over the fence, if he doesn’t catch them or get a glove on them

That’s it. It may take a few tosses for you to get the distance down. But once you get it, you’ll find that you can get into a rhythm and make pretty consistent tosses right at the top of the fence.

(TIP: I use a soft/rubbery baseball. That way if they misjudge the ball or mistime their leap and the ball conks them in the head, it doesn’t hurt. :>) A tennis ball also works.)

:30 Second Highlight Reel
Watch this quick video I threw together that shows my 6-year old (Brayden) scaling the fence in our backyard to make some awesome game saving catches.

Why This Game Is Awesome
Home Run Robber is a great game to play with your son for many reasons.

  • It’s FUN
  • It teaches him how to go back on a fly ball
  • It teaches him to focus on the ball, even when there’s a distraction (like a fence) near him
  • It’s FUN
  • It teaches him to squeeze his glove closed when the ball hits the pocket
  • It emphasizes defense as an important (& fun) part of the game (defense is boring to some kids)
  • It’s FUN

As you can see, the best reason to play this game is the fun factor. Sure it’s a great baseball drill for outfielders, and it helps kids learn how to catch a fly ball. But the most important thing is that it’s a fun game for you and your son to play together.

More Fun To Come
Stay tuned to SportsDadHub.com for more fun sports drills and games you can play with your son. Become a subscriber. Then you’ll never miss a new post or game.

What fun games and drills do you play with your son. Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

-Kevin

Water Balloon Ball: A Fun Way For Kids To Beat The Heat

Sports Dad Hub

The Heat can be such a menacing punk. Last Sunday, it acted like a big bully. It tried to intimidate us. It tried to ruin any outdoor fun. It stared us down with a cloudless, skin-searing gaze from a cyclops-like sun.

When we opened the front door and stepped outside, The Heat sucker punched us right in the chest. The bastard stole our breath away like it was lunch money. The Heat tried to shove us back into our climate controlled house, like a freshman into a locker.

But we resisted.

To counter our resistance The Heat denied us even the slightest breeze that would have offered a second or two of relief. Then it tag-teamed with its evil sidekick, Humidity. Together The Heat and Humidity showed no mercy.

But you know what we did? Yeah that’s right. We beat The Heat and Humidity. Only, we didn’t just beat them. We knocked the crap out of them and laughed in their pathetic, dejected faces!

How? With a little help from their kryptonite…cold water. More specifically, water balloons…….and a Wiffle Ball bat. Not exactly a natural combination, I know. But when you’ve got three boys obsessed with playing sports outside, (and no pool) you’ve got to get creative. (And maybe a little over dramatic with your storytelling ;>)

Check out this video to see how you too, can give The Heat and Humidity the beat down they deserve this summer.

The boys had a blast with this fun hot weather activity. I bet your kids will, too!

As you can see in the video, I put a tarp and sheet down behind them so that some of the balloons that they missed wouldn’t pop on the grass. It worked pretty well. Would have been better on a more level surface. Some of the water balloons rolled off the tarp and popped on the grass anyway.

If you give this a try with your kids (you know you want to ;>), let me know how they like it.

Do you have another creative and fun way for kids to beat The Heat? Let me know if the comments or on the Sports Dad Hub Facebook page.

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Thanks for reading. Stay cool!
-Kevin

Does Your Neighborhood Influence Your Son’s Passion For Sports?

Can your neighborhood influence your son's passion for sports?

How much does your neighborhood and your son’s friends influence his passion for sports? Can those factors also determine which sports he’s passionate about?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Like every time I come home from work and my boys are outside playing sports with their neighborhood buddies.

The first house my wife (Kim) and I owned was on a semi busy street, and there weren’t any other young kids around. 

Five years ago we moved to a house on a big, oval-shaped cul-de-sac that’s packed full of kids. The kids play sports so much, that it’s like having a mini rec league outside our front door. It’s awesome. 

I often wonder if my three boys (ages 9, 6 & 5) would love sports as much if Kim and I would have stayed in that first house.  Or, what if all the kids on our current cul-de-sac were video game junkies? Would my kids be passionate about playing sports on XBox or Wii instead of actually playing sports?   

A Passion That May Have Gone Undiscovered

I’m pretty sure of one thing. If we didn’t live where we do now, my boys wouldn’t be playing ice hockey. They love ice hockey and I have our neighbors to thank for that. What began as street hockey with the neighborhood kids, evolved into roller hockey in the street. Once they learned how to in-line skate, they wanted to try ice skating. After a few open skate sessions they begged to try ice hockey. Once they tried it, they were hooked.

Give Them a Chance to Discover Their Passions

After my boys discovered a love of ice hockey, I came to a realization. I need to introduce them to as many sports as possible, because who knows what they’ll like. I can’t rely on what they play in the neighborhood.

I think a lot of parents have a tendency to get their kids involved in the same sports that they played when they were kids. (I’m no different.) Probably because it’s more comfortable to do things you’re familiar with. Hockey is the perfect example. I never played ice hockey when I was a kid. So I’m not sure I would have introduced the boys to it if they wouldn’t have shown a huge interest.

Can’t Do Everything

When I see how much they love playing hockey, it kind of freaks me out to think that they could have easily missed the chance to discover something they love. If we didn’t live in a neighborhood that introduced them to the sport, they wouldn’t know any different.

Being a parent is such a huge responsibility in so many ways. It’s pretty damn intimidating to think that how you guide your kids and what you expose them to can affect what and who they become.

What if my boys’ ultimate sports passion and talent is still out there waiting to be discovered? How the heck can I help them find it? They all love hockey, but could one of them love lacrosse even more?

What We Can Learn

So what can we learn from all this? Hell if I know! I’m the guy who began this post with a question in the first place. Remember?

Seriously though. My key take away from all this is that I should try to introduce my boys to as many sports as I can. I shouldn’t let our immediate environment influence what sports they play. For example, just because we don’t have a neighborhood tennis court, that shouldn’t stop me from driving my boys to a local park and introducing the game to them. Who knows. They may love it.

What Do You Think?

Has your neighborhood had an influence on your son’s passion for sports?

Share your experience in the comments below or on Twitter @SportsDadHub.

Thanks for reading,

-Kevin

Baseball or kickball? It doesn’t matter in our neighborhood. If it’s a sport, it will be played!

Does Your Neighborhood Influence Your Son's Passion For Sports?

Can your neighborhood influence your son's passion for sports?

How much does your neighborhood and your son’s friends influence his passion for sports? Can those factors also determine which sports he’s passionate about?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Like every time I come home from work and my boys are outside playing sports with their neighborhood buddies.

The first house my wife (Kim) and I owned was on a semi busy street, and there weren’t any other young kids around. 

Five years ago we moved to a house on a big, oval-shaped cul-de-sac that’s packed full of kids. The kids play sports so much, that it’s like having a mini rec league outside our front door. It’s awesome. 

I often wonder if my three boys (ages 9, 6 & 5) would love sports as much if Kim and I would have stayed in that first house.  Or, what if all the kids on our current cul-de-sac were video game junkies? Would my kids be passionate about playing sports on XBox or Wii instead of actually playing sports?   

A Passion That May Have Gone Undiscovered

I’m pretty sure of one thing. If we didn’t live where we do now, my boys wouldn’t be playing ice hockey. They love ice hockey and I have our neighbors to thank for that. What began as street hockey with the neighborhood kids, evolved into roller hockey in the street. Once they learned how to in-line skate, they wanted to try ice skating. After a few open skate sessions they begged to try ice hockey. Once they tried it, they were hooked.

Give Them a Chance to Discover Their Passions

After my boys discovered a love of ice hockey, I came to a realization. I need to introduce them to as many sports as possible, because who knows what they’ll like. I can’t rely on what they play in the neighborhood.

I think a lot of parents have a tendency to get their kids involved in the same sports that they played when they were kids. (I’m no different.) Probably because it’s more comfortable to do things you’re familiar with. Hockey is the perfect example. I never played ice hockey when I was a kid. So I’m not sure I would have introduced the boys to it if they wouldn’t have shown a huge interest.

Can’t Do Everything

When I see how much they love playing hockey, it kind of freaks me out to think that they could have easily missed the chance to discover something they love. If we didn’t live in a neighborhood that introduced them to the sport, they wouldn’t know any different.

Being a parent is such a huge responsibility in so many ways. It’s pretty damn intimidating to think that how you guide your kids and what you expose them to can affect what and who they become.

What if my boys’ ultimate sports passion and talent is still out there waiting to be discovered? How the heck can I help them find it? They all love hockey, but could one of them love lacrosse even more?

What We Can Learn

So what can we learn from all this? Hell if I know! I’m the guy who began this post with a question in the first place. Remember?

Seriously though. My key take away from all this is that I should try to introduce my boys to as many sports as I can. I shouldn’t let our immediate environment influence what sports they play. For example, just because we don’t have a neighborhood tennis court, that shouldn’t stop me from driving my boys to a local park and introducing the game to them. Who knows. They may love it.

What Do You Think?

Has your neighborhood had an influence on your son’s passion for sports?

Share your experience in the comments below or on Twitter @SportsDadHub.

Thanks for reading,

-Kevin

Baseball or kickball? It doesn’t matter in our neighborhood. If it’s a sport, it will be played!

Wiffle Ball & Backyard Ground Rules

“If it lands in the pool it’s an out.”

“If it goes over the powerline it’s a home run.”

“If it lands in that big bush in the corner it’s a ground rule double.”

Those were the three main Wiffle Ball ground rules from my backyard when I was a kid. If you played Wiffle Ball growing up, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Every backyard has its own set of unique ground rules for Wiffle Ball.

No Parents Allowed
Backyard ground rules are one of the first sets of rules kids can create and establish themselves. There are no parents involved in the creation of backyard ground rules. Well, unless of course one of the rules you have to create involves avoiding potential trouble with said parents.

For example: One rule at my friend’s house was that if you hit the house on a fly, you were out. Over the roof was a home run, and anything  on the ground was fine. His parent’s didn’t like us peppering the side of their home with line drives. The way his yard was set up, we were forced to hit the ball towards his house instead of into a neighboring yard. The neighboring yard had two big dogs that could tear through a plastic Wiffle Ball like it was made out of paper.

Home Field Advantage
The more Wiffle Ball you played on your home field, the more of a home field advantage you developed when your friends would come over to play. I can remember perfecting my opposite field stroke just so I could hit balls into the big bush in the left field corner of our yard. And even though it was a terrible habit to develop, my buddy had hitting pop flies onto his roof down to a science.

“From Now On”
Another great thing about backyard ground rules is that you can choose to establish new rules any time you want. As in, “OK. From now on, if a ball hits the backboard of the basketball hoop, it’s an automatic grand slam.”

If you have any hope of implementing a new rule mid-game, it cannot clearly benefit your team. If it does, it’s all over. The other team will protest and the game will be over. Mid-game ground rules have ended many a good Wiffle Ball battle.

Street Ball
My boys have a unique situation. Our backyard isn’t very conducive to playing sports. (As you can see in the photos.) It’s only level in one small area, there’s a big deck and it backs up to woods. Luckily, we live on a long, oval-shaped cul-de-sac that offers a nice wide open space to play any sport they want. The only downfall to that is that they don’t have the chance to develop backyard ground rules.

Sometimes it gets a little crazy when all the kids in the neighborhood try to play a game in the street. Mainly because each kid follows their natural child instinct to create and enforce ground rules. But the trouble with playing ball in the street is that no one has overriding jurisdiction to establish rules. And let’s face it, without rules, there’s chaos.


Unforgettable
I don’t know about you, but I can still remember the ground rules of every backyard I played in when I was a kid. I can’t remember how in the hell to do fractions. But I could show up in a backyard that I haven’t stepped foot in for more than 20 years and recite every single ground rule.

Do you still remember the backyard ground rules from when you were a kid? Share them in the comments or on Twitter @SportsDadHub.
Have your kids established any rules for your backyard yet? If not, encourage them to create some this weekend!

Thanks for reading,
-Kevin

 

 

 

 

Wiffle Ball & Backyard Ground Rules

“If it lands in the pool it’s an out.”

“If it goes over the powerline it’s a home run.”

“If it lands in that big bush in the corner it’s a ground rule double.”

Those were the three main Wiffle Ball ground rules from my backyard when I was a kid. If you played Wiffle Ball growing up, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Every backyard has its own set of unique ground rules for Wiffle Ball.

No Parents Allowed
Backyard ground rules are one of the first sets of rules kids can create and establish themselves. There are no parents involved in the creation of backyard ground rules. Well, unless of course one of the rules you have to create involves avoiding potential trouble with said parents.

For example: One rule at my friend’s house was that if you hit the house on a fly, you were out. Over the roof was a home run, and anything  on the ground was fine. His parent’s didn’t like us peppering the side of their home with line drives. The way his yard was set up, we were forced to hit the ball towards his house instead of into a neighboring yard. The neighboring yard had two big dogs that could tear through a plastic Wiffle Ball like it was made out of paper.

Home Field Advantage
The more Wiffle Ball you played on your home field, the more of a home field advantage you developed when your friends would come over to play. I can remember perfecting my opposite field stroke just so I could hit balls into the big bush in the left field corner of our yard. And even though it was a terrible habit to develop, my buddy had hitting pop flies onto his roof down to a science.

“From Now On”
Another great thing about backyard ground rules is that you can choose to establish new rules any time you want. As in, “OK. From now on, if a ball hits the backboard of the basketball hoop, it’s an automatic grand slam.”

If you have any hope of implementing a new rule mid-game, it cannot clearly benefit your team. If it does, it’s all over. The other team will protest and the game will be over. Mid-game ground rules have ended many a good Wiffle Ball battle.

Street Ball
My boys have a unique situation. Our backyard isn’t very conducive to playing sports. (As you can see in the photos.) It’s only level in one small area, there’s a big deck and it backs up to woods. Luckily, we live on a long, oval-shaped cul-de-sac that offers a nice wide open space to play any sport they want. The only downfall to that is that they don’t have the chance to develop backyard ground rules.

Sometimes it gets a little crazy when all the kids in the neighborhood try to play a game in the street. Mainly because each kid follows their natural child instinct to create and enforce ground rules. But the trouble with playing ball in the street is that no one has overriding jurisdiction to establish rules. And let’s face it, without rules, there’s chaos.


Unforgettable
I don’t know about you, but I can still remember the ground rules of every backyard I played in when I was a kid. I can’t remember how in the hell to do fractions. But I could show up in a backyard that I haven’t stepped foot in for more than 20 years and recite every single ground rule.

Do you still remember the backyard ground rules from when you were a kid? Share them in the comments or on Twitter @SportsDadHub.
Have your kids established any rules for your backyard yet? If not, encourage them to create some this weekend!

Thanks for reading,
-Kevin