New London boys learn to focus
By Scott Bellile
During their developmental years, a crucial discipline for wannabe-Major League Baseball players to learn is concentration.
Enter Bulldog Baseball Summer Camp, where one minute a seven-year-old boys practices T-ball drills attentively, and the next he loses focus and balances a bat on his palm or starts a baseball bat swordfight.
New London High School baseball coach and camp leader Tom Frederick walks a fine line between disciplining and discouraging his young batters. He responds to the mischief with a quick lecture on behaving like adults. Just like that the youngsters snap back into game mode.
For five Wednesday mornings in June and July, Frederick and high school baseball players teach throwing, hitting and pitching to children ages 7 to 10 at Pfeifer Park and kids ages 11 to 14 at Hatten Park.
The camp, now in its second year, mixes in the school district’s “Bulldogs of Character” lessons on traits such as responsibility, trustworthiness and self-discipline for the 40 participants.
“We break down each skill, talk about the mechanics of the skill, have the high school players demonstrate the skill and then have the campers work on improving themselves on that skill,” Frederick said. “We also incorporate some fun, competitive activities on each day.”
On July 1, for example, kids in the 7 to 10 group stepped into batting cages where the teens evaluated their hits and offered feedback. The session concluded with a dizzy bat race where boys sprinted to a bat, pressed their foreheads against the knob and spun in five circles before dashing back to their teams. Racers were all smiles and nobody got sick.
“I really enjoy seeing how our high school players interact with the kids,” Frederick said. “I think that having our high school kids work at these camps is a great learning experience for them. The campers seem to love everything that is competitive.”