The value of training camps, prospect camps, and other events gathered under the category of “clinics” can be both confusing and misleading all at the same time. Add to the fact that it can cost a lot of dough makes the experience of assuming benefits verses the actual attendance an iffy situation at best.
So here’s some advice that might help ,… again might help.
Let’s say that your 6 years old and you’re thinking about enrolling in a college prospect camp on your nearest D1 campus. On the other hand, let’s say that your 18 years old, a varsity pitcher with a 12 and 0 record, and you’re thinking about enrolling in a baseball camp for T-ball.
The examples above are, with out a doubt extremes cases, but they should drive home a few points to consider when thinking about attending ANY event with the title of “ clinic “ attached to it.
If you’re looking the basic development in a structured way that takes you by the hand (literally) and guides you step by step, then a Basics Course is for you. You will be shown how to properly hold the ball in your glove, how and when to position yourself on the mound for both legal positions, what a baulk is basically, how to field a ball that in your range of field, basic pickoff moves, how to basically backup certain plays,
and other fielding generalities. Notice I didn’t mention mechanics here – not yet. If pitching mechanics are to be covered with any degree of depth, your going to get a “one size fits all” demonstration. And more often than not, you’re going to get a snapshot in time from the experiences of the coach or demonstrator whose showing you. If he/they were coached in a certain method that was in style during their progression in the sport – that’s what you’re going to get. And if you’re standing next to a guy whose 5’5” and tips the scale at 300 pounds … you and he will be doing the exact same thing(s). These Basic Course clinics are not designed to improve your competitive tools or enhance your skills to the next level – if that’s what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for skill enhancement clinics then you want a tailored approach to individuals in attendance and you want that stated up front and … HOW MUCH TIME IS DEVOTED TO ME. You don’t want to be put in a line, told to act this way, then act that way, then told to hold your hands this way, etc.. The bottom line at these events is to show what you got, then let someone whose credentials are worth your time and money explain how you can use what you’re already have to get better and more consistent. Which by the way is the purpose for attending these kind of events in the first place. And for the money spent – you should see results THERE… not just months down the road after you leave.
There are some events that try to cram a ton of baseball savvy into one day or a series of days. For example, some topics may be base running, fielding techniques, the art of bunting, and game scenarios. If that’s important to you and you’re “cost benefit” attendance .. so be it. If on the other hand your primarily interested in the art of pitching.. well then there’s some give and take justification to hash out.
I should note that not all clinics are primarily designed to address the basics or skill enhancements. Some events that are titled as clinics are really showcases or prospect events. Some colleges and universities hold these events as a way of seeing whose hot and really serious about a baseball career – without sending an platoon of scouts and recruiters on an extended road trip.
So, when considering any event first consider the contents of the events and your needs. And don’t let insecurity be a swaying factor. Knowing the difference between needing more playing time to develop verses the cost of a clinic with an itinerary that your not sure of is fundamental to good planning. Be specific in what you know you need to improve .. don’t guess. If your not sure … ask any coach at the next level for an opinion. I do it all the time … it’s one of the reasons why I am a coach. And I …like my counterparts at your level, are more than happy to observe and
suggest. It’s what we do.
Any questions about what I’ve tried to explain, please ask.