Sunday, April 01, 2007


Tomorrow afternoon in Kansas City, the Boston Red Sox play their first game against the Royals. This is a big deal in Boston- it's the same week as Easter and Passover, so you get the three most important religious holidays in one swoop this year. I have no predictions this year, but I'm very excited to see Dice-K, their new Japanese pitching phenom, and just to see baseball in general.

One interesting wrinkle in this year' season thus far has been Boston pitcher/gamer/loudmouth Curt Schilling's blog Schilling is smart, articulate, and opinionated- on other words the perfect blogger. That said, his Q & As, especially about pitching, are really interesting. One thing he said recently that I thought was interesting, about training kids to pitch:

One thing I think about when you are talking about young kids and learning the game, learning fundamentals. The ball kids play with weighs too much. Take a major league ball vs the weight of the player throwing it. The ball kids use is not much different in size and weight but the player throwing it is vastly smaller and lighter. One of the things I did when I was young was, and my father taught me this way, to learn to throw using a tennis ball. The weight of a baseball is, in my opinion, way too heavy for 5-10 year old kids to learn proper throwing mechanics and fundamentals with. I watched this very thing with my first son. Gehrig’s throwing mechanics are perfect for a young kid, when he’s throwing a tennis ball, when you put a baseball in their hands the weight drags the hand down below the slot they’d normally be throwing in and I think that causes a lot of unnecessary strain way too early. Kids have to almost ‘heave’ a baseball, which starts teaching them poor mechanics from day one. Put a tennis ball in their hands and the motion becomes the focus, not the strain of actually throwing the object.

I wish this worked teaching instruments. I have several kids who are a little too small for their horns, and it's a bigger impediment than any of the usual 10-year old stuff. (which, of course, they often have too) On the other hand, I've tried teaching clarinet from the smaller Eb model to a very little kid, and that doesn't work either- for those who don't play, the smaller the horn, generally the more resistance you hit as a player, and certainly the harder it is to tune. Maybe someday I'll design a kid-friendly saxophone like the curved flutes little ones use. More likely not, but...

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