How to Look for Mentors and Coaches for Baseball Training

It’s important to get a good solid athletic training right from the start, and that goes for any sport.

Coaches will admit that too much time is spent on young athletes un-learning some of the bad habits they developed by training incorrectly early on in their sport. Helping a young burgeoning athlete start off correctly is the best way for them to progress in the sport.

The Santa Monica Baseball Academy is now open for their summer camp for all levels of baseball expertise for ages 7 to 17. Their camps start at June 17 and run through Aug. 17, and run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. Financial aid is available, check here for their registration:

Look for Inclusiveness

The Santa Monica Baseball Academy, formed in 2017, as part of the City of Santa Monica Community Camp organizations, is a professional development baseball camp that is a good model for what to look for when researching summer camps.

Does the training camp exclude anyone? Having a good mix of colleagues on a team helps with camaraderie and teamwork.

More and more camps are co-ed, and SMBA is an example of a progressive instructional youth baseball and softball program that allows boys and girls. The age range is from 12 to 17 years old, but the coaches also work with younger children who show interest and promising athletic abilities.

Checking Out Credentials

The SMBA offers instruction for all levels of students, from the beginner to the serious young athlete who may have a shot at a college level or professional career. Many scholarships to colleges can be provided through baseball.

Simple Internet searches can offer credentials and history of those teaching your children. Look for history, and how they’ve worked with children. At SMBA, many of the coaches were professional baseball players in their day, and all of them have a history of training young people. Some of them have even developed their own style of training.

For example, Dr. David Meyer was the rehab and medical coordinator for the St. Louis Cardinals and founder of Pipeline Performance, a program that helps professional athletes, especially those who have suffered injuries and need to get back into the game.

Pitcher Erneso Frieri played with the Padres and the Angels and Frank “Doc” Estes played with the Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, and is now a hitting instructor at Lynwood High School. Justin Marzett is a two-time Most Valuable Player at Locke High School and Coliseum League MVP in 2011 as well as a Southern California All-Wave Team member. He’s a highly-regarded recruit with a .431 batting average who is willing and able to transfer his knowledge to young players.

Coach Murphy Su’a, who is the West Los Angeles College head baseball coach, joined SMBA as a coach to reinforce fundamentals of the game and advanced concepts of youth baseball in a friendly environment. He has a strong emphasis on instruction and skill development.

Covering all Bases

This means look to see if the core curriculum also includes fitness, not only hitting and catching.

SMBA uses the Deuce Athletics program, which created a conditioning program called Project Speed to empower motivated athletes. It teaches the young athletes basic skills to strengthen and condition the muscles. It involves warm-ups, spring techniques and an overview of athleticism and secrets for playing on the diamond to help athletes with speed workouts, and how to stay aware of everything as they are playing.

They also use Jaeger Sports training, and that optimizes performance through arm conditioning and mental training. Read more about the arm health and care program at: Jaeger Sports Mental Training

Do the drills at the prospective camp include such areas such as stance, backhands, double plays, bunt coverage, foot work, ground balls, fly balls, rundowns, and situational play? Make sure the training is thorough.

UCLA All-American and LA Dodger pitcher Tim Leary came out to teach the students how to throw a proper Circle Change-Up Pitch at the SMBA camp recently. He explained the kind of pitches he used as the 1988 World Series pitcher, and showed them all some simple techniques they could use in their game.

Corey Blount, an assistant coach at Crossroads School of Santa Monica, is a certified personal trainer at the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has trained athletes in soccer, football, bodybuilding, marathon racing, dancing and baseball. He has a passion for helping youth achieve their fitness goals while helping to take their game to the next level.

Keeping Stats and History

The SMBA showcase camp insists on charting the progress of every one of the camp member.  They will mark improvements in different skill sets, and identify areas that need improvement.

Coach Avery Ware spent many years coaching at SMBA and Brentwood High School as a youth coach and led his players to great victors and success. He noted how important it was to keep track of your game, and chart your progress and areas that need beefing up.

The SMBA mssion is: “To develop young athletes, to ensure athletic and personal development in a positive and safe environment with a team of positive-minded coaches that respect the game, the players and the communities in which they reside.”

Keeping it Fun

Of course, training can be fun, too.

At SMBA, Wednesday is the Team Day when all players can wear their favorite team’s hat or jersey. On the Friday before Father’s Day is a Father/Son game that allows dad’s to play on the team.

Look to see if the training is positive, and develops strong, confident players in a fun, competitive atmosphere. And are the coaches available outside the camp time for private training if necessary? All these are things to consider.

“We are a place of learning, development and we think the sport of baseball and softball is serious fun for everyone that participates,” said Wes Terry, the SMBA Athletic Director. “Our goal is to develop our young athletes into capable and accomplished players who enjoy the game on and off the field.”

Sportamix connected with Santa Monica Baseball Academy and encouraging their players to record their progress on the website. 

Check out the curriculum, costs and sign up at:

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