PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic Peninsula’s original boys of summer are waiting to take the diamond in some form at some point, and to prepare for that possibility, Wilder Baseball Club has introduced a daily accountability training program for players to work on at home.
“We have a bunch of kids stuck at home for a long time now,” Wilder head coach Zac Moore said. “I got the idea from [Port Angeles boys basketball coach] Kasey Ulin. He’s had 17 or 18 kids who have adopted an accountability training program where they call, text or post in their daily workouts. We are hoping to get 30-40 kids because we have two teams and keep their minds on sports and take care of themselves.”
The plan, Moore said, is to start today with a focus on both the mental and physical aspects of the sport and prepare for the moment when the sporting world is deemed safe to reopen.
Accountability sessions will continue throughout the month of May.
“We’re going to have the kids read and discuss the book 10 Minute Toughness by Jason Selk,” Moore said. Selk is a performance coach who served as the St. Louis Cardinals’ Director of Mental Training when the franchise won the 2006 World Series title and also has worked with athletes across the amateur and professional sporting landscape.
Moore said the book helps athletes develop a mental plan of attack before even setting foot on the field.
“We are also going to do some baseball-related workouts and give them some directions and things to do each day,” Moore said. “Workouts will probably be 15-20 minutes a day, using J-Bands [resistance training to strengthen arms] or doing something to help the rotator cuff, or the elbow.
“One of our assistant coaches [Daniel Pitz] is a physical therapist at Peak Performance Therapy Center in Sequim and Daniel is getting workouts prepared. And we are going to have some area college coaches interacting with the kids online.”
And Moore is hoping that the program will get family members outside throwing the ball around the yard.
“We’re hoping there are some dads or brothers willing to play catch with them or help take photos or videos of them completing their workouts,” Moore said.
“Our whole goal is to try to get the kids throwing earlier. Kids are behind the eight-ball. Get them outside and motivated. Even if they don’t make the team, even if we can’t have a team this summer, being able to build themselves mentally and physically will go a long way for those who are joining a junior college program or next year in high school.
“Our whole coaching staff is committed to player development and we are devoted to teaching these kids that if you really want to be good at baseball, it’s in the preparation. This will make you better when you play high school baseball or show up at a JC. You just have to take responsibility for your actions before the season even starts.”
There will be rewards of equipment, gift certificates to area businesses and some other prizes for players who take the training program seriously, Moore said.
No perfect system
If Wilder is able to come together for practices or even play games against out-of-area competition, that’s as far as the season will go as the American Legion canceled all eight regional tournaments and the American Legion World Series on April 7.
As states begin to relax certain recreation restrictions, Moore is hopeful for a return of team sports, even in smaller groups.
Some counties in Northern California plan to allow recreation for groups and teams of 12 children or less this month in certain settings and Moore said he would appreciate seeing a similar move occur in our state as soon as public health experts allow.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected].