With the Super Bowl ending football season and the basketball season nearly half done, athletes of a different ball are practicing for another season of America’s pastime.
On Jan. 29, SDSU finished its winter baseball camp in the Intramural Building, the last of a trio of three-hour day camps. The Barn was filled with young athletes honing their baseball skills across the old wooden floor, preparing for the much-anticipated upcoming season.
SDSU baseball camps, conducted by collegiate baseball players and coaches, have grown to be very popular over the years, attracting youth baseball enthusiasts from around the upper Mid West.
Areas of focus were pitching, defense, catching and batting. The goal of the instructors was to spend as much one on one time with each athlete as possible, so they could identify what area the campers needed to work on the most. The instructors work with elementary and high school athletes, so every player can get better in some aspect of the game.
SDSU’s baseball camps also help the athletes find a position that they are comfortable with and can greatly improve their skills.
One reason for the camp is to promote interest in younger players.
“I went to camps like this all the time when I was younger,” junior catcher Kyle Sytsma said. “It brings back lots of memories, and it’s nice to give back to the youth.”
The college players show the younger athletes examples of talent and sportsmanship, Sytsma said.
“It feels good to have younger players looking up to you,” he said.
To attend camp, the players must be at least 8 years old . And many players choose to continue attending the camp through high school.
“[This camp] is better than other baseball camps because it allows for a wider range of ages,” Sytsma said.
The SDSU baseball organization also uses the camps for the high school athletes as a recruiting tool.
“These camps give us an opportunity not only to help the kids with their skills, but also to see the upcoming talent in the area,” said Matt Duncan, assistant coach and camp coordinator. “The move to Division I has made the recruiting process harder because we can’t go out scouting until March 1, and these camps make it so we can scout some future prospects before the season starts.”