This week in Bear Valley Springs, young baseball players have the opportunity to drill and learn the finer points of playing baseball from nearly two dozen UCLA alumni baseball players. Many of these players went on to play on or coach professional or collegiate teams, and come this week as volunteers to coach the kids under the guidance of Head Coach Gary Adams.
Adams himself had a distinguished career as head baseball coach for UCLA for 30 years.
A Whiting Center program inviting sign-ups for the event said the coaches have decades of knowledge and experience to share. It highlighted their love of the game, and said teaching it is at the heart and soul of the camp.
Though sponsored by the Bear Valley Springs Whiting Center Youth Sports Program, situated in Bear Valley Springs, the four-day camp is open to all local youth as well as young players from out of the Tehachapi area. Eighty-one boys and girls signed up this year.
Monday was a day of introductions and team formation as players were divided into nine teams. Drills ensued. Some of the drills included the batter's stance, the batter's swing, base running and field activities such as ball throwing in from the outfield at various distances. Pitching stance and catching positions were also taught.
Tuesday was again a drill day, with all players going through a series of stations.
Wednesday will again be a drill day along with pointers from the coaches on the finer points of playing the game. It will end with “sliding in” practice. The coaches use a wet slip-and-slide mat for the players to actually practice sliding into a base.
The final day is Thursday, when the nine teams will have scrimmage games with fellow teammates.
Skills learned here are meant to be taken back to the participants' home baseball games. This is an annual event for players ages 7 to 14. Information on next year's camp can be found at www.BVSA.org.