At the beginning of this Corona crisis Bases Academy received a message inquiring about how we were going to protect the students and players of Bases Academy. This question was generated because of an ad we were running on Facebook promoting lessons from active College players at Bases Academy.
Our response of course was sensitive to the question, but also matter of fact; "our number one priority even in the healthiest of times, is the health and safety of our students and athletes!"
Fast forward to yesterday, I received a call from a parent, who began the conversation by telling me how his daughters mask just saved her (thankfully) from being in the hospital, (see video.)
Every pitchers parent will tell you that this is one of their biggest concerns. Todays technology has made the bats livelier, the balls firmer, making reaction time just milliseconds from the time the pitcher releases the ball, until its possible return.
The question comes up often regarding wearing masks. I will be the first to tell you that there was a point in my life where I wasn't a fan. Learn to use your glove and the mask isn't needed, I would say. But things have changed. The biggest change is the aforementioned technology. Bats and balls are hotter and reaction time for pitchers, and corner positions has been reduced dramatically.
Today, I encourage every pitcher to wear not only a mask, but some sort of chest and heart protection as well. In this photo you'll see a sample of an Evoshield heart and chest guard. They're not restrictive to the athlete and truly go unnoticed under the uniform. What they do provide is peace of mind for the parent and athlete. Please note that this isn't an endorsement of a particular brand, but rather just an encouragement to use this type of protection.
Masks at other positions. As I pointed out earlier, masks on the pitchers and corners where reaction time is limited, the use of them is understandable and encouraged at all levels.
That said, hopefully as the athlete progresses and their position takes them farther away from home plate, we as coaches can build into them the confidence of their glove.
Enjoy the game.
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Coach Monroe is owner of Bases Academy and an active College Coach