The Duncan Banner
For years, former Duncan baseball player Tyler Wilkins had hoped to make it happen. The chance to work with the next generation of Duncan baseball players and teach them the ins and out of the game at a local baseball camp.
This week, that vision has come to fruition.
Wilkins and fellow former Demons Trent Wilkins, Kale and Christian Thaxton, Dillon Stanley and others have led the way as instructors at the first ever All-State Baseball Camp at Abe Raizen, which started Monday morning and will continue through Thursday.
“It’s been fun, we’ve had a great turnout. The kids are having a great time and we’re having fun teaching them a thing or two about the game,” Tyler Wilkins said. “It’s rewarding to see someone improve and better their game and that’s something I think has happened as the week’s gone on.”
The focus of the camp, which teaches age groups 7-11 and 12-15, has been fundamentals in all aspects of the game, something Stanley said is something even players at the college level have to practice consistently.
“The majority of it is fundamental stuff, the mechanics of hitting, base running, some of the guys worked on pitching,” Stanley said. “We all still work on those kind of things. You cant really get enough of it. So many of these kids have continued to get better each day.”
Participants in the 7-11 year old group started the day with hitting and fielding drills and came together at the end to play an elimination style game where campers had to field ground ball until the last man standing was crowned the winner.
It takes a certain style of coaching to work with younger players and the camp instructors have had no trouble embarking the task at hand. To keep the groups focused, the camp leaders chose a word of the day to be embraced by the players. Wednesdays word was “attitude.”
“You don’t want to be overly detailed with the younger kids,” Tyler Wilkins said. “You try to keep it general and make sure everyone’s keeping a good attitude.”
Each of the instructors, all either former, present or current college baseball players, have gotten the chance to teach about the position they’ve played the most.
Tyler works with the catchers, Dillon and Christian have teamed up to teach infielders and pitchers while Trent and Kale have instructed outfielders.