By Brandon HENSLEY
With a successful first season at Village Christian School behind him, Chris Casey will be holding a baseball camp later this month centered on the science of hitting.
The camp will be held July 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tujunga Little League Field, and will be led by Casey and some of his Crusader staff, including Michael Valadez, who has played professionally.
“We want kids to learn the techniques of hitting correctly. A lot of times … you have to unravel tendencies in hitting. Bad habits are taught,” Casey said.
Casey, who has years of experience coaching youth leagues and assisting at the high school level throughout the La Crescenta and Glendale areas, took charge of the Crusader varsity squad last season. The team won a league championship and advanced to the second round in CIF Division II. Casey feels like his program’s approach to hitting helped Village compete against ostensibly tougher competition.
“We could compete with these big-time programs. We were effective, we were good at situational hitting,” he said. “You scout some of the other players, and you realize they can’t hit a curveball or a slider. They couldn’t adjust.”
The camp, open to kids ages 6 to 14, will provide multiple approaches on how to improve hitting, including instruction on footwork and hand position. Casey is also a fan of using orange traffic cones for players to hit off tees. There will be both cones and regular tees used at the camp.
“Most kids in high school, until they get to the varsity level, beat the crap out of these tees. If you bang on that orange cone, it’s durable,” he said. “These cones will last forever.”
He said the cones will be used at different places in the strike zone, so players will be able to practice where to hit the ball, be it left field or right field or anywhere else. Coaches will also use balls with different weight. That way, when players feel the strain of hitting heavy balls, they can then hit tennis balls, which Casey said can boost confidence.
The one-day hitting camp costs $125, which covers lunch, drinks and a T-shirt. Players are encouraged to bring water, a bat and a glove, and to wear baseball pants if possible.
Tujunga Little League Field is located at 11950 Big Tujunga Canyon Road in Sunland. To register, visit the athletics page at villagechristian.org, or contact Casey at email@example.com with any questions.