Friday, July 16, 2010

Square Up!

"Square up Buddy" I told Lukas as he held the stubby blue foam bat that we had just bought him from the local toy store. At the time he was again nearly facing me.

I had just taught him how to properly position his hands on the handle of the bat, how to hold it slightly upright and behind him, and where to position his feet so that they were properly spread apart and at a 90 degree angle from me.

After thinking it over for a couple of seconds he obliged, as I stood maybe 10 feet away from him with a matching foam blue ball in my hand.

The ball was about the size of a large juicy apple.

Then as he looked intently at me, feet now in position, I tossed the ball underhand towards him. It was difficult to gauge how much force to deliver it with, not knowing quite how he would react to it's approach. The ball sailed wide and short of the intended air about 18 inches in front of his stomach. It wouldn't have mattered though, as he started his swing much to late. It was a swing that resembled a logger chopping at a block of wood.
We tried again. My next throw was much closer to where it needed to be, but this time Luke's swing was completed before the ball ever arrived. I hadn't realized I had such an awesome change up.

We persevered, trying over and over again. Each time the bat would get a little closer to making contact with the foam ball. But as you could expect from a 3 year old, the lack of success soon began to take the shine off the moment. The bat started to fly. He started to spin in circles on purpose as the ball came near. And then, he just dropped the bat and decided it was time to play with something else all together.

He was fine with that. Me? I REALLY wanted him to hit that dang ball! "Wait. Wait Buddy! Let's give it one more try." I called to him as he was walking off. Like a vision from the heavens an idea had come to me. And as he turned, a smile formed as he immediately grasped my plan.
He grabbed the bat once more and squared himself up. I waited until he was good and ready, pausing for dramatic effect. Then, with the perfect arc and speed, I tossed the ball in his direction.

His timing was perfect and his form flawless as the bat met the Soccer ball square on. Whack! The weight of the ball prevented it from going more than a foot or two back towards me, but that didn't matter.

"Yeah me! I did it!" he enthusiastically shouted. "Throw it to me again!"

I'm pretty sure this is the way Edgar Martinez got his first hit too.

This post brought to you in conjunction with FatherHood Friday over at Dad Blogs. Head on over and check out all the great Fatherhood related posts.


Didactic Pirate said...

Well played, Sir. I can think of several sports I would've excelled at as a kid if only my dad had thought about making such a change.

Jessi said...

Parental brilliance. I never think of things like that and we get so frustrated that we end up just staring at each other. Good job.

Anonymous said...

Well done, I like the way you think. I tried playing catch with my son the other day, he lost interest pretty quickly. Sticks seem to be more interesting.

Homemaker Man said...

Sweet. I used a similar strategy with the Peanut. One of those cheap plastic balls you can get at the supermarket. She wailed it.

SciFi Dad said...

We're still using a tee-ball stand over here, so I am duly impressed.

Irrational Dad said...

And if that hadn't worked... a yoga ball.

I hope you're in shape, because he's going to send you running across fields in no time.

Keith Wilcox said...

That's ONE way to do it! :-) That's some mighty quick thinking there, pop!

Slamdunk said...

Great image. Sometimes I wish someone would pitch me a soccer ball after swinging and missing.

Clint said...

When doing this don't get to close. You do not want to be a AFV victim. Another dad getting hit below the dixie line.

Anonymous said...

Can you teach me too?

Anonymous said...

Nice one man. Love the story. I have a pink Ranger baseball bat and ball for my little girl. We haven't quite tried hitting it in the air yet, rather, we just hit it while it's on the floor... kinda like golf!

Well written.

Unknown said...

score! way to hang in there through the frustration.