We started batting this week. Normally, that would equate to blue skies and sunshine! True happiness for students and teachers alike in the Northeast, except for this year! We got outside on Monday and now it is back to frigid temperatures and rain! Despite the dreariness of the week, we have had a spectacular batting unit thus far!
We started the week by reading “Widget’s Batting Lesson,” a fictional story about a group of children teaching an alien boy how to bat. The story gives visual and verbal cues for batting off a tee. Widget makes many of the mistakes your students will make and his peers give him coaching advice to correct his mistakes.
We then follow the story line of the book. Each time a batter steps up to the plate, his peer coaches check him off on the key points of his stance. Coach one is the hand checker, Coach 2 is the 'sweet spot' checker and Coach 3 is the elbow checker. Once the batter has received the coaches’ okay, he may swing.
As the days have progressed, we have seen true progress in our batting skills. The reason is educationally simple; read it, say it, do it, and teach it! Batting is one of those skills that require waiting your turn. You simply can’t have every students batting at the same time. Having students in a coaching box, verbally giving the cues that they need to exhibit when they get up to bat, ensures that they are processing the information instead of just sitting and waiting. My job then becomes more of a general manager. I walk along the baseline and coach the coaches, asking questions for understanding. “Does your player have the correct hand on top?” “It looks like your player is too close to the tee, what does he need to do in order to line the 'sweet spot' up with the ball?”
Now that we are indoors and have even less space, we have added a rotation for practicing the sit and reach test and kettle bell exercises. Not one student is without a purpose!
Amazingly, even without the sunshine, true happiness!