Ask the high school coaches, especially the ones who should be in-season right now with their players — baseball, softball, tennis, track, flag football, lacrosse and weightlifting, and don’t forget spring football was scheduled to begin April 27 — and they’ll tell you one thing.
They miss each other. Practices, games, teaching life lessons. It’s all on hold.
Unless you can get creative, like Tohopekaliga High baseball coach Nikko Martell. Where other coaches have emailed, texted, or tweeted ideas for practicing or working out, Martell put a spin on having his players stay game-sharp.
Welcome to Quarantine Baseball, Tiger style, thanks to Martell, who’s probably as bored and irritable at home as any of his players, coaches and parents.
“At first it was kind of hard for us to deal with, because there was nothing we could do about it. I know baseball. I also knew our families wouldn’t have the expensive batting tee or things like that, so let’s find some stuff around the garage we can use. I grew up in the inner city, we didn’t have the fancy equipment, so I’m used to finding ways to play baseball using household items. This way I can stay busy myself, and still coach.”
And holding true to the name, most of Quarantine Baseball needs, at most, one other person.
“I was an only child until I was 10 years old so I had to get creative with the games I was playing,” Martell said. “Because I loved baseball, I figured out a way to play a whole baseball game by myself.”
Here are the finer points of Quarantine Baseball, thanks in part to Martell’s Instagram account.
Hitting: put a road cone, or a lamp base, or anything you can set a whiffleball on, hit it into a tarp hung from the top of the garage.
Fielding: Play wall ball. That’s what you need: a wall (watch for windows) and a ball, preferably a tennis ball. Field it using “quick hands” game where you have to catch and throw the ball in one motion.
It can be used for pitching, too — tape tin foil to the wall to make a strike zone. If it hits the foil you can hear it, Martell said, and it’s a strike, otherwise it’s a ball. Try to rack up more strikeouts than walks
More fielding: Get two others and play pickle, as much as you can. Develops throwing on the run.
Throw accuracy: Take the traffic cone from the hitting drill, put it on a chair, and put a ball on top. Knock it off with another ball from the distance of your infield position. It’s not as easy as it looks.
So if you’re a Tigers baseball player … go find a road cone and a wall!