As a bridge to our highly competitive Big Train travel baseball program beginning at 10u or the BCC Select program for 9/10-year old’s, we introduced a more moderate transition level for 8u and 9u eligible athletes in the fall of 2022. The interest in the program and feedback thus far has been extremely positive. Over 70 kids showed up for tryouts last fall for the spring/summer teams and again this past summer for the fall teams.
The program is designed for young ball players who really enjoy playing baseball, want professional coaching and are looking to take a step up from rec baseball - without necessarily going all-in solely on baseball at such an early age. It provides a test drive of sorts for players/parents to evaluate and decide what their best next move may be.
“Coach Al” Bidwick oversees and coaches the 8u and 9u teams. With over 30 years of experience coaching youth baseball from t-ball to high school, he is fully committed to developing his players both in the fundamentals of the game and as individuals – the building blocks to success on the baseball field and in life.
Here are Coach Al’s fundamental coaching principles that provide a foundation for the program:
Academics are priority # 1 – whatever it takes to succeed in the classroom always trumps scheduled baseball activities.
At 8u and 9u, kids should enjoy playing the game. Baseball is hard enough on its own, with plenty of failure inherently built into it without having to deal with outside pressure and expectations from coaches and parents.
Winning baseball games always takes a back seat to player development. Winning is merely a by-product of good coaching and player development – and that goes for every player on the team.
Defense – throwing and catching the baseball are the keys to success for a youth player. The team that can collectively play catch the best typically wins. But all kids do love to hit!
If we pick ‘em, we play ’em. Every player on the team bats, plays the field and pitches. While better players may play more frequently in the field, no player sits on the bench two innings in a row. Nobody gets better sitting on the bench.
Kids develop and mature at different rates, physically and athletically. Young kids are highly encouraged to play multiple sports (especially in the off-season) – you just never know how things are going to turn out for a young child – keep the options open as long as you can. Increased athleticism, improved motor skills, balance, endurance, speed and agility are just a few examples of the benefits of multi-sport participation. Who knows what sport a player may ultimately fall in love with and excel in?
In order to truly improve as baseball players, kids need to play with and against better competition whenever possible.
For 8u and 9u, tryouts are conducted at the end of each season for the succeeding season – in the summer for the fall season and in late fall for the spring/summer season. You do not have to make a full-year commitment. If you try it for a season and it’s not for you, easy out.
Spring/Summer 2024 Season:
The spring/summer baseball season begins in mid-March and concludes in early/mid-July for 9u and the end of June/early-July for 8u. In addition to two weekday practices, the teams will play league games locally. The 8u team will play in 3-4 local weekend tournaments and the 9u team will play in 7-8 weekend tournaments (2 of which will require an overnight stay).
Note: Players attend one of the two tryouts sessions – not both.
If you have unavoidable conflicts on the scheduled tryout dates and times, contact Coach Al asap and he will make every effort to arrange for an alternative workout/evaluation for you (if possible, no guarantee).
Players are evaluated in the 5-Tools of the game at tryouts – throwing, fielding, speed, hitting for contact and hitting for power. Parents are welcome to observe the tryouts. At the end of the day, players and parents get a good read on where they stand in relation to other players at the same age level. The 12 best players/athletes will be selected for the teams.
Life lesson – if a player has confidence in his/her abilities, try out. It takes courage for a child to try out and it is often more stressful for a parent than the player. A player will learn from the experience without regard to the outcome. Everyone worries about trying out and not making the team. As almost everyone knows, Michael Jordan famously got cut from his varsity basketball team – he didn’t give up and the rest is history!
Player evaluations and selections for the 8u and 9u teams are conducted by independent coaches. Selected players receive professional coaching and instruction in all phases of the game. On average, players will practice 2 days per week and play games on 2 days a week in the spring/summer season. Over the winter months (January and February) players will practice for 2 hours every Saturday at the BCC Baseball Indoor Training Facility – and flex scheduling is offered around all winter sport commitments (e.g. basketball, wrestling, swimming, hockey, etc.).
If you have any questions – contact Coach Al at email@example.com or 301-325-0955.