Dear Coach: I'm a high school freshman, and my hoops coach has
asked me to play on an AAU team with kids who are two years older
to prepare for varsity next year. I'm not crazy about the idea.
Should I do it?
MOVING ON UP
Dear Moving: You'll have to make an age jump sometime, and sooner
is better than later. "As a sophomore on the varsity next year,
you'll be competing against players who are two years older
anyway," says Rick Boyages, basketball coach at William & Mary.
The age gap could make you feel frozen out at first, but a team
environment--in which your game, not your circle of friends, is
the focus--can be a great bridge. "Being part of a new team means
developing new relationships regardless of age, and playing with
older teammates can be rewarding," says Boyages.
Dear Coach: My 10-year-old son is a Little League pitcher with
good command but little speed. Is there a way to make his arm
Dear Pop: You've fallen victim to the myth that velocity is a
product of arm strength alone. "Parents don't understand that
speed comes from a combination of proper mechanics and core body
strength," says former Red Sox pitcher Dick Mills, who runs the
online clinic pitching.com. "Sixty percent of a pitcher's power
comes from hip and trunk rotation." Have your son try a workout
that includes multidirectional lunges for the lower body,
medicine-ball work to improve torso rotation, and abdominal
training. "Improve overall conditioning, and he'll throw harder
without putting his arm at risk," says Mills.
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