What makes a good ball player great? Practice, practice, practice. Of course, a little bit of help from a seasoned professional probably doesnâ€™t hurt, either. After all, baseball only looks easy, and having someone explain the ins and outs of the game, the mental aspects as well as the physical ones, can mean the difference between staying on the bench all season or ending it like a dream, as the teamâ€™s Most Valuable Player. Lucky for young baseball hopefuls here on the Central Coast, thereâ€™s a pro in town who is making it his business to strengthen the future of baseball, one player at a time.
- PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GARDNER
- Swing for the fences And other tidbits of knowledge are available to your kids from Roy Howell, a long-time baseball pro with a passion and a plan for future Hall of Famers.
Roy Howell brings to the plate over 20 years of professional baseball experience, time he spent sharpening his understanding the game and recognizing the many problems players face on the field. As a player for the Texas Rangers, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Milwaukee Brewers (for which he was named MVP in 1978), he learned first-hand the subtle give-and-take of the game. His years following as a hitting coach for the San Diego Padres and as a coach at numerous baseball clinics helped him understand the process of teaching the game to someone else. Now heâ€™s ready to hand that knowledge over to the next generation of ball players.
Whether your child is just starting out in Little League, or already plays on the high school varsity team, thereâ€™s something to be gleaned from working with an expert like Howell. For boys and girls, baseball and softball players, all aspects of the game are covered. Kids will learn how to sharpen their hitting and throwing skills, tighten their positioning, improve their fielding, and understand the logic of defensive and offensive plays.
With every skill they develop, theyâ€™ll gain a greater appreciation for the game, and they will automatically become better players. Howellâ€™s seen it happen countless times before. â€œIt takes a certain understanding to play the game,â€? he says. â€œAnd when you explain it to a kid, and he or she gets it, itâ€™s like breaking the atmosphere in outer space. Itâ€™s when they understand baseball and whatâ€™s going on that the game actually begins.â€?
Howell develops each training program based on an individualâ€™s needs, and works one-on-one with kids to give them the attention and support they deserve. Heâ€™ll gladly teach in the privacy of your own backyard, or heâ€™ll take kids out onto any number of playing fields from Lompoc to the North County, to give them all the space they need.
It takes dedication to become a good player, but Howell never loses sight of the fact that baseball is, after all, a game, and should always be fun. Heck, thatâ€™s why heâ€™s still playing it after all these years. â€œI love baseball,â€? he says, as if that wasnâ€™t already obvious. â€œIâ€™ve fulfilled my dreams and itâ€™s been great. Now I want to help others fulfill theirs.â€?
To find out more about Roy Howellâ€™s Professional Instructional Baseball School, call 556-0110.
Staff writer Alice Moss compiled this weekâ€™s Strokes and Plugs. Whatâ€™s your business all about? [email protected].