In the fall of 2015, a new family moved to Roosevelt Island with two young boys eager to play baseball, and baseball only. New York City, being very 'seasonal' when it comes to youth sports, was ramping up the fall sport of soccer. The next season, winter, would bring basketball leagues. Not until the spring would the boys be able to play organized baseball again. You'll even have a hard time finding baseball equipment at sporting goods stores in any season other than spring.
Having coached the kids in our local recreational youth baseball leagues, they knew me and asked if I could help organize baseball activity on weekends in the fall. I told them to call their friends and to meet me on the field across from the island school on Sunday morning. If enough kids show up, I'll help organize a game. Kids did show up and we played that Sunday. And we've been playing every Sunday ever since.
We are now running Coach Scot Baseball all year, every Sunday, save some holidays and school breaks. We have multiple age groups in different time slots, from 7 years old to 14 years old. Kids who age out come back to help coach or umpire. All sessions begin with warmups and then 30 minutes of fundamentals; drills that build on top of each other each week. Following fundamentals, we create evenly matched teams and we play a game. Kids get to play different positions each inning. During the game, coaches may stop to tweak a kid's stance, point out a good or missed play, explain a rule, or whatever is needed to help kids learn the game.
In the winter months, we play indoors in either the school gym or the Roosevelt Island Sportspark. We adapt our equipment for indoor drills and training. And instead of a baseball game, we end the session with an epic wiffle ball game.
In the summer of 2020, when outdoor activities were very scarce, we created a summer workout program. This was a twice-per-week conditioning program, just to keep the kids skills sharp, both baseball skills and social skills. We've also worked in smaller groups with older kids trying to make their school teams or travel teams. We've had some success there as well.
We do not charge for participation, and we encourage anyone who wants to play baseball to join us. We don't say no to anyone. All you need is a glove, and we always have spares if needed. Beginning with the Winter 2021 season, in lieu of a 'fee', we are asking our players to perform organized community services. We call this "Serve All and Play Ball" and you can read more about it here.
Here are some comments that players and their caregivers have said about our program:
I wanted to reach out to give a very special thank you to the volunteers from your Little Leaguers. They were amazing help, very much needed, and a pleasure to have at the event. We look forward to having them join us again at future events.
[My son] had a lot of fun at his first game! Looking forward for the next class.
What an amazing baseball program you have running. So many kids and so well-run......had the time of his life and can’t wait for more!
Thank you, Coach - for your dedication to the kids, kindness, time, love for the game
Thank you for the great season and all your hard work with the kids! They are so lucky to practice with you right on the island.
[My son] enjoyed Sunday baseball so much.
I want to thank you again for the dedication and time that you commit teaching baseball to RI kids. This is something invaluable and this year it was enriched even more by the plogging experience. As a parent I can't express enough my gratitude
Please keep volunteer opportunities in front of him. He enjoyed doing it and it’s good for him to give back. I think when they do it with friends, anything is fun.
You’ve trained some really good ballplayers that are competitive and as good if not better than a lot of the kids he plays in the [other] leagues. Other fathers would note last fall how he kept getting better week to week and wondering how.
[My son] learned so much n had the most fun by playing baseball!
It’s been a fantastic program for them this fall. I really, really love the community service aspect too - I think it is very important for my sons to do and this made it very fun and accessible
Many thanks for continuing to inspire our kids. We look forward to playing with you again
Thank you very much for a great season. My boys love the program and I value the time you have given them.
Thanks so many for the amazing Fall Ball session - he’s loved participating! And thanks too for incorporating the community service component- he’s volunteering at the Pumpkins Smash right now & having a great time!