Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lil' Sluggers Baseball knocks it out of the ballpark

Nearly every day, my four year-old son Brendan comes into my room around 6:15 a.m. and asks me, "Is today my baseball day?"

He is referring to his weekly Lil' Sluggers class. For nearly a year now, Brendan has been participating in the Lil' Sluggers baseball program for kids age 2-8.

He loves it. I love it. My (former college baseball player) husband loves it.

I can honestly tell you that this my absolute favorite Chicago-area extracurricular program our family has participated in. Ever. Yes, seriously.

What makes it so great, you ask?

Lil' Sluggers teaches baseball fundamentals to kids ages 2-8 in a fun, positive setting. The program offers instructional classes and well as league play. Boys and GIRLS are welcome (you go get 'em little ladies).

My son Brendan has been enrolled in a Lil' Sluggers class since January of 2010 (so we are in our fourth seasonal session). He has had the same coaches for all four sessions. The same coaches -- how rare is that? They know my son's name, his strengths and his weaknesses. Brendan knows and trusts them. In his mind, they are rock stars (Matt, Noah, and Callie -- I am talking about you). All of the coaches are consistently positive, kind and knowledgeable. And that is the real strength of the program, in my opinion. Plus, Brendan absolutely adores each and every class -- and kids know a good thing when they see it.

Each class is a series of face-paced drills. The low coach-to-kid ratio means that no one wastes time standing around waiting for their turn -- one of the many coaches is always right there working on a skill or encouraging the kids to cheer on their teammates. This format works really well, given that kids in this age group tend to have super short attention spans.

I'm no Ernie Banks (obviously), but even I can see that my four year-old is learning important fundamentals -- like using two hands to catch, sliding with one foot tucked under, and developing a consistent hitting approach.

Lil' Sluggers is a year-round program. Summer baseball takes place outside and indoor instruction is offered for the remainder of the year. We've taken classes at BASH Academy, Windy City Fieldhouse, and Waveland Park. I can recommend all of those locations to you.

Until now, Lil' Sluggers has been a city-kid-only offering. However, the program has recently expanded into the suburbs for the upcoming winter session. Your little slugger can now get in on the action in Glenview and Northfield as well.

Thinking about signing up? Have questions about how the program works? Email Coach Jeff Kapp at

Jeff is the man at the helm of Lil' Sluggers. He is an experienced player and coach and is very hands-on in his management of this program (trust me, he will know your kid's name too). Go ahead and email him. He will genuinely welcome your inquiries (as he has mine).

Registration for the winter session is taking place now (so get going on that). Registration for the Holiday Camps (December 27-30 at several city and suburban locations) is also ongoing -- although the Windy City Fieldhouse location is now full.

My little guy Colin is about to turn two - which means that he is almost eligible to become a Lil' Slugger himself (he can't wait to get in the game after a year of watching his big brother play). Starting soon, there will be two little faces standing next to my bed each morning asking, "Mommy is today my baseball day?"

Cross-posted at Wee Windy City.

Disclosure: Lil' Sluggers is a new sponsor here at A Hen and Two (now Three) Chicks. I am working with Coach Jeff and his crew to spread the word about their excellent program.

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