Fastballers keep fit in off season

Young fastball athletes are staying in top form over the winter lull with indoor clinics at Eagle Ridge arena.

Young fastball athletes are staying in top form over the winter lull with indoor clinics at Eagle Ridge arena.

The Langford Fastball Association is holding training clinics for kids aged five to 19 in preparation for the spring season. Returning and new players are welcome for weekday evening sessions.

“This allows kids to get the rust off for games that start in March and April,” said Pat Guiney, a director with the Langford Fastball executive. “The sport is getting more technically advanced. A lot of kids are looking to get better skills and instruction.”

Langford Fastball, now in its 50th year, fields some 400 kids on 20 teams for league play. Winter training tends to get 30 to 40 youth per session for running drills and skills building in fielding, throwing and hitting. It’s a popular way to keep kids active in the off season.

“Next year we’ll start earlier due to the demand from parents and their kids wanting to train,” Guiney noted.

The fastball association moved its winter training from school gyms to Eagle Ridge due to space. The league uses special indoor equipment, such as balls softer than a regulation softball — they’re less damaging to the facility and safer for kids.

“It’s a new venue for our clinics,” Guiney said. “There is more space in the arena. Everything is more controlled with nets, we can control balls that would go astray in a gym.”

The fastball league is majority female, but more boys are being enticed into the tough sport. Fastball has shorter baselines than hardball and the infield is more compact.

“The ball comes a lot faster. It’s a challenging game,” Guiney said.

“We are starting to see a resurgence of boys interested in fastball again,” he said. “Boys have figured out that the cute girls play fastball.”

Check out under “clinics” for winter clinic days and times, or call 250-391-6400 for more information. New and current players are welcome.



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