The seven-letter word on the back of the team T-shirts for the Jonathan Alder baseball team is more than a word, it’s a way of life.
Head coach Craig Kyle has built his program around the concept of believing and he, his coaching staff and current players took three days this week to start engraving that concept in the minds of 65 or so campers at the Pioneers youth baseball camp.
“We tell them it’s not just a word but a state of mind,” Kyle said. “As early as we can, having third graders out here, talking about what believe means and we have them go out and slap the state banners out there.
“Believe means that one day you could do that. Not just talk about it but believe it in your heart and right down to your core. Remind them of that from third grade all the way up. They see it on the back of shirts and around town, seeing it just hammers it home. I think it ingrains in their mind what we’re trying to do.”
The camp was based around all concepts of the game from hitting and defense to base running and pitching.
“This is something fun for them to do outside of the games that they’re playing in the summer,” the coach said. “No. 1 it’s about having fun, being safe and learning baseball. Getting them on this field is big too. A lot of them get to come and watch us but may not get out on the field until they’re in ninth grade.
“They’re in awe in that. It allows them to be with our high school players and around our staff. It gives them a heads up of what it’s like.”
The Alder high school players also get a little something out of the experience.
“What these (high school) kids got out of this is giving back to the community that’s given them so much,” Kyle said. “They get a chance to give back. The joy on their faces when they get a chance to help a little kid and that kid says thank you and gives them a high five, it’s special.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616 ext. 1618, or via Twitter @MadPressSports.