Break out the hats, bats and gloves. The Guam Amateur Baseball Academy is gearing up for its annual summer academies.

The 6th annual TakeCare Summer PONY Youth Baseball Skills & Game Academy features experienced coaches guiding aspiring baseball players through a series of on-field skills, routines and drills designed to improve young players' fundamentals and sharpen specific game skills.

Held every year at the Triple J Guam Baseball Academy Training Field at Okkodo High School, the academies usually attract several dozen athletes eager to work on their game in the hot summer months.

“The academies will give youngsters from 8 to 12 years of age a chance to work on a variety of game-like challenges. The summer academy will also be joined by kids from Japan and Korea,” said Bill Bennett, academy lead instructor.

There will be two age group academies scheduled during summer break in July. The academies have several key areas of focus: living a healthy lifestyle, baseball fundamentals and skills development.

According to a new release from GABA, the academy is designed to educate and drill sport-specific skills for each athlete. Coaches teach position-specific skills, challenging athletes through a variety of activities aimed at improving skill and agility. A training on hitting is included, the release stated. A specialized hitting curriculum with hitting stations will be introduced to work on all aspects of the baseball hitting swing.

Each academy will be tailored to specific age groups. To ensure athletes receive the optimum amount of individualized attention, roster sizes for each academy are limited.

In addition to its focus on fundamentals, the academies, in conjunction with nonprofit groups, have made a commitment to promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. To reduce the risk factors and fight unhealthy habits, such as tobacco use, drug addiction, alcohol abuse and obesity, athletes will take part in a 20-minute educational presentation each day.

“Our youth need to be aware of the positive advantages to a healthy lifestyle and taking care of their bodies,” Bennett said.

In addition to meeting new players and training with the island’s best, academy athletes will receive a dugout drink, T-shirt, baseball bag, a certificate of instruction and 10 hours of active, purposeful instruction under the guidance of experienced coaches.

Information was provided in a news release.

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