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Even though sporting activity has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, MLB India has utilized the time to impart online coaching and training lessons to baseball coaches across the country.
MLB, in association with India on Track (IOT) and the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) conducted online interactive coaching sessions to over 75 participants on Saturday, 16th of January 2021 and Sunday, 17th of January 2021.
The Head of Baseball Development, MLB India – David Palese, is currently conducting on-field coaching clinics with three IOT-MLB coaches from Bengaluru on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays preparing them for the weekend sessions that are broadcasted online. During the weekend, different elements of baseball such as pitching, hitting, fitness/agility and defense by position is covered. These online sessions create opportunities for participants to see how fault analysis can be done and provides an interactive opportunity from the comfort of their homes across the nation.
“The online coaching and training lessons have helped the coaches in India to continue learning new aspects of baseball from their homes. The coaches have been able to enhance their knowledge about baseball and be able to implement newly acquired skills and drills to their players and teams in their home towns” said David Palese.
Palese trained the three IOT-MLB coaches on the field in Gurgaon on Saturday and Sunday, where the training sessions were broadcasted to coaches across India, who dialed-in for the online interactive coaching sessions from their homes. During the Coaching Webinars on the weekends, Palese teaches the finer aspects of baseball to coaches who are willing to dial in and see it online for free of cost.
The Head of Baseball Development, MLB India explained about the drills, techniques and philosophies of speed, agility and fitness and throwing during the online interactive coaching on Saturday, while on Sunday, he explained about the drills, techniques and philosophies of Pitching and Catching.
David Palese is joined in India by Ryo Takahashi, who heads the business and commercial operations for MLB India. Having set up their MLB India office in New Delhi, MLB has conducted more than 320 workshops in schools across Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru as a part of its First Pitch Program. Over 30,000 children in the age group of 8-14 years participated actively in these sessions.
Ryo Takahashi said, “We have always believed that quality coaching is essential for baseball to grow at the grassroots, youth and eventually an elite level. The response from the coaches in India for the webinars has been terrific and a huge boost for the growth potential of baseball in India. It’s been fantastic to see many coaches register and attend these sessions every weekend. We are starting to see with our own eyes the potential that the game of baseball has in India and we are confident that we are moving in the right direction.”
Commenting on this initiative, Harish Kumar, former National Indian Baseball Team Captain and present Secretary General of ABFI said, “MLB has taken tremendous steps to improve baseball coaching at the grassroots level since setting up its office in New Delhi in 2019. The on-field and online training sessions have been fantastic initiatives, which have helped the sport of baseball to grow in India even during difficult times. We are in discussion with MLB on what comes next, which we hope to implement in the upcoming year. We are really looking forward to working with MLB in more programs to improve the playing standard of baseball in India.”
The Coaching Webinars for education and development of Indian baseball coaches, which began on 19th of December 2020, will be carried out on every weekend until 7th of February 2021.