The new and improved Jericho Little League season initiated an early spring training by offering free clinics for both its players and coaches. These clinics were sponsored by the Jericho Athletic Association (JAA), and held in conjunction with the NY Mets Baseball Academy.
The youth clinic was held at the Jericho High School Field House on Thursday, Jan. 22, and more than 150 boys and girls ranging in ages from 6 to 14 attended. The children received instruction on pitching, throwing, catching, batting and fielding from Coach Hopke and Coach Goldstein of the New York Mets Academy. Also assisting in the clinic was Pat Anderson, head coach of Hofstra University, and several of his players.
Former major leaguer, Fred Cambria, was also present and shared his knowledge of pitching. Several other college players and coaches from NYIT, and CW Post, also passed along instruction. Jericho Varsity Coach Dan O'Shea, Assistant Varsity Coach Vin Mannese, and numerous Jericho High School players also assisted in ensuring that the boys and girls in attendance all received quality baseball instruction.
Along with quality instruction, the boys and girls were treated to a fun-filled evening that culminated with the handing out of random prizes including Mets baseballs, Mets Academy hats and bat bags, and a pair of tickets to a 2009 Mets game that were all graciously donated by the Mets Academy. Several children received gift certificates to a local indoor baseball facility donated by the JAA. All of the children received a free pack of baseball cards.
On Saturday, Jan. 24, more than 50 coaches attended a coaching clinic also sponsored by the JAA and conducted by the Mets Academy. This clinic featured former NY Mets and member of the 1986 World Championship team, Howard "HoJo" Johnson, who talked to several groups on the fundamentals of hitting. HoJo simplified the hitting process and gave valuable training tips and insights to the coaches. The clinic also featured Larry Izzo, area scout for the Mets, who spoke to the coaches on how to best prepare a youngster for a future in baseball. Coach Hopke from the Mets Academy gave the coaches valuable information on the art of teaching children the fundamentals of fielding. Coach Goldstein from the Mets Academy gave the coaches in attendance a hands-on approach to teaching children the art of catching.
The clinics were only the start of the Jericho Little League's renewed commitment to instruction and toward the continued development of both the players and coaches. Several more clinics are scheduled throughout the winter and into the 2009 season.