The Chicago White Sox coaching squad is returning to Cayman to inspire and coach little leaguers.
The White Sox Training Academy claims to have the finest youth player development facility in America. The coaching staff is headed by pitching maestro Don Cooper who is looking forward to returning here for the third consecutive year for the three-day camp from Friday 18 January at the Field of Dreams.
He said: ‘Our spring training baseball camp is for players who want to improve their game before they hit the field for the season. Whether you’re a rookie or an all-star, our staff is ready to teach you the latest offensive and defensive skills to take your game to the next level.
‘I love working with our White Sox pitchers and seeing them improve. But, I also have a great passion for working with kids and seeing them develop. My goal is to help each and every kid who comes to one of my camps reach their goals and maximize their potential.’
Cooper will also be assisted by Kathy Young, the White Sox Academy’s fast pitch director. The fast pitch instruction will be a combination of lecture, agility training, fast pitch skills and drills with game competition.
Cayman coach Stuart Knox said: ‘A lot of things go on at that camp in those three days. The kids get plenty of opportunities. They’ll do a skills competition and four of those boys – a winner in each age group – gets the opportunity to go to Chicago and play on the Comiskey Park field, where the White Sox actually play.
‘At an individual level we have some great athletes but we have a numbers issue for teams but at the end of the day it’s going to be the individual who is successful. Over the last two years we’ve send eight boys up there and brought home a first, second and third. We’ve never failed. They compete with about 20 other kids in their age group and someone always comes home with a trophy.’
The three-day camp cost $250 and there is also a motivational dinner on Saturday 19 January at the Cayman Prep and High School for $45. Guest speakers will be Cooper, softball star Jennifer McFalls, the 2000 Olympics gold medalist, and Cayman’s Special Olympics swimmer Andrew Smilley who won two golds and a bronze at the Special Olympics in China four months ago.
Knox added: ‘We have the use of a professional coach for the motivational dinner in Don Cooper and Olympic champ in Jennifer McFalls and I thought that if we could get that level of skill here, maybe we could motivate at least one or two of our kids. In any sport, whether it’s track and field, swimming, whatever, it still takes tremendous work ethic and determination. That’s when I thought of Andrew Smilley who is a recent gold medalist. That young man is brilliant. If you can’t get motivated after hearing him….’