This summer, 170 campers will experience the Science of Baseball brought to life, all thanks to the Science of Sport and the MLB Youth Academies in Compton, New Orleans, and West Dallas.
A typical program consists of an educational 2-5 week summer camp where the MLB Science of Baseball curriculum aligns with Mathematics and Science Standards in California, Louisiana, and Texas. Selected campers spend their summer learning about various aspects of STEM and how it ultimately relates to baseball, careers, and overall life skills.
Teachers from schools surrounding the Youth Academies also have the opportunity to sign up for a Teacher Workshop to bring the program back to their classrooms. These teachers are provided with a curriculum workbook complete with lessons, worksheets and a kit containing all of the materials they will need to carry out each lesson at their school. These kits contain tools from whiffle balls and baseball cards to goniometers and heart rate monitors.
Daren Heaton, Executive Director of Science of Sport, explains the day-by-day breakdown of the program. He says, “during the camp the students are split up into two groups. In the morning the we have the younger students start in the classroom and focus on a different topic from the MLB Science of Baseball curriculum. On any given day the students are learning about trajectory of ball flight, focusing on reaction time, fielding percentage, studying their favorite baseball players, and learning their strike zones. In the afternoon the students are applying what they learned in the classroom, in hopes to help them become a more well rounded baseball or softball player.”
The first day of each week’s session consists of pre-test questions that are later evaluated with post-test questions at the end of the week. This cycle continues for every week of camp. Examples of lesson concepts include: baseball positions, base running, batting averages, rounding and place value, trajectory of ball flight, reaction time, seat pricing and revenue, scoring, and nutrition. The lead instructors work hard to incorporate growth mindset concepts throughout the lessons as well, emphasizing the importance of effort and working hard to learn using different strategies and approaches to problem solving. At the conclusion of the program, the campers get the opportunity to go on a field trip and display their projects they worked on throughout the summer.
Ricardo Valerdi, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientist of Science of Sport, says the “partnership with Major League Baseball is critical in terms of player development because you can not only show a young student how to play baseball, but if you can also empower them with math and science skills they are more likely to be successful not just on the field but in the classroom.”
The main objective of the Science of Sport is to empower students who may be underperforming academically by relating core curriculum topics to their athletic strengths, capabilities, and interests. When the last few days of summer come to a close, and the campers return back to the classroom full time, the Science of Sport hopes the campers have a newfound appreciation, understanding, and passion for the science and mathematics behind the beautiful game of baseball. In additional to the baseball curriculum, Science of Sport also provides football, basketball and soccer programs for students throughout the country.