The GREAT Wall of Dreams!
Tony Lucadello’s concept of a 4’x4’ concrete wall in every kid’s back yard is based on the same principle of having a basketball hoop available for youngsters. The wall would provide a viable opportunity for a youth to just go outside and throw the ball against the wall in order to develop his/her baseball fundamentals without needing any adult or other person. Just throwing the ball and fielding it will lead to self exploration and empower a player to learn that the game is played, physically, below the waist, and that one needs to repeat the drills in order that the mechanics become second nature. The last and most important stage of learning is repetition…over and over again and again! If a wall was not affordable, Tony recommended that a player use the garage door, wood fence, the school yard’s concrete walls, or other; today one could utilize various throwbacks that are prevalent in the marketplace.
The Lucadello Plan explained how to build the Wall as well as how to practice with it. The basis of his Plan was to instill the value of building arm strength, increasing reaction time, improving footwork, developing an accurate throwing motion, and learning the value and art of visualization. His Plan had six basic principles: 1. Learn to position your feet for groundballs. 2. Keep head and glove down. 3. Grip the ball cross-seamed(4-seam). 4. Throw with a strong over-the-top delivery. 5. Take 100 groundballs every day. 6. Play with enthusiasm. Moreover, he encouraged each player to take 50 swings per day and if possible have someone(Dad?/mom?) throw him/her 50 plastic golf balls/whiffles to hit. These swings, along with the 100 groundballs and 100 throws(to create the grounders), would establish the Wall as the perfect environment for developing the work ethic and repetitions needed to become a solid player. It would take less than an hour!
The Lucadello Wall and Plan are very simplistic opportunities for youth who really want to learn the game and develop the skill sets to GET GOOD! If the Wall is there, they will find it! If a youngster thinks that the Wall is boring, then it is not their “Wall of Dreams” or passion. However, if the love and the passion of the game is real, the youngster(s) will go to the wall and work without complaint and figure out the proper mechanics of throwing and fielding with accuracy, and will develop arm strength, endurance, and success on the diamond.
The Wall itself may be used for practicing other sport skill sets..only one’s creativity will delimit the usage. Moreover, a player can play “wall ball”, tape a target on it for improving accuracy, do the “hat in the mouth” defensive drill, practice on one’s knees(pad or grass) keeping the ball in front of the body/eyes, throw a golf ball gently to work on faster grounders, use a reaction ball or other “odd ones” etc., or just throw at various distances to stretch out the arm and its muscle groups. Again, all these can be done without pressure, fear of failure, and can become a regular time to release stress and learn the basic mechanics of the greatest game!!
Thanks Tony, for the “Wall of Dreams”!! Hopefully, young players will heed the call and get to it. Not just for getting the baseball mechanics down, but for the love of the game, and the lessons of life that baseball teaches!!! GAGPTH! YBON! KWTP!