Aspiring Rim country baseball players will soon have a golden opportunity to improve their diamond skills for next spring's Little League play.
The Arizona Baseball Academy, a non-profit organization, will be hosting an instructional baseball league that begins play Sept 20 and continues each Friday and Saturday until Nov. 23.
The league, which is open to players 10 to 14 years of age, incorporates both instruction and games in each session.
Sessions for campers 10-to 12-years-old will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each Friday at Paseo Park in Glendale.
Camps for 12- to 14-year-olds will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each Saturday also at Paseo Park.
According to academy officials, the camps are designed to teach both the basic and advanced fundamentals of baseball.
The academy says its mission is to work closely with players, parents and coaches to inform, instruct and inspire young athletes in proper methods of development.
The Arizona Baseball Academy is a part of the USA Baseball Development Program and is certified by American Sports Medicine Institute.
The camp fee is $160 per player which includes a T-shirt and cap.
Call (623)-979-0585 for more information.
Coach calls upon sports psychologist
In attempting to motivate his young athletes to reach their potential, PHS cross country coach Chuck Hardt calls upon many resources.
Like all good coaches, he knows there are others in the sports world who have had experiences that could benefit his athletes.
Last week, Hardt championed the writings of JoAnn Dahlkoetter who has penned an essay entitled "Creating an Inner Desire." The internationally recognized sports psychologist is an ideal source for Payson young runners to emulate.
Dahlkoetter is a past winner of the San Francisco Marathon and placed second in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.
In her writings, which have appeared in the Running Times magazine, highlights several athletes who have overcome physical disabilities.
She cites Lance Armstrong for surviving cancer to win the Tour de France twice, Marla Runyan for running the 1,500 meter final at the 2000 Olympics while blind.
Steve Prefontaine, Dahlkoetter wrote, had one leg shorter than the other and did not have "the perfect runner's body." Through desire and determination, Prefontaine went on to break American records in every distance from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.
While addressing the Payson teens, Hardt continually referred to internal motivation as the key to any cross country success they might enjoy this season.
When Hardt went into detail about the obstacles that must be overcome in running a cross country race, the veteran members of the team nodded in unison as if they'd experienced exactly what he was saying.
The coach used words like "discomfort," "stress," "sacrifices," and perseverance" to describe the rigors of long distance running.
The younger athletes who have not competed on the prep level probably couldn't relate to Hardt's vivid descriptions. But with the season just around the corner, they will soon understand what the sport is all about.
Early birds get the prize
The early bird deadline for purchasing tickets to the Payson Chapter Ducks Unlimited banquet is rapidly approaching.
Those who purchase their tickets before Sept. 7 will be entered in a special early bird raffle that has as a prize a Marlin Model 25N rifle.
The banquet is Sept 21 at the Mazatzal Casino.
Doors open at 4:40 p.m, the dinner is at 6 p.m. and the auction begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $55 for individuals and $85 for couples.
Call Sandi Gunderson at 476-2168 for tickets or more information.