According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “It’s just not fun anymore.”
In a different study, nine of 10 kids said "fun" is the main reason they participate. When asked to define fun, they offered up 81 reasons. “Winning” came in at #48. Young girls gave “winning” the lowest ratings. Six out of 10 kids said they quit sports because they lost interest.
Participation in youth baseball and softball has declined 1-2 percent every year, says Patrick Wilson, Little League’s senior vice president of operations. “There is a generation of parents now that don’t have a connection to the game because they didn’t play it themselves, and if you didn’t play, you’re less likely to go out in the back yard and have a catch.”
Even some baseball insiders admit that baseball isn’t the most exciting sport to play or watch as Andrew Pollak writes in Inside Pitch, “Time to face the truth. The best game can become boring.” In fact, a typical three-hour long MLB contains just under 18 minutes of actual playing time. Attend a youth baseball or softball game and you’d be hard-pressed to experience even half of that. This is an unfortunate reality.
After years of observing youth ballplayers wandering off in thought during games, Dahlander, Commissioner of Runner Gunner Slugger Worldwide, asked his kids why they enjoyed playing video games more than baseball and softball. “Because the game never slows down,” his daughter replied.
This was Dahlander’s “aha moment.”
After researching trends in youth sports participation, “gamifying” basic skills, modifying traditional baseball rules to create more action, and testing his theories on his own children’s teams, Dahlander is launching Runner Gunner Slugger Worldwide summer camps, leagues, and Derbys for youth baseball and softball players. All RGSWW-sponsored activities promise to be action-packed, development-rich events for youth baseball and softball players.
The bulk of the camper’s time will be spent playing a game called the “Five-Pitch Challenge” (5PC) which can loosely be described as a “hitting extravaganza and fielding merry-go-‘round” that keeps the player’s attention. Dahlander promises, no one will be heard yelling, “Baseball ready!”
When Campers aren’t playing 5PC, they get to make diving catches onto a thick gymnastics pad, slide into home head-first using a sliding mat, play the eternal game of Pickle, as well as develop hitting, fielding, and bunting skills.
“Quite frankly, the other problem with youth sports are the parents,” said Dahlander. “Without a doubt they mean well, but they just don’t realize how much pressure they put on their players.” That’s why Dahlander asks parents to drop their players off, but is live-streaming this event on his Youtube channel and posting scores at the end of the day to the website. “Parents will generally know how their player is performing, but still give everyone plenty to talk about at the dinner table,” quipped Dahlander.
“My mission was to create an event for kids that competed with video games for their loyalty. I believe that even those who aren’t baseball junkies will be repeat campers because it’s just fun. Epic fun,” Dahlander noted.
To introduce baseball players to Runner Gunner Slugger events, Dahlander is offering a FREE four-hour minicamp this Friday, August 14 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at McInnish Park in Carrollton, TX. Baseball players of all skill levels between 9 - 14 years old can register by emailing info@RunnerGunner.com.
Ballapawinnas is baseball meets Disneyland® meets Summer Camp meets Swim Meet meets Video Game. No joke. It's awesome.
Participants will wonder how its already time to leave because they're having so much fun. Here's a quick summary of what they'll do: â–ª 8:00 Drop off, warm up, National Anthem, announcements & Team Talk â–ª 8:30 5-Pitch Challenge Games (up to 4 games) â–ª 8:30 Slammers Skillz: Diving Catch, Sliding/Base Stealing, Pickle, Bunting, Hitting, and Fly Ball FUNdamentals â–ª 11:30 Scouting Report (ratings on individual traits like hustle & sportsmanshp) â–ª 11:45 Awards & Recognition Ceremony (Team and Individuals) â–ª 11:57 Ice cream! Howdy Homemade® will be there with THE BEST cold treat a tired ballplayer could ever imagine.
The Dallas Ballapawinnas is Friday August 14, 2020 for baseball players of all skill levels between ages 9 and 12. Registration closes next Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020 at McInnish Park, Carrollton, TX. More information can be obtained at www.RunnerGunner.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration required. info@RunnerGunner.com to register (must register before 8/11).
ABOUT CHRIS DAHLANDER Dahlander is the founder of Snappy Salads, a fast-casual restaurant focused on high-quality salads (www.snappysalads.com). Started in 2006, Snappy Salads was the pioneer in the “better-for-you” segment and has a mission to leave this world healthier than the way we found it. Dahlander grew Snappy Salads to 14 locations in the DFW metroplex. In October 2019, the company merged with MAD Greens, based out of Golden, CO, to form the Salad Collective where Dahlander is a board member. Dahlander is married with two children.