Baseball season is a few months away, but some youngsters recently got the chance to participate in a Minnesota Twins/MYAS camp at the spacious dome.
“Having a blast,” said Erik Lovdahl, a camp instructor. “Little chilly today – the heat’s not cranked up here in the dome – but they’re running around having fun.”
Lovdahl used to be a Twins batting practice pitcher and ran camps for the team. Lovdahl was grateful that the young players could escape the polar vortex and play some baseball.
“Gorgeous facility here at the National Sports Center…” Lovdahl said. “.This facility is great for long toss and doing the actual drills. Keeping up with the teams down south.”
Approximately 20 kids, ranging from 10 to 13 years old, showed up to play ball beneath the Teflon tent. Getting the chance to pitch, hit, field and catch in December, gives them a chance to sharpen their baseball talents.
“For sure,” Lovdahl said. “That’s where actually now with all the club ball, we travel a lot with some teams. Minnesota kids compete – even in the warmer states. When you’re indoors we kind of seem to stress more of the fundamentals and mechanics, specifically when we get into pitching.”
ATHLETES GET MORE EXERCISE, LESS SCREEN TIME
A blend of college and pro instructors were at the camp- teaching the kids every phase of the game.
“We always try to tap into the mental game too obviously,” Lovdahl said. “Just post-COVID, everything in life. Building confident athletes on and off the field too. Sure we’re teaching the game, but you want to learn the love of sport and just being a kid. We were just talking, playing different sports and stuff. It’s good to be a two or three sport athlete, where you can just be a kid. You don’t have to specialize in one thing.”
Another benefit of this baseball camp, is it keeps these young players active – and temporarily away from their iPhones or laptops. They get more exercise and less screen time.
“It’s gonna happen always,” Lovdahl said. “They’re gonna lay around, they’re gonna be on their computer playing games. Moderation. We want them to learn, just like when we were all kids, run around, be a kid and be active.”
The cavernous Blaine dome is 260 feet wide by 450 feet long, and is 110 feet tall. The facility’s footprint is 117,000 square feet.
FLAG FOOTBALL AT THE DOME
The Minneapolis based Phelps football team went undefeated at indoor dome even though they are a tackle football team they picked up the flag-style football quickly. The team played six games throughout the day and put on a show for the spectators.
Jeff Mealing flew into town from New York to watch his grandson Rayne play in the one-day flag football tournament and weathered the icy Minnesota temperature. His grandson Rayne played quarterback for Phelps and was responsible for many of the touchdowns.
“I’m very proud of him. His family is full of athletes,” said Mealing.
Instead of sitting inside on these cold Minnesota days the kids could come and play the game they love. To Mealing it’s also a way to keep the kids happy and healthy.
“You don’t want these kids staying at home with nothing to do. It’s good for their mental health and their physical too,” said Mealing.