Many years ago I was a ski bum. I skied downhill on weekdays when I had the money. On weekends when the, “Flatlanders” arrived from Los Angeles and surrounding areas, I was out Cross Country skiing.
The two types of skiing are more different than similar. Downhill skis are shorter, wider, and stiffer. Heavy stiff boots are needed to manage the forces of gravity pulling you down the hill. High speed is the norm with lots of turns, small jumps, moguls, and such. One skies down the mountain and takes a lift back up the hill.
When Cross Country skiing, smaller downhill slopes are relaxation from the work not a having gravity assist to keep moving. Cross country skis are lighter, thinner and more flexible. Cross Country ski boots can be as simple as a pair of specially made tennis shoes.
It was surprising how much difference Cross Country skiing makes to downhill skiing. After a day or two on a skinny pair of Cross Country skis, downhill skiing feels like the downhill skis are three feet wide each. It would be as if it were impossible to fall.
Stickball uses a, ‘Pimpleball’ or Handball for the ball. A cut off broomstick is all that is needed for the bat. Half Ball uses the same equipment except the ball is cut in half. Generally, the ball is tossed slowly towards the plate. Some players prefer a faster ball to be thrown.
Imagine the enhanced skill set it takes to hit an undersized ball with a broomstick handle bat. Hand eye coordination is higher for stick and half ball players, speed of the ball notwithstanding.
Players from Pre-Teen Private League Baseball to the American Legion hold baseball practice using the same Bats and Balls that are used in an ‘official’ game. What if Players used a smaller ball for batting and fielding practice? Players would enjoy increased hand eye coordination, and batting and fielding averages would rise.
Practicing with smaller practice balls and slimmer bats would hone skills. When batting in an official game, to the Batter it would look and feel as if an oversized ball was being used. Stickball or Halfball, both mostly inner city sports are good for a visual comparison.
Finally, confidence factor needs to be considered. If a Batter has a reasonable batting average with an undersized ball and bat, confidence is increased. The regulation size ball and bat would feel oversized to the batter and be easier to hit.
If Stickball or Halfball sound like fun, they are. The both can be played in the street, with no special equipment other than a broom stick and a ball.