Age appropriate Instruction

The cornerstone of all IBA programming is the blend between baseball instruction and life lessons. We are committed to making the game accessible and fun for players of all ages and ability levels. We tailor our lessons and approach in a manner that reflects these differences. At all levels, in a targeted manner, our method considers the social emotional composition, character, and physical development of each player.

3-5 Year-Olds

3 to 5

Social Emotional

Kids this age are typically cautious and reluctant to try new things; we go out of our way to lessen their anxiety by providing a nurturing environment with fun-focused staff and thoughtful curricula.


IBA coaches will focus on Words Of the Day that illustrate how their choices may be impacting those around them … (Typical Words Of the Day for this age group: sportsmanship, respect, and hustle).


At this stage of development, IBA coaches focus on getting kids active. Baseball is a difficult game for most young children because there is a lot of built-in waiting … we break up our programs into smaller, more manageable chunks of time with plenty of drills and contests to keep everyone engaged.

6-8 Year-Olds

AA 6-8

Social Emotional

Many kids at this age are still learning how to cooperate and work with others; IBA uses baseball as a platform for furthering the concept of teamwork and sharing.


In an effort to teach kids about community, IBA coaches begin to shift Words Of the Day to get kids to think about how they contribute to the group … (Typical Words Of the Day for this age group: family, teamwork, and camaraderie).


Now players are beginning to put some of the pieces together and demonstrate skills as it relates to throwing and receiving the baseball. We begin to introduce or fine tune a wide variety of other skills such as groundballs, flyballs, and general baseball IQ. Hitting, for example, is still a frustrating part of becoming a ballplayer. With patience AND encouragement, young players can learn how to handle adversity and enjoy the game—that’s our focus at this age!

9-12 Year-Olds

9 to 12

Social Emotional

Cliques begin to form at this age, and many kids begin to identify themselves as “athletic” or “non-athletic.” This can be extremely difficult as much of a young boy’s sense of self-worth is tied to athleticism; at a young age friendships are often made or re-buffed on fields, courts, diamonds and playgrounds across the country. IBA is sensitive to this dynamic, and we talk to our players daily about treating one another with respect and a sense of equality.


Leadership, Responsibility and Effort become our key focal points for boys between the ages of 9 to 12. Our Words Of the Day are set up to invite the boys to think about what they can now do to make positive life choices for themselves. In so doing, we believe that these young players can become role models for their peers. That is what we strive for when it comes to teaching character for this age group.


While at this age some are still being introduced to the game, most players are beginning to understand some of the nuances of the game. IBA coaches are able develop players at any stage of their baseball pedigree. Players are now willingly making time to practice with focus and intensity. Consequently the level of play is raised, and the level of expectations is raised as well. Young players are growing, and the game has picked up with regards to its pace.

13-14 Year-Olds

Social Emotional

At this stage, boys are beginning to grow into young men. Their bodies and attitudes are changing. The increased strength that many now demonstrate is not often paired with a sense of social stability. This is a tumultuous time for all, and our instructors, having been through it themselves, are good sounding boards for the young men.


With high school around the corner, IBA coaches take time to help young players understand the consequences of their actions. Our approach of utilizing Words Of the Day takes on a new form when dealing with these young men. IBA coaches drift more to the personal narrative in an attempt to counsel these young men about their life choices. We find that speaking from the heart and from our own personal experiences, we are better able to impact the players with whom we work.


We mentioned that at this stage young men are being formed. It is appropriate for them to begin physically working out and training in order to improve their game. The focus from the IBA coach will be helping to prepare young men for high school baseball by sharpening their skills holistically with a focus on private lessons. The coaches are able to advance players to a higher level of baseball training; for example, how to take advantage of certain counts as hitters, how to be a pitcher vs a thrower, and how to speed up defensive plays to put players in the best possible position to succeed.

High-School Players & Beyond

High School

Social Emotional

The world is complex for a high school student. Not only are they trying to navigate the classroom and the social world, but add on to it the responsibilities that come with being on a sports team, and things become more stressful. This stress often bleeds into the family relationships. There is a push and pull between parent and child and the IBA coaches know that it’s important to help all of these young men make choices from a rational place. We try to be there as both mentor and guide for these young men, realizing that each has greatness within.


Our approach of helping build the character of these high school students is through the game of baseball. We continue to help players understand how to better deal with adversity in baseball and become a better player because of it. We understand that these men are smart enough to understand that the lessons they learn when handling difficult circumstances in baseball transcend the game and have a more holistic application. We also come to discover that over the course of 10 years worth of baseball instruction, we have made wonderful friends, and significant contributions to shaping their lives.


We are now dealing with physically developed human beings at this stage. IBA coaches are recognized as the top in the area and can help players develop their skills to not only be successful in high school but additionally to put them in a good position to play into college. All of IBA’s coaches played college baseball and understand what it takes to get there.
Illinois Baseball Academy
164 Northfield Road
Northfield, IL 60093
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