Back to baseball basics

Elton Goodwin has only one year left before he retires, but the South Kitsap High School varsity baseball coach showed he hasn’t lost his passion for the sport.

A lifelong fishing enthusiast, Goodwin could have easily called it a season after his team took fourth place in the 4A state tournament.

But there was one more item of business to take care of before casting his rod.

Goodwin and longtime assistant Don Smith wrapped up SK’s annual summer baseball camp last week for local youths.

Goodwin said the camp is the most important time of the year.

Stressing fundamentals, the camp allows the coaching staff to spot poor habits and teach the proper techniques.

Goodwin said it’s amazing how many kids come into the camp with bad habits.

“Jeez, a lot these kids haven’t been taught the fundamentals properly,” Goodwin said. “The mechanics of hitting is not there, and you’d be amazed how many kids don’t know how to throw properly. You’d be amazed how little the mechanics of throwing are taught.”

Goodwin emphasized the camp isn’t about him being right and the rest of the baseball coaching community being wrong.

“A lot of fathers coach Little League, and I think that’s important,” Goodwin said. “They dedicate themselves to it and you can’t fault them for that. But some of these fathers do not teach the proper techniques.”

Goodwin said he’s a realist and knows some of the kids in the camp will revert back to their bad habits.

Goodwin said it’s the ones who strive to correct their bad habits and turn into a fundamental ball player that keep his passion as a coach in tact.

“When a parent comes back to me and says, ‘Thank you for helping my son,’ that feels good,” Goodwin said. “When they take what they learn here and use it in a game, that means you’re reaching the kid.”

A lot of times, Goodwin said parents have noticed a big difference between their child’s play before and after the camp.

Goodwin had 44 campers that were ages 8-12 and 36 kids 13-18, though most of the kids were 13-16 years old.

“They come here, so they obviously want to be here and learn,” Goodwin said.

Asked during the camp about the upcoming salmon season, Goodwin perked up and said there’s a 20-pound king waiting for him at Southworth.

But before he could get another word in, he spotted a camper doing a drill improperly and immediately tended to him.

Yes, fishing is around the corner, but Goodwin’s joy of teaching the game of baseball remains undaunted.

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