Youth from 13 tribal communities including the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community attended the 2015 Nike N7 Jacoby Ellsbury Baseball Camp at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on January 10. Youth from elementary through high school got to learn hands-on baseball techniques with Ellsbury and trainers and staff from the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, who conducted the baseball clinic. Ellsbury, who is one of the ambassadors for the Nike N7 sports program for American Indian youth, currently plays center field for the New York Yankees.
Youth were divided into age categories and rotated in groups to the different training exercises that were set up. They tested their speed and strength running hurdles and running with parachutes, went through warm-up exercises, practiced throwing and catching, learned about stealing bases, and enjoyed batting practice.
Ellsbury hosted his first Nike N7 baseball camp at Salt River Fields in 2012, when he was with the Boston Red Sox.
“Every year the camp has been getting better and better,” said Ellsbury. “It’s all about [youth] having a fun time and learning [baseball skills]. This year’s motto was ‘Move Your Generation’—the kids are our future, and we want them to live a healthy, active lifestyle.”
At the end of the camp, participants had the opportunity to take photos with Ellsbury, get some autographs, and participate in a Q&A session with the athlete.
“We chose Salt River Fields because it’s on Native land, and we would like to thank the Community for letting us host the clinic here,” said Ellsbury. He added, “We have had many kids come back over the years and tell me how much they have improved since [participating in] the camps. They continue to come back and tell us how they enjoy the camp. Plus, seeing all the smiles on their faces is what keeps us coming back.”
Ellsbury said he hopes the youth at the camp learn the lesson of hard work. “Set goals, but know there will be a lot of ups and downs and so you have to work hard at where you want to be in life,” said Ellsbury.
N7, a program of Nike, is inspired by Native American wisdom of seven generations. The program’s mission consists of inspiring and enabling participation in sports for Native Americans and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.