January 14, 2019

She dreamed of a career in sports—it didn’t pan out, so she created her own youth sports organization

In Detroit, At Bat teaches youngsters the fundamentals of baseball and softball, and how to play safely while building confidence and self-assurance.

Delrisha Hayes is the founder of At Bat, a Detroit youth sports organization.

Failure lingers in the memory longer than success, especially when the stakes are higher. In the city if Detroit, high crime rates, poor school systems, and poverty affect so many lives.

I founded At Bat because I believe that baseball and softball can be part of the solution. At Bat is an amateur sports agency that provides baseball and softball activities for youth, and teaches them the fundamentals of the sport—including how to reduce injuries and build confidence and self-assurance.

I’ve always wanted a career in the sporting industry, but after several failed attempts, I decided to create my own opportunity. I have always loved sports, and I have a passion for teaching and educating young people. I founded At Bat in November 2015, while maintaining my job within the automotive industry.

At Bat’s mission is to increase the number of at-risk youth who participate in each sport by providing free clinics and low-cost programs. In the beginning, At Bat started hosting one-day baseball clinics to introduce 6 to 13-year olds to the fundamental of baseball. In doing so, we hoped that children would draw interest in the sport through the clinics.

Since then, At Bat does more than just offer clinics, we host community workshops to increase knowledge on health as it correlates to personal finance, childhood obesity, and concussion. At Bat provides an after-school program for Voyageur Academy kindergarten through eighth graders, where they learn baseball and nutrition fundamentals, build self-esteem, and apply academic concepts to real-life examples through structured activities. There’s also a six-week youth development program to improve Metro Detroit youth science, technology, engineering, and mathematics understanding—it takes the understanding of the game off the field into the laboratory. This summer, we’ll conduct camps and leagues that provide youngsters with the opportunity to improve their baseball and/or softball skills.

Baseball is such a rewarding sport, yet, most urban youths do not participate in it. The income gap among economically disadvantaged kids participating in baseball and/or softball is slowly decreasing. An equal opportunity to compete diminishes when the cost associated with playing a sports rises and the number of programs available declines. Major League Baseball has created to try to reduce the gap such as RBI and Home Run Derby. But these programs won’t make a difference if children don’t participate in the sport.

This is where At Bat comes in; we understand how lucrative it is to play an exquisite sport, and how it benefits beyond the diamond. The knowledge of sabermetrics—used to design drills that incorporate STEM lessons—gives youth an advanced education. Activities improve their physical and mental health. Youth also benefit by engaging with active mentors.

The limited resource available in urban community causes the community to suffer, this why At Bat is constantly developing innovative ways to engage with young people. By engaging in our programs, we can improve the way kids think, learn, and interact. Today’s younger generation will be competing for careers that satisfy the demand of globalization with emphasis on STEM skills. At Bat can play a key part in their development.

Currently, we are seeking a permanent facility to create an indoor batting cage with advanced technology to provide year-round activities. Here, we can give adolescents the opportunity to track training sessions and learn the sport from a mathematics perspective. They will learn about the velocity of a curveball and use calculations to determine batting skill level.

Delrisha Hayes

At Bat

Delrisha Hayes has always had a desire to obtain a career in the sporting industry, after several failed attempts, she decided to create her own opportunity. While Delrisha was simultaneously maintaining her job within the automotive industry, she founded the organization At Bat in November 2015. Fueled by her love for sports, youth, health, and education, Delrisha designs baseball and softball activities that create opportunities and leave lasting memories. She is still finding ways to connect urban youth to the game by collaborating with community organizations.
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