The Offical Blog of the Baseball Coaching Digest
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Baseball players would be in a pretty pickle if all signals were verbal. Would a player be excused, by an irate fit to be tied coach, if he did not hear the screaming that goes on.
The coaches are out there giving signals. The umpire is giving signals. Baseball players are watching everything. What is this signal thing about anyway?
There is a secret among a coach and his players and they dare not let the opponent in on the know. I have seen the first and third base coaches play around out there like they had the itch or mosquitoes biting or something.
They will scratch their shirts across the letters, take off their caps, run their hands through their hair, rub the back of their legs with their foot, and even rub their arms like crazy. I know something must be up. Wonder if it's catching?
I'll tell you who had better catch it. Those team players. I'm told these are their secret signals.
The umpires also go through all kind of gyrations. I have seen the base umps run down the foul line on a well hit ball suddenly stop, turn toward the playing field and point like a bird dog on point.
Another common antic of an umpire is he will intently watch when a runner is running to a base and a tag is about to be made. If the tag is too late to get the runner out then the umpire goes half ape. He will stand there throwing his hand out as if he is shooing away a swarm of gnats. Then he calmly turns his back and walks away.
Players may jump up and down and exclaim he was out and the manager may even come a running. Brother, the umpire simply stands there with his arms folded across his chest and utters not a word. The coach sends his players away with a hand motion. The coach has his say to the ump. The coach makes out like he is mad but suddenly, like an ole hound dog which has been shot with a B B gun, he tucks and trots away.
Folks all of this signaling and use of hands serves a most useful and human purpose.
Many, many years ago a couple of deaf players loved and played the game of baseball. These two gentlemen, a Mr. Luther Taylor and Mr.William Hoy, are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude for their dedicated insistence for use and development of umpire hand signals.
Their courage to play the game of baseball before crowds watching their every move and action put them both on display and many a less stout hearted persons would have never stood and played little less excel.
Luther and William are vivid reminders of what not only made them as individuals great among many but it tells a story about our game of baseball as well.
William and Luther advancing the hand signal requirement for acceptance as the norm and such as Pete Gray and Jim Abbot foregoing tremendous physical handicaps and Jackie Robinson taking up the mantle bringing desegregation to the forefront. Folks when you witness such as this all in the name of our great game of baseball you have to marvel at the far reach of this sport we call BASEBALL.
I refer to these gentlemen as Mr. in respect for what they did for our great game of baseball. You see they are credited with making umpire hand signals an integral part of the game.
Dummy Hoy, William Ellsworth Hoy played professional baseball from 1888-1932 with a lifetime batting average of .288.
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Friday, February 27, 2009
I thought would discuss our teams approach to facing what we feel is a dominate and overpowering pitcher. In high school, we are talking about a pitcher throwing in the upper 80s and lower 90s with good off speed stuff. I am talking baout a totally over poering pitcher. For example, we faced a hard throwing lefty thsi week, he was upper 80s, good pitch command and control, and had 3 solid pitches. He is projected to be drafted and has already signed. He had given up no runs on 2 hits in the first 3 games he pitched this season.
Here are several things we talk about and do in our approach to this situation:
1. Take a lot of pitches, make his pitch count climb.
2. Every batter will do two things to increase his own bat speed. A)Choke up an inch on the bat or downsize one each in bat length.B) Move deeper in the batters box.
3. Start the hands in motion. Have the hands moving forward on the start of the pitch.
4. Hit the ball early in the count, do not allow him to get ahead without taking cuts.
5. If we go through the order once and do not touch it, we may start laying down bunts and trying to to get on base with base hit bunting.
6. If he wark fast, we will try to break his rythm.
By the ay...we won 2-1. Have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping in....Nick
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Thursday, February 26, 2009
Developing a coaching philosophy is an often overlooked yet very important aspect of coaching. Many youth baseball coaches have an idea of their philosophy, but never take the time to write it down or convey it to their parents and players. By doing so you will be helping your team understand you and your expectation and believe me, this will make your job A LOT easier.
Your philosophy is a collection of principles that you will use to run your team. The principles that you have will guide you in creating your team policies and these policies will guide your coaching decisions throughout the year. If parents and baseball players know what your philosophy is, what your policies are and what you expect from them, you will be ahead of about 90% of all youth coaches in heading off potential disasters. However, let me make one thing clear. If your philosophy and policies should change during the season, you MUST communicate this as early as possible.
It's not as complicated as it may seem. To break it down -- Your coaching philosophy is made up of your principles, your principles will drive your policies and your policies will drive your decisions. As stated earlier, all coaches have an idea of what their philosophy, principles and policies are, but by organizing, clarifying and communicating them, you will increase your coaching effectiveness.
Step 1 -- Organize. Think about what is important to you as a baseball coach and write it down. Create a spreadsheet or word document of what you feel is important for you as a coach to do for your players. Make a list.
Step 2 -- Clarify. Once your list is finished, go through and make sure you didn't miss anything. Also, look for things that appear contradictory. If you find some, think about what the differences are between the two and then remove one, or clarify it if need be. Once you get a clear understanding of what is important to you as a coach, you should have a good list of principles to use to develop your policies.
Step 3 -- Communicate. Clean up and edit your document and then use it as a handout at your first practice, or attach it to your introductory letter. At your parent meeting (yes you should have one of these), go over it with parents and let them ask questions. This should put everyone on the same page. By communicating your philosophy and policies at the beginning of the season, you will save yourself headaches and distractions later on.
In closing, here are some sample principles that I have heard other coaches incorporate into their philosophy.
* Doing your best is more important than success.
* Coaches, Players and Parents should be positive at all times.
* Good sportsmanship is mandatory.
* Players and Coaches should have fun.
* Players and Coaches should be disciplined.
* Players and Coaches should be enthusiastic.
* Always keep a good attitude.
There are probably hundreds or thousands more, but this should give you a good start. I wish you success in your youth baseball coaching endeavors. Make it a great season!
Larry Miljas believes that coaching youth is very important as it gives us a chance to influence tomorrow's leaders. He is a martial arts instructor and little league baseball coach that wants to provide baseball tips, drills, and information on techniques for hitting, pitching, coaching, and training through his website at http://www.TheYouthBaseballCoach.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_Miljas
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Our team uses the Advanced Skills Tee and I have found it to be an effective way to shorten a batter's swing. Here are a few questions I often get about the Advanced Skills Batting Tee.
Is the Advanced Skills Tee™ Durable?
The tubing for the AST is molded from polyurethane, using a open casting process. Polyurethane is a flexible material like rubber; however, polyurethane is much stronger and more durable than rubber (as much as 10 times more durable!). Wheels for roller blades, industrial rollers, and dimpled pitching machine balls are among the many items typically made with urethane. It's a great material for products that must withstand impact and stress yet remain flexible. Urethanes are expensive, and whilte the AST may cost more than a traditional rubber tee, it is guaranteed to last 10 times longer too. We back our Advanced Skills Tees with a two-year warranty.
What is the Purpose of the Outside Barrier?
The outside barrier eliminates "casting". It keeps you form swinging "long" and helps you "keep the hands inside the ball". If the bat or arms are extended prematurely the bat head will slap the flexible upright barrier post. For years coaches have set a tee adjacent to a fence or screen to force hitters to compact their swing. The outside barrier does the same thing except it is a lot more effective. It rotates around the tee to accommodate LH or RH hitters and it moves along with the forward arm to help you keep the hands "tight" when you are working on inside and outside pitch locations. With the outside barrier you are forced to rotate the hips and torso and extend the hands only at the point of contact. It produces a "quick" bat and more power as well.
Is it Practical and Portable?
The AST can be assembled or disassembled, by hand, for easy storage and transportation. And, it uses a hollow, canteen style base that is filled with sand or water (and sealed with a rubber plug). When filled, the base provides weight for stability and when empty, the base is light and portable.
To order the advanced skills tee go to CoachesBest.com.
Visit AdvancedSkillsTee.com for more information on this great baseball training aid.
Monday, February 23, 2009
"Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."
"You can observe a lot by watching."
"In baseball, you don't know nothing."
"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."
"It's deja vu all over again."
"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
"I usually take a two-hour nap, from
one o'clock to four."
"If the people don't want to come out to
the park, nobody's going to stop them."
"Why buy good luggage? You only use
it when you travel."
"Think! How the hell are you gonna
think and hit at the same time?"
"I didn't really say everything I said."
Hey Yogi, what time is it?
"You mean now?"
On being asked his cap size at the beginning of spring training:
"I don't know, I'm not in shape."
On why the Yankees lost the 1960 series to Pittsburgh:
"We made too many wrong mistakes."
On Ted Williams:
"He is a big clog in their machine."
On the tight 1973 National League pennant race:
"It ain't over 'til it's over."
On being told by the wife of New York Mayor John V. Lindsay that he looked cool despite the heat:
"You don't look so hot, either."
On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947:
"I want to thank you for making this day necessary."
On the American League situation:
"The other teams could make trouble
for us if they win."
After receiving a check made out to "Bearer" for his appearance on Jack Buck's pregame show in St. Louis:
"How long have you known me, Jack? And
you still don't know how to spell my name."
Dale Berra, Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop and son of noted linguist Yogi Berra, on the comparisons being made between him and his father:
"Our similarities are different."
Asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded his expectations this season:
"I'd say he's done more than that."
On the acquisition of fleet Ricky Henderson:
"He can run anytime he wants. I'm
giving him the red light."
On a fancy White House dinner he attended:
"It was hard to have a conversation with anyone,
there were so many people talking."
Don Baylor, New York Yankees DH, on Billy Martin and his predecessor Yogi Berra:
"Playing for Yogi is like playing for
your father; playing for Billy is like playing
for your father-in-law."
Reminiscing during a tv interview about New York Yankee battery mate Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series:
"It's never happened in the World Series
competition, and it still hasn't."
After Milwaukee Brewer manager Phil Garner told him that he had said a Yogi-ism:
"What's a Yogi-ism?"
After accepting an invitation to dine at the White House this week:
"I thought they said steak dinner, but
then I found it was a state dinner."
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Pitching a baseball game begins long before you even step onto the pitching mound. It is important to prepare both physically and mentally for pitching in a game. Below are some mental and physical steps you can do to prepare for pitching on the day of the big baseball game.
When you wake up in the morning, begin mentally visualizing your pitching experience. Start imagining how your pitching will be that day. While taking your morning shower, think about how you want your pitching strategy to be. Do you want to throw many fastballs? Do you want to vary your pitching a lot in the game? Do you want to try and strike every batter out? Or would you want to pitch each batter in such a way as to try to get them to ground out to the infielders on the first pitch? All of this mental preparation can help visualize how you want to win.
During the day, conserve your energy and keep thinking about how you are going to pitch the best game ever. Your positive attitude will help you win. All of the positive thoughts will get you very excited about pitching in the game.
When you are getting dressed for the game, keep a clear head and positive attitude. If you pitching coach gave you advice on pitching strategy, repeat key concepts in your head. Consider the strategies for each batter. If you did research on the other team's players, remind yourself of which batters to pitch fastballs to, and which batters to throw curveballs to. You don't need to quiz yourself, but simply review the concepts in your head.
Before going into the pitching bullpen, gently jog around the field. Get the blood flowing. Gently stretch, and then jog a little more. It's important to loosen up your arms and your legs. Your entire body is needed for baseball pitching, so be sure to warm-up your entire body.
Once you've returned to the bullpen, go to a grassy spot away from other players and gently stretch your arms and arm joints. Focus on your shoulders, forearms, wrists, and elbow.
After stretching for about 5 or 10 minutes, find a teammate to have a simple catch with. Stand about 20 feet apart and simply throw the ball to each other. There's no need to throw any pitches at this point. Just throw the ball. Catching and throwing the ball will actually help you stretch some more before you even throw a single pitch. After a minute or two, extend the distance to about 50 feet apart. After a few more minutes of having a casual game of catch with your teammate, you should start casually going through the pitching motion. Use your legs in throwing the ball. Do a casual wind-up and lift your leg a little bit in the pitch.
Now that you've warmed up, you can start your pitching activities. Have a teammate, preferably a catcher; assume the catching position while you throw some practice pitches. Start with a very slow pitch and practice the pitching motions. Don't worry about speed. Pay attention to your pitching mechanics. The web site www.2PlayBall.com has books and videos that discuss the mechanics of baseball pitching. Besides reading and watching videos, you can also watch other pitchers and study how they pitch the ball.
Once you've thrown about 15 simple pitches while focusing on the delivery, start to warm-up your pitching aim. Focus on inside and outside pitching corners. Practice your aim with each of your pitches. Throw a fastball, curve, change-up, slider, and other pitches.
Ask your warm-up catcher and another teammate to go to home plate and practice with you while you stand on the pitcher's mound. Your practice catcher should assume the catching position, and your other teammate should stand in the batters box with a baseball bat in hand. The practice batter should not hit your practice pitches, but simply stand in the hitting stance and occasionally swing very lightly at the pitches. All of this will help you visually prepare for real game pitching.
If you have not already done so, go see your pitching coach and say hello. Ask any questions that you may have. If you don't have any questions, review with your pitching coach any pitching strategies for the game.
Before you enter the game, be sure to go to the bullpen and throw some more warm-up pitches. Also, throw just a few pitches at full speed. Don't throw too many, but throw maybe 3 or 4 full speed pitches.
If you are not the starting pitcher, be sure to keep your body warm and loose. And remember to keep warm and loose in-between innings even when you are the active pitcher.
And of course, enjoy your pitching experience! After all, that's why you play baseball...to have fun!
About The Author
Mike Schim has been a baseball fan for nearly 30 years. As a child he enjoyed playing catch with very old, well worn baseball gloves. He now plays ball with friends and teaches his family and kids how to play ball. You can read more of his articles at http://www.2PlayBall.com and he also writes for http://www.TeachMeSports.com. Mike hopes that his passion for writing about baseball will help everyone more thoroughly enjoy the game.
Coachesbest.com sells top quality batting cages at disocunted prices. BattingCagesDirect.com sells complete batting cage packages with net and frame for a low price. BatAction Hitting Machines is baseball's #1 backyard batting trainer.
Friday, February 20, 2009
1. I MUST..."Always remember that I am a role model, on and off the field, for all players and kids. I must remember that everything I do is observed. Everything I say is heard.
2. I MUST..."Always remember that something I say or something I do not say can have an profound positive and negative affect on a player. I am a coach because I care! I care about the game. I care about my players. I must act like I want to be there! My player will observe and emulate my attitude. My attitude must show my dedication, excitement, and enthusiasm!
3. I MUST..."Constantly remember that the safety and well-being of my players is my responsibility and the old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", is never truer than when it applies to sports accidents. Youth coaches should apply a team rule that that at practice no player should swing a bat, unless the coach has given them permission to do so.
4. I MUST..."Be fair to every player. I will treat every player equally with the same respect. I will always be honest with my players. I will be mindful that praise is a great motivator. I will at times use constructive criticism but I will always maintain a balance between correction and praise. I will speak "one-on-one" with every player, every day. This may be something as simple as the question, "Jon, how is your day going?".
5. I MUST..."Demand and receive respect from every player at all times. Disrespect will not be tolerated. I will remember discipline is a vital part of the game. Team and self-discipline is something I must teach and reinforce. Kids expect and love discipline. Many players do not get enough discipline at home."
6. I MUST..."Dress and look the part of a coach. I will keep a clean and neat appearance at all team practices and games."
7. I MUST..."Remember that to be a good coach, I must first be a good teacher. It is my responsibility to teach the fundamentals, rules and skills of the game. I will structure and organize every practice and pre-game ritual so that my players will know what to do, will know what to expect, will be focused and stay busy." I must remember "idle" time is "trouble" time when one is dealing with kids. I will always be the first to arrive and the last to leave all games, practices, meetings, and all other team events!"
8. I MUST..."Coach the details during the game to help my players learn and perform to their highest level". I will work hard at all times during practice and games. I will instill in my players the value of hard work and preparation.
9. I MUST..."Remember that character development and self-confidence are what youth sports is all about. Kids do not have to play. They play because they want to have fun! I must have fun, know how to laugh, and enjoy every minute along with my kids!"
10. I MUST..."Remember, that "WINNING is NOT EVERYTHING" but "EXPECTING to WIN" is. I must instill hope and confidence as I prepare my team for each game!
The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL COACHING DVDs. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.
Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Have you ever heard a player return to the dugout after a big hit and say "That felt so good" or "I hit that so perfectly on the sweet spot, I didn't even feel it"? What does this mean? What causes this great sensation? It is a widely known that every bat has a sweet spot. It is the spot on the bat that maximises the distance and power of a good swing. This is the spot on the bat where contact is made and very little jar or vibration to the hands is felt. There is no sting to the hands when a ball is hit with the bat's sweet spot. Contact on the sweet spot provides maximum power contact to the ball and greatly increases the distance and speed of the ball hit. All balls hit below or above the sweet spot can and often do result in a distinct vibration to the hands and fingers. The more times a batter's able to hit the ball with the bat's "sweet spot", the more successful the batter will be. We would like all balls hit to be hit perfectly on the "sweet spot".
How can coaches better teach players to use the "sweet spot"? How can players train to use the "sweet spot"? "Sweet spot" swing training can be accomplished easily with a new training bat appropriately called the "Sweetspot" Trainer. This new training bat has a unique design that features a regular bat handle attached to a "sweet spot" only barrel. This unique design forces the player to get the barrel through the zone and to hit the ball on the "sweet spot" every time. This new trainer is great for soft-toss, live-arm BP, and cage work. It is also great for hitting off the tee. It is also very popular as a training tool to be used with the BatAction and Hurricane Hitting Machines that are so popular with today's players.
If you have not incorporated the "Sweetspot" training bat into your teams or players daily practice routine, I highly recommend that you do so. You will be amazed at the increase in line drives and hard hit balls that you see during batting practice and games. Players gain a high level of confidence when they use this new training bat. The "Sweetspot" also adds an element of focus often absent in batting tee, soft-toss, and batting cage workouts. The players must keep their eyes on the ball more intensely and they must concentrate on every swing to insure the ball hits perfectly on the bat's sweet spot.
The CoachesBest Baseball Store has the BASEBALL SWEETSPOT BAT at dicount prices. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Did you love your "Johnny Bench Batter Up" Rotational Trainer From the 70's? Looking for similar machine for your player? The BatAction Machine features the same ball movement but with a heavy-duty space age design that offers superior performance and durability! If you are old enough to remember the Johnny B "Batter-Up", then you will really appreciate what the BatAction Hitting Machine offers your hitters!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Are you sure you're doing everything you can to be the best coach possible? Absolutely sure?
I've been a coach and I've had a lot of coaches. You know what I've found? Some coaches put all the pieces together and some just don't invest time developing the coaching skills that make a difference.
I can't turn you into a coaching superstar overnight but I can get you started with these six powerful communication skills. I'll break them into two groups: Verbal and Non-verbal.
Three verbal communication skills you must...
Click Here to continue reading this great article at BaseballCoachingDigest.com
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Monday, February 16, 2009
We played today and won 10-1. We had a couple offensive situations that merited discussion in the team meeting after the game.
Situation #1 - Runners at 1 and 2nd, no outs. Batter hits a ground ball to the 5-6 hole. The grounder was medium speed. Our runner was breaking on his ground ball read but ran to close to the 3rd baseman before he stopped. He slide under the 3rd basemans tag, the tag was missed, and the throw to 1st was late. All runners were safe. The point was that our runner could have given the other team an easy double play, if the tag had been made with a follow-up throw to 1st base. Our runner is a speedy kid, he felt he was going to beat the play since the 3rd baseman was going to have to make a play in the hole. The 3rd baseman took a great angle on the play and almost made a super play. Our runners must be more alert and not give the other team a potential double. Stopping and retreating to avoid the tag is the desire base runners action when this occurs.
Situation #2 - We had our lead off batter execute what looked like to be a perfect base hit bunt down the 1st base line. He is right-handed and he pushed the bunt. The play was not even close. Plate umpire called him out for making contact wit a foot down out of the box. I questioned the call, mostly in support of my player, but I was satisfied that the umpire got it right. Point here, our kid started the bunting motion even with the plate and came out of the box. He should have slipped a bit deeper and should not have started so early with the push motion. If he had been a bit more patient, the ball would have gotten deeper, and the bunt would have been legal.
Until, next time, good luck to you and your team. Nick
The middle infielders should be taught to properly "round" the ball, make a proper relay catch and quick throw. We often do this drill and the losing team must do 5 or 10 pushups or squat thrust.
The distances should be matched to the age. You may also have the outfielder let the ball go and hit the fence, before he goes retrieves it and makes his throw to the cutoff man. You may also want to make this a "total team" drill with the whole team having to catch and throw the ball to cover a long distance. If you have the room to do this, it is great to have the team work together to beat the clock. They must beat a set time or they "pay". You may also want to have the "line" make more than one trip down and back. It is great to make each "line" take the ball to the other end three times.
Have a great day, Nick
Sunday, February 15, 2009
1. BatAction Self-Trainer Hitting Machine by Nedco Sports - One of the best known trainers on the market. It is popular because it is simple to use, raises batting averages, and has speed and height adjustments for all ages and skill levels. The unit weight less than 35 pounds, packs away easily and travels in the truck of your car. Price under $200 http://www.bataction.com/
2. Target Handheld Hit Trainer - This hitting stick trainer by SKLZ offers easy, portable, inexpensive, and productive batting practice for teeball, youth baseball, and youth softball. The units is lightweight and can be carried to game for pre-game warm-up. Price under $50 http://www.baseball2u.com/prohitrbynes.html
3. Handsback Hitter by Swing Buster - This unique and innovative batting trainer features a mechanical tee that launches the ball into the strikezone. The players learns very quickly to trigger, stay back, and drive the barrel through the baseball or softball. Portable unit that can travel to games and practices. Price under $100 http://www.handsbackhitter.com/
4. Stay Back Batting Tee - This great training tee teaches players to stay back, to hit with leverage and power, and to keep the weight and hands back. This tee is simply to assemble and can be used at all ages because it has several adjustments. Portable with a weight less than 25 pounds. Price under $100 http://www.staybacktee.com/
5. Advanced Skills Batting Tee - This innnovative new batting tee by Muhl Tech is the one of the hottest selling training products of 2009. The lightweight tee has a unique design and barrier that teached the batter to have a compact, short, and prefect swing. Sells for under $100 http://www.advancedskillstee.com/
6. Quick Swing Trainer - This unique batting machine is automated. It produces incredible bat speed and builds batter confidence extremely fast. Lightweight and batter operated for complete portability. This is a great training tool and the cost is under $100. I suggest that you buy the combo that includes the net and machine for $129.95.
Have a great day.Nick
Saturday, February 14, 2009
One of the biggest challenges a coach faces is to successfully instill a long-term motivation and vision in practice during the typical lengthy baseball season. It's not uncommon for a high school player to spend February through August doing baseball drills, workouts, training, and of course participating in games. So the question must be asked, how can you create a sense of urgency and long-term focus during the hundreds of hours of baseball drills throughout the season?
This is where goals come into play. Though I will say, be careful how you use the term "goals", the reaction of your athletes may be less than excited. I prefer the term, "road map". Whether it be to play in high school, college, or professionally, you will be much more likely to find your athletes will perform the baseball drills and workouts you create efficiently if you help them continually expand their road map. Without a clear and defined road map, you'll end up wasting a lot of practice time and will most certainly find it tough to help your players stay motivated throughout the duration of the season.
I'm sure you've agreed with me thus far that a road map creation process is vital to the success to an athlete. But let me give you one tangible and practical way to help enlarge the thinking of your players.
Think of it this way. If the goal is to get to the Big Leagues, there are some serious rewards that come with the title of Big Leaguer. One of the benefits of course is economic. Lets say a talented and successful player makes one million++ dollars annually playing professionally. Broken down over a career of practicing and working hard on baseball drills, that's about 20 grand per practice! Obviously it largely depends on the age of the athlete whose dream is to play in the Bigs, but I'm sure you can do the math and figure out the amount of money per practice. Have the athlete deposit the money in his mental bank account only if he's worked hard during his practice.
The mind is an amazing thing. Help your athletes develop it so they may achieve their full potential.
About the Author
Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at http://bmibaseball.com/blog
His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.
Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Buying a BatAction Machine is one of the smartest baseball coaching decisions you will ever make! You have our 100% Money-Back Guarantee to PROVE IT! For less than an expensive bat you can purchase the absolute best hitting machine ever! A machine known for producing 100 to 200 point increases in batting averages for both teams and players!
The BatAction Machine gives teams and players 3 distinct advantages:
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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Pitchers' injuries an `alarming epidemic'
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 JON SOLOMON News staff writer
For 151 pitches, Louisiana State pitcher Derik Olvey refused to give up the ball April 9. He realized LSU's game against Tennessee was on television, meaning his grandfather, dying of cancer in Alabama, might be watching.
"I really wasn't pitching for myself," said Olvey, a graduate of Pelham High School. "I told the coaches as long as I could throw the ball over the plate and they were comfortable with me out there, keep me in there."
Despite a history of elbow problems and having thrown 129 pitches the previous week, Olvey kept going in the 6-2 LSU win. He allowed five runs on six hits on 18 pitches in his next start, and then noticed his velocity drop 6 miles per hour between innings.
Eventually, Olvey felt like a knife was stabbing his pitching elbow, and he could not lob the ball 60 feet. Olvey has no regrets. His grandfather watched the 151-pitch game on tape before dying the next day.
But on May 12, Olvey had the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow restructured - commonly known as "Tommy John surgery" - and became another in the line of young pitchers having surgeries. Dr. James Andrews calls the trend "an alarming epidemic."
Between 2000 and 2004, Andrews, a renowned Birmingham surgeon, performed elbow operations on six times more high school pitchers and four times more college pitchers than from 1995 to'99. Elbow surgeries on pro pitchers only doubled.
"I open up these kids and they look like they have a 30-year-old pitching elbow, and they're 16 years old," Andrews said. "If we try to hide our head in the sand and not recognize these kids are getting hurt more, we're probably not doing our job."
At least 19 percent of pitchers on SEC rosters entering 2006 have had arm surgery, either before or during college, according to a survey of the league's 12 teams. That doesn't begin to count those who have missed extensive time with injuries and will need surgery in the future.
"That's way too high," Andrews said. "What the NCAA coaches should be worried about is with the escalating injuries in high school, all of a sudden, they're not going to have enough good, healthy pitchers to fill their slots."
At today's SEC Tournament will be Kentucky's Craig Snipp, who is three years removed from elbow surgery and among the ERA leaders in the SEC.
And Georgia's Mickey Westphal, who had shoulder surgery in 2004 and is 6-0 with a 4.76 ERA this season.
And Arkansas' Charley Boyce, who had a bone spur removed from his pitching elbow in 2005 and has an ERA two runs greater than his career 3.40 mark.
And, most painfully, eight of South Carolina's 19 pitchers have had surgeries on their pitching arm.
"I know we've been extremely cautious over the years and we still get guys hurt," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. "I probably would recruit them the same way if I did it again. Because you just don't know for sure. The arm wasn't designed to throw a baseball."
Pitchers and parents carry dreams of winning championships and securing pro contracts or college scholarships. But the kids are also carrying too heavy a workload at young ages, according to some doctors and coaches.
It's happening all over the game. Within the Atlanta Braves' organization, 29 of 119 pitchers (24 percent) have had arm surgery, according to data from the club's front office.
Improved recognition of injuries and the status of popular surgeons such as Andrews certainly factor into more surgeries, Andrews acknowledged. But he has found enough anecdotal evidence of surgery increases across the country to believe improved recognition rates can't be solely responsible.
A study by the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), Andrews' Birmingham-based lab, found college-age pitchers who report throwing regularly with arm fatigue are 36 times more likely to have surgery than rested pitchers. College-age pitchers are also five times more likely to have surgery if they play more than eight months a year.
"Of the college pitchers who come for surgery, none of them looks like a clean break," said Dr. Glenn Fleisig, chairman of research at ASMI. "They all look like their tendon or ligament is frayed. You can tell that's from overuse, one throw after another."
Andrews said the high school pitchers he operates on average one week off (typically between Christmas and New Year's) during a 12-month period.
College coaches are becoming increasingly frustrated about inheriting damaged goods without knowing it. Kentucky coach John Cohen said the sport needs more than the NCAA maximum 11.7 scholarships to account for the rash of injuries.
"In order for us not to abuse arms, we have to have enough arms to go around so you don't have to pitch guys routinely," Cohen said.
Because of overuse, many college coaches say they now prefer pitchers who play multiple sports rather than those who throw a baseball year-round.
"They play too much," Georgia coach David Perno said. "... High school coaches overthrow them because they don't care about summer ball. Summer coaches overthrow them because they don't care about high school ball. It's a vicious cycle."
Thirty years ago, Tommy John surgery might have meant the end of a pitcher's career. A decade ago, the success rate was 60 percent. Today, there's an 85 percent chance of recovery.
Players roll the dice with those odds - too much so for Andrews' liking, even if it is good for business.
"Some of these young kids are jumping up and down when you finally tell them, `Yes, you've hurt your ligament and we'll reconstruct it,'" Andrews said. "Some are not even giving themselves time to get well with a minor injury. They want an operation because they hear Tommy John's operation will make them a better pitcher. That's a misconception."
The majority of Tommy John pitchers will get well and possibly return to form. But if they become better pitchers, doctors say, that's only because of rehabilitation, the natural maturation of the arm, and much-needed rest.
Perno recently concluded that recovering from shoulder surgeries is more difficult than rebounding from elbow procedures.
"The kids who had shoulder surgery have never regained the velocity, unlike Tommy John," Perno said.
Alabama pitcher Allen Ponder, who had a labrum, biceps tendon and rotator cuff repaired in 2004, can relate. Once a big-time recruit as Alabama's "Mr. Baseball" in 2002, Ponder didn't pitch this season due to recurring shoulder pain.
Starting at 14 years old, Ponder rotated from high school to travel league teams. He would pitch five-plus innings in seven-inning tournament games, and then sometimes work in relief the next day.
"I always felt great. I had no idea that what I was doing might have caused wear and tear. But I have no regrets. As a kid, you just want to play."
Olvey remembers his elbow injury escalated the summer before enrolling at Notre Dame, where he missed 47 games as a freshman before transferring to LSU. He essentially went 18 months without a break while adjusting to the rigorous conditioning program at Notre Dame as a freshman.
The high pitch counts this season "might have been the thing that finally said, `OK, I can't recover from it anymore," Olvey said.
Given what they know now, Ponder and Olvey said they wouldn't change how they were used, even though the result is a seat on the bench for this week's SEC Tournament.
Andrews worries many well-intended coaches and parents are not educated about the dangers. He worries a generation of young pitchers could be prevented from participating in recreational sports as adults, much less become the next Roger Clemens.
"At some point you have to figure out whether you want to be a star in the Little League World Series or in the real World Series," Andrews said. "They don't necessarily match."
The article above is presented in its complete form as written by News staff writer JON SOLOMON of the Birmingham News. The article appeared in the the Wednesday, May 24, 2006 issue.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"There are three types of baseplayers: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens."
"If the guys on the bench were as good as the guys you have out there, they'd be out there in the first place."
"Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'ss show you a guy you can best every time."
"Most ballgames are lost, not won."
"Win any way you can, so long as you can get away with it."
"There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is 'have patience.' The second is 'be patient.' And the third and most important scret is 'patience.'" Chuck Tanner
"It's what learned after you know it all that counts."
Have a great day, Nick
Monday, February 9, 2009
When I teach hitting (or pitching for that matter) there are a few important core movements that if accomplished will lead to a greater chance that other movements further in the baseball swing process will be successful. Keep in mind that there are quite a few significant movements within the complete baseball swing. Please don't think the below is an exhaustive list.
Core Hitting Movements:
1. The load. Movement backwards where weight is stacked on back leg is valuable so as to make sure the back knee and hip are fully involved in the triggering (power creation) process. Without the load, little power can be effectively generated with the lower half and therefore, the front hip or hands will begin to take over to compensate (a bad thing).
2. The trigger. Movement forward with the back knee and hip are essential. If the front side (leg and hip mostly here) are doing their job, then the rotation with the back side first will create torque in the swing and allow the upper body to then whip through the bat through the zone.
3. Front side stability. I teach a lot on the lower half of the body. It's the source of the power. If it is not under full control, the upper half must work extra hard, sometimes too much in creating energy while hitting a baseball. Therefore, the front knee and hip should remain closed off to the pitcher as the back side begins it's initial movement. As the rotation continues, the front side will give way and allow full hip rotation to continue. If control of the front side initially is accomplished, the results will be energy (not to be confused with weigh transfer) being directed back into the pitch. If there is little front side control, meaning the hips begin to open too soon, the energy will not be directed into the pitch, but instead away from the plate.
As always, pictures or videos provide the best example for baseball instruction. However, understanding what one is looking at while viewing pictures or videos is the most important part in understand a fundamental baseball swing.
Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. For more information on hitting mechanics, find his instructional blog at http://bmibaseball.com/blog
Hitting Mechanics 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released in June, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett
Saturday, February 7, 2009
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Friday, February 6, 2009
"The number one tip coaches should remember is that children are not miniature adults and shouldn't be treated as such," says Jim Rogers, a certified athletic trainer in Temple University Hospital's sports Medicine Center.
"This may seem obvious, but many adults don't realize children's bodies can't take the same amount of physical stress adult bodies can take. That's because children are still growing and therefore are more susceptible to injury."
Rogers offers coaches these other tips to prevent injury:
- Stretching the muscles related to the activity is very important. For example, if a child is pitching, he should concentrate on stretching his arm and back muscles. If a child is catching, the focus should be on the legs and back.
- A good warm-tip is just as important as stretching. A warm-up can involve light calisthenics or a short jog. This helps raise the core body temperature and prepares all the body's muscles for physical activity.
- Swelling with pain and limitation of motion are two signs that are especially significant in children -- don't ignore them. They may mean the child has a more serious injury than initially suspected
- Swelling with pain and limitation of motion are two signs that are especially significant in children -- don't ignore them. They may mean the child has a more serious injury than initially suspected.
- Rest is by far the most powerful therapy in youth sports injuries. Nothing helps an injury heal faster than rest.
- Children who play on more than one team are especially at risk for overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are caused by repetitive stress put on the same part of the body over and over again.
- Injuries that look like sprains in adults can be fractures in children. Children are more susceptible to fractures, because their bones are still growing.
- Children's growth spurts can make for increased risk of injury. A particularly sensitive area in a child's body during a growth spurt is the growth plate -- the area of growth in the bone. Growth plates are weak spots in a child's body and can be the source of injury if the child is pushed beyond his limit athletically.
- Ice is a universal first-aid treatment for minor sports injuries. Regular ice packs -- not chemical packs -- should be available at all games and practices.
- Ice controls the pain and swelling caused by common injuries such as sprains, strains and contusions.
Temple University Health Science Center news releases can be accessed on-line through CompuServe in the SciNews-MedNews library of the Journalism Forum under file extension ".TMM"
CONTACT: Andrew Smith of Temple University Health Sciences Center, 215-707-4039, or Juggledrew@AOL.com
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Batting Cage Frame Kit Assembly PhotosBatting Cage Frame Kit Assembly photos shown below illustrate how simple and easy it is to install your won homw batting cage using a Batting Cage Nets and Frame Kit.
Batting Cage Construction TipsBatting Cage Construction Tips offers helpful tips for people considering buidling their own batting cage.
Batting Cage Kits - “Build Your Backyard Batting Cage For Less"Batting Cage Kits are a great choice when it come to saving money on the installation of your own backyard batting cage. Batting Cage Frame kits come in various sizes and can fit any budget.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Purpose: Used to improve bat speed, visual concentration, and batter confidence.
Description: The MOVE-UP hitting drill: The batter learns to see and hit the ball quicker out of the machine or batters hand. Before the drill begins, 4 spots are marked on the floor, in measured distances of 40, 35, 30, and 25 feet. The machine or pitcher should maintain a safe medium speed velocity during this drill. The machine's accuracy must be checked and rechecked during the drill for safety purposes. The spots are the locations at which the batter will take a certain number of swings. The batter hits 4 balls at each spot and then move closer to the machine or pitcher at the next spot.
Procedure: The batter hits 4 to 6 balls at each spot, then moves to the next spot closer to the machine or pitcher. The machine or pitcher should not deliver the next pitcher until the batter assumes a proper stance, triggers or loads to the proper launch position, and has visual focus on the pitcher or machine. The batter starts the drill at 40 feet and hits at all spots until he has hit 4 to 6 balls at each spot, ending with ball hit at the closest spot to the pitcher, 25 feet. Distances can be shortened or made longer to meet the needs of your players.
Coaching Points: Sometimes you may have the player hit two balls at each spots moving toward the machine and then hit two balls at each spot moving away from the machine, until two balls are hit at each location or distance. This process makes the batter adjust to varying changes in pitch speed. This drill is great for teaching hitting to "stay-back".
I hope this drill description is useful to you.
Have a great day, Nick
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
A normal bullpen for our pitchers this early in the season will be 25 to 45 pitches depending on weather conditions, and arm conditioning. We always make sure that our pitchers are in good condition before we start bull penning our pitchers. Their arms must be strong before we start working or practicing throwing the curve ball.
I am assuming that everyone knows the 4 basic elements of safely and efficiently throwing a curve ball. 1) Proper grip. 2) Proper wrist action. 3) Same arm speed is used as all other pitches. 4) A proper downward shade-pulling arm action that pulls the arm downward giving the ball the desired spin and achieving the proper arm finish.
NOTE: Curve balls are thrown with with the use of a proper grip and wrist action. Young players that have not been shown the proper mechanics will try to use elbow action to throw the curve ball. This is the basis of all arguments against youth-curve-ball-use. Failure to learn the proper and safe techniques for throwing the curve ball pitch can and will result in serious injury to a players arm.
With that being said, I would like to cover how we use 4 different visual anchor points to change the look of our curve balls. Anchor points are simply spots or visual reference points that our pitchers concentrate on and throw to the curve ball break to the desired plane. The ability of a pitcher to throw to 4 different visual anchor points or targets gives the pitcher 4 different break planes for his curve ball.
The anchor points we use are:
1) Batters Hip - This pitcher should break to the middle of the strike zone and is used to get a called strike. Good first pitch. This pitch must have a good downward bite.
2) Umpires Mask - This pitch should break to the outside corner of the plate. This pitch should be thrown as a strike. This pitch must have a good downward bite.
3) Catcher Mask - Depending on where the catcher is set-up, this pitch can finish on or off the plate. We are trying to throw a pitch that breaks off the outside part of the plate. This pitch should be a difficult pitch to hit even if the batter is expecting a curve ball.
4) Catchers Shoulder Away From the Batter - This is a great out pitch. It must be an impossible pitch to hit. The pitch must break at least a foot off the plate.
COACHING POINT: There may be a time when you need to throw or waste a pitch in the dirt. You throw this pitch in hopes that the batter will chase a bad pitch. The anchor point we use for this pitch is the mitt. Another important point is that practice throwing to these points out of the stretch and windup deliveries. When a pitcher is using an anchor point, the pitcher should focus and concentrate on that anchor point through the whole delivery just as if it was the mitt.
This system may not work for everybody. I hope that you find this information useful. Good luck until next time. Nick Dixon
CoachesBest.com and Baseball2u.com has one of the internet's largest selection of Baseball Pitching Coaching DVDs, Pitching Training Aids, and Arm care Products.
Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, CoachesBest.com, Baseball2u.com, Hit2win.com, BattingCagesrUs.com, BattingCagesDirect.com, and BaseballDealz.com. He is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience.
Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer.
Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest.com, bb2day.com, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, BattingCageBuilder.com, AmericanBaseballDirectory.com and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter.
Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.