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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule


Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule
By Nick Dixon
The word is PLAN

There are many four letter words that baseball coaches know, but few are as important as the word for today, PLAN. There are very few volunteer jobs more challenging, time-consuming or rewarding than being a coach in your local league. There are many four letter words used by coaches that I can not use here. Here I want to discuss the 4 four-letter words that can and will determine the amount of success a coach has during the coming season. The four words are Goal, Plan, Work and Time. In part one I discussed the important of the word Goal and the importance of setting a goal to drive a team toward success.

The Baseball Coaches four letter word of today is P-L-A-N:

Planning is one of the most important responsibilities of a head baseball coach is planning. Planning is organization. Planning is delegation of duties and responsibilities to your assistants. You must plan every practice. You must plan your season. You must have a game plan going into every game. Planning practice after you start is a sign of bad coaching. If the team has practice at 3:00 PM, and the head coach turns to the assistant coaches as the team is warming up, and says, Well, guys what do you think we need to do today? A team with a coach like this is destined to have a difficult year. The coach is not organized and does not have the dedication to do his coaching homework at home before he arrive at the field. Have a plan and a schedule before you arrive at the field. The practice plan should be in the can! Planning as you go will waste valuable practice time that will never be recovered. It is extremely important to have a daily practice schedule written down. You must decide on each practice activity for that day, the assigned amount of time to be spent doing each drill or activity, and the objective or reason for doing the activity. A written practice schedule is a must! You practice plan must be detailed, easy to read, and easy to understand. Your practice plan begins with the first minute of practice and ends with the last minute. Every minute is scheduled. Include breaks and transition times from one activity to the next. You should write out the practice plan, run copies, and give each coach a copy. The schedule will have time slots, each coach drills and duties, and location of each activity.

A sample practice plan:

3:00 to 3:12 Team Stretch and Warm-up

3:12 to 3:27 PFP (Pitching Fielding Practice)

3:30 to 3:45 Outfield Drill Work & Infielder Drill Work

3:45 to 4:00 Team Defense, Infield, and Outfield Cuts

4:00 to 4:45 Team Batting Practice

(4 Groups, 4 Station, 12 Minutes and Rotate to the next station

-Station 1 On-field Batting Practice -Station 2 Batting Cage Work -Station 3 Bunt Station -Station 4 Tee & Soft-toss

4:45 to 4:55 Break

4:55 to 5:15 21 Outs Drill

5:15 to 5:25 Base running Drills/Conditioning

Coaching Note:

6 Pitchers will throw after practice bullpens. List Names. The greatest difficulty in having a practice schedule is staying on time. You must have a set rule that when drill time is up, the drill ends. If the drill was performed so bad that it needs to be done again, it will be done over after practice. Always have a coaches meeting after each practice to discuss what the staff has to say about the day practice. You also need to ask what they think the next practice schedule should cover. Listen to your assistants and consider what they say when you make out your next practice plan. Another part of having a plan is the delegating of responsibilities. You can not do it all. Recruit some good volunteer coaches to help you.

Good coaches always delegate task and duties to assistant coaches. Let certain coaches work with certain positions. One of the crucial assignments on every team is the position of pitching coach. You must have a coach that oversees pitching practice, bullpen work, and that calls the pitches during the game. Another important role is that of the team hitting coach. The hitting coach is often the offensive coordinator and 3rd base coach. This coach oversees all batting drills, batting practice and base running practice. Organize you pregame routine. Plan it, write it down, and make sure every coach know it by heart. Have a set time when you start stretching and warming up. Have a set time that you take pregame defensive infield and outfield warm-up. a set time that players may have 3 minutes to go to the restroom if they need to. Have a set time that you have a team huddle. Plan what you are going to say during this team moment. Having a plan is having a purpose, a time, and a place for everything and everyone.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Josh Hamilton on mechanics



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High School Baseball - Pre-Game Warm-Ups for Winning Fielders

High School Baseball - Pre-Game Warm-Ups for Winning Fielders
By Kenny Buford

For high school baseball games, each side only has fifteen minutes on the field for the pre-game warm-up. Coaches should focus on keeping the routine quick and simple. These fielding warm-ups will effectively get players loose and focused on the game.

Outfield Warm-Up

For the outfield warm-up, the coach should hit to the outfielders from the pitcher's mound.

Round One

For this round, the coach will hit a ground ball:

To left field


Left fielder will throw to second base, short stop covers and second baseman backs

To center field


Center fielder throws to second base, SS covers and second baseman backs

To right field


Right fielder passes to second base, second baseman covers and SS backs

Round Two

For this round, the player in short stop position should be stationed in the line of throw for a possible cutoff. The coach will hit a ground ball:

To left field


Left fielder throws to third base

To center field


Center fielder passes to third base

To right field


Right fielder lobs to third base

Round Three:

For this round, the first baseman should be positioned in the line of throw for a possible cutoff. The coach will hit a fly ball:

To left field


Left fielder will throw to home plate

To center field


Center fielder tosses to home plate

To right field


Right fielder lobs to home plate

Infield Warm-Up

Start by throwing the ball around the horn (catcher to first base to second base to short stop to third base and back to catcher). For the fielding portion of the infield warm-up, the coach should be hitting from home plate.

Round One

For this round, the coach will hit a ground ball:

To third base


Third baseman tosses to first base
First baseman passes to catcher

To short stop


SS lobs to first base
First baseman throws to catcher

To second base


Second baseman get the ball to first base
First baseman throws to catcher

To first base


First baseman lobs to third base
Third baseman tosses to catcher

Round Two

For this round, the coach will hit a ground ball:

To third base


Third baseman gets the ball to second base
Second baseman throws to first base
First baseman tosses to catcher

To short stop


SS will throw to second base
Second baseman tosses to first base
First baseman lobs to catcher

To second base


Second base lobs to short stop
SS gets the ball to first base
First base throws to catcher

To first base


First baseman tosses to second base
Second baseman passes back to first base
First baseman throws to catcher

And if you'd like to see more free youth baseball coaching ideas and practice planning tips, go here to watch a free video:
http://www.baseball-tutorials.com/vid/
Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of Baseball-Tutorials.com, the web's #1 resource for youth baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kenny_Buford


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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Batting Cages - Helping You Improve Your Game

Batting Cages - Helping You Improve Your Game
By Michael C Logan

Let us understand what a batting cage is; it is an enclosure within which a batter can practice his batting. It is a netted cage made especially for baseball players to practice their batting skills. It is therefore well secured for the players to practice. These days there are various varieties for us to choose from. We can choose the one that would be appropriate for us.

A Batting cage can be paired with a pitching machine that lets out balls so that even a single person can practice and doesn't need someone to practice with him. The floor of one can be a slight slope, to feed the balls into the pitching machine. The combination of the Pitching machine and Cage allows the player to get a complete training session.

Batting cages are made for the safety of batter's. They are made so that a batter can practice without worrying about anything and feel free to use any direction he would like to use to hit the ball. It is a netted cage made especially for baseball players to practice their batting skills. This concept was put into being to enable the batsmen playing baseball would have the freedom to practice without worrying about where and how they are hitting the ball.

The batting cage also saves space. You don't necessarily require a huge back yard or a huge open space to start practice. All you need is some place to put it and you are set. This resolves the space issue that you otherwise might face.

A Batting Cage is very useful for new players. It allows them to experiment with their strokes for the game really well. They can hit the ball freely and keep improving the strokes with every ball they hit. This something that new players must practice well. Since they are new they need to get the hang of hitting the ball. Being new it is understood that the ball will be hit all over the place but the right or correct direction hence it allows them to get the sense of direction while hitting the ball. It also resolves the concern of damaging any neighbors property. So you can hit in any direction you like and still be on good terms with your neighbors. Jokes apart, practicing really requires determination and hard work which would be impossible if you had worries of hitting your neighbors cars or windows etc. You would also not need to worry about getting hurt yourself. It's really safe for you and people around you.

When going to practice in the batting cage you must remember to use your safety gear so that you don't end up hitting yourself or hurting yourself. What's more, go and get yourself one and practice. You have a variety of options available online to choose from. Choose one that suits your pocket and you and get started!

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_C_Logan

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Catchers Receiving Drills at The Baseball Academy



Catching instructor Joe Wilkins (www.joewilkinscatching.com) puts his catchers through some receiving drills at The Baseball Academy. Please view this video by clicking "watch in high quality" at the bottom-right of the video screen!

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Little League Pitching Drills


Little League Pitching Drills
By Jim Bain

Let's discuss a Pitcher Tip on cold weather training. In fact, let's look at a couple of issues related to off season training.

Throwing Weighted Baseballs is a somewhat new and innovative technique more and more college baseball programs are implementing. I bring this subject up now, because throwing weighted baseballs is done Only During the Off Season! Once Spring training begins or you move to throwing off the pitching mound...stop throwing over weighted balls.

As I said, this type of training is somewhat in it's infancy for the greater portion of baseball programs, but initial findings seem indicate positive results in increasing arm strength and velocity.

***The caveat to this new program is it must be implemented correctly and slowly or the findings reverse dramatically with arm injuries soaring. ***

So, as a Pitcher tip, let's examine a sample routine which has been used with great success.

The Coach or player should plan on utilizing this workout routine for a duration of 2 months, no longer than 3 months and that depends on other outside influences, such as moving to a pitching mound. The workout should be performed no more than three times a week, mixed in with other strength and conditioning programs.

The Player should jog, in place or moving, for no less than 5 minutes and must work up a good sweat. At the conclusion of jogging the player should perform his stretching routine, which hopefully is a full body stretching exercise.

He then performs his 10 Minute Workout. You heard me right. Ten minutes. I know that doesn't sound very long, but a 3 minute boxing round doesn't sound too long unless you're getting your butt kicked or it's the 12th round. Then that apparent short time seems an eternity.

Pitcher Tip: Throw at:

60' for 3 minutes;90' for 3 minutes;120' for 3 minutes - finishing with;60' for 1 minute. A cool down.

OR an alternative method to use is: Throw a:

6oz. Ball, 20 throws at 70';4oz. Ball, 20 throws at 70';5oz. Ball, 20 throws at 70'.

This variation in weight, but not distance, does not provoke a change in pitching form or mechanics, only increases muscle strength.

It Must be stated Never Throw a Baseball Over 6 Oz.! Anything weighing more will only tear muscle down and result in a series of injuries.

Try and imagine this workout like this. If you're training for an endurance race of 20 miles while carrying 50 lbs of gear, you don't try to run the 20 or carry the 50 the first day of training. You ease into it increasing the difficulty as you increase your strength and stamina. No different here.

Since we're on off season training, I'll assume the weather is most likely cool to cold. Here's a Pitcher Tip for cold weather.

1. You must protect your hands. Drying and cracking finger tips and cuticles can not only be painful, but they can result in you unintentionally over compensating for the pain and reek havoc with your mechanics and form.Using hand creams will help relieve any drying and cracking problem.

2. In cool weather it is imperative you work up a good sweat before stretching and then throwing. You can wear your jacket while warming up, but do not throw with your jacket on. Always remove it prior to throwing.

3. Wear a cap, preferably a sock cap of some sort vs. a baseball cap. A person loses 90% of his body heat through his head. Keep the head covered and warm, the body will tend to stay warm.

4. Always carry a clean dry shirt or sweatshirt in your bag so when finished you can remove the sweat soaked shirt with a dry one. Always have a coat and gloves, regular winter gloves or at least batting gloves to wear. You never know when the practice session will last longer than your throwing schedule. You don't want to be caught outside in a wet shirt and no gloves.

Finally, if at all possible find a place you can throw inside. A school, gym, baseball school, batting cages. Anywhere inside is better than cold throwing outside. If there are no alternatives, use the tips above to stay warm and healthy.

Jim Bain is a reknowned baseball expert achieving success as a player, coach and writer. His desire is to educate future coaches and players on how to play the game of baseball. "To pay back the great coaches I had as I grew up." he was quoted as saying.

He has created a website for baseball. http://www.Learn-Youth-Baseball-Coaching.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jim_Bain

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Create a Baseball Practice Plan


How to Create a Baseball Practice Plan
By Jack Perconte

There are basically two things to consider when talking about how to create a baseball practice plan. The first is the pre-season practice plan and the second is the in-season plan. Of course, for teams that may play or stay together year round, there may be an off-season practice plan, too.

First, let's consider the pre-season plan. Coaches should decide how many practices a week they are going to have, which is usually based on the age of players and the philosophy of the level the team is playing. For example, travel baseball teams should practice more often than recreational teams, especially before the season. It may become more difficult for travel teams to practice as much once the season begins because of the greater number of games. With that in mind, travel teams must take advantage of their preseason practices more.

Additionally, coaches will base how in-depth strategic instruction they are expected to provide based on the level of play. For instance, recreational coaches should devote more time into the basic fundamentals, where as travel coaches should go into advanced detail on the finer points of the game, like pick-off plays, etc...

Following are suggestions that coaches should consider when drawing up their pre-season practices:
1. Write down every phase of the game including the fundamental skills of hitting, throwing, fielding, pitching and base running.
2. Write down every strategic game situation elements of the game like cutoffs and relays, run downs, pick-off plays, bunt plays and double steal situations, etc.
3. Decide on the length of practices and then begin to plug in the amount of time that will be devoted to a) fundamentals, b) strategic elements. After allowing a 15-minute warm-up period at each practice, below is some examples based on two-hour practices.

****** Fundamental Skills - Strategy, Game Situation
Practice 1 - 45 minutes --- 1 hour strategic
Practice 2 - 50 minutes -- 55 minutes
Practice 3- 55 minutes -- 50 minutes
Practice 4 - 1 hour -------- 45 minutes
Practice 5 - 1 Hour -------- 45 - Simulated Game
Practice 6 - 45 minutes--- 1 Hr - Simulated Game
Practice 7- 45 minutes -- 1 Hr - Intra -squad
Practice 8 - 45 minutes --- 1 Hr - Intra squad

Of course, this is just a basic model that coaches can go by with the goal of dividing practice time between the fundamental skill work and the strategic game work. Initially, less skill work is recommended until players get their arms and bats in shape, before devoting more time to this skill work. Coaches can adjust and vary their plan to meet their teams needs.

Other points to consider:
1. Homework on skill work should be given at the end of each practice.
2. As practices progress, coaches should gear more time towards the areas of baseball that are needed most. For example, extra base running work for teams that show bad base running skills.
3. Simulated games are when coaches set up certain game situations with regular pitcher, hitter and fielders, etc...
4. Attention to detail during warm-ups should not be neglected.
5. Keeping kids as busy as possible with small group stations and rotations is good when coaching help is available for the various stations.
6. The advantage of simulated games is that certain situations can be worked on over and over again. Reenacting plays that are done incorrectly until players do it correctly is crucial to improvement.

In season practice plan:
1. As games begin, periodic reviews of all strategic game situations should be done.
2. Coaches should use their pre-game time wisely to stay on top of skill work.
3. Practices can now be geared towards the areas of the game that teams need the most based on their recent game deficiencies.
4. Coaches are responsible for protecting pitchers arms at practice, especially as the season progresses.
5. Skill work should not be taken for granted as the season progresses. It is common for hitters to get off to a good start after working on hitting drills in the off- season only to have their hitting deteriorate when they neglect the hitting drills as the season progresses.
6. Cutting down on the length of practices may sometimes be necessary during the hot summer months so players do not get run down physically.
7. Coaches should take notes during games as to what their team should concentrate their next practice on.

Of course, being organized and prepared for every practice is important for successful baseball practices. Finally, a major sign of a good coach is that their team is better at the end of the season than at the beginning. This may not always show up in the win column, but definitely in how teams execute the strategic aspects of the game.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball.

Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Pitching -Tempo on the Mound



Pitching -Tempo on the Mound
ClubHouseGas On http://ClubHouseGAS.com , University of GA Pitching Coach Brady Wiederhold discusses the importance tempo on the mound. Also check-out http://YouthSportTravel.com.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baseball Pitching Drills - Improving Accuracy

Baseball Pitching Drills - Improving Accuracy
By Kenny Buford

Some of the most important baseball pitching drills focus on accuracy and placing the ball where you want it to be. The following drills work athletes to continually improve their ability to get the ball where it's intended to go. Drills can be adjusted depending on the age and playing level of different teams and players.

Bullseye

In the bullseye drill, players throw the ball into an ever-decreasing bullseye. Coaches should tape off a square bullseye, either into a padded wall or a throwing or batting cage.

Inside each square, there is a smaller square, with a total of 5 squares. The size of the bullseye depends on the age and playing ability of the team you are working with, but it should be challenging.

Players must throw 3-5 balls back-to-back inside the bullseye before the coach removes the outer-most piece of tape, thus decreasing the size of the bullseye. The number of back-to-back balls thrown into the bullseye is also a decision the coach makes, depending on the age and playing level of the team.

Kneeling Partner Pitches

Each player needs a partner. Both partners kneel on the ground, both with gloves, but with only one ball. The distance between the players is up to the coach, and can be extended periodically during the drill to make things more difficult.

Each pair pitches back and forth. The pitch is considered "good" if the catcher does not have to extend his arms out to his sides in order to catch the ball.

If the catchers extend their arms, the pitcher gets a point. If the catchers lift a knee to reach for the pitch, the pitcher gets two points. If the catcher falls in an effort to get the pitch, the pitcher gets three points.

Pitchers must keep their point total under 5 to stay in the game. The catcher counts the number of pitches the pitcher completes before reaching 5 points, and then the catcher becomes the pitcher and vice versa.

To make the drill more exciting or competitive for the players, pitchers can be ranked against each other to find the pitcher who completed the most pitchers before reaching 5 points.

Increasing Difficulty

Each of these drills can be made more difficult with just a few small tweaks. As already mentioned, coaches can increase the distance between players or between the pitcher and the bullseye. Coaches can focus on pitching speed, or measuring accuracy against each other pitchers to create some friendly competition.

And if you'd like to see more free baseball drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:

http://www.baseball-tutorials.com/vid/

Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of Baseball-Tutorials.com, the web's #1 resource for baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kenny_Buford

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Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine Demo Video


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Routines in Baseball

Advanced Skills Tee

Routines in Baseball

By Rick Harig

Baseball is the most "in and out" game there is in sport. A baseball player goes from live to not live between 140 and 170 times per 9-inning game. Some positions, like pitcher and catcher, force the player to be in focus more often. However, they, as well as the other 7 players on a field, can benefit from techniques to transition from "in" to "out" and back to "in" mentally. Each player needs to establish routines that allow him to be "on" every time he is suppose to be. The "off" time is a time when these routines are set into place. Routines allow the brain to go from the left brain's organizing and setting up to the right brain's action and follow through. These routines are like triggers. They put the player in the proper mindset. Players should study other player's routines to get ideas for what may help them.

Vision Routines

The hitter needs to develop a vision routine. The eyes work best when binocular (using both eyes), when on a horizontal plane, and when used in a scanning fashion. A hitter should develop a vision routine that works for him. Ex.: the hitter looks at the pitcher's feet and when they move, his eyes move to the pitcher's hat. At that point, the eyes move again when the pitcher's arm comes into the release slot. The hitter's eyes jump (scan) once again to the ball where they begin to track it in a lane to the hitting zone. The length of time one can intensely concentrate, like needed in hitting, is about one second. Since an 85 mph fastball takes about.5 seconds to get to the plate upon release that means the hitter has to start concentrating.5 seconds before that, which is when the ball is coming up into the release slot. If a hitter starts to concentrate too finely too soon he will end up seeing the ball only in his peripheral vision. A vision routine guarantees that a player uses his eyes as scanners and does not lock into his fine concentration until the appropriate time.

Breathing Routines

Hitting, pitching and defense can benefit from a breathing routine. Proper breathing is a trigger for the body to relax, which can put the mind into a proper mindset. An example of a trigger is when you are listening to a CD or iPod play list that you have heard many times. You automatically know the next song in the sequence. You often start singing it or hearing it before it actually starts. This is a trigger. The last song triggered the next song in your head. In baseball, the player needs to plan these triggers in a conscious state (a routine) and then allow them to be carried out unconsciously. The breath, as a trigger, should come from deep down in the diaphragm. The breath feels like it is coming from the stomach. A breath through the mouth results in an upper chest shallow breath. A proper breath oxygenates the brain and the muscles better than an upper chest breath. This is because there is more blood in the bottom of the lungs and when the breath gets oxygenated better it does better things for the central nervous system. The two types of breathing create two different results. Upper chest breathing during performance stimulates the fight or flight mechanism. This emergency state of mind causes the body to produce stress chemicals like adrenaline and lactic acid. In contrast, if oxygen is pulled more deeply through the lungs via nasal breathing a calming relaxing feeling takes place. This is because this type of breathing triggers impulses in the body's parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing is the bridge between the body and the mind. Your brain weighs about 2% of your overall body weight, but takes 20% of your oxygen.

Pitcher's Routines Pitchers need to develop routines that put them into the right frame of mind. More on this can be found in the pitching section in section 8. Routines, including breathing ones, can help create the conditioned responses that were discussed in section 6. An example of a pitcher's routine - while standing on the rubber, take a deep breath through the nose slow, deep and calmly. Let it out as you get your sign and location. Then imagine the lane you are going to throw in. Blacken out around it, and see a trail of balls going precisely down that lane into the catcher's glove. Follow with the real pitch to the same spot. Some pitchers use self-talk to design their routines around. Remember the mental message can dictate the physical action. The dirt circle is a good place for positive self-talk. If you, as a pitcher, find yourself talking negative, get out of the dirt and say anything you want to yourself. Then get back in and start your positive routine. "I am coming at you; get ready for my stuff..."

Hitter's Routines - Hitter's routines often start with quality uninterrupted on deck time to study the pitcher and reflect on what he is about to do. Then the routines progress to the actual at bat. There are so many different ways to get into the right frame of mind. An example of using Positive Image Flashes (PIF's) - First, start with a vision routine like described before. While waiting for the pitcher to move his feet, visualize a pitch coming down the lane and seeing it being hit exactly where you want it to go, like up the middle. Then when the pitcher moves his feet, continue with your vision routine to put yourself in the best position for it to really happen. There are a lot of routines that have body actions that help a hitter relax and get into the right frame of mind. Ever watch a cat pounce on a mouse or some toy? It crouches down and then slowly wags it tail giving itself timing and readiness. Then the cat quickly strikes at its prey. This is a great example of a routine. Hitters often wag their bats much like the cat's tail. Just like the pitcher can use the dirt circle of the mound to talk positive or negative, so can the hitter use the dirt circle around home plate or use the batter's box itself.

Fielder's Routines - Fielders need routines to take up all of the dead time between pitches. These routines should be designed keeping two things in mind. One, a routine that allows for focus and movement right before the pitch, and two, some sort of planning stage when the ball is not in play. An example of a fielder's routine - Have an imaginary circle that can be placed anywhere you desire depending on the situation. When you walk out of this circle it triggers the planning stage. Quickly figure out all the possible scenarios and what you will do with the ball. Walk back into the circle, which represents your unbeatable zone. When you are in that circle you are unstoppable. You take every ground ball personally. If 27 balls were hit to you, you would make 27 outs and win the game. This circle makes you super-human every time you step into it. You suddenly feel quicker and more ready.

For more on routines check out The Cognitive Advantage Program's website!

Copyright Rick Harig - All Rights Reserved

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rick_Harig

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - Baseball Coaches Survey - the Strangest Player Excuses Ever Heard


By Nick Dixon

If you coach any sport, you are going to hear your share of excuses from players, parents and other coaches. An excuse as defined by the dictionary is an explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, or promise.

Excuses are mostly false and sometimes irrelevant reasons given to justify less than desirable behavior, inappropriate conduct, or performance failures. Coaches hate excuses. In other words the word excuse has no place in coaching or playing baseball.

As coaches we do not like to hear players attempt to justify inferior performance with an excuse. But as long as there are sports being played there are going to be coaches hearing excuses.

The Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal surveyed baseball coaches. One of the questions was "What is the worst excuse you ever heard from a player? Here are some of the worst, funniest, and strangest player excuses that the surveyed coaches responded with on that survey.

• "Coach, I did not bring my glove because I did not think I would need it."

• "I was in the batters box but I was not ready."

• "I could not catch the ball because it was hit up in the sky."

• My leg was hurting...Then we asked if we needed to skip him in the batting order...Oh no it's fine now!

• "My mom forgot to bring my glove."

• Asked why he over slept, an high school player responds" The pain killers I took knocked me out. Why did you have to take the pain killers? Because my new tattoo really hurt."

• "I thought is was going to be a strike" when the ball bounced three feet in front of the plate and he took a swing at it."

• Struggling Pitcher said "I can not throw strike because the fielders are messing up!

• It is just too hot to play today!

• I'm hungry (as he was eating) and that's why I can't bat right now

As you can see, players can come up with some strange and weird excuses. Baseball coaches do not like the word excuse because it represents a reason for failing. Excuses are a player's justification for inferior behavior or performance.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports. 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 BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the BATTING CAGE DOOR.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Explosive Rotational Hitting for Beginners thru High School



Explosive Rotational Hitting for Beginners thru High School
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Using the rotational power of the hips, exerpts from this 60 minute dvd, show 4 drills and help parents and athletes undertstand powerful hitting in easy to follow terms. For baseball and fastpitch

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Baseball Recruiting - Tips For the Baseball Parent (Part 1)

Baseball Recruiting - Tips For the Baseball Parent (Part 1)
By guest author: Mike Liberatore

Before I got into coaching high schoolers for the first time, plenty of my friends with coaching experience gave me plenty of horror stories about what it would be like dealing with the player's parents. Luckily, for the most part, the parents that I had were great. There were a few sporadic issues throughout the season, but nothing major. After coaching, I moved onto working in the field of college baseball recruiting, which a completely different level of dealing with high school baseball parents. Between the two experiences, I have certainly developed a solid list of do's and don't to help parents out with following their young athlete, and hopefully assisting him in advancing to the next level, whether it be as a collegiate student athlete, or even as a pro.

As a coach, I really only had one rule for the parents, and it was rule I stole from my high school coach who now coaches a DI in Florida. That rule was, "you can talk with me about anything except playing time. If playing time enters the conversation, the conversation is over." For some reason, when a player does not start or play an entire game or play their position of choice, a parent can twist this into the coach having an "agenda" against their child. That is almost never the case, especially the higher up you go. When coaches are paid to win games, they are trying to do just that. Sometimes a player may be in a slump, sometimes a coach plays a matchup, sometimes he may simply feel another player is better, but it is almost never because the coach doesn't like a given player or parent. Keep in mind that a good coach will communicate to his players why he makes a certain decision, and what they player can do to improve and get more playing time. Invariably, players understand these things better than the parents. Here are few other general principles to go by:

o Be seen and not heard - Especially at games. Cheering on the players is the best thing you can do. Yelling at a player, coach, or umpire is not going to have a positive impact. Don't coach every pitch from the stands. Players become distracted by what their parents are up to in the bleachers and it absolutely affects their play. Practices are the time for coaches to be vocal, games are for the players.

o Don't try to "pitch" your son to a high school or college coach -- It is extremely difficult, if not impossible to view your own son's play objectively. That is for the coach to do! If your son has talent, the coach will see it. That is what they are paid to do. Believe it or not, coaches see just about everything that happens on the practice or playing field and it doesn't take long to get a feel for a player's skill set.

o Coaches aren't perfect - Keep in mind, that coaches will make mistakes. I do realize that many coaches carry themselves as if they don't, but I can speak from experience and say I have mis-evaluated a player, especially early in the season. Some times a player simply improves, but sometimes he may have been better than the coach thought all along. Either way, coaches will usually correct their error and adjust the lineup accordingly. Even if they wont admit they were wrong, the lineup will show it.

o Be careful when you "angle yourself" in - Many parents volunteer their time to help with practices, concessions, scorekeeping, etc. Be sure that if you do this, you maintain the proper boundaries with the coach. Often times, parent that have additional responsibility feel it is acceptable to overstep and volunteer their input on how the team should be coached.

o Encourage and empower! - As much as a parent wants to help because they know best, whether it be on the playing field or in the recruiting process, the ultimate goal is to make the player self sufficient as a young man. If a player wants additional playing time, or wants to play a different position, he should simply go to the coach in private and ask what he needs to do to accomplish that goal. This will go miles longer than if it came from a parent. If a player shows the initiative to stay after a practice and do the extra work, coaches will reward the good example if possible so that it is seen by other players. You also want to empower your son when it comes to the college recruiting process (there will be following articles on this). Many parents feel this is their time to get more involved, however, a player is perfectly capable of initiating contact with college coaches by phone or email. Our website has detailed step-by-step instructions for them on how to do so. Coaches will seek out the parents when it is time.

In short, do your best to empower your son as a young man and high school athlete. Work with them to develop their skills, but don't be overbearing. Teach them to carry themselves with proper etiquette and work ethic, and when in doubt stay out of the coaches way. When I go to watch my relatives play, I find a spot as far away from everyone else as possible. I noticed parents of my more talented players did the same. If you'd like additional information, visit our website, blog or MySpace and Facebook Pages for continued updates. Check back regularly for guest content.

Mike Liberatore is a former college baseball player, AAU baseball coach, and owner/operator of http://www.baseballrecruitsonline.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Liberatore

Saturday, October 30, 2010

5 Skills You Need to Get an Internship in Baseball


5 Skills You Need to Get an Internship in Baseball
By Ashley Shaw

When you're trying to get that dream internship with your favorite baseball team, it can be very competitive or easy depending on the skills that you have acquired. Although many teams have different requirements of their interns, everyone that you have may add a unique asset to their team that they may be looking for. In my experience applying to various Cape Cod Baseball League teams to intern for, and actually interning for the Brewster Whitecaps two summers ago, each team required similar skills as well as their own that they were looking for.

-Knowledge of Baseball.

If you have no background on the sport and have never even watched a game or know any rules, then don't even bother applying. Teams will want to know that you know the ins and outs of the game. Anything from the different positions on the field to doing the scoring book during games. If you show them how much you know about the game, it will definitely be a positive on your end.

-Leadership.

Most organizations will ask you about real life situations that you've been in before when being interviewed. If you prove to them that you like to be the leader of the pack, that's what they want. Organizations want people who will take initiative to getting work done and not sit in the back seat and just do what they are told. By having the leadership skill, it will show them that not only would you be able to handle tough situations and get them started, but also that you are a hard worker and want to see things done right.

-Communication/Team Work.

Being able to communicate well with others and work as part of a team is really important. With most organizations you will be working with a team to accomplish different goals and communication will be the most important part of it.

Working with other people who may have different viewpoints you will need to be able to communicate with them to solve problems or to let them know what else may need to be done and/or what already is done. You would also need to know how to communicate properly with different players, agents and other staff because not everyone is the same, but knowing how to communicate professionally will put you ahead of others applying for the internship.

-Computer Skills.

It will only be to your benefit to be experienced in using computer applications such as Microsoft Word and how to create spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel. Every organization uses both of these very frequently by inputting player stats into a spreadsheet or even creating and keeping an up to date list of contacts. Microsoft Word is good to know if you will ever need to create a review of a game or any other task they may ask you to write for the team. These two applications are great things to know how to use not only in baseball, but really anything else in any type of business.

-Multi-tasking.

This skill will be relevant in anything you do in life. But to succeed at your internship, being able to multi-task is very important. You will be asked to accomplish a number of things at once and you'll need to be able to keep track of everything and keep it in order to accomplish it. Also being able to ask what task will be next on the list so you could maybe get two things done at once to get ahead of the work. You may be asked to put up banners along the outfield fence, but then your boss may need you to set up the pitching machine for the kids that come to the game as well. Being able to handle more than one thing at once will help you with anything you do.

By acquiring these skills over time through taking different classes or even through various jobs you've had in the past will help you get that internship you've always wanted. Although these are just a few of the skills you may need, you can never stop building that list of skills you have because the more you have, the better off you will be and will be more ahead of the game than other people applying as well.

Ashley Shaw
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ashley_Shaw


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Change of Direction Kids Speed Camp



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Monday, October 25, 2010

Introduction to Baseball

Introduction to Baseball
By guest author: Richard Robbins

Baseball is a game that is played with nine players on each team. The objective of the game is to score more points ("runs") than the other team. Runs are scored when a player advances from home plate to first base, on to second base, third base, and then back to home plate again without being put "out" by the other team. Opposing teams take turns being on offense and defense. When a team is on offense, members of the team take turns attempting to hit a baseball with a bat as the ball is thrown ("pitched") from some distance in front of home plate. The offensive team continues to bat until three "outs" are made by the defensive team. When the team playing defense gets three outs against the other team, the teams switch roles, and the defensive team takes their turn on offense while the other team plays defense.

Each cycle that is played this way (where each team has played on offense for three outs and on defense for three outs) is referred to as an inning. The game is normally concluded at the end of a designated number of innings, at which point the winner is the team with the most runs scored. In most baseball leagues, a winning team must be declared (no ties can exist). This overtime scenario is referred to as "extra innings", which involves the two teams playing more innings than normal, with the game being completed when one team scores more runs in one of the innings than the other team.

Richard Robbins is one of the owner of RobbinsSports.com, an online retailer of baseball jerseys and baseball uniforms.


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

QuickSwingTrainer.com - A Great Baseball Swing Trainer for All Ages



The Joe Mauer Quick Swing Trainer is the perfect swing trainer for improving bat speed, batting skills, and confidence. This vide demos the product and explains some of its benefits and advantages. Visit http://www.QuickSwingTrainer.com or http://store.baseball2u.com/joemaqusw... for more information.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to Create a Baseball Practice Plan



How to Create a Baseball Practice Plan
By Jack Perconte

There are basically two things to consider when talking about how to create a baseball practice plan. The first is the pre-season practice plan and the second is the in-season plan. Of course, for teams that may play or stay together year round, there may be an off-season practice plan, too.

First, let's consider the pre-season plan. Coaches should decide how many practices a week they are going to have, which is usually based on the age of players and the philosophy of the level the team is playing. For example, travel baseball teams should practice more often than recreational teams, especially before the season. It may become more difficult for travel teams to practice as much once the season begins because of the greater number of games. With that in mind, travel teams must take advantage of their preseason practices more.

Additionally, coaches will base how in-depth strategic instruction they are expected to provide based on the level of play. For instance, recreational coaches should devote more time into the basic fundamentals, where as travel coaches should go into advanced detail on the finer points of the game, like pick-off plays, etc...

Following are suggestions that coaches should consider when drawing up their pre-season practices:
1. Write down every phase of the game including the fundamental skills of hitting, throwing, fielding, pitching and base running.
2. Write down every strategic game situation elements of the game like cutoffs and relays, run downs, pick-off plays, bunt plays and double steal situations, etc.
3. Decide on the length of practices and then begin to plug in the amount of time that will be devoted to a) fundamentals, b) strategic elements. After allowing a 15-minute warm-up period at each practice, below is some examples based on two-hour practices.

****** Fundamental Skills - Strategy, Game Situation
Practice 1 - 45 minutes --- 1 hour strategic
Practice 2 - 50 minutes -- 55 minutes
Practice 3- 55 minutes -- 50 minutes
Practice 4 - 1 hour -------- 45 minutes
Practice 5 - 1 Hour -------- 45 - Simulated Game
Practice 6 - 45 minutes--- 1 Hr - Simulated Game
Practice 7- 45 minutes -- 1 Hr - Intra -squad
Practice 8 - 45 minutes --- 1 Hr - Intra squad

Of course, this is just a basic model that coaches can go by with the goal of dividing practice time between the fundamental skill work and the strategic game work. Initially, less skill work is recommended until players get their arms and bats in shape, before devoting more time to this skill work. Coaches can adjust and vary their plan to meet their teams needs.

Other points to consider:
1. Homework on skill work should be given at the end of each practice.
2. As practices progress, coaches should gear more time towards the areas of baseball that are needed most. For example, extra base running work for teams that show bad base running skills.
3. Simulated games are when coaches set up certain game situations with regular pitcher, hitter and fielders, etc...
4. Attention to detail during warm-ups should not be neglected.
5. Keeping kids as busy as possible with small group stations and rotations is good when coaching help is available for the various stations.
6. The advantage of simulated games is that certain situations can be worked on over and over again. Reenacting plays that are done incorrectly until players do it correctly is crucial to improvement.

In season practice plan:
1. As games begin, periodic reviews of all strategic game situations should be done.
2. Coaches should use their pre-game time wisely to stay on top of skill work.
3. Practices can now be geared towards the areas of the game that teams need the most based on their recent game deficiencies.
4. Coaches are responsible for protecting pitchers arms at practice, especially as the season progresses.
5. Skill work should not be taken for granted as the season progresses. It is common for hitters to get off to a good start after working on hitting drills in the off- season only to have their hitting deteriorate when they neglect the hitting drills as the season progresses.
6. Cutting down on the length of practices may sometimes be necessary during the hot summer months so players do not get run down physically.
7. Coaches should take notes during games as to what their team should concentrate their next practice on.

Of course, being organized and prepared for every practice is important for successful baseball practices. Finally, a major sign of a good coach is that their team is better at the end of the season than at the beginning. This may not always show up in the win column, but definitely in how teams execute the strategic aspects of the game.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball.

Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baseball Drills - Outfield Drills for Game Day Skills


By Kenny Buford

There is more to developing outfield skills than just playing catch. Outfielders need baseball drills that will prepare them for conditions they will face on game day. The following outfield drills help players become comfortable with any situation they might encounter during a game.

Sun Drill

For this drill, the players line up facing the sun and take turns catching fly balls from the coach. The players can wear sun glasses, but often the glare is still too much. Outfielders need to get used to using their gloves to block the sun while watching for the ball. Over time, the players will develop an approach for using the glove to see while also preparing for the catch and will feel confident in the outfield on sunny game days.

Fence Drill

This outfield drill teaches players how to correctly go for a catch against the fence. A lot of factors will come into play in this type of situation during a game, like where the ball is, how hard it is hit, and its elevation as it approaches the fence. However, with practice outfielders can become more comfortable going for the fence.

In this drill, the outfielders should start 10 to 15 feet away from the fence. One at a time, the coach throws high fly balls either above or against the fence. The outfielder takes his ready steps and rushes to the fence, keeping his eyes on the ball and his throwing hand outstretched to guide him and protect him from running into the fence. The player then makes the catch, jumping in front of or leaning against the fence.

Line Drive Drill

Line players up in the outfield and have them take turns running the drill. The first outfielder takes his ready step as the coach throws a line drive toward his knees. The player runs directly at the coach, keeping his palms up and his glove in basket form. When he catches the ball, the player shoots his glove up in the air to show the umpire he got it.

Backup Drill

This drill emphasizes communication in the outfield and prepares players to back each other up on fly balls.

For this drill, the players form two lines in the outfield, about 90 feet apart. The coach hits or throws a fly ball between the first two players in each line. The players have to communicate who is going for the catch, making sure not to run into each other while still watching the ball. The player going for the catch should yell "got it" and the other player should respond "take it." The second player should still back up the first player in case the ball gets through.

And if you'd like to see more free baseball drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:

http://www.baseball-tutorials.com/vid/

Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of Baseball-Tutorials.com, the web's #1 resource for baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kenny_Buford

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teaching Kids Baseball Pitching Mechanics

Teaching Kids Baseball Pitching Mechanics
By guest author: Nate Barnett

It is fun to watch youth baseball games. I enjoy watching the kid on the team with the least amount of talent "accidentally" catch a fly ball that was hit right to him. Those kids will always remember that time in their life when they were a hero; at least they felt that way for that moment in time. That is what youth baseball is all about.

I will always remember (in great detail) hitting my first homerun over the fence in Little League. I was 10; 23 years ago. I remember where I hit the ball, how far I hit it, how the ball almost hit a green car when it finally landed, who the first base coach was, what he said to me when I reached first base, how the sun was setting just above the mountains, the excitement rounding second when I could barely control myself from leaping all the way home, what my third base coach told me just as I was rounding third, how my teammates surrounded me when I reached home plate and the reward of the hamburger after the game for hitting a homerun. It was tasty! I also remember that was the only game my parents didn't make it to that year because it was my older sisters High School graduation night. That is the joy of youth baseball!

As parents and coaches we often forget what baseball is all about as we focus on winning more than we do developing players on and off the field. The coaches that have fond memories of playing little league Baseball can be some of the most influential coaches to the youth.

Here are a few things we need to remember when coaching youth baseball pitchers:

Youth Coaching Tip #1: Youth pitchers have to be taught mechanics with patience and understanding. You shouldn't be aggressive in your teaching style. Most players respond with a negative attitude and won't enjoy the learning process regardless of how well you think you teach if you are too intense. Nobody performs well under pressure from coaches when they are overly aggressive constantly yelling or barking at them during games and practices. They are on the field to have fun learning life's lessons and the fundamentals of the game. Pitching mechanics take time to learn so parents and coaches need to understand that little league is a developmental league not MLB. I read once that it takes Tiger Woods 18 months to incorporate a new swing to his golf game; be patient with the youth.

Youth Coaching Tip #2 Most of us are visual learners and need to be shown how to do things. Coaches should take the time first to learn what they should teach and then practice it themselves so they can physically show pitchers proper mechanics. If the coach is unable to do that, they should find instructional videos that allow the pitcher to visualize what is being taught.

Youth Coaching Tip #3: During practice explain why a concept is important in the throwing motion. If the student doesn't understand why they are supposed to do certain things mechanically they have a difficult time retaining the knowledge. They will continue to do what they have always done.

Youth Coaching Tip # 4: To ensure you know your players understand what is being taught it is necessary to ask them questions about what they are learning during practice. I always make my students re-teach what I taught them at the end of the lesson, or many times during, to help me know they get it. Taking it a step further, have them physically show you what they have learned and have them repeat it time and time again until the mechanics become a part of their muscle memory. This takes a lot of patience because mechanics take time to develop for any pitcher.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

You can find The Pitching Academy's articles, blog, and videos on baseball pitching mechanics, pitching grips, and hitting mechanics when you visit the website.

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