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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine -

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15 Reasons To Buy a Hurricane Trainer
6 Questions Often Asked By Customers
Message to Parents From Coach Nick
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Hurricane Batting Machine Video Clips
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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

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
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Pitching -Tempo on the Mound

Pitching -Tempo on the Mound
ClubHouseGas On , University of GA Pitching Coach Brady Wiederhold discusses the importance tempo on the mound. Also check-out

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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.


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:

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

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Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine Demo Video

Check out the Hurricane Hitting Machine: Derek Jeter Series:
Hurricane Hitting Machine - Homepage
15 Reasons To Buy a Hurricane Trainer
6 Questions Often Asked By Customers
Message to Parents From Coach Nick
Examples of Hurricane Hitting Drills
The Highly Acclaimed 20-Minute Hurricane Batting Practice Workout
Hurricane Batting Machine Video Clips
Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine

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

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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.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. 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. 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.

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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

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