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Monday, May 31, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest: Trick Play Alert: Switched Base Runners

Baseball Coaching Digest: Trick Play Alert: Switched Base Runners


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Baseball Coaching Digest: Trick Play Alert: Switched Base Runners


Some baseball trick plays are shady. Some baseball trick plays are just bend the rules a little while others are absolutely underhanded and are a true display of bad sportsmanship. This is just such a play.

This play is a illegal play used by teams on unsuspecting teams during a time out. Most teams use this ploy when the defensive team is making a pitching change and the 3rd base coach has called the runners over for a conference while the new pitcher is warming up. This article explains the situation, the details of how the play is run and how to prevent this trick play from being run against you.

Name-"Switched Base Runners"

Type Play-Offensive

Situation-Two or more runners on base.

Objective-The offense will actually switch the position of two or more base runners to give them an advantage.

Details-This play is one of the most "under-handed" or "dirtiest" tricks in baseball. It is an example of pure cheating. The offense will normally attempt this play when the defense is "struggling". The defense has called a time out and the defensive coach has gone out to talk to his team.

While the defense is having a "discussion on the mound" or changing pitchers, the 3rd base coach will call all of the base runners over for a discussion at the 3rd base coaching box. The offensive coach will actually tell the base runners to which base he wants each to go back to in order to give his team a "cheating" speed advantage. The offensive coach will "reposition" his base runners to a different location than where they were. The coach will change their "base positions" to take advantage of the faster runners speed. For example, with no outs he may put his fastest runner at third to make it easier to score on a tag-up or to beat the infield throw to the plate on a ground ball. If the tying or winning run is at second, he may put his fastest runner at second base.

The "underhanded" coach that runs this play, and gets away with it, does so because unsuspecting coaches and teams never look for such trickery and therefore never catch it. To help prevent detection, the offensive coach will delay the runners returning to the bags until the umpire warns or tells the coach to do so. The base runners will hurriedly sprint to their new assigned base and the impatient umpire puts the ball in play without hesitation.

Once the ball is put back in play, the attention is focused on the problem of stopping a rally and getting an out. It never crosses the defensive coaches' minds that they should check to make sure that the right base runners went back to their correct bases.

How do you stop it? You must always be alert for this type of trickery. Make sure that your score bookkeeper always checks the numbers on each base runner after a defensive or offensive timeout to make sure that they go back to their correct base. This type of trickery makes it imperative that you always keep an accurate score book with names and numbers of each starting player and sub.

Points to Remember: This play is an example of poor sportsmanship and cheating. Always be aware and check for such trickery.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - When Can a Pitcher Throw to an Unoccupied Base Without Balking?


By Nick Dixon

The answer to this often debated question is yes. The pitcher is allowed to throw to an unoccupied base if a runner is making an attempt to reach that base. The pitcher does not have to step off or clear the runner to make this throw.

For example, there is a runner on second base. The runner on second base breaks for third and the pitcher realizes what is happening. The pitcher being in his stretch delivery, steps toward third with his stride foot, and throws to third to get the runner out.

The rule as stated in the rule book makes this play legal. The pitcher is entitled to make a throw to second or third base if the runner is attempting to advance. When the runner makes an attempt to steal a bag, he is making an effort to advance. The pitcher has a right to make a play on an advancing runner. Then the pitcher is making a legal play in throwing to the base in an attempt to make the play.

Rule 8.05 in the official baseball rule book is the rule applying in this play. The rule states:

8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when (d) The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play.

The rule clearly states that a pitcher has the right to make a play on an advancing runner.

There are two things that the pitcher must remember when making this play:

1. The pitcher must step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. The 45-degree rule applies as judged by the umpire.

2. The pitcher can not stop his pitch motion to the plate to try and make a play on the runner. Once a pitcher commits his motion toward the plate, the pitch must be thrown to the plate.

I hope this article was informative and interesting to you. I thank you for taking the time to read it. Have a great day, Nick

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, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coach's Corner - 10 Things I Don't Want to Hear This Baseball Season

Baseball2u.com - Your online baseball coaching & training store.
By Ken Kaiserman

It's Spring; always a great time of year for everybody! Our customers on the East Coast and the Mid-West are thrilled because the long winter is finally coming to an end. For the rest of us, we get to be excited because baseball season is starting. While I always try to be positive, especially with Spring Training going strong and all the youth leagues kicking off their seasons, for this newsletter I'd like to add a twist and focus on 10 things I hope NOT to hear this season.

1. "Swing Level"

You'll hear this at every park you go to watch baseball or softball: "Swing Level". However, it's not possible to swing level. Think about the baseball swing for a moment. Your hands are held high, close to your head. The ball, if it's a strike, is thrown between your knees and the letters. So, how can a swing be level? Well, it can't be. A correct baseball swing is elliptical; it has a downward motion through contact to create backspin on the ball and a high follow through. Great hitters may each have different planes they swing on, but none of them are ever going to be "level". Let's stop creating this incorrect mental image for the kids.

2. "Just Throw Strikes"

"Ok Johnny, just throw strikes now; all you have to do is throw strikes." Any kid who's pitching is doing his or her best to throw strikes. Especially when a kid is struggling to get the ball over the dish, you can bet anything they're not trying to "paint the black" or "blow it past" the hitters. All they're trying to do is "throw strikes". Pitching is the greatest pressure cooker in all of youth sports. When a kid is on the bump, he's all alone and the entire team is depending on them to throw strikes. When a pitcher is struggling, they may have a basic mechanical flaw or they might be nervous. Stating the obvious and telling them that the sky is blue isn't going to help them throw strikes. What it will do is make them stop "pitching", change their mechanics even more, and try to "aim" the ball.

3. "Practice Makes Perfect"

We've talked about this before, but it's worth emphasizing again. Ask any kid what practice makes and they'll tell you: "Practice Makes Perfect!" Of course, practice doesn't make perfect, it makes PERMANENT! Repetition creates muscle memory. If you practice the wrong motion over and over again, what kind of motion are you creating? Breaking a bad habit is very, very hard. It's crucial that parents and coaches spot flaws quickly so that they aren't repeated. Of course, that means that a parent or coach needs to know the right way to do things. Please, get some instructional books and tapes (LINK TO INSTRUCTION SECTION). If you're going to volunteer to coach, make sure that you're not passing along the same bad habits that you learned. It takes about 1,500 repetitions to turn a bad habit into a repeatable good habit. It's a lot easier to just do it right in the first place.

4. "Bad Game"

Sportsmanship is something that every kid, parent and coach should be always be aware of. In our baseball league, we've instituted a new Code of Conduct that requires good sportsmanship and enforces penalties, including suspensions and expulsion, for violations. After the game, each kid should congratulate each person on the other team. Even in jest, nobody should ever tell another kid: "Bad Game". As a coach or a parent, if you hear it, please stop it.

5. "Keep Your Back Elbow Up"

Keeping your back elbow up is neither right nor is it wrong. The batting stance is one of the most over coached aspects of hitting. Think about some of the unique stances you've seen. Jeff Bagwell, Bobby Tolen, Joe Morgan, Eric Davis, Steve Garvey, Frank Thomas, Don Mattingly and every other player each has their own unique stance. What all great hitters do have in common is not their stance before the pitch comes, but getting into the proper position when the pitch is on the way. That means having their hands back, wrists cocked, balanced and ready to swing down through the ball. So, focus on getting kids into this position and stop picking on them for everything before the pitch.

6. "Throw From Your Ear"

I really can't believe that anybody teaches throwing like this - even for really young kids; it's just wrong and it creates bad habits. Putting the ball next to your ear and throwing creates a pushing motion and costs much of the power a kid has. Get them to extend their arms in both directions - like a half jumping jack. They should maintain flexibility and bend in their arms. Then just "high-five" to throw the ball. If you're teaching kids to throw from their ears, get some tapes.

7. "Arguing"

There is a great line at the end of the movie A League of Their Own when a player is arguing with the umpire about a called strike. The umpire says: "That pitch may be a ball tomorrow and it may have been a ball yesterday, but today it's a strike!" Umpires do their best and they make mistakes - lots of them. We can't control the umpires and we need to accept that they are human and that they do their best. Of course, if they make a mistake with the rules, there is no harm in pointing that out, but judgment calls are a different matter. Disputing them is a poor example for the kids. Also, there is no need for parents to heckle the umpires from the stands. Coaches need to proactively make sure this isn't happening every time they hear it.

8. "Charge the Ball"

This is another baseball myth - that a good fielder "charges the ball". What great fielders actually do is "play the ball" instead of having the "ball play them". This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it's huge to a kid who is trying to grasp the fundamentals of fielding. Charging the ball required them to run in at full speed and get to the ball. In contrast, playing the ball means that you're trying to get it on the right hop to make the play. The only time a fielder really has to "charge" the ball is on a dribbler or a bunt. Almost every other grounder will require reading the hop and making the play.

9. "Turn Your Wrists"

I still hear parents and coaches telling their kids to "roll their writs" as they swing the bat. The proper position for the hands at contact is palm up and palm down. During the follow through, the wrists will naturally turn, but it's long after the ball has been hit. Just a last note on hitting: kids will swing at bad pitches, including pitches over their head and in the dirt. There's a time to coach and a time to be a cheerleader. During the at bat, a kid knows he just swung at a terrible pitch and he doesn't need to hear it from the stands or from his coach. After, you can work on the strike zone and making sure that the recognition is there.

10. "Keep Your Eye on the Ball"

Of course, it's crucial to watch the ball, but we try to teach kids to watch the ball with their nose instead of their eyes. For pitching, hitting, throwing and playing sports in general, keeping the head from moving is a key to success. A player can waggle his or her head more or less freely and still technically "see" the ball. They just won't be able to hit or catch it. In contrast, coaching to watch with your nose trains the head to stay still, allowing the eyes to focus. So instead, we say: "keep your nose on the ball".

That's the list of the 10 things I hope not to hear this season. I doubt I'll make it past the first week, but it still sure promises to be a great year so let's PLAY BALL!

Ken Kaiserman is the President of http://SportsKids.com - a leading sports Internet site for kids and their families. In addition to coaching football, basketball and baseball, Ken serves on the local Little League board of directors and a park advisory committee. Ken and his wife Sheri have been married for since 1991. They have three children: Benji, Bobby and Rebecca (aka Rocky) who all love their sports!

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

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coaching Baseball - The Importance of Teaching Batters to Hit the Ball Where it is Pitched

By Nick Dixon

Great hitters at all levels share one common skill. They know when and how to attack every pitch location. Great hitters read and react to every possible pitch location. If you watched the 2008 Baseball College World Series, you quickly realized that great college hitters can catch up to any fastball regardless of the velocity. You saw batters over and over, on the ESPN TV Coverage of the CWS in Omaha, hit mid-90s to upper-90s fastballs with amazing power and bat speed. You also saw college baseball batters that apply and execute one of the most important and basic skills of hitting a baseball, the skill of "hitting the ball where it is pitched". The philosophy of most pitching staffs today is that the job of the pitcher is to allow the batter to get himself out. Pitching coaches teach and coach the pitcher to keep moving the ball in or out, up or down, and to never leave it over the plate. A batter often does not get the same pitch in an at-bat and may not see the same pitch in several at-bats.

My point here is that to become a great hitter and successful player at any level from Little League, to High School, to College and into the Pros, coaches must teach their hitters to do the following:

1. Hit the fastball to all fields. If the fastball is on the inner 1/3 of the plate great hitters will pull or "turn on" that pitch location. If the pitch is over the middle 1/3 of the plate, great batters hit the ball sharply back at the pitcher or "up the middle". If the ball is on the outer 1/3 of the plate, great batters hit the ball to the opposite field.

2. Hit the curve-ball or change-up to the opposite field. I would say that 75% of all curve balls and change ups should be hit up the middle or to the opposite field. The batter that tries to pull or turn on off speed pitches will often pop up or miss the pitch completely.

3. Be disciplined to swing only at strikes. What is the secret to hitting to all fields? There are only two parts to this puzzle. What pitch and location should you expect and adjust to and where should you attack each pitch location. There are two simple principles on "expecting and adjusting" at the plate. The batter should expect a pitch away and adjust to the pitch "inside of away". The baseball batter should expect a fastball and keep the hands back to allow an adjustment to hit the off speed curve or change-up. Where each pitch location should be attacked?

Two of the most important elements of hitting are patience and timing. Batters must learn to keep their hands and weight back. Batters must learn must know the proper point at which each different pitch location is attacked and swung at. Here are the correct locations to attack each pitch:

1) INSIDE FASTBALL - Batter attacks it as quickly as possible. Contact with the ball is made in front of the plate and often in front of the "front or leverage" leg. This pitch should be pulled. Right-handed batters should pull the ball to left-field and left-handed batters should pull the ball to right-field. The amount of hip movement is dictated by how far inside the pitch is. The closer the pitch is to the batter, the more the hip turn movement will be. This pitch location should always be pulled.

2) MIDDLE FASTBALL - Batter should attack this pitch as soon as it gets behind the front foot. The closer the pitch is to the batter, the quicker it will be attacked as it gets inside the front foot. This pitch should be hit back through the box over second base. The amount of hip movement and pulling action will be dictated by how far in or out the ball is over the middle of the plate.

3) AWAY FASTBALL - The batter should attack this pitch as it gets deeper into the "plate' or just inside the instep of the back foot. This pitch should be hit to the opposite field. The hip turn and body rotation is limited when hitting the ball to the opposite field.

4) CURVE-BALL and CHANGE-UPS - Most of the off speed pitches are attacked at the same location as the away fastball. These pitches are hit to the opposite field. A curve ball that is hung or left inside may allow the batter to turn on it. But, 90% of all off speed pitches are hit deep over the plate at the instep of the back foot of the batter. COACHING POINT: A batter must expect anything with certain counts. When a batter is down 0-2 or 1-2, the batter must even up the stance, take the lower body out of the swing, and us a top-half swing to allow the batter to hit any pitch and to put the ball in play. The batter with two strikes will not take as "big" a swing as a batter ahead in the count 1-0, 2-0, or 3-1.

Coaching Point - It is important to teach players off all ages to let the ball "get in". This term means that the batter should let the ball get inside the front foot before attacking the ball. This allows the batter to generate maximum power because the batter can use the front foot as an "anchor" to get maximum power, leverage and bat speed. This technique allows the batter to get power from the lower body by using hip turn to generate power.

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coaching Baseball - 12 Things That 3rd Base Coaches Should Say to Baserunners



By Nick Dixon

Fewer things in baseball are more embarrassing for a young baseball player than to make a base running mistake that cost his team a run. When a runner gets on base and moves to scoring position, at 2nd base or 3rd base, the momentum and confidence of the team is increased. The team and the player, and the fans feel like they have a good chance of scoring a run. But, to have that chance of scoring removed by a blunder by the runner or coach can be total demoralizing to the team. Here I discuss 12 things that the 3rd base coach should say, convey, or signal to the runners at 2nd and 3rd base.



Here are 12 things often said to a base runner between pitches.

1) Make sure that the runner knows the number of outs and the count on the batter.

2) 2B Runner (Less than 2 outs) "Read the ground ball". The runner should only advance toward 3rd on a ground ball hit to the runners left. The runner holds on a ground ball hit on the third base side of the runner to prevent getting cut down at third.

3) 2B Runner (Less than 2 outs) "See the line drive through". The runner should freeze on any ball hit in the air. The runner only advance toward 3B after the line drive clears the infielders.

4) 2B Runner (2 outs) "Run on contact". On Ground ball hit to third, the runner should read it, not get tagged for the third out at third base. The runner should stop and make the fielder throw the ball to first base.

5) 2B Runner (Less than 2 outs) "Tag on a deep fly to right" The runner will retreat to the bag to get into a position to tag up and advance should the ball to the outfield be deep enough to allow a tag and advance.

6) Runners at 1B, 1B & 2B, or bases loaded(2 outs - full count on the batter) "Make sure the front foot lands" The runners will be moving on the pitch, must hold until the runners make sure that the pitcher is going to the plate and not picking to a bag.

7) Runner at any base. (Any time) Extend your secondary lead. The runner is not getting enough lead extension on the pitch to the plate. The runner should take a proper "primary lead" and then extend the lead on what is called the "secondary lead".

8) 3B Runner (Any time) Take your walking lead...stay out here. The runner will get a walking secondary lead on the pitch and should make sure to be completely in foul territory as the runner walks toward the plate. The runner must be in foul territory for safety reasons and to prevent getting hit by a fair ball.

9) 3B Runner (Pass Ball Situation) you must get a side-to-side kick; straight back will not get it. The game is being played at a field with a close backstop. Any ball going straight back is impossible to go home on. The catcher will go straight back when the ball gets by. Therefore if the ball takes a side-to-side kick off the catcher, umpire, or back stop, the chances of scoring are much better.

10) 3B Runner(Less than 2 outs) Ball hit sharp, you stay. This means if the corners are playing up, the runner will hold at third if he ball is hit to the pitcher or the corners, if the ball is hit to SS or 2B, the runner will score. It is important to play it safe at third with the secondary lead. The reason is if you take a big secondary and get down the line too far, you can get out on a ball hit sharply to 3B.

11) 3B Runner (No outs) Defense is pulled in. See the ground ball through. The runner should only try to score after the ground ball gets by the fielders. The runner will play it safe to make sure.

12) 3B Runner (Anytime). Get as far away from the bag as the 3rd baseball is. Pitcher is throwing out of the stretch.

The runner should take his primary lead based on how far the third baseman is playing off the bag. A normal walking secondary lead is taken. The reason for this is to prevent the 3B runner from getting picked if the pitcher it throwing out of the stretch position.

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, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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

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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!
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Monday, May 24, 2010

How to Crush Opponents With a 79mph Fastball


By Nate Barnett

Watching the 47 year old Jamie Moyer throw 79mph fastballs to MLB hitters and make them look silly is one of the most fun things to witness in all of sports. Early in the 2010 season Moyer tossed a gem of a game against the Atlanta Braves. Complete game, two-hit shutout. Jamie Moyer has become the oldest player in history to throw a shutout in a Big League game.

After the game, Moyer didn't talk about much; he never does. It's all part of the job. He goes about his business calm and composed outing after outing. But, towards the end of the post-game interview, Moyer offered a gem that I have to pass on to you.

He said, "I feel like there's plenty of time when I retire to reflect on things. I'm sure at home we'll talk about it tonight. It'll be a topic of conversation. As far as sitting back, tomorrow I'll probably sit and not necessarily think about what happened, but kind of rehearse the game in mind, go through the game again and be able to see pitches, and thoughts will come back.

"A lot of times at night that happens for me. I usually go sleepless when I pitch - win, lose or draw. It's usually a long night for me, but it can be fun, because it's nice to reenact things and see things. Maybe a thought that went through your head comes back. Something may come to mind.

You don't throw two plus decades in the Bigs without a solid mental game. Moyer reveals his usage of visualization through his mental replay system. The key is that Moyer plays some of the game over in his mind win or lose. Many young guys finish a game and never revisit the feelings and experiences in a game. The reason these experiences can be so valuable is that you will constantly stay in touch with what you need to change or what you need to remember for next time. Combine that and a 79mph fastball and you're golden.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

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

The Pitching Academy's pitching mechanics DVD.

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

==============================

Baseball2u.com and CoachesBest.com is your online super store for baseball batting cages, pitching machines and protective screens and nets. This fully licensed company has a full time staff to help you from 8:00 to 5:00 CST. You may order securely online or by phone, toll free, at 1-877-431-4487.
Check out these categories that are featured at Baseball2u.com.
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Batting Cages
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70' Portable Batting Cage
Extender Batting Cage 30'
Jugs Pitching Machines
Iron Mike Pitching Machines
BATA Pitching Machines
Heater Pitching Machines
Granada Pitching Machines
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Coaching Baseball; Recommended Baseball Articles for Coaches

Coaching Baseball; Recommended Baseball Articles for Coaches


www.QuickSwingTrainer.com

Have a Great Weekend! Good luck to you and your team if you are playing. Here are some recommended baseball coaching articles for baseball coaches. Nick Dixon
Coaching Little League Baseball - Bad Habits Make For Bad Coaching

Article discusses 10 bad habits of bad Little League Coaches. These bad habits make it impossible for a coach to be an effective coach and role model.


Coaching Youth Baseball - Coaching Your First Baseman

Here are important points and skills that you must teach your First Baseman. Tips cover teaching the proper way to get to the bag, set up to receive the throw and how to stretch.


Baseball Coaching Digest - Stop and See - 1st & 3rd Double Steal Base Running Play

This 1st and 3rd Double Steal Play known as the Stop and See Steal. This play is used by offensive teams to score a runner from 3rd base by stopping the stealing runner short of the bag and tag.


Baseball Coaching Digest - Fake 3rd Out Defensive Trick

The Fake 3rd Out is a trick play ran by defensive teams to trick an unsuspecting base runner. If the base runner is not alert and aware, he may step off the bag and give the defensive team a cheap out to end the inning. Coaches should make their players aware of sure plays and tactics to prevent this trick from happening to their team.


Baseball Coaching Digest - Illegal Use of the Courtesy Runner Rule

Baseball coaches must be alert for one way that opposing offensive teams may illegally use the Courtesy Runner or Speed-Up rule. How does a team illegally use a courtesy runner? Here is the procedure outlined:


Baseball Coaching and the Importance of Goals For Team and Player Motivation

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.




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Baseball Parent Guide: Today's Post
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Advanced Hitting Drills


By Jack Perconte

There are numerous hitting drills and all have specific purposes. Good hitting drills address a specific area of a hitter's fundamentals. When hitters have practiced basic hitting drills for a time they may be ready for more advance hitting drills. Additionally, these drills can serve to break up the monotony of performing the same drills over and over.

Some drills will actually address a few different fundamental areas at the same time, making them even more valuable. One such drill is the back knee pickup drill that I have written about before. This drill where the hitter swings, picks up the back foot and allows the knee to rotate towards the pitcher is a good multi-use drill that works on using the front side and keeping a firm front side without collapsing the lower half on the swing. It also serves to have hitters transfer their weight and maintain leverage through their swing. This is only a drill and is not the way a hitter will hit in a game, but a drill that reinforces the correct fundamentals for hitters who have specific hitting deficiencies. This drill helps hitters who "step out" with their stride and for those who open their hips or front shoulder too early.

Other advanced hitting drills include the following:

1. The self flip drill is very valuable for advanced hitters. It will force hitters to develop quick hands and strong forearms. To perform this drill the hitter will hold the ball with their top hand as their lower hand grips the bat. The hitter flips the ball up no higher than eye level into the hitting zone. At this time, the hitter will grab the bat with both hands and hit the ball. Obviously, the goal is to hit line drives and in the direction of where the ball was flipped, (middle, inside or outside). Hitters will notice that very quick hands are necessary to hit the ball consistently solid.

2. Another advanced hitting drill is to have the hitter stand a foot or so away from a net, where the hitter is facing away from the net. The goal is to swing and miss the net with the bat going forward, but to hit the net slightly on the follow through with the bat. This drill will reinforce a compact swing and "staying back" at the same time. Hitters should keep their head in throughout the entire swing and not pull their front shoulder out in order to hit the net on the follow through. Once again, this is another drill for advanced hitters only. This drill can be done with a ball on the batting tee or with flip drills for even better results.

3. The two ball flip drill is another advanced hitting drill that is very good for teaching hitters to wait on the ball and to develop a quick, compact swing. Hitters will need the assistance of a coach to flip balls from behind a protective screen for this drill. The coach will hold two balls in the same hand at once and flip the balls into the hitting zone. When the ball approaches the hitter, the coach yells out which ball they want the hitter to hit, either high/low, or even inside/ outside. Obviously, because the hitter does not know which ball to hit until the last moment, they cannot cheat with their swing too early or they will hit the wrong one or miss altogether.

These are a few advanced hitting drills that will help advanced hitters. Many more like these are contained in my hitting book.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons 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 - and one of his videos can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsIt0TIsHmQ

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

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hitting Ground Balls? - Turn Them Into Line Drives


By Jack Perconte

Putting the ball in play on the ground is not always a bad thing, but turning ground balls into line drives will definitely help the hitter's batting average and chances of playing baseball at the higher levels. Hitters with good speed can prosper by hitting the ball on the ground, especially in youth baseball, but at some point the ability to drive the ball into the outfield is necessary. Of course, hitting ground balls is better than hitting pop-ups but hitting the ball consistently on the ground is a sign of a faulty fundamental swing.

People generally think that hitting the top of the ball, which results in ground balls, is caused by hitting down on the ball or chopping at it. In my 21 years of coaching baseball, rarely would I come across hitters who actually chopped at the ball. I observed that most ground balls hit were caused by the hitters hands were on an upward path on the initial portion of the swing, usually caused by the lead elbow coming up at the beginning of the swing. This incorrect action is generally known as a chicken-wing, which does not allow hitters to bring their hands to the correct palm-up, palm-down hitting position at contact.

With this in mind, here are the drills which will generally turn ground balls into line drives.

Drill # 1 - To rid the player of the chicken wing problem, have them place their fielder's glove under their lead armpit and take numerous swings this way, allowing the glove to fall out on the follow through.

Drill # 2 - Have the hitter stand belly button away from a net and take swings with the end of the bat just scraping the net as it comes through the hitting zone. This will prevent the hitter from casting the bat out and over the ball which can cause ground ball hitting. This drill and the next on will help players develop the correct hands to the ball and hand position necessary to hit the ball in the air.

Drill # 3 - Place a tee at knee high level and have hitters work on hitting balls at this height until they begin to hit line drives or solid fly balls. Hitters with incorrect swings will continually hit ground balls at this pitch level. Hitters will have to develop the correct hip turn and swing in order to hit solid line drives on the knee high pitch, as stated.

* Hitters can combine these drills and perform all three at the same time. This becomes more difficult but can accelerate the process of developing the correct baseball swing.

For hitters who consistently hit solid ground balls, as opposed to weak or chopped ground balls, a slight adjustment in their stance or hand position may lower the bat position on the ball just enough to hit the lower back portion of the ball instead of the top of the ball. Hitters who widen their stance and bend their knees slightly may see the necessary line drives. Also worth a try is lowering the height of the hitter's hands a couple of inches in their initial set-up position. This may allow the hitter to get to the back of the ball more consistently. Following these few guidelines should turn those ground balls into solid line drives. For photo illustrations of these drills please refer to my book, The Making of a Hitter: A Proven & Practical Step-by-Step Baseball Guide.

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

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

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Youth Baseball Practice When No Field Is Available


"The 59 Minute Baseball Practice",

By Marty Schupak

How many times do we as coaches call for a practice, meet the team at the field, only to find one team practicing and two other teams waiting to practice. When I first started coaching, this dilemma always seemed to happen to me. I would feel sought of helpless and once even took everyone to another field with my two coaches only to find the same situation there. I made up my mind to be prepared and plan two practices. One for a field and one without a field. The biggest difference is, having a few soft covered balls available and some planned drills for a hard service.

When there is no field available our practices are usually in a parking lot.There are certain things you can and cannot do. Obviously no sliding. Regular batting practice with even soft covered balls is difficult in a parking lot.You can set up some great bunting competition games. We would divide the team in half, set up two cones and each team goes through the batting order and sees how many can bunt between the cones.

The main idea is to be creative and safety precautions are also a priority. You can have a lot of different base running drills and throwing drills. Some of my best practices have taken place in parking lots and backyards. Don't call off practice just because someone is using the field. Come prepared and have a few extra props.

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills".

http://www.YouthSportsClub.com

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.

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



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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Examples of Strategy Used in Baseball


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By Brian Schofield

Baseball is commonly thought of as the sport that involves the most strategy. To be successful in the sport players not only need to be strong and athletic, they also need to be very knowledgeable. This article highlights a few examples of how understanding the game better can sometimes be more important than muscle or speed.

Outfielders Moving Back in Later Innings

When you are watching a game, it isn't uncommon for the announcers to mention that the outfield has backed up in an effort to 'limit extra base hits'. An extra base hit is something that goes for more than a single. If the outfield plays a little deeper, it makes it harder for a hit ball to slip between the players. People ask me, "if the players are deeper, isn't it harder to throw the runners out?" Sure it is, but major league players hit the ball hard and it gets to the outfielders very quickly. Many players simply are not fast enough to run down a hard hit ball and if the ball gets past them, the play can quickly turn into a double or worse yet, a triple. Shifting the outfielders to a deep position is usually done when a team is ahead. The goal is to force the losing team to get 4 hits to score a runner, which is very hard to do. The strategy usually isn't employed early in games because it gives opposing teams too much opportunity to score single runs. By backing up the outfielders, teams are trying to avoid the big innings.

Pitch Counts

When I was growing up, a starting pitcher would throw every 4th day and it wasn't uncommon for them to pitch an entire game. Pitchers often threw for 300 innings a year while remaining healthy. So what has changed? Today's pitchers are paid a lot more than they were 20 years ago and with such a large investment, teams are not willing to risk the chance of injury which increases with the number of pitches thrown. Pitchers are now played and rotated based on the "pitch count". At 100 pitches you'll see most managers looking to make a pitching change, even though it may look like the pitcher is doing fine.

Double Switch

I personally love this move. It is a favorite of teams that have players who are defensive specialists. It is also a great strategy for teams with hitters who excel against certain pitchers. In a double switch, two players are replaced to change the hitting lineup. For example, the Chicago Cubs right fielder Cliff Floyd ends the inning with a grounder to second base. Instead of Cliff going back into the field the Cubs remove him for another player like Craig Monroe. At the same time, the Cubs also change pitchers but instead of the replacement pitcher hitting in 9th spot where the previous pitcher was hitting, he now replaces Cliff Floyd in the lineup with Craig Monroe hitting 9th. This is called a legal double switch. Teams use this strategy so the pitcher doesn't have to hit for a couple more innings and it gives regular players more at bats. It also allows the team to get the better defender in the game for the later innings or the hitter that hits better off of lefties for example. This strategy gives the team manager greater flexibility with the roster.

Brian Schofield helps run a site dedicated to providing coaches, players and parents with year-round baseball instruction. Visit BigLeagueSkills.com for more information.

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

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Sports Psychology and Baseball Pitching - How to Be a Better Pitcher - Fifteen Simple, Proven Tips

AdvancedSkillsTee.com
By Jay Granat

Over the years, I have counseled a number of outstanding pitchers who have wanted to take their game to the next level. These pitchers have been professionals, high school players, minor league players, college players and little league players.

They all want to get better and they want to learn how to pitch in the zone more often.

Here are some of the tips that I have communicated to them.

1. Get some training in self-hypnosis, visualization and meditation. These skills will make you a better pitcher. Know what you need to do to ease yourself into the zone.
2. Use a pre-pitch routine which builds confidence, focus and relaxation into your mind and your body. Similarly, know how to use time in the dugout and the bullpen to stay mentally ready and mentally tough.
3. Study hitters carefully and keep accurate records on what works and what does not work. Too many pitchers and coaches fail to do this. Use and analyze video and relevant statistics frequently.
4. If you can learn to deliver the ball from different positions. Being able to throw overhand, side and three quarters can make you a more deceptive pitcher.
5. Know your strengths and build up your weaknesses.
6. Speed is important, but having movement, break and variety or pitches are also essential skills for a great pitcher.
7. Decide if you are a strike out pitcher, a fly out pitcher or a ground out pitcher.
8. Practice throwing balls as often as you practice throwing strikes. You need to be able to waste pitches and entice hitters into swinging at bad pitches.
9. Work with different coaches, so you can master different aspects of pitching.
10. Determine if you are better as a starter or as a relief pitcher as early in your career as possible.
11. Develop a great rapport and working relationship with your catcher, coaches and and teammates.
12. Erase mistakes from your mind.
13. Believe it or not, you can learn something from every pitch.
14. Every pitch has to have a mission or a purpose.
15. The most important pitch you will throw is the next pitch.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis http://www.stayinthezone.com/shop-stay-in-the-zone.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=55
He can be reached at 888 580-ZONE.

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

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Baseball Hitting Drills - Teaching Plate Discipline


By Hunter Sendefer

Hitting drills are very important for young players and one of the best hitting drills that a coach can utilize teach plate discipline. It is very important that a hitter learns to have an approach at the plate, rather than simply swinging away at every pitch, so this drill is vital to the hitter's overall makeup.

This drill starts with the screen close enough to the plate that the batting coach pitcher can have excellent control. Each hitter then gets up to ten pitches, although only three strikes will be permitted. Before the hitter steps up to the plate, he or she will be told how many strikes he or she currently has, as this will directly influence how the hitter handles the pitches.

If the hitter is stepping up to the plate with a fresh count, he or she will begin by showing the pitching coach where he or she likes the ball. If the pitch is in the hitter's hitting zone and he or she takes a swing, the pitch count is reduced by one. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone, but the player still swings, the hitter not only loses that pitch, but one additional pitch. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone and the player does not swing, the pitch does not count at all. If the pitch is outside of the strike zone altogether and the player swings, however, he or she will lose half of his or her swings remaining.

If there is one strike, the penalty for swinging at a pitch outside the strike zone is less strict, as the player will only lose that pitch plus one more. This is because when there is one strike, pitchers will tend to come after the hitter a little more, which makes these pitches a little harder to lay off.

Finally, when there are two strikes, the hitter's goal is to be as tough an out as possible. If the player swings at a pitch that is in the strike zone, he or she only loses that pitch plus one more. If a pitch that is around the strike zone is taken, it is an additional pitch penalty because umpires tend to call borderline pitches strikes when there are already two strikes. If an obvious strike is taken, that player is done completely because it is never a good idea to take a third strike.

The goal of each hitter turning this drill is to make sure that he or she gets through all ten pitches without striking out. Also make sure that your players know that each strike that you call will be a judgment call, which is exactly how an umpire will make the call. By teaching your players to have an approach at the plate based on the strike count, you can turn them into smarter hitters. You will also be giving them a better idea of where the strike zone is, so they will know which pitches to take and when to take a cut.

Hunter Sendefer is a former player and current youth baseball coach who consistently coaches his teams to the winners column including an active 26 game winning streak. He frequently contributes to http://www.Batting-Trainer.com where you can sign up for free baseball batting videos and hitting tips or learn about the revolutionary new Insider Bat batting trainer. http://www.Batting-Trainer.com/features

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

The Best Batting Tees in Baseball:
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal; 12 Batting Flaws and How to Correct Each

Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal; 12 Batting Flaws and How to Correct Each

How to Correct Baseball Hitting Flaws is your guide to identifying and correcting baseball hitting flaws at every level of play inlcuding youth baseball, travel baseball, high school baseball, and college baseball.

We all know that coaching hitters involves many actions:
1. Careful analysis of the the present swing's quality.
2. Correction or elimination of incorrect mechanics.
3. Practicing the desired swing with correct execution repetitively.
4. Instilling patience, confidence and agressiveness.

The following are common mechanical errors
that should be quickly identified and eliminated.
There are many more and we will
continually add more.


1. Improper Stance Width
2. "Wrapping" The Bat
3. Looking At Your Nose
4. Poor Grip
5. Overstriding
6. "Hitch" In The Swing
7. "Locking" The Front Arm
8. Opening Up Too Soon

Click here to read this article at the Baseball 2day Coaching Journal.

BB2Day.com

The 10 "Must Do's" of Coaching Baseball and Softball

The 10 "Must Do's" of Coaching Baseball and Softball
By Nick Dixon

I have compiled my list of the "MUST DO'S", that I feel every coach must coach by! These reflect the duties and responsibilities accepted when one becomes a coach. Here are my "MUST DO'S":

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!

Visit BaseballCoachingDigest.com for a great selection of Baseball Coaching and Training Articles. 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.

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

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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

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Baseball Coaching Digest: Articles for Today




Good Wednesday Morning to you. Here are 4 articles that I recommend.
Have a great day. Nick

Coaching Baseball - Two True Base Running Blunders That Teach a Lesson

We all know the importance of good base running. We know that "solid" base running scores runs and wins games. We also know that poor base running can easily cause a team to lose a game. The following two stories are true stories of base running mistakes that cost the team a win. All the team had to do to win was to have the base runner advance to the next bag. These two stories are great stories that you can tell to your players to teach young players two important rules of base running.


Coaching Baseball - Strategies For Facing Overpowering Pitchers

Every one of us has at one time or another, either as a player or a coach, had to face what is considered the "unhittable" pitcher. You know what I mean, the pitcher that is undefeated because he has an overpowering fastball, nasty curve ball, and a 3 pitch arsenal of potent pitches that intimidates the average team while he is just warming up. Coach Dixon discusses is strategies that can used when your team faces a dominating and overpowering pitcher. The main strategy in this situation is that you must have a "strategy" that you and your kids believe will work. The trick is have several scenarios and plans that you will apply as the game progresses.


Youth Sports Coach - Watch What You Say

Volunteering to coach youth sports can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. It is a privilege to spend time teaching, coaching and mentoring youngsters in one of the most critical stages of their mental and physical development. Many kids do not have positive role models in their life. Many kids do not get the attention and the discipline that they need and desire. The main thing I want to discus today is the importance of thinking before you speak and the fact that your words greatly affect the self esteem of your players.


Coaching Baseball Pitchers - Two Windup Variations Used to Disrupt a Batter's Concentration

There are two simple actions that a pitcher can use to distract or disrupt a batters concentration. The two actions are the "double pump windup" and the "start over" pitch deliveries that are done to change a pitchers regular windup. Both of these actions are used when there are no base runners on base. They both serve as effective ways to disrupt the concentration of opposing batters.

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