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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest: Baseball Strange Facts and Stories - Forfeits


Baseball Strange Facts and Stories - Forfeits

By Guest Author Austin Durbin

Baseball has been played professionally for more than 120 years and has since developed a rich history of strange events and unusual moments. One of the most bizarre things that can happen during a baseball game is a forfeit. A forfeit is an obscure rule, implemented whenever umpires determine it is no longer safe for players to be on the field. Forfeited baseball games are rare and many of the most memorable moments in the game have resulted because of them. Since 1970, only five forfeits have taken place in Major League Baseball.

September 30, 1971 During the last game before the Washington Senators were set to move to Texas to become the Rangers, irate fans stormed the field during the 9th inning in a game against the Yankees. Fans tore up the grass and knocked over seats. Security tried to restore order, but after a while, the crowd became too large to contain.

June 4, 1971 The Cleveland Indians held a promotion called 10 Cent Beer Night. The idea was to attract people to the stadium by offering cheap alcohol, but what the promoters didn't plan on was having thousands of drunk and rowdy fans tearing up the place. In the bottom of the 9th inning against Texas, two fans hopped the outfield wall and started assaulting outfielder Jeff Burroughs of the Rangers. This got the crowd all worked up and soon, a riot broke out which resulted in the umpires declaring a forfeit.

September 15, 1977 Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver was thrown out of the game by an umpire in a game against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Weaver claimed that his players were endangered by an oddly placed tarp in the bullpen. Weaver was insulted by being thrown out and refused to let his team come back out to play. The umpires had no choice but to award the game to the Blue Jays.

July 12, 1979 The most famous forfeited game was Disco Demolition Night. A Chicago radio station, infamous for being critical of disco music, teamed up with the owner of the Chicago White Sox to hold a promotion where thousands of albums were to be blown up on the field. Fans were offered free admission if they brought in a disco album to be blown up. The promotion was a huge success and thousands of people had to be turned away. When time came for the albums to be exploded, a giant pile was assembled on the field and a large amount of dynamite placed around it. The explosion left a giant hole in the grass and everyone who was denied admission started climbing into the stadium. A riot broke out and thousands of people partied and trashed the stadium even before a baseball could be played.

August 10, 1995 The Los Angeles Dodgers gave away free baseballs with a picture of outfielder Raul Mondesi printed on them. In the 9th inning of a close game, Mondesi was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Fans became really upset with the ejection and started pelting the field with baseballs. The Umpires had no choice but to declare a forfeit when fans wouldn't stop. MLB soon banned clubs from holding giveaways with anything they can easily hurl towards the field.

Do you want to know more about the the strangest facts in baseball? Explore the quirky moments that make being baseball a fan so much fun!

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

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest: BASEBALL VIDEO BATTING LESSONS



Professional hitting lessons from MLB Cleveland Indians and AAA Minor League Buffalo Bisons Hitting Coordinator, Bruce Fields. His two sons help demonstrate proper hitting techniques. Detroit Tigers 6th round pick, SS Daniel Fields from University of Detroit High School and Wright State University 2B and 2010 MLB draft prospect, Aaron Fields.
http://www.wix.com/menifeeproductions...
http://www.nobf.net/team.asp?tid=134


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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baseball Drills - 5 Key Steps to a Great Swing


Baseball Drills - 5 Key Steps to a Great Swing
By Guest Author Bill Bathe

These are baseball drills that will make you a better hitter. I am often asked about what makes up a great swing. And what baseball drills can I use. As in baseball and in golf, you have to have some key elements in place for you to have a great swing. One that is consistent, repeatable, and powerful. So how do you accomplish this? I am glad you asked.

1-Good Balance.

You cannot have a consistent swing without the proper foundation in place. All the baseball drills in the world won't mean anything unless you have good balance. And this all begins with the basics. And the one that is dear to my heart and, in my opinion, is the most important component of the swing is balance. So how do you get balance? It begins with the right stance (I like feet parallel facing pitcher). Taking the right stride (weight on back leg and just gliding your front foot six to eight inches forward on instep). Weight is still back. After the stride, you take your swing, which I will get into later. At every point during your setup and swing, you should remain balanced. You should not be falling over or falling side to side. If you are, you have a balance problem and you need to constantly adjust it to get to the right balance point. Without balance, you cannot consistently have a repeatable swing or consistent approach on all the pitches. The fastball, curveball, changeup, and other pitches. Practice your approach constantly. Making sure you have good balance at start, during, and after swing.

2- Stride.

As I mentioned in the previous point, you need to have a consistent stride with proper weight distribution. You also need to be quiet with your front foot and not aggressive. What do I mean by this? Having a consistent stride with weight on backside provides you with a constant approach to the ball. One that is repeatable and one that you can build upon. Let me make a point quite clear. How can you develop your swing if you are off balance all the time, or always taking a different stride? The answer is you cannot. Ever wonder how the 300 hundred hitters stay consistent year after year? Because they have proper balance, the same stride, and the same approach to the ball. It does not matter if it is a fastball or curveball, because what they are thinking about is if it is a strike and in the zone they are looking for. Why? Because they have the repeatable swing, one that is consistent. Also, keep the front foot quiet as mentioned before. You want to stay quiet in your approach and see the ball.

3- Load.

What do I mean by this? It is a simple principle but often not used correctly. You have to go back before you go forward. As the pitcher is in his windup, you should be slightly coiling back or cocking your body. It is different for everyone and sometimes referred to as a triggering mechanism. It is all the same. As you cock or coil, your head should be staying still while your hands or arms are cocking slightly. You should also feel like your weight is really on your backside. I used to feel like I was sitting down in a chair on my right side. After the game, sometimes my right thigh and leg would be aching from putting so much weight and drive into it during the game. You need to feel like you are coming back before you can go forward. It does help you to make your swing consistent and powerful.

4- See the ball.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to see the ball. I am sure you have heard people say that the baseball was as big as beach ball. Or that they are not seeing the ball well and it looks like a golf ball. These are all terms to describe how they are feeling at the plate. If you have applied the above principles of balance, stride, and loading, then you should be seeing the ball just fine. Players get in trouble when they are out of sync and it is due to them not seeing the ball. One triggers the other. Not seeing the ball, over striding, too aggressive, bad balance, bad swing! If you are doing things properly and taking the right approach to the ball, then your swing should be short and sweet and you are not trying to do too much with it. Then you are locked in and you will be able to see the ball great. Which means you can wait on the ball and not be fooled by off speed pitches. There is not enough pages here to go into depth about the right approach to the ball, but I will cover that another time. You can always visit my website to learn more.

5- Strike zone.

If you do not know the strike zone, then how can you have a repeatable swing? You cannot. This is vitally important to being a great hitter, not a good hitter, a great hitter. You should know the strike zone inside and out. And then develop your swing by swinging at balls in the strike zone. Hitting is tough enough by itself, let alone trying to hit when you are swinging at balls out of the strike zone. Your goal should be to only swing at balls in the strike zone and in your area that you are looking for, once you have identified your area that you like. Example: looking for balls in the outer two-thirds of the plate.

One last point. You should be able to stride, stop your swing, and wait 5 seconds and then hit a ball off of a tee. If you are doing everything properly, by waiting 5 seconds, your balance should be fine and your weight and hands back.. You should still be able to take a good swing from this position. If not, keep practicing until you can. This simulates waiting on a curveball or changeup, and still be in a position to take it to right field. Keep practicing!

Bill Bathe - former major league ballplayer who played for the Oakland A's and S.F. Giants and played in the 1989 world series. Was tutored under such greats as Eddie Matthews, Billy Williams, Harmon Killebrew, and Dusty Baker to name a few. Website is http://www.pro-baseball-drills-and-equipment.com

You can also contribute to the forum at http://www.billbatheforum.com

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



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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Discover Top Baseball Training Fundamentals


Discover Top Baseball Training Fundamentals
By Guest AuthorMatt Dimock

Baseball is one of America's favorite sports. Millions of men have been interested in playing it either as a weekend pastime or semi-professionally. It is understandable that only a handful would go to the pro leagues but nevertheless, baseball has won the hearts of many. You are probably one of them that's why you are interested in this article. Baseball is more than just picking up a bat and hitting the ball or the other way around, picking up a ball and throwing it. So if you want to get better in this sports, there are some fundamentals you should learn first.

It is important for any person who wants to play baseball to first undergo baseball training to help prepare his mind and body for the game. We can't ignore the fact that there will always be people who have natural talent for this sport and that understanding how the game is played and how it should be played will be very easy for them. Nevertheless knowing the basics is still essential as it is the first stepping stone toward being a great baseball athlete.

So here are some baseball training tips that you should follow to help you improve your game. Remember to keep everything in moderation and to never rush your training as it can lead to serious injury.

Just like with any other sports, warming up is the key to avoiding any injury. Stretching is a vital part of this. While some professional trainers will provide you with specific warm up and stretching instructions, in my opinion, any of the typical warm ups will do. Especially those that involve the arms and the legs as you will be doing a lot of swinging and throwing the ball during the game. Just jog in place or for a few meters and you will be good to go.

Most people forget to have a good posture when they are playing the game when in fact standing correctly has a great impact in utilizing your skills. Always stand straight and always make sure that your whole body weight is distributed equally to both of your feet. Your feet should align to the length of your shoulders. As a batter this normal position will give you the stability you need to make that powerful swing.

How should you be gripping a baseball bat? Quite naturally, you should pick up the bat using your strongest hand. Your other hand will be there just to support it. And do not strangle the bat. When you hold a bat very tightly you are releasing unneeded tension which will result to a weaker hitting power. Just let your grip loosen up a bit, allowing for your fingers to move easily. With less tension on your part, you will have greater power to hit that ball.

There are other fundamentals that you probably need to know but for starters the ones listed here will be good enough. Always remember to not overwork yourself and to simply enjoy baseball. That's why it's called a game in the first place.

Like To Know How To Get Better In The Game Through The Help Of Baseball Training? Find All The Techniques At: www.baseball-training.org

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



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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Helping Hitters With a Positive Mental Outlook

Helping Hitters With a Positive Mental Outlook
By Guest Author Jack Perconte

Having worked with thousands of baseball hitters over the years, I have noticed that many of them become upset when they hit foul balls, especially in batting practice. I try to have hitters feel good about fouling balls off. In that way they keep a confident, positive outlook for the rest of the at-bat. Once negativity enters a hitters mind, they may lose the confidence and the edge they may have had. Additionally, I do not believe it is good to show the pitcher that you are upset or ever give the opposition the feeling that you are less confident.

When I notice a hitter become upset over fouling off some pitches, I say, "Wait a minute, that was a good thing. It is better than a swing and a miss. Hitting is not that easy so just making contact is a positive thing." I follow that up with "Hey, that foul ball kept you alive for another pitch, and your pitch is coming." I strive to convince hitters that fouling a ball off on a tough pitch is a total victory because, "Even if you put that one in play, it would have probably been for an easy out." I follow that up with, "The chances of the pitcher throwing the next pitch in the same tough spot are very slim."

Of course, fouling a pitch off that was very hittable (right down the middle) can be demoralizing but I never want my hitters to feel negatively at home plate and, as mentioned, I never want them to give the pitcher the mental edge.

From a coaching stand point, good coaches should never give batters the impression that they do not believe in the hitters or that they (batters) may have missed an opportunity. Coaches often do this by looking disgusted or showing disappointment when a player fouls a good, hittable pitch off. Any negative feelings in sport generally lead to failure. Additionally, there are many words that coaches can use so hitters stay positive, optimistic and confident. Here are some of those that will help hitters keep a positive mental outlook:

1. "That wasn't your pitch anyway" - this is good to say when a hitter takes a borderline pitch that was called a strike or when the umpire makes a questionable call.
2. "Be ready, your pitch is coming" - always good advice and better than saying "Protect the plate," which puts the hitter in a defensive, negative mode.
3. "I know you can do this," which is always good advice, especially for less confident players.
4. "It only takes one," which is good to say to get hitters to stay positive and not dwell on past missed opportunities.
5. "Now you're ready" - good to say after a hitter did not swing at a pitch that maybe they should have swung at.
6. "Way to hang in there" - good advice after they foul off a pitch on a 2-strike count.
7. "Good at-bat" - good to say after the batter made an out but either hit the ball hard, had some good swings or battled the pitcher for many pitches.
8. "Nothing you can do about that at-bat, it's over and you will get him the next time" - always important advice suggesting hitters have short memories and a positive mental outlook in the future.

Of course, there are hundreds of positive words coaches can use, with the above being examples. The key is that athletes and coaches remember, "Negativity rarely brings out the best in a ball player."

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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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Baseball Hitting Tips - The Top 11

Baseball Coaching Tips and Drills
By Guest Author Jeffery A Wise

How many articles have you read that contain the top 10 baseball hitting tips? There are actually dozens of hitting tips but I'm going to go over the top 11. It's time to rev things up and give you some high level tips that will help you immediately.

Baseball is a thinking man's game so you really need to read these tips and think about them before running out to the field and trying them out. You should also visualize yourself putting these tips to action and then you're ready to hit.

Be a confident hitter. Every time you go up to bat you should have the confidence that you can hit any ball in the strike zone. Be patient and always be ready to attack the ball.

Know your mission. Every time you go up to bat you need a mission. Is there a runner on third base that you need to get home? Is there a runner on second base with no one out that you need to get over to third? Be mentally prepared for your mission.

Know the strike zone. Be patient and disciplined and wait for a good pitch to hit in the strike zone. If you do that the pitchers will be less likely to throw you anything out of the strike zone that you might otherwise chase.

Have consistent hitting preparation. Whether you're on the bench waiting for your turn to hit or on deck, always have good mental preparation. Check the pitcher out and see how he pitches and look to see what kind of pitches he's throwing. Look at where all the fielders are positioned and understand the best you can the kind of calls the umpire is making.

Find a comfortable hitting stance. The key is to be as comfortable as possible in the batters box. Find foot positioning that is right for you. If you are uncomfortable in the box then it will mess with your head and your other mechanics will be off.

Strive for a consistent swing. Whether the ball is pitched outside or inside, be sure to keep the same smooth swing. You may need to adjust your timing or what part of the zone you swing at, but never change your swing.

Shake slumps quickly. Nobody likes to be in a hitting slump but even the pros have them every now and then. Avoid the mental slumps by never doubting yourself at the plate. If you're striking out a lot it's because you're swinging at bad pitches. Try and be more selective.

Hitting zones. Know the different types of hitting zones and master them, whether it's the back of the plate, middle of the plate or front half of the plate.

There's more to hitting than just home runs. Try to be a consistent hitter and hit to all fields. This will make the defense play you honestly. There are many other things to do in hitting than home runs. Hit and run, bunts, opposite field hitting and more.

The final two tips I have are to recognize each pitch that is thrown and remember that each spot in the lineup has a purpose, whether it's leadoff, cleanup or the number 9 spot.

Jeffery A Wise invites you to learn the proven system of baseball hitting tips so that you can learn how to hit a baseball better. Start learning today at http://www.baseballhittingtipsonline.com by reading our information and downloading our free report.

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

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Little League Digest - The KISS Rule of Teaching Youth Baseball Players a Proper Swing


The KISS Rule of Teaching Youth Baseball Players a Proper Swing
By Nick Dixon

Coaching baseball is not rocket science. I believe in the KISS rule of coaching young baseball batters. The KISS or "Keep it Super Simple" rule means that the coach will present the batting instruction in a way that it is easy for young baseball players to understand, visualize and perform. This article explains the 6 simple steps in teaching youth baseball batters using the "KISS" method.

The KISS method of coaching little league batters can be broken down into 5 easy steps:

Step 1 - GRIP & HANDS - The knocking knuckles must be aligned. This grip places the handle in the fingers and away from the palm. A proper grip increase hands speed and power.

Step 2 - STANCE - The feet should be shoulder width part with the insteps of the feet aligned under each arm pit. The toes should point straight toward the plate.

Step 3 - STRIDE - The stride is the step or weight transfer achieved during the swing. The stride may be a simple motion such as simply easing the weight off the front foot and restoring it. The front foot can move but does not have to. The less movement of the front foot forward is better. However, a wide stance is necessary to give the hitter a good lower body foundation and strength.

Step 4 - SEE TARGET - The batter should concentrate on the ball. He should try to see it come out of the pitcher's hand and track it with his eyes as it approaches the plate. The batter will watch the ball all the way to the bat or the catcher's mitt. The batter should keep the head down and the eyes on the ball. The batter should concentrate on hitting the top half of the baseball. Hitting the top half will insure that a fly ball will not be hit. The batter should try to hit a ground ball or a line drive.

Step 5 - SWING - The swing should be level and quick. A short quick motion taking the bat directly to the ball is desirable. A long sweeping motion or upper cut swing is not desirable. A wood chopping swing is not acceptable.

Step 6 - FINISH - The younger batter should finish the swing with two hands. The batter should concentrate on keeping the head down through the finish. Prematurely pulling or jerking the head up to see where the ball is hit, is a batting flaw that should be eliminated immediately.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Good luck this season! 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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Monday, July 5, 2010

Catching 101 - Baseball Catcher Receiving Drills

Catchers from the University of Louisville practicing receiving drills with Coach Xan Barksdale. For more instruction and videos please visit www.catching-101.com



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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Focusing on the Process, Rather Than the Outcome

Focusing on the Process, Rather Than the Outcome
By Guest Author Andy Pohl

Baseball is a game of inches and the outcome is often determined by factors well outside the player's-and coach's-control.

Take for example a close playoff game my high school team played in the spring: Down by one run in the seventh inning with nobody out and the leadoff man aboard, I elected to let the batter swing away, rather than bunt to get the tying run in scoring position.

A bit of a gamble probably, especially considering the fact that the on-deck hitter had been swinging a really hot bat, but I just went with my gut instinct. The kid ended up hitting a ground ball base hit through the right side, making me look like a genius coach.

However, the truth of the matter is if that ground ball was hit a few feet to the left, it would have been a routine double-play ball, we lose the game, and my coaching decision would have been severely questioned.

So much in baseball is left to chance-an umpire's call on a close pitch or play at the bases, a bad hop in the infield, a seeing eye single with the game on the line. Knowing this reality, it is critical for amateur coaches to focus on the process, rather than the outcome.

Just as a team can play well and win, a team can also play well and lose, or, just as easily, play poorly and win. Focusing on how the team played the game rather than the score enables players to focus on aspects within their immediate control. This philosophy is consistent with what we focus on at DNA Sports-playing the game the right way.

Instead of telling your players the importance of winning today in your pre-game speech, stress the importance of making the routine play, throwing strikes, making the fundamental throw, being smart on the bases, putting the ball in play, and hustling on every play. These aspects of the game are well within your players' control.

Do this for seven innings and your team is almost guaranteed to be competitive, which, as a coach, is all you can ask for.

Andy Pohl - Co-Founder, DNA Sports

DNA Sports specializes in personalized baseball and softball skill programs, college recruiting education and preparation, and coaching clinics. Learn more: http://www.dnasportsonline.com

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

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