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Monday, February 28, 2011

Baseball Rules

Baseball Rules
By guest author: Ethan D Orman

On any given weekend, one can travel to almost any local park and watch the neighborhood men and women engaged in an exciting game of basketball. This game is more important to those players, more important than the NBA championship because this game directly affects them, their pride, and their bragging rights for the next week. After the neighborhood basketball game, the players will return home to watch their favorite National Basketball Association (NBA) team on television. The two teams with the best record of wins will meet at the end of the season to play for the championship. This game, which fascinates and excited millions of fans around the world, would never have been possible, if Dr. James Naismith had not invented it over a century ago.

When Dr. Naismith began inventing basketball, it looked very different from the game that is played today. It had baskets, but they were wicker baskets without a hole in the center for the ball to drop out of and a back board to bounce a layup off of. So the object was to throw the ball into the basket without it bouncing back out of tipping the basket over. There were only 13 rules which governed the play, as opposed to today, where there is an entire book governing the play. The rules have changed greatly over the years, along with the way the game is played.

The first of the original rules seems to still be an active rule today. It stated that a player could throw the ball with either one or two hands in any direction. The second rule has become outdated in today's games. It allowed players to bat the ball away but they could never use a closed fist to accomplish this. Today, players can block the ball but must be extremely careful when they do, or they will receive a foul. The third rule has also been done away with because it did not allow players to run with the ball. They had to stay in their spot, throw the ball to a teammate, and then they could move to another spot of the court and have the ball thrown to them again. The fourth and fifth rules are still in effect. The fourth rule mainly stated that the player had to hold the ball with his hands and nothing else. The fifth rule is the modern definition of what a foul is. No player was allowed to harm any other player by any means, which included no tripping, shouldering, striking, pushing, or holding the opponent.

The sixth rule is also in effect today, which does not allow the player to punch or hit the ball with their fist. This is considered a foul. Rule seven is no longer valid today because it awarded points to the other team if the opposing side had three consecutive fouls without the other team fouling. Fouls have changed to personal and team fouls. If a player receives 5 personal fouls, they are expelled from the game. Rules eight and nine have not changed with time because when the ball foes into the basket, it is still a goal and still earns points for the team. A ball which is thrown out of bounds can be thrown back into play. Rule ten has been replaced with Rule eleven as there are no umpires but several referees who keep track of the ball, players, and points. Rule twelve has changed from two 15 minute halves of playing to 4 quarters of play with a half time break in between quarters two and three. Rule 13 is still the same: the winner has scored the most goals.

Ethan has been an online writer for nearly 2 years now. Not only does this author specialize in sports, finance, and product reviews, you can also check out his latest website on Brother TN360 which reviews and lists the best Brother TN360 Toner for your Brother printer.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Baseball Coaching Digest - Coaching Young Baseball Pitchers With the 1, 2, 3 Pitching Drill

Baseball Coaching Digest - Coaching Young Baseball Pitchers With the 1, 2, 3 Pitching Drill
By guest author: Nick Dixon

Quality pitching is one of the keys to winning baseball games. Regardless if you are coaching a Little League, High School or College baseball team, it is difficult to consistently win with a weak pitching staff.

Quality pitching staffs are made not made through hard work, off-season training, and a commitment to detail when it comes to baseball pitching instruction. Learning to pitch a baseball requires a lot of practice repetition and drill work. The player must learn to control both his body and the flight of the baseball. One of the best baseball pitching drills for learning body and ball control is the "1, 2, 3 Baseball Pitching Drill". This article clearly explains how this drill is performed.

The drill is best performed in a bullpen setting with a catcher at regulation distance. But it can also be performed at shorter distances. The drill can be done on flat ground, on a portable mound or on a regular pitching mound. The emphasis is on the proper execution of the three separate phases of the pitching process.

This drill teaches the proper mechanics of pitching a baseball in a three-phase or 3-step process. This drill breaks the pitching process or delivery into three clear and distinct phases. The first stage is the start of the delivery. The second phase is the balance point stage. The third stage and final stage is the follow through and finish stage. It is important that the pitcher can identify each stage and can separate the stages in his mind.

Phase #1 - Toeing the Rubber and the Start the Pitching Motion

The pitcher assumes his normal stationary position prior to his initial motion or movement. The pitcher will take his "rocker: step or step back with his stride leg. This "rocker" step allows the pitcher to rock his weight off his pivot foot so that the pivot foot can be turned parallel with the pitching rubber.

The pitcher begins the drill by doing only phase 1. The pitcher will do the phase 1 movement process very, very slow. After several slow motion reps, he will begin to do the body actions at regular game speed. The player should freeze at the point when he has completely all of the phase one movements of the body.

Phase #2 - Achieving a Perfect Balance Point & Separation

This phase allows the pitcher to get the feel of reaching his perfect balance point. The lift leg thigh should be parallel to the ground. The hands should begin to part when the lifted leg begins to drop. This parting of the hands is called "Separation". Once the hands part, both the ball hand and the glove hand swing smoothly downward in an arch. The hands will continue upward in a perfect arch until the elbows reach the "T" position.

During this phase the pitcher will also practice taking the ball back to the "top" position in his delivery. This is the point at which the ball is at its highest point and pointed away from the body. The pitcher should also take his stride leg forward during this stage. The key is that his stride leg should land at the same time the ball hits its highest point. Special attention should be given to making sure that the stride foot land on the ball of the foot or flat. The pitcher should start performing this stage in slow motion. The pitcher should freeze at the completion of this stage. The pitch should practice putting phase 1 and phase 2 together in slow motion. After several slow motion reps, the pitch should begin doing phases 1 and 2 together at game speed. The pitcher should freeze when the ball gets to the "cock" position at its highest point and directed away from the body.

Phase #3 - The Throw, the Follow Through and Final Finish Position

The final phase drives the pitchers body toward the plate. The stride foot should have landed before this phase begins. The stride foot should be in a landed position on a straight line or slightly closed to the plate.

The pitcher should finish with the head down, chin in front of the stride toe, and with the throwing hand finishing outside and below the stride leg knee.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this article. I hope that you found it to be informative. Have a great day, Nick

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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.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baseball - First & Third Double Steal Defensive Strategy
Baseball - First & Third Double Steal Defensive Strategy
By Nick Dixon

The "First and Third Double Steal" situation is when the batting team has a base runner at first base and a base runner at third base. Often times the offensive teams will put on a base running play to attempt and confuse, fool, or trick the defensive team into making a mistake that will cost them a run.

Before a team can defend this situation, you must know all variations of plays that an offensive team can employ. The two most common plays used by the offensive team in this situation are, 1) Early break by the first base runner off first to attempt to get in a run down to distract the defense long enough for the 3rd base runner to score. 2) Straight steal of 2nd by the first base runner. If the catcher throws down, the 3rd base runner will go home.

Every team must have a "First & Third Double Steal" defensive plan. Most teams have at least 3 or more defensive plays that they can call and execute to counter the offensive team's actions.

The 4 most common defensive plays for defending the "Double Steal" situation are:

Throw to 2nd base by the catcher with a read and cut action by a middle infielder. The catcher will throw down as usual. The 2nd baseman or shortstop, depending on whether a right-handed or left-handed batter is batting, will come early and get into a position to execute a cut of the throw and a quick throw to home plate if the 3rd base runner attempts to steal home. Most times the cut man will sneak a peek to read the 3rd base runners action or the 3rd baseman will make a loud "CUT!" call to let the middle infielder know to cut the ball because the 3rd base runner to going home. If no cut call is made, the middle infielder will let the ball go through to get the out at 2nd.
A middle infielder comes early and fakes a cut to hold the runner at 3rd base while the runner is tagged out at 2nd base.
The catcher will make a quick throw to the pitcher that will immediately checks the runner at 3rd to try and pick the runner off or get him out while attempting to steal home.
The catcher will make a full-arm fake to 2nd base and then makes a snap throw to 3rd in an attempt to catch the 3rd base off the bag far enough to get an out.

Coaching Points:

If a tag is made at 2nd base, the middle infielder must make a swipe tag and come up checking the runner at third. Sometimes the runner at third will make a late decision to break for home when he sees a play being made on the runner at 2nd base.
When the catcher executes the full arm fake and throw to 3rd, he must come out in front of the plate a step or two to make sure that the throw will clear the runner.
If a throw is going to be made to 2nd, sometimes you can hold a runner at third by having the pitcher fake a cut.
When the middle infielder is faking a cut at 2nd, make sure that he comes early enough to clear the throwing lane. This allows the other infielder a clear view of the bad and will not block his vision during the throw.
Remember, when a fake cut call is made at 2nd, you must have the center fielder backing up the throw at 2nd because both infielders are in the box without a back up at 2nd.

I hope that you find this article useful. Have great day, Nick.

There are other calls and variations that I will cover in later articles.

Visit the Baseball Coaching Digest Blog for daily post and articles on every aspect of coaching baseball. The Baseball Coaching Digest Blog. Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coaching Youth Baseball - Team Building Ideas

Coaching Youth Baseball - Team Building Ideas
By guest author: Jake Wyatt

When coaching youth baseball, you often end up with a bunch of boys who may not know each other. Team building is very important to ensure a cohesive team, one where the players support each other rather than compete with each other.

At the first practice, you need to break the ice with the players. Some will be very outgoing, some will be shy. Try to gently get all the boys to introduce themselves and share something simple about why they like to play baseball, or perhaps what position they like to play. This will help you get a feel for the boys as well.

Here are some great ideas to help the boys become a team that plays well together:

1. Have activities outside of practice. One or two pizza parties or hot dog picnics gets the families together and lets the boys get to know each other outside of baseball. Have a few gifts (packs of baseball cards) to hand out for drills that center on knowledge of the sport. During the event, ask questions to generate conversation.

2. Pay particular attention to boys who are not fitting into the team during practice. Figure out ways to gently include them into the practice routines. For instance, if you are doing hitting drills, make this boy catcher for the day. Or put him in charge of counting or measuring. This can be difficult to do without being obvious, but with some thought a good coach can make it happen.

3. Have a rule that during games, the players in the dugout pay attention to the game. They should be making a lot of noise in support of team members who are on the field.

4. Make it clear, in your initial meeting with the boys, that you will not tolerate whining, bullying, or meanness. Point out that in order to win, all the players must support each other. Establish the consequences for unacceptable behavior right away, and stick to it.

5. Have some team-building activities during practices. For instance, have the players stand in a circle and pass the ball around the circle. Time how long it takes. Then ask them to try again and beat their time. Watch them work together to figure out how to go faster.

In coaching youth baseball, if you successfully build a strong team spirit, your team will play better and have more fun during games!

In order to be the best possible baseball player, training should happen year-round and be a joint effort between the coach, the player and the parents. Get more free tips to improve baseball performance, reviews of e-products related to baseball, and links to training resources at

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Advanced Skills Tee - The Most Advanced Batting Tee in Baseball

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Baseball Hitting Excellence

Baseball Hitting Excellence
By Chris Moheno

While baseball has always been considered America's pastime, our youth was starting to see it is not so glamorous but compared to other major sports. That has changed recently as power numbers continue to soar and we see more and more baseball players becoming prominent members of our communities. That being the case, once again the interest in baseball has risen and everyone wants to be the next home run king. The way to achieve that of course is through better baseball hitting.

One thing that has been very noticeable in recent times is the lack of fundamentals and the young players coming up. We are seeing all different types of stances and swings as our children try to emulate the professional baseball players they see on TV. While we of course want them to establish their identity, there are still fundamentals that they need to adhere to. The job of the coach is to make these fundamentals enjoyable and interesting so that the developing player uses them for the rest of their lives. That of course means bending the rules a little bit as to the way that we were traditionally taught baseball.

When the forty-something generation was growing up, there was no option as to how you swung a bat or stood in the batter's box. You did it one way and that was the way the coach wanted you to. Every stance and swing were cookie-cutter products of how the coach perceived the game to be taught. In order to be successful today, the coach needs to be a little bit more willing to work the style of swing the player wants into their coaching techniques. This is by no means to say they should abandon basic fundamentals, quite the opposite. You are just trying to allow them some type of identity and implement the fundamentals of baseball hitting into their style.

When coaching a young player, you have to make it fun for them to try new things out. They obviously love the game at that stage and you need to continue the enthusiasm. Introducing them to new drills will help with that. Trying out new stances, different approaches and unique drills will enable them to keep a fresh look and heightened interest in the art of hitting. One thing remains consistent though, hard work is the only way to achieve the desired result.

We've all heard the saying that there is nothing harder to do in sports than to hit a ball moving at 90 miles an hour with a round object, the baseball bat. If that is true, then coaching the art of hitting a baseball is no simpler. The coach needs to put in just as much work as a student. One of the tougher aspects of the coaching job is to again realize that each and every student has her own personality that needs to be adapted to. You can have all the knowledge in the world but the inability to capture their interests will result in failure.

One of the early keys to success in coaching hitting is to try and not change the players hitting style too quickly. There is obviously a reason they're swing that way and you need to find out. If you start making radical changes immediately will have no idea why they started hitting the way that they did. Take the time and learn how they develop their style and you'll have a better idea of how to coach them.

When implementing changes into a player swing and stance, make sure they're comfortable with these changes. If the player is not like them or doesn't feel comfortable they will end up going back to what they were doing prior and this is not good for anyone. It will lead to frustration for both the player and the coach. Always get ample feedback when making any type of change their swing.

Patience is also a huge factor in successful coaching. You may be dealing with a hitter who has established habits over years and years. The changes you are trying to implement are not going to take place overnight. As a coach, you need to realize that and gradually work these changes into their swing. A helpful tool during this process is video. There is nothing like visual feedback to help make your point. You can take the progress of their swing throughout the coaching process and have daily or weekly video sessions with the player to show them exactly what you're working on and how they are becoming a better athlete.

While we are stressing the aspect of allowing the player to have their own identity, keep in mind that basic fundamentals are still the same. If you're faced with a player who is flat out fundamentally unsound, these issues need to be addressed immediately. However, it will have to be approached in a manner so that they understand that implementing the basic fundamentals of baseball heading into their swing will immediately result in positive results.

Every successful baseball hitting instructor should have a set of drills that there are continuously fine-tuning. Drills are just that, daily and structures that are meant to bring the fundamentals home in a sound matter. You cannot coach properly without having these trolls in place and making them enjoyable for your players. Better baseball hitting is a continuously evolving process. Both the coach and player must work together and work hard in order for this endeavor to become successful.

Chris Moheno has a long time passion for sports in general and for baseball coaching more specifically.

His goal is to spread the word about effective non-fluff baseball training techniques for both more experienced and young baseball players, to help them perform better during the game.

Discover more about baseball training secrets on
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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Biomechanics of Rotational Hitting

The Biomechanics of Rotational Hitting
By Andy Pohl

Rotational movement is any type of movement in a circular motion. Ultimately, it is this type of motion that generates the speed and power hitters need. Once the hitter strides to his balanced position, he needs to rotate his hips towards the pitcher. Another way of feeling this motion is to turn the belly button towards the base line-first base for a left hand hitters and third base for a right hand hitters. When you engage in this motion correctly, you will notice that this rotational movement will pull your hands into the hitting zone. This illustrates a key principle with hitting-the hips are indirectly attached to the hands. As the hips rotate, they pull the hands into the hitting are, causing the knob of the bat to be pointed at the ball. This is a great position to hit from.

As the lower body rotates and opens up, it is important to keep the upper body closed. This creates maximum torque, which generates power. Torque is a fancy word that means nothing more than two forces working in opposite directions. As the lower body rotates, the upper body resists. This type of motion is scientifically proven to produce the maximum amount of speed and power. When hitters get themselves into this type of position, they have the momentum of the biggest and strongest muscles in the body (the hips and thighs) pulling the smaller and weaker ones (the hands and arms) through.

Despite the scientifically and biomechanical proven results of this torque position, many hitting instructors still teach their pupils to "squish the bug." The term squish the bug is a theory of hitting that encourages hitters to use their feet to rotate their hips. The back foot, by turning it after the stride, causes the hips to turn. Though this theory can be done, you have to be an incredibly gifted athlete to coordinate your feet, hips and hands. Secondly, the turning of the feet often causes hitters to spin, rather than turn. This spinning action results in the hips prematurely turning and the shoulders flying open, causing the hitter to pull off the ball. This ultimately prevents the hitter from covering the plate consistently, in particular the outside corner, as well as adjust to curve balls and off speed pitches. Most importantly however, squishing the bug does not lead the hitter into a powerful hitting position because the turning of the back foot does not facilitate torque. Ultimately, starting rotational movement with the turning of the back foot results in smaller and less powerful muscles (the feet) leading the more powerful muscles (the hips and the thighs). Nowhere in the study of biomechanics does it state that more power and speed are created by smaller and weaker muscles leading larger and stronger muscles. If you were at a monster truck derby, which situation would create more speed and power-a truck pulling a small car or a small car pulling a truck? Obviously, the truck pulling the small car creates more speed and power. Another way of phrasing this idea is that the dog wags the tail; the tail doesn't wag the dog. The hips lead the hands and the feet, not the other way around.

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:

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Attention Baseball Batting Cage Owners - Stop Crawling Under the Net to Enter Your Batting Cage

Batting Cage Door -

The new Batting Cage Door by Nedco Sports is a practical, safe, and convenient addition to any batting cage. One of the dreaded inconveniences of using a batting cage is crawling under the cage wall when entering and exiting the batting cage. With the new Batting Cage Door entering and exiting your batting cage is as easy as opening and closing a door. Another added safety factor is that when you have a Batting cage Door, you can permanently anchor your cage side and end walls to prevent balls from exiting your cage during batting practice.
The Batting Cage Door features solid steel construction, heavy duty sock net, and a patent pending self-supporting design. The Batting cage door can be installed on any batting cage side or end wall. The unit comes with complete assembly and installation instructions. The Batting Cage Door adds a professional appearance to any batting cage. Look for the Batting Cage Door to be a popular item with home, team, school, and hitting facility batting cage owners.

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