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Friday, August 16, 2013

Baseball Pitching Tips - How to Expand the Strike Zone Properly!

Baseball Pitching Strategy

By Guest Author: Larry Cicchiello

Whenever you are ahead in the count, you should "expand the strike zone." No, let's rephrase that. You must expand the strike zone! That simply means throwing a pitch off the plate, that's actually a ball. Or throwing a pitch too high or too low that is out of the strike zone. Let's be clear on one thing. I think it is a total waste if you throw the pitch too far off the plate. If ahead of the batter and the count is 0-2, it makes no sense to throw a pitch over the batter's head or two feet off the plate. The objective is to get the batter to swing at a pitch that's not a strike. If you throw the ball way off the plate or over the batter's head the batter will not swing. The only thing that does is that it adds to your pitch count. That makes no sense.

It is estimated that at least 70% of swinging strike threes are on pitches that are NOT strikes. Please read the previous sentence again!

You don't have to take my word for it. You can see it for yourself. Occasionally, when a pitcher strikes out a lot of hitters in a baseball game, the following morning on television, they sometimes show the replays of all the strikeouts. Keep a tally for yourself. (Trust me on this one, you can do it.) I have done it several times.

If the hitter took strike three, you DON'T tally it. You are ONLY checking the SWINGING strike threes. Simply count the pitches swung at that were strikes and pitches swung at that were balls. Your tally will go like this: 1 out of 1, 1 out of 2, 2 out of 3, 2 out of 4, 3 out of 5, etc.

I really suggest you try this. You will get very good at it and in no time at all and may find it very interesting as well as surprising. The batters swing at more strike threes that are balls than are strikes! That is a very powerful statement. It is because the batter can no longer be fussy about what he swings at and must protect against being called out on strikes.

There is an expression that has been around for decades and still holds true and will NEVER become obsolete. "You get ahead of them with strikes but you get them out with balls." I know it's been around for decades because my father taught it to me about 50 years ago, when I was 9 years old. Boy am I old!

Make very good use of expanding the strike zone because very often, if ahead in the count, you will get batters out with balls.

One of the better baseball pitching tips you should always remember is that there is simply no reason on earth to give a hitter a strike to hit if he's going to swing at a ball! Baseball pitching is plenty tough enough.

Why not make your life easier?

Larry is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks and CD's covering 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY player, coach or parent who wants to help their child will be fully equipped! Check out some FREE baseball tips on hitting and FREE baseball pitching tips at

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Coaching Baseball Batters - 3 Common Baseball Swing Mistakes and Corrections

Common Baseball Swing Flaws and Corrections

By Nick Dixon

Coaching youth and high school baseball batters requires a watchful eye and close attention to detail. Baseball coaches must identify and correct any flaw in batting hitting mechanics. Players should not be allowed to practice their swing over and over without correcting their mistakes. Good baseball coaches are always on the constant lookout for any bad habits that a young player may develop. Here I discuss three of the most common hitting mechanical flaws and my approach to correcting each. Here are three common mistakes I often see at my baseball camps and when I observe youth games and youth practices.

1) BARRING THE FRONT ARM - The batter locks or stiffens the front arm as the swing begins. Many young batters will have assumed the correct stance and launch positions but have a tendency to tighten up as the swing begins. The barring of the front arm causes the swing to loop and to be too long. The batter has great difficulty taking the bat to the ball and making contact unless the ball is thrown exactly on the swing plane. The proper swing has a "short stroke" or path to the ball. The best way to correct barring of the front arm is to make sure that the batter keeps the front arm elbow bent or at an "L" position prior and during the swing.

2) STEPPING OUT OR PULLING OFF PITCHES - I often see this with young kids in our summer camp program. They always step out or their front side often flies open before the ball arrives. This batter has great difficulty making contact. Until this flaw is corrected, the batter will only become frustrated and embarrassed. To keep the front shoulder in the proper "closed" position, teach the batter to keep the front shoulder closed and directed at the second baseman for right-handed batters and toward the shortstop for left-handed batters. The stepping out is a more difficult flaw to fix. Having the batter pick the front heel off the ground and stepping just slightly toward the plate may help. I frown on putting obstructions behind the front foot to keep it from moving backward, although many coaches do this to stop this bad habit. I often use the "step in and hit: drill with a hit trainer, Bat Action Machine or batting tee. The batter assumes a position back away from the ball target that requires the batter to step toward the ball in order to make contact. If the batter does not step toward or into the ball, the batter will not be able to hit the ball.

3) UPPER CUT SWING - The upper cut swing may be caused by two things that are quickly identified Dropping the hands and back leg collapse can both cause the batter to swing upward. Make sure that the batter keeps the hands at the top of the strike zone and does not drop the hands or dip the back side shoulder during the swing. The back leg should be keep "tall or straight" to prevent back side dipping which can also cause an upper-cut swing. Two great drills that we use to stop this is the "Zone Circle" tee or soft-toss drill. We make a circle the side of our batting cage by inter-weaving a white or yellow rope in the net. The batter must hit or drive the ball off the tee or from a soft-toss into the circle. The batter must have a level swing and keep the front side in to be able to hit the zone.

COACHING POINT: Make sure that the batter is not over striding. This too can cause a batter to pop up. The batter must concentrate visually on the top half or middle of the ball to make good contact.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Baseball Pitching Tips: Fourteen Ways To Turn A .300 Hitter Into A .210 Hitter

Baseball Pitching Tips and Techniques

By Baseball Coaching Digest Guest Author: Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.

Baseball pitchers at every level are always looking for an edge over the hitters that they compete against. This is true in little league baseball, high school baseball, college baseball, in the minor leagues and in the major leagues.

Here are a few tips that can help pitchers to throw more strikes in those big games.

1. Pitchers can benefit from utilizing records, data and video from previous games with hitters so that they can understand how best to pitch to certain batters. For instance, if the hitter likes to extend on the ball, it makes sense to pitch him inside. Similarly, if a hitter has trouble with a fast ball, the pitcher may want to rely on this basic pitch.

2. Pitchers can benefit from developing four or five pitches. While this is not a physically easy task, having a variety of pitches can keep batters guessing and consequently, off balance.

3. Throwing strikes is very important. In addition, focusing on throwing strikes can help to remove mental clutter from the pitcher's mind and can help to simplify the task at hand for many pitchers.

4. In fact, according to Carlton Chin, an expert in sports, math and statistics, at the major league level, staying ahead of the hitter can actually turn at .300 hitter into a .210 hitter. This ninety point swing can be a huge advantage for the hurler. Pitchers need to have an appreciation of this simple mathematical fact.

5. Pitchers need to have a good working relationship with their pitching coach, their head coach and their catcher.

6. Pitchers need to know what kind of self talk allow them to "enter the zone" when they are on the mound. As one pitcher told the author, "It is all about how you communicate with yourself."

7. Some pitchers benefit from knowing how to empty their minds of all distractions before each and every pitch. This empty mind helps them to allow their athleticism and years of training to take over when they are on the pitching mound.

8. Some pitchers think in terms of hitting the catcher's mitt. Others try to hit portions of the plate. Pitchers need to choose a target which gives them the right amount of focus but which does not create too much anxiety for them. The right target can very from pitcher too pitcher.

9. While location of pitches is very important, pitchers need to remember that good pitching is also about disrupting the hitter's timing. Varying speeds can be a very useful skill for baseball hurlers.

10. Some pitchers put too much pressure on themselves by forgetting that they have teammates on the field who can help them to win games. A ground out or fly out is as good as strikeout much of the time in baseball.

11. Some baseball hurlers do well by focusing on one simple part of their mechanics. (Follow through, use your legs, easy does it, transfer your weight.)

12. Having a consistent pre-pitch routing helps many pitchers to perform well.

13. Knowing the pace that you like to pitch at is also important. Some pitchers like to work rapidly. Others need more time between each pitch. Pitchers who are struggling may want to adjust their pace of pitching accordingly. Experiment with less time or more time and see what works best.

14. Pitchers can benefit from mental toughness training which shows them how to be relaxed, confident, focused and resilient when the pressure is on. Hypnosis, visualization and meditation can help pitchers to maintain the right mindset in the dugout, in the bullpen and on the mound.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist, Author and the Founder of He has been featured in many major media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, ESPN and Sports Illustrated. Dr. Granat is available for coaching and for seminars. He can be reached at or at 888 580-ZONE. He has recently developed a program for baseball pitchers How To Throw More Strikes With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis. Here is the link to get this program.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Baseball Coaching Digest: Quick Feet Drills for Catchers

Here are three of my favorite quick feet drills for catchers. Catchers should use these drills to develope quick feet. A catcher with quick feet is faster throwing runners out, can block more baseballs, and is just an all around better athlete. Quick feet drills for catchers are very important to practice. Visit for more free catching tips, drills, and videos and don't forget to check out for more speed training drills like using the agility ladder.

**Disclaimer** - You Go Pro, LLC,,,, YouTube user YouGoPro, or anyone associated within any of the aformentioned, including, but not limited to, instructors, coaches, players, or anyone else who may appear, cannot be held accountable or responsible for any injuries occured by performing, or attempting to perform, any activities suggested within the website, blog, YouTube videos, or forum. Please proceed with caution and attempt all activities at your own risk!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baseball Coaching Digest: Situations for Bunting: Baseball's Most Underused Strategy

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Baseball Bunting: Baseball's Most Underused Offensive Strategy

By Guest Author: Dustin Peek

Bunting is the most underused strategy in the game of baseball. This especially applies to younger leagues where hitters haven't yet developed the skills or knowledge necessary to properly bunt a baseball. There are a number of situations where knowing when and how to bunt a baseball can be very beneficial to a baseball team. Read on to learn the most important situations for bunting a baseball.

Sacrifice Bunt

When attempting a sacrifice bunt, the hitter bunts the ball with the intention of being thrown out in order to move runners into scoring position. Statistics show that runners on second base and third base are much more likely to score a run than a runner on first base. Because of this, the sacrifice bunt can be one of the most important strategies used by teams to score runs.

A hitter should focus on a few key items when laying down a sacrifice bunt:

1. The hitter does not need to hide the fact that he is sacrifice bunting. The goal is moving runners, not getting on base.
2. The hitter should wait for a good strike to bunt.
3. The hitter should bunt down the first baseline to move a runner from first to second and down the third baseline to move a runner from second to third.

Bunting for a Hit

When a hitter tries to bunt for a hit, he is trying to get on base with the bunt. This can be especially difficult and is typically performed by the team's fastest runners.
A hitter should focus on these items when bunting for a hit:

1. The hitter should not let the defense know that he is bunting. The element of surprise is particularly important when bunting for a hit.
2. If the third baseman is playing back, the hitter should place the bunt down the third baseline.
3. A left-handed hitter can perform a drag bunt down the first baseline by starting to run to first base before contact is actually made with the baseball.
4. A push bunt can be used to push a hard bunt between the pitcher and first baseman.
5. A bunter should note whether the pitcher is right-handed or left-handed and bunt to the throwing arm side.
Squeeze Bunt

When a runner is on third base, a hitter can perform a suicide squeeze bunt to try to score the runner. To perform a squeeze play, the runner at third base actually begins running home before contact is made with the ball. The hitter bunts the ball and the runner scores.

These items should be considered when performing a squeeze bunt:

1. The hitter must make contact with the baseball regardless of where it is thrown to protect the runner.
2. The hitter should not let the defense know that he is bunting so that he catches them off guard.
3. The hitter should move out of the batter's box as soon as contact is made with the ball so that the runner has a clear path to score.
As described above, there are a number of different bunting situations and techniques in the game of baseball. These techniques can be learned by individuals and teams to improve performance and produce more runs.

Dustin Peek enjoys helping others learn the skills necessary to dominate on the baseball field. He is a former player and true fan of America's pastime. Click here to learn more about bunting baseballs or visit the Baseball Skills Center for even more baseball information.

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