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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mental Side of Baseball Pitching

By Chris Moheno
In many sports and athletic disciplines, the difference between a good performer and a great performer is mental toughness, intelligence and confidence. The same applies to baseball hitting and baseball pitching, the two all important aspects to baseball players and baseball teams. A hitting slump or a pitcher who can't find the strike zone and get an out are both problems that can almost always be solved with proper mental techniques and strengths. In this article, the mental side of pitching will be discussed in order to maximize your results.

Think Success and Have Confidence

Quite simply, those who do not believe in their own abilities will not see the successes their physical talent tells you they should have. If you think you will fail, that you will not throw a strike or get a batter to fly out or swing and miss, than chances are you will fail. You must believe in yourself and trust your physical talents. Know that you can hit the corners of the strike zone and believe that even if you don't have your best stuff, you are still good enough to do your job effectively.

Separate From Your Emotions

It is easy to let your emotions get the best of you on the mound. There are so many individual plays that can go against you, a missed strike call, a bad play in the field, a mistake that a hitter took advantage of for a home run. It is up to you, the pitcher, to rebound from this. Just like a poker player going on "tilt" a pitcher who loses control of his emotions can quickly self-destruct. Do not let these bad moments get the best of you. Have a short memory and focus on the job still at hand. If you throw a bad pitch that somebody gets a hold of, focus especially hard on needing to get the job done before more damage is done. If a strike is called a ball, focus on the fact that the hitter will not always be lucky enough to get that call. As soon as you get angry, upset or distressed, you're taken out of your game and your performance will suffer.

Trust Your Teammates

It is crucial to always remember that you are not alone out there on the mound; you must trust and rely on your teammates. You don't need to have every batter swing, miss and strikeout. Know that you have good teammates who will track down those fly balls. If you are in trouble with people on the bases and no outs, focus on getting that ground ball, knowing your infielders will turn the double play and get you out of the jam. Believe that your catcher has done his homework and knows what pitches would be best for you to throw. With 8 other teammates out there supporting you, take advantage of them and use them to your benefit. If you start thinking you're alone and that it is all on your shoulders, in your striving to be "perfect" you will likely come up short.

Think Your Way through Situations

Not every situation you will face will be the same, nor is every opponent you face the same. Different batters have different weaknesses, strengths and tendencies and different situations call for various strategies. It is important to be intelligent on the mound and think your way through these moments. While you always want to fall back on your best pitch in a tough situation, remember that if your best pitch is a fast ball inside, and a batter can only hit those pitches, it is best to fool them with something else. Be intelligent and always think through all the different situations you will face as opposed to treating them all the same way.

These are just some of the important mental aspects of baseball pitching; and many of these same principles can be applied to baseball hitting as well. Remember, at most levels of the game the talent across the board is fairly equal. The athletic capabilities of different players only vary slightly. It is the mental components that turn those athletic capabilities into pitching successes.

There are plenty of players who squandered their 100 MPH fastballs by not being able to control it in tough situations. Just the same, there are all time greats such as Greg Maddux who relied on their craftiness, intelligence and their baseball training rather than domineering stuff to make a great career. Hone your mental toughness and follow these guidelines to see better results on the mound.

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 on
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baseball Strategy Tips For Developing a Solid Pitching Rotation

By Jack D. Elliott

Everyone enjoys the excitement of the homerun; however, pitching tends to play a larger role in the importance of a winning Baseball Strategy. Let's use high school baseball as an example. For most high school teams, there are usually only one or two good pitchers on each team. One of the differences between good and great high school teams is how they develop the rest of their pitching staff.

To win at the high school level in the playoffs and beyond, a high school team should develop a rotation of 4 to 6 pitchers. There are several reasons for this Baseball Strategy:

Top pitchers will then get the opportunity to rest their arms during the season.
It provides an opportunity for younger pitchers to develop their skills for future seasons.
The coach has a number of options to choose from for certain game situations. (For example, have a left hander throw to a left handed batter).
May be able to use your top pitchers in other roles. This can be especially helpful if they are a very good hitter as it adds a strong bat to your lineup.
Allows you some additional protection if you lose one of your pitchers to grades or an injury.

Traditionally, pitchers on high school baseball teams tend to be those who throw the hardest and or have done it for a number of years. However, a smart high school coach should be scouting his team every year to look for players who could be turned into pitchers. Some of the skills a coach should look for in a prospective pitcher include:

Left-handed or a unique throwing motion (ex. sidearm delivery).
Strong arm (Fastball is above 80 mph).
Excellent control of throws regardless of fastball speed.
Natural movement on fastball.
Ability to throw a unique pitch (ex. knuckleball).

Once these players are discovered, the coach should have them begin practicing pitching at every practice. Over time, their skills would improve to the point where you could use them in game situations. Then, your baseball strategy could shift from relying on your two top pitchers to letting these prospects start pitching against weaker teams in your district or allowing them to pitch a few innings in certain games.

To help encourage players to want to be a pitcher, the coach should give extra praise to those who are participating and repeat the importance that pitching has on helping the team go far in the playoffs. In addition, a wise coach would recommend these players take additional pitching instruction from quality baseball instructors in the area. With a little encouragement, you can outsource some of this training. This will allow for these players to keep developing their skills and not take away from the team's overall practice time.

The benefits of developing a pitching staff over time should allow for your high school team to move from a good to a great program. Also, who knows, you just might stumble upon the next great ace pitcher.

Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here:

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Monday, September 28, 2009

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.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Baseball Coaching - 10 Tips For Improving the Quality of Your Baseball Practice Time

By Nick Dixon

Today the baseball coaching 4 letter word is T-I-M-E:

Time Spent Must Be Justified

Wasting time is something that baseball coaches should avoid. There is nothing more precious to a player, to parents, or to assistant coaches than time. Time spent at the baseball field must be considered valuable or constructive time. We are coaches because we love the game and we want to help young players grow up to great adults. We help nurture that process by teaching good morals, good values, and good habits. There is no more important thing for a kid to learn than the value of time and the importance of always being punctual. The key to showing that you value time is to have your team practices, meeting, and other activities well planned and organized.

Here are my 10 tips for showing the value of time:

1. Be punctual at all times. If a practice is schedule to start at 3:00. You should start it exactly at 3:00. Not one minute early or one minute late. If the practice is set to end at 5:00, end the practice on time. A coach that constantly runs practice times over is showing little regard for time and family life. You should also set a precedent of doing what you say that you are going to do. Stay on schedule. That includes practice start times and end times.

2. Stop drills when the allotted time is up. Do not run over.

3. Do not waste practice time having coaching conference. Have your coaching meeting after practice or 30 minutes before practice.

4. Have a practice schedule. Have every minute accounted for and planned. Use odd minutes in drills such as 7.5 minutes. This emphasizes the value of time.

5. Have agenda for team meetings. If you have a team meeting without a purpose or agenda, you may be wasting time. If you have a team meeting and ramble on and on talking without direction and focus, then you are wasting valuable time.

6. Have a designated place in the dugout for the belongings of each player and coach. Make sure every player has their name or number clearly visible on their glove, batting glove and bat. This saves valuable time when a players has to find a glove, a bag, or a bat.

7. Do not talk through the fence with a parent or friend during practice. Kids should not do it and coaches should not either. You are showing a definite lack of respect for practice time. Make sure that you make it known that you will not have discussions or conversations with anyone during practice time.

8. Set all training equipment up before practice. Do not waste valuable practice time assembling, locating, or moving practice equipment.

9. Always disassemble and pack the training equipment up after the designated practice time is over. Do not waste valuable practice time packing way equipment.

10. Do not talk all night after a game. Set a time limit to post-game or post-practice meetings. If you cannot say it in 5 minutes, they are not going to remember it anyway. Younger kids have short attention spans. If you have more than 5 minutes of talk, save some of your talk for the beginning of your next practice.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities

By Nate Barnett

One of the best ways to force long innings (when you are on offense of course) and to win more games is to put added pressure on the defense. There are multiple ways of doing this, a couple of which are outlined here. Understanding the concerns of a defense and exploiting those concerns are valuable techniques any good coach will insert into his baseball drills.

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

Don't skip this part because you, your son, or the team you coach has little speed. You don't need any to understand this concept. The more offensive movement is created on the base paths, the more potential there is for defensive mistakes. Create movement the following ways:

A. Bigger lead offs. Most youth baseball players don't get a proper lead off at any base. Because of this, the defense doesn't feel the perceived threat of the runner. How long is a good lead? A runner should be able to rotate and dive (body fully extended) back to the bag in time if he is watching the right movements from the pitcher. Getting aggressive leads will do two things. First, it will force the pitcher to split concentration between the runner and the hitter. This will help out the hitter as pitch location may improve with the lack of focus from the pitcher. Secondly, the more throws drawn by the runner at first base (primarily) can results in potential overthrows as well as an increased opportunity to utilize a stolen base or a hit and run play.

B. Take aggressive turns on the bases. I frequently see many younger players after hitting a baseball, jog down to first base and take a small turn around first. This puts zero pressure on the defense. The first goal on any hit to the outfield is to reach second base. The mentality that every hit is a double will help runners become more aggressive. Obviously I'm not advocating running bases wildly, I'm simply promoting adding some extra heat on the defense to provoke some mistakes.

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

It's quite common to watch hitters all the way through high school swing at pitches quite out of the zone. Most of the time this is caused from a lack of a game plan, or improper teaching during baseball drills. Each hitter should have a specific pitch plan based upon his hitting strengths. Every hitter has a special pitch, or one that is more favorable to hit than others. This needs to be the focus early in the count. No other pitches should be offered at early in the count other than the favorite pitch. The only thing that would change this scenario would be if a coach called some sort of offensive play.

A more selective approach to hitting will put pressure on defensive two different ways:

A. More pitches will be thrown by pitchers which will (hopefully) force a pitching change earlier in the game. Since more relievers in youth baseball are not as good as starters, this is a plus for the offense.

B. Getting better pitches to hit will create more baseballs in play. The more balls hit hard there are, the greater chance there is for a mistake by the defense.

Finally, there is no secret that perceived pressure causes more mistakes. If an offense can manufacture pressure and remain confident in doing so, they will enjoy watching an error filled defense play more timid and give games away.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baseball Hitting Drills - Tips and Drills For Using Hitting Stick Trainers

There are many versions of the "ball-on-a-rod" trainer. The first and original version was the HitnStik*. Then later came other versions including the Hit2win Trainer^ and the SKLZ Target Trainer. All of these are handheld units. They have different names but they all are great trainers to teach and train young players. All of these baseball trainers basically work and perform the same. These trainers are some of the most popular baseball batting trainers used today.

The popularity come from the benefits they offer the baseball player, baseball coach, and the baseball parent. You can learn to hit without having to chase, pick-up or retrieve a single ball. The unit is portable and requires no setup. It is welcomed in complexes and parks because it allows safe pre-game warm-up, requires little space, and does not damage fences. It is important to know the proper angles when using this product.

As the inventor of the HitnStik*, Hit2win Trainer^, and SKLZ Target+ Trainer, I sometimes cringe when I see someone using the product incorrectly. First, the product is to be used as a "still" ball trainer. You should not move the ball when using these trainers. Second, the holder must stand at the proper angle to the batter and direct the ball at the correct angle to the batter. I often see coaches and parents working with players when I visit a park. I sometimes get frustrated because I observe the product being used incorrectly.

The key to proper use of any hand-held batting device is KNOWING AND USING THE CORRECT ANGLE FOR THE DRILL YOU ARE DOING! If you do not direct or point the ball at the proper angle, the batter will always make poor contact. The first thing to remember is that the holder should always direct the rod and ball toward the hitter's back foot. This simple rule insures that proper bat-to-ball contact is made. If the angle is wrong, the end of the bat will hit behind the ball and the bat will never actually touch the ball. This is what I call "coning out".

The 4X5 Baseball and Softball Pre-game Warm-up Drill

The batter takes 5 swings at 5 different ball locations. Remember to direct the ball toward the belly button or back foot of the batter.

1. HIP TURNER LOCATION - The holder stands slightly behind the batter directing the ball at the batter's bat pocket. The purpose of these swings is to make the batter use the hips as the batter turns and hits the ball. The batter should take a step and drive the ball.

2. INSIDE STRIKE - The holder moves toward the direction of the pitcher from the batter. This location simulates hitting a pitch over the inside 3rd of the plate. The ball should be positioned slightly in front of the batters front foot. The batter should attack the inside strike earlier to keep from getting jammed.

3. MIDDLE STRIKE CONTACT - The holder will move around a couple more feet. The ball will be positioned in a location behind the front foot. The batter will drive the bat through the box. The ball hit is on the middle 3rd of the plate. The ball should be positioned at a location inside the batters front foot. This teaches the batter to allow the ball down the middle to get inside the front foot so that maximum power can be generated during the swing. Allowing the ball to pass inside the front foot allows the batter to use the front foot and leg as a anchor and leverage to generate a more powerful swing.

4. AWAY STRIKE LOCATION - The holder will move around a couple more feet to give the batter a ball to hit that is on the outer 3rd of the plate. The ball should be at a location just inside the batters back foot. The batter swings and drives the ball in a direction that would be to the opposite field. The batter may have to take a slight inward step with the front foot to properly execute this swing.

The holder changes location and height and allows the batter to take 6 swings at each location. Every player on the team can take 30 warm-up swings each in less than 10 minutes.

Coaching Points:

1. Make sure the ball is directed at the batter's back foot.

2. Make sure the batter does not over stride.

3. The batter should keep the head still and the head should stay down with the eyes on the ball throughout the swing.

4. The batter does not move. The holder will change the location of the ball by moving.

5. The height of the ball should be raised and lowered in the strike zone to give the batter swings at both high and low strikes.

6. Make sure that the hitting area is safe with no one within 15 feet of the holder or the batter.

7. Make sure that the batter is swinging in a direction that is free of persons should the batter lose the grip on the bat.

8. Check to make sure the batter is using proper grip, stance and stride mechanics.

9. Positive reinforcement should be given when the batter makes good solid contact.

10. The holder should make sure that the trainer safety strap is used to prevent the holder from losing their grip on the trainer when the batter hits the ball.

*HitnStik is a registered trademark belong to Easton Sports. ^Hit2win is a registered trademark of Nedco Sports Products. +SKLZ Target is a registered trademark of Pro Performance Sports.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baseball Hitting Mechanics - Don't Settle For Sloppy

By KC Andrus

I Hit The Ball Pretty Well, Why Worry About Mechanics?

Everyone who has ever played baseball, knows that it is a game of failure. They have heard how it is a GOOD sign if you fail 70% of the time. These are just the cold, hard facts, the nature of the game that is our nation's greatest pastime. With so much of the game built on personal defeat, it is easy to get down in the dumps fast. One of the game's most famous quotes, and possibly one of sport's most famous quotes came from Yogi Berra, who said, "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."

This is such a true statement that come from one of sport's most unique personalities. Baseball is such a mental game, there is so much thought process that goes into all facets of the game that it makes the game seem almost impossible at times, and the most mental part of the game is most certainly hitting. This is why it is so important to focus on proper hitting mechanics, because then you can focus on the mental aspect of the game and not have to worry about what you're doing with you're swing when you're actually in the batter's box. You can focus on what's really important when the pitcher is staring down at you, HITTING THE BALL!! Okay, so now that we have discovered why baseball mechanics are important, we can get to the good stuff, what the heck are the proper mechanics for hitting a baseball. It all starts with the basics, you have to get the basics down in order for your swing to evolve and become more complex.

What are the Mechanics?

- The Stance - There are many so-called hitting "buffs" that will stress the importance of a normal, balanced stance. There is some truth in this but it is more important to just find a comfort zone, this will allow you to relax in the box.

-The Load - The load is very important, and it is absolutely crucial to the timing of your swing. It is extremely important to get some slight backward movement with your swing before whipping the bat through the zone. Make sure you take a small step, this can be as simple as picking up your foot and putting it down or taking a full stride. When in doubt, my golden rule is to simplify, simplify, simplify. Also get some movement with your hands.

-The Swing - The best advice I can give about the actual swing is to "train your hips." Your hips are VERY important to your swing and are responsible for a lot of power withing your swing. Getting stronger in your "core" helps this tremendously.

- The Finish - I don't like to worry about the finish as much as most. Most people will tell you that you have to finish balanced and "squish the bug" with your back foot. Finishing balanced is a very good sign that your swing is smooth, but it is not essential to success within your swing, and that is what we are all looking for. Did you find these tips useful? Find out much more about these Baseball Hitting Mechanics and learn a lot of secrets that you need to know and I'm betting no one has told you yet: Baseball Hitting Mechanics

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

How to Communicate Effectively in the Outfield

By Steven Michael

Good communication in the outfield is mandatory. Communication is virtually all verbal in nature. And for good reason. When defensive players are running to catch the baseball, they don't have time to look at each other and give visual cues. Communication should also include returning or confirming a call made by a player. And communication is also meant to direct the next action by an outfielder.

Communication To Catch

"I got it -- I got it -- I GOT IT!" That's how an outfielder should state his intention to catch the ball. If there is any question in outfielder's minds who should make the play, communicate it three times and make it loud.

Crowd noise, wind whistling through the ears as they run, and same-time calling are all reasons to yell loudly and multiple times. In big stadiums, crown noise can be deafening. Even in smaller venues, a hundred people screaming can diffuse outfield communication.

Players who call for the ball at the same time is the most common problem. They each call for it once, at the same time, and neither player hears the other. Bam! -- a player collision. In addition to being loud, communication should be done in an authoritative voice. The ball is up for grabs and must be caught. Call for it with authority -- and remember the priority rules.

There is a wonderfully funny story about language as a barrier to good communication. In the 1950's the Phillies had a center fielder named Richie Ashburn. Richie was a great outfielder and was named Rookie of the Year in the National League. The Phillies shortstop was a Spanish player from the Caribbean, and he didn't know any English. On more than one occasion, Richie and the shortstop would be running to catch a pop-fly behind the infield. Richie would scream "I got it", but the shortstop didn't understand, and they had a couple near misses at colliding. A savvy old coach told Richie that the Spanish words for "I got it" are "Yo la tengo". Well, the next time a pop-fly happened, Richie was sprinting in to catch it screaming "Yo la tengo -- Yo la tengo". The shortstop immediately understood and stopped. Richie was then run over by his American-born left fielder.

Marco -- Polo!

Just like the youth game played in a swimming pool, where one child, with eyes closed, is calling "Marco", the other kids say "Polo" to audibly reveal their positions, outfielders need to respond. Outfielders must respond and clearly communicate with each other. This prevents any misunderstandings about who will make the play.

In situations where two players are calling for the ball, the player who backs off should communicate that fact. He should confirm that the other player has priority. How does he do this? By saying, "Take it -- Take it -- Take it".

When calling for the ball, it is assumed the outfielder is confident he can catch it. Don't call for the ball when you have zero chance of making the play. On the other hand, if an outfielder thinks he has a better chance than any other fielder, call for the ball. On some outfield plays, nobody calls for the ball. Where two outfielders are running for the ball, and neither thinks they have a chance to catch it, it's okay not to call for it. This usually means the outfielders are not close enough to risk a collision.

Communication To Assist

Outfield communication is not all about calling for the ball. There are times when an outfielder should help by being their teammate's eyes. Let's look at these situations.

Warn About the Fence

Outfielders should have a signal worked out between them about the wall. When one outfielder is running full stride toward the wall to make a catch, the adjoining outfielder should warn him when he is five strides away from it. The most prevalent method used is shouting the words, "Fence -- Fence -- Fence!". This lets the pursuing outfielder know in plenty of time that he has four to five strides before the fence.

The reason five running strides is the threshold is because it takes at least two strides for the receiving outfielder to recognize the communication. Things happen fast, so you want to alert your teammate in plenty of time.

Direct the Throw

When one outfielder is making a play on a batted ball, the adjoining outfielder should watch the play and tell the fielding outfielder where to throw the ball. This applies to all situations. The adjoining, or non-fielding, outfielder can see what base runners are doing, the depth of the ball, and the game situation. The fielding outfielder is watching the ball to catch it. If a ball is hit to the gap in right-center, and the right fielder will get to it first, the center fielder should be yelling at the right fielder to hit the cut-off man.

Runners on first and third bases, less than two outs, and a fly ball is hit to the left fielder. The center fielder should let the left fielder know where to throw the ball. If the ball is deep, he yells, "Two -- Two -- Two" to prevent the runner on first from advancing to second -- and scoring position. If the ball is not deep, the center fielder should yell, "Home -- Home -- Home", or "Four -- Four -- Four" to cut down the runner tagging from third base.

With less than two outs, a fly ball is hit to left-center field, and there is a runner on second base, the left fielder should be telling the center fielder that the base runner is tagging. He can yell "tagging" or "he's tagging", just make sure your are heard. This lets the center fielder know that he should position himself to make an urgent throw to third base -- through the cut-off man.

In a huge number of situations that can't be fully described here, a non-fielding outfielder should be communicating the things that the fielder can't see. Runners tagging, hit the cut-off, which base to throw to, are just the normal situations. It's always better to over-communicate than to say nothing at all. Help each other out.

Direct Traffic for Outfield-Infield Plays

When an outfielder and infielder are both pursuing a pop-up, in addition to the outfielder calling for the ball, the adjoining outfielder should also call the outfielder's name. This gives both pursuers of the ball a confirmation of who should catch it. Now you might say that three players yelling is too much static to hear anything definite. But you're wrong. The more communication that is used is always better.

How many times have you seen an infielder backpedaling to catch a pop-up, he hears the outfielder's steps, and stops. The outfielder slows down because the infielder looks like he's going to catch the ball -- and neither one catches it.

I just watched a game last night and that happened. What if the adjoining outfielder had screamed the outfielder's name? Do you think that would have helped or hindered the situation? Yeah, it would have helped considerably, in fact the ball would have been caught. By the way, three runs scored -- there were two outs and the base runners were off with the pitch. Ouch!

Steven E. Michael played seven years of professional baseball in the Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers organizations. He played collegiately at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona earning All-Western Athletic Conference, All-College World Series, and Sporting News All-America honors.

His new book, "How To Play Baseball Outfield: Techniques, Tips, and Drills to Learn the Outfield Position" is available at

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Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coaching Baseball: A Dozen of the Best Hitting Drills in Baseball

Here are 12 hitting drills that I feel every team should use in a year round training program.

Drill # 1
Top-Hand Drill
The top hand on the grip is the hand that takes the bat to the ball. It is important to develop strength and skill with this hand. To do this we do a one-handed isolation drill. The batter uses just the top hand. Gripping the bat at the top of the grip and using the bat like a tomahawk, the batter tries to get over the top of the ball and hit it into the ground. The batter has a coach or player soft toss the ball above the waist. The batter hits the ball from the top and drives its straight into the ground. This drill is best performed with the Hit2win Handheld Trainer from Nedco Sports. Suggested - 25 Swings - 3 Times a week.

Drill # 2
Power Hand Drill
A hitters power comes from the bottom or pull hand. This drill develops bottom hand strength. This drill when done on a hitting machine, the machine should be set at a high strike setting. The hitter uses only the bottom hand in its regular position near the knob of the bat. We recommend the BatAction Hitting Machine for this drill. It works absolutely perfect! The coach must make sure that the ball is above the batters waist. It is best for the ball to be numbers high. The batter steps into the ball and hits its one-handed. Suggested - 25 Swings - 3 Times a week.

Drill # 3
Multiple Location Contact Drill
The hitter is given three pitch locations to practice hitting; inside, away and middle. The ball may be presented to the batter using soft toss, batting tee, Hit2win Trainer coaching trainer, or Bataction Machine. On the inside location, the batter must learn to involve the hips and turn on the pitch, pulling it. On the middle pitch the batter hits the ball dead up the middle. On the away pitch, the batter makes sure to take the ball to the opposite field. The coach may want to put spots on the ground showing where the batter attacks each pitch location. The inside pitch is attacked on a spot located in front of the plate. The middle pitch is attacked on a spot located just behind the instep of the hitters front foot. The away strike is attacked on a spot located just inside of the hitters back foot. The batter can also use a Hitting machine and change location to the machine to get multiple strike contact work. Suggested - 20 At Each Location - 3 Times Weekly.

Drill # 4
Two Ball Soft Toss
The hitter learns to concentrate and keep the weight back. The coach tosses two balls. The coach calls top or bottom after the balls are releasd. The hitter hits the called ball into the fence or screen. This drill can be done from different locations. The coach should also fake toss and change the release points as well as vary the speed of the balls.

Players should Know All Hitting Terms
Squash The Bug- The correct action of the hitters back foot.
Trigger-The hitters final inside turn movement before the swing.
See The Ball Flat-See the ball until it goes flat against the bat and comes off.

Many of our suggested top hitting drills can easily be performed with the Hit2win Trainer by Nedco Sports. We highly recommend this product for all ages. For more information, CLICK HERE!

BatAction Hitting Machine - The only hitiing machine 100% Guaranteed to improve hitting skill, bat speed, raise batting averages and reduce strikeouts!

Drill #5
Long Toss BP
One of the best misconceptions in baseball is that to benefit from batting practice the pitcher must be at regular distance and throw game speed. Much more can be accomplished when the pitcher throws from half the regular distance. At this distance the pitcher has better control and more work is accomplished. The ball is thrown at a steady appropriate speed. The speed at this distance should make the batter develop a quicker bat and great skill.

The coach should never do this drill without a L-screen. This drill can also be performed with regular or golf-ball sized wiffles.

Drill #6
Bring-By Drill
The purpose of this drill is the increase of bat speed. This drill is best performed with soft toss or the BatAction Hitting Machine. The batter hits a ball that is coming from his back side going toward the pitcher. The hitter must see the ball and catch-up with it before it gets by him. The speed of the ball is increased to challenge the hitter more and more. When performing this drill with a BatAction Hitting Machine, it is recommended that you remove the machines power bands to increase your swing counts and to vary the balls comeby speeds.

Drill # 7
Closed Eye Hitting Drill
This is one of my favorite drills. The hitter assumes a comfortable and correct stance each time. Then the hitter closes the eyes. The coach or Hit2win Trainer coaching trainer holder will change the strike height and location each time. A verbal command is given, the hitter opens the eyes and hits the ball correctly wherever it is located. The batter must use the correct swing to hit inside, middle, and away pitches. The holder will also locate the ball out of the strikezone. Any ball above the hands or on the ground is a ball and should not be hit. Suggested - 15 Swings - 3 Times a week.

BatAction "Rotational" Pitch Simulator
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The hitter's "backyard basketball goal" makes home batting practice as easy and convenient as shooting a "game of horse"! What could 25,000 more practice swings a year do for your game?Think about it!

Drill # 8
Backside Barrier Drill
This drill is used to shorten-up a hitters swing. If the batter is too long to the ball or has that A to B to C swing that is considered a slow-pitch softball swing, drills can be used to make the hitter shorten up. The batter sets up with his hands 8 to 10 inches from the fence with the fence behind the batter. The fence should run parallel with the batters back foot. If the batter casts the hands backwards or loops the bat, he will hit the fence or barrier.

Drill # 9
Step in Drill
One of the most common faults with young hitters is stepping out. This drill is used to combat that bad habit. The coach may use a BatAction Machine, Coach Nick's Hit2win Trainer, or Stay-Back Tee. The hitter sets up to start the drill one step behind where he should be when he hits the ball. The hitter will step toward the plate with the back foot first then the front foot. When the front foot hits the ground the batter will attack the ball. There should be no hesitation. Step, step, HIT! The hitter will develop the habit of stepping into the ball when he attacks it. His momemtum is going toward the plate during this drill so it is very difficult for the hitter to step out.

Drill #10
Bunt Pepper
This is a great drill to develop bunting skills. The drill involves 5 players in each group. The players may use the pivot or square around bunt technique. The batter must bunt the ball to each of the four fielders. The hitter bunts one to each and then takes the left fielders (facing the batter) place. The right fielder comes to bat and the other move over one place. The coach should emphasize that the batters bunt the ball softly to the fielders. The bat should be keep at a 45 degree angle and the batter should change height by bending the knees. Fielders should catch the ground ball, bare-handed, out front, then square the feet around and throw the next strike to the hitter. This makes a great warmup drill for the beginning of practice. Defensive skills should also be stressed.

Bonus Drill - The Hit2win Trainer Bat Speed Drill
The drill begins with the trainer ball on the ground. The holder will raise the ball to the batters numbers. The batter will hit the ball when it gets to certain called spots, eg. knee, belt, numbers. The speed that the ball is raised is varied to make the batter wait sometimes and react quickly at other times. The drill is great for developing concentration, bat speed, and patience.

Drill # 11
Full Count Game
This is a great game simulation drill that teaches hitters to be agressive and to hit under pressure. Two teams face off in a 7 inning game with each batter coming into the box with a full count. Action is quick and players must be alert both offensively and defensively. The count may also be changed to 2-2 and each team can be given one out to start the inning.

Drill #12
Streak Drill
This is a BatAction Machine drill. The machine should be set at a height suitable for all players participating in the drill for that day. The machine is set with a one-band setting that allows it to rotate multiple times on contact. The players compete against each other. In the drill the goal is to make good contact as many times as one can without fouling out. Good contact is a swing and contact that makes the machine rotate at least once. The hitter that has the longest streak that day is the champ.

Three Baseball Batting Drills - Streak Drill, Switch Hitting Drill and Step-In and Hit Drill

Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pitching Mechanics Drills - Yes Drill Sergeant!

By KC Andrus

Pitchers control the entire game of baseball, it is one of the most coveted positions in the game. Think about it, the game can go absolutely nowhere unless the pitcher throws the ball. With all this power in their hands pitchers need to feel confident on the mound. This will enable them to pound the strike zone with and at a high velocity. The most prudent way to do this is to improve your pitching mechanics. So how do you improve your pitching mechanics? What's the most important thing to focus on? Here are some drills to help out.

1. Extension Drill- This drill is fantastic for making sure you are fully extended and releasing the ball out in front. Simply drop to one knee and put your throwing elbow in your glove out in front of your face. Then throw the ball using only a flick of your wrist, concentrating on getting that good extension and producing consistent results. This will help improve your velocity as well by improving the rate at which the ball comes out of your hand and helping you reach further towards home, in effect putting you closer to the plate.

2. On a Knee- This drill still requires you to remain on one knee. All you need to do to perform this drill is to find a partner and play catch on a knee. The thing you need to focus and this drill will really help is your follow through and finish. It is very important that you concentrate on your throwing arm finishing over the opposite knee. This drill will help create great consistency within your throwing motion.

These are only a couple drills that will help with your pitching mechanics. This drills in particular help with your actually arm motion, but there is so much more to pitching mechanics than your arm action. There are many pitching mechanics drills that will help you improve both the velocity and command of your pitches. Follow the link below to learn how you can add 10 mph to your fastball"

Pitching Mechanics Drills

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Message to Baseball and Softball Parents
Recommended Blogs & Knols

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mastering The Curveball - Basic Tips And Techniques

By Sumit Bhatnagar and Parul Aggarwal

It is indeed quite difficult to master the curveball. Managing to hit the great curveball consistently can take you to the hall of fame.

But, bear in mind that recognizing a curveball is not very easy. If you are willing to master the skill of hitting a curveball, you should get into a certain routine to practice it.

Following are some basic tips and techniques that will surely help you in planning a routine for yourself:

• During the practice sessions, when your team pitchers are throwing in the bullpen, stand in and find out how early you can recognize the ball out of their hand.

• Also, during your batting practice, ask the pitcher to mix in some curveballs. These pitches need not be only strikes. All you got to do is practice to recognize pitches.

• Moreover, during batting practice, whenever someone else is hitting, opt to stand behind the cage and try to recognize the pitcher’s release point.

• Try to see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand much before hitting in the on deck circle. You should recognize the ball before it is halfway to the home plate. After that it will be too late to recognize the ball.

In order to succeed against the curveball, here are some more tips to follow:

• It is very necessary to recognize the curveball as early as possible. It is really tough to recognize a good pitcher’s curveball.

• If the curveball is hard, the trajectory of the ball will pop up out of the hand to a lesser extent.

• The harder a curveball is thrown by a pitcher, the more difficult it is for him to control.

• Just after the release, you should look for the 12/6 rotation of the seams.

• Apart from this, hands and body should be kept at your back. Also, your weight should stay back to at least 70%.

Easy Baseball Betting - Baseball Betting!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Biggest Problem With Baseball Pitching - High Pitch Count & How to Avoid It

By Jack D. Elliott

An ace pitcher is like the golden goose for many high school baseball teams. He can produce a lot of gold or wins if his team uses him properly. However, over use him and you risk serious physical injury to him and/or reduction in the effectiveness in his baseball pitching at the end of the season at a time when you need them to be at their best. Over the last few years, the issue of high pitch counts has come up again and again as ace pitchers are used late in the playoffs to play the 1st and 3rd games of a 3 game playoff series. The desire to win seems to override any concern for the pitcher's health.

Why is this such a health risk to pitchers? The baseball throwing motion is an unnatural motion because you are bringing the arm over the shoulder to throw the baseball. In actuality, an underarm motion is a more natural motion. The over-arm motion puts a large amount of strain on a pitcher's arm. His rotator cuff, elbow, and whole bunch of smaller muscles are put under tremendous stress during each pitching outing. When the pitch counts rise, this creates additional strain on these parts which can lead to serious physical injury.

The challenging issue is how to best address this baseball pitching issue. Here, are a few tips to help ensure your pitcher's safety:

1. Preemptive Strike: Parents should voice their concern to the coach early in the season about high pitch counts. Ideally, a coach would already have his pitchers on pitch counts for their games. Unfortunately, this is more the exception than the rule.

2. Rally Support: Parents should win public support with the other parents throughout the season to make it known that the parents as a whole do not support high pitch counts. Essentially, you want to make it known that winning thru high pitch counts will not be acceptable.

3. Create An Arbitrary 100 Pitch Limit: Parents should not let this be a gray area for pitchers. Parents should voice concerns whenever a pitcher throws more than 100 pitches in a game. This should be raised as an issue every time this occurs in a game and voiced to the coaching staff and the other parents.

4. Encourage Staff Development: Coaches and parents can encourage others to pitch for the team. The development of a pitching rotation will decrease the opportunities for pitchers to get high pitch counts. The reason is simply that the coach will have the ability to put in other pitchers when the pitch counts start to rise.

5. Don't rely on players to make a case: Parents cannot rely on their sons to tell the coach when they are hurting or have thrown too many pitchers. Most competitive high school baseball pitchers will never want to be taken out of a game. They will be caught up in the prospect of trying to win the game and will risk their health in the process. Parents should step in and champion this case for their kids.

6. Treatment During Playoff Runs: High pitch counts tend to become the most significant issue in the playoffs when teams reduce their pitching rotation to put only their best pitchers out there. During this time, parents should make certain pitchers are taking care of their arms. At the very least, pitchers should be icing their arms after every game and not pitch for the next two days when possible. Make you're your team has the appropriate equipment to help sore arms. Proper equipment includes baseball jackets for pitchers and ice wraps. Pitchers should be wearing a jacket over their pitching arm when they are not pitching. Although these steps will not remove the risk of injury, they will help reduce the severity.

Remember high pitch counts are not a situation that has to be tolerated or even required for good baseball pitching. With a little pre-planning by coaches and parents, most high pitch count situations can be avoided or limited. Winning matters, but it really isn't the most important thing.

Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here:

Article Source:

Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pitching Mechanics - Maintain Proper Throwing Mechanics With Your Pick Off Moves

By Dan Gazaway

Learning different pick-off moves to all of the bases is important to your success as a pitcher. It boosts your confidence at a young age, so you can focus more on the batter as opposed to worrying about what you don't know as a pitcher. Knowledge about your pick off moves will give you that confidence. However, this isn't an article about how to pick anybody off, how to catch a runner stealing or even getting out of a pickle. It is information about maintaining proper throwing technique while you keep the runner close to the bag.

I will share a few pitching mechanic tips before I talk about proper throwing technique to the bases.

Here are some basic pointers you need to know when you throw the baseball. First and foremost, when you throw the ball it is imperative that all of your energy is going toward your target. If you are on the mound and you want to throw to the catcher, all of your momentum better be going toward the catcher or you run the risk of not only making a bad throw; but putting undue stress on your throwing arm. So, maintaining your balance ensuring that your head is going in the direction of the throw is the first step.
Staying closed is another important aspect of throwing the baseball. You want to ensure that your feet, hips and shoulders remain in a closed posture all the way to foot strike.

Another mechanical adjustment many pitchers need to make is keeping "equal and opposite" arms. Equal and Opposite was a term coined, I believe by Tom House. It means that your glove arm is a mirror image of what your throwing arm is doing. It is a form of maintaining balance and posture throughout your delivery. You can have a difficult time throwing strikes or hitting your target if you don't learn this strategy.

Now, moving on to proper throwing mechanics to the bases:

While your intent is to hold the runner on the base, it is imperative when making your throw to any base that you have good throwing mechanics. If not, you risk an overthrow which is giving the runner a free base or two.

Many right handed pitchers have the tendency to open up when they throw to first. Left handed pitchers tend to open up when they throw the ball to third base during a pick off. Staying closed while keeping a runner close to the bag is something that takes a lot of practice. Most pitchers have a difficult time maintaining their throwing mechanics when they throw to second base because most mounds, particularly at the little league level, don't have much of a slope. When you make the throw to second, it's like taking a step down a steep stair; you can lose your balance very easily.

Learn correct pitching mechanics first and then use them when you do your practice drills for your pick offs.

Dan Gazaway is the author of two books on pitching mechanics and pitching workouts. Coach Gazaway has also written many articles on proper pitching grips, technique, nutrition and many other aspects of throwing the baseball. He is owner and founder of The Pitching Academy in Utah.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Helping Baseball Players Get Out of a Hitting Slump

By Jack Perconte

Helping young players get out of hitting slumps can be difficult. Young baseball players do not have the high-tech video and expert coaches that the major league hitters utilize, and even major league hitters have difficulty breaking out of hitting slumps. Additionally, young ball players don't have long term contracts so a prolonged slump could easily ruin their average, season or worse, give them a nice seat on the bench. Often, kids have many well-wishing people who offer advice on hitting during these times. Soon, however, the "try this/try that" information overwhelms the young hitters and confusion follows. The number one thing coaches can do to help is to keep the players optimistic, letting them know that the hitting slump is temporary and the end of it is near. Some words of advice like the following can help:

1. Do not get yourself out by swinging at bad pitches.
2. You are only one swing away from putting it all together.
3. The results will be there if you stay focused on the fundamentals and timing in practice, and on the ball in games.
4. Your confidence may not be high, but never give up hope.
5. There will be times when no one thinks you will get a hit, but always believe in yourself.
6. Remember the good at-bats and forget the bad ones.
7. No one will remember if you make an out with the game on the line but everyone will remember if you get the game winning hit, so you have nothing to lose.
8. Remember, the pitcher is nervous too.

Of course, these positive words can help for a while but often, the player's mechanics need adjusting. Generally, in-season is not the time to make major swing changes because major changes need a great deal of repetition and time to become habits. Often, some small tweaks to the hitter's stance or setup can make the difference, especially for hitters who are making contact, but not solid contact. The coach and hitter should analyze the results of the hitters' at-bats to see what tendencies have developed. Usually, hitters who are slumping, will be hitting too many ground balls or too many pop ups. After figuring out these tendencies, the following are some quick fixes coaches can try to get the hitter back on track.

For the hitter who is hitting too many ground balls:
1. Lower the hitter's hands an inch or two.
2. Have the hitter widen their stance a few inches and bend knees a little more (Think Carlos Quentin Stance).
3. Place a batting tee at the hitter's knees and right down the middle - hitter hits until they can consistently hit line drives back through the middle. Do not let the hitter settle for ground balls, even if they are solid.
4. Make sure the hitter's rear leg has a good angle at contact - legs form a capital A at contact, not a V.

For hitters who are popping everything up, the opposite "quick fix" solutions can help:
1. Raise the hitter's hands an inch or two
2. Shorten the distance between the feet when the hitter is in their stance so they are standing taller with little knee bend (Think Ken Griffey Jr. Stance)
3. Set a batting tee at the hitters chest or slightly higher - hitter hits until there are no pop ups - ideally, hitting line drives the same height as the ball level.
4. Make sure the hitter is transferring their weight with their heel on their rear foot facing the sky at contact.

Bigger Problems

Obviously, hitters who are not making contact or are only hitting foul balls, have bigger fundamental issues. The first thing to do to help these hitters is to make sure it is not just a timing issue. If the hitter is always swinging late, challenge them with greater speeds in batting practice. Likewise, for hitters who are swinging too early, use slow pitches during batting practice. Generally, the hitters' timing will improve with these speed changes and they will start making consistent contact. If this doesn't help, major swing fundamental changes may be necessary and there is probably nothing to lose by starting those changes immediately.

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 Jack Perconte is the author of two books: "The Making of a Hitter" and "Raising an Athlete"

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

3 and 0 Count Baseball Strategy

By Jack D. Elliott

The 3 and 0 count baseball strategy is a common issue for all coaches. Do you tell your team to take the pitch or give certain batters the right to swing away?

Conservative baseball would have you take the pitch on the thought you are likely to gain a walk with another ball. This assumes the pitcher will throw yet another ball after three balls in a row. Ideally, you would force a wild pitcher to throw more pitches causing him to give more walks and have him taken out of the game.

A more aggressive strategy would be to allow batters to swing if they get a good pitch. Since most high school pitchers will try to bear down and throw a good fastball for a strike, the odds are you will be getting a good pitch to hit. If you have a good hitter at the plate, it would make since to give him a chance to swing at the pitch. The catch is you may end up helping the pitcher by hitting a fly ball or a ground out.

Based on this situation, you really need to know your lineup. Is the hitter at the plate one who can hit this pitcher's fastball well? If the hitter is not, it would make no since to swing a way. However, if the hitter can see the pitcher's pitches well and is a good hitter, it would be more advantageous for him to swing if he is likely to get an extra base hit. If he will merely be able to likely get a single, it would be more sensible to take the pitch.

Another factor to consider is whether there are runners in scoring position. If there are runners in scoring position, good hitters should be allowed to swing away as you have a better chance for getting an RBI. Also, if you are unlikely to get a hit from the batters following him, it would make a lot of since to let the good hitter swing.

When it comes down to it, whether to take the pitch or swing away on a 3 and 0 count depends on the hitter. If you believe they can drive in a run or get an extra base hit; then, it is to your benefit to have them swing away. However, for most hitters in high school, you will want them to take the pitch as this will give you an additional base runner and force the pitcher to throw more pitches. This could result in him throwing more balls or having a more fatigued pitcher late in the game.

Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here:

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

10 Ways to Maintain a Good Parent-Coach Relationship

By Jack Perconte

Most negative experiences in athletics involve tension between coaches and parents of athletes. Most of the time, kids are very content with playing, having fun and being around their friends. Usually, players become discontented only after mom or dad have started grumbling about the way the coach is treating their child with playing time or position played. Once a parent has put this negative attitude in the player's mind they become a "grumbling" player towards the coach. This unhappy attitude can be prevented if parents and coaches develop a good relationship, especially at the beginning of the season. Here is how:

Suggestions for a successful parent-coach relationship:

1. Give team parents background information about all the coaches, especially about playing and/or coaching experience related to the game. (This should not have to be mentioned but be honest about backgrounds.)

2. Express philosophy of coaching. The three ultimate objectives are winning, player development and fun. Specifically state where coaches stand on these three objectives. I suggest a 30, 30, 30 split on these objectives and applying the remaining 10 percent for the area most needed. This 10 percent will be determined by the competitiveness of the team and the league.

3. Explain your goals for the team and for the individuals for the upcoming season. I believe it is alright to play to win even at a young level, as long as it is kept in perspective. Remember, developing skills and having fun are always an objective. Dealing with winning and losing will create many teaching moments that will be important for kids to learn.

4. Discuss your philosophy about playing time and positions played. Let everyone know how you plan to run the team. For example, will players have to earn their position on the field or will you rotate the players? Give parents a chance to ask questions, and make sure your answers are clearly understood. Be sure to recognize and discuss the objectives of the league and level at which the team is playing.

5. Coaches should listen and discuss the parent's objectives for their own kids and for the team. Parents who have obvious different objectives than the coach may have to look for another team for their kid if they cannot come to an agreement.

6. Discuss when and how the coaches can be approached during the season so there are no public confrontations. Set up a system where discussions are held away from the players, other parents and the crowds. There will be issues that arise from time to time, but let parents know that disagreements will be handled in a civil way away from the players.

7. Discuss coaching policies when players miss practices or games, so everybody is treated the same and all are clear about the policy.

8. Effective communication is the key to averting problems - make sure parents inform their kids about the coaches' philosophies.

9. As mentioned, troubles begin when parents start to grumble at home to the players about the coach. Insist to the parents that they approach you before getting upset and expressing that displeasure at home.

10. Most issues arise because the parent does not think the coach is being fair. It is important that the coach fulfill his or her philosophy that was initially expressed. Changing philosophy in the middle of the season will create problems. If a coach feels a philosophy change is totally necessary, they must discuss possible change with all parents first.

Finally, coaches should be role models and teachers to their players. It is easier to help players develop their skills and enjoy the game when the parents understand the reasoning behind the coaches' philosophies.

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

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See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Baseball Coaching Digest - What is the strangest thing a parent ever said to you?

Good Morning & Happy Labor Day,
Today I include a question from a coaches survery from the Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal and the answers coaches gave.
I hope you enjoy. Have a great day, Nick.

What is the strangest thing that a parent ever said to you?

I called a mother to remind her that her son would be catching the next game and he needed to bring a "cup." She replied, "but he brings a water bottle?"

"You're not that good of a coach. I'm going to coach a team next year and kick your ass!"

When Player Did Not Show For Practice: "I thought his Dad would bring him." (from the Mom) "I thought his Mom would bring him." (from the Dad)

"Parents seldom talk to me since Im the 3rd base coach, they save all the good stuff for the head coach!"

"I am glad to see the season is over, too much running around." (when that parent only came to two games.)

Do we have a game today? (we were at the game with our uniforms on..including her son)

After we beat a team 18-1, a parent on the other team told me it wasn't a real loss because their best pitcher didn't pitch.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Baseball Coaching - Don't Forget Your Catchers

By Chico Reese

There's this certain "thing" about baseball coaching and baseball practices that I've noticed over the years. It isn't just High School teams or just teams in summer leagues…it's a common problem the way I see it. Some teams/coaches can be worse than others when it comes to this, but many times it appears to be much the same story.

If you are a baseball coach, player, or have watched a lot of team practices, you've gotten the idea that repetition is a BIG thing. Repetition is what develops the "Muscle Memory" that allows the brain and body to perceive a complicated task as just an ordinary routine task. Many coaches know this and if you watch a number of different teams practicing you'll see the following things being practiced over and over and over:

Batters hitting off tees
Batters doing soft toss
Batters practicing bunting
Infielders taking ground ball after ground ball until they "get it right"
Outfielders taking fly balls and ground balls
Outfielders practicing cutoffs, throws to third, throws to second and home
Shortstops and second basemen turning double plays
Pitchers throwing and throwing
Pitchers running banana routes
Pitchers throwing over to first...pickoffs to second

Now, think back to these same practices. How many times did you see one of the coaches take two or three catchers and go off somewhere and block balls in the dirt? Correctly, I mean. And not three, four or five balls at the very end of practice. I mean a bucket or two each. In the dirt, center, left and right...correctly. Probably not often, maybe never.

How much footwork did you see the catchers doing at practice? Did you see coaches working the feet? I mean with no baseball or throwing...just, correct footwork. You probably didn't see that or remember just a little bit in the season.

Did you see the catchers fielding bunts down third and first and making the play? Again, not one or two. I mean ten times, like the reps all of the other infielders got when practicing their required skills.

What I mostly see is common...throws to second and a few to third and first during infield practice. That means a catcher might throw down to third three or four times. Big deal. During a practice, a shortstop will field fifteen to twenty ground balls and make the throw to first.

Now, here's the part that's even more funny. During games, now, the coaches have the same expectations of the catchers and their skills as they do their shortstop, second and third basemen. If there is a bunt down the first base line and the catcher throws it away, it's possible he'll get hammered by a coach. But it's also possible that he hasn't practiced that throw since the beginning of the season. I think this is one reason why I see so many balls thrown away at third and first by catchers. There just isn't enough repetition there. No "Muscle Memory."

Seasons start out with good intentions...with a lot of promises. The catchers will do this and the catchers will do that. But guess what? It usually ends up the same way in a relatively short time. The catchers will do a little bit of infield and then go right to the mounds to catch pitchers. All of the pitchers. At the same time, when it's getting dark, everyone's tired, parents are waiting and the coach who is pitching to what he thinks is the last batter turns around and yells, "Who hasn't hit yet?"

Guess who raises their hands? You got it. The two catchers. So they'll bat last. Coach is tired. He'll throw some to one catcher and then some to the other. They'll get half of the pitches that the first five guys got, if they are lucky, and these are sometimes crappy pitches anyway. Sometimes they will get the promise that they'll hit first the next practice...right. Yet, they are expected to hit like the other guys.

I've watched catchers with good size and cannon arms. If someone steals and the pitch is a good one, that catcher nails the runner by two steps. Unfortunately I've watched these same catchers and find that they can't block a beach ball. They'll let the easiest ball in the dirt get by them. I'd see seven to ten balls back to the screen, runners advancing and runs scoring. This just tells me the coach found a guy with a cannon arm and basically did nothing else with him. Happens a lot.

But I've seen some great coaches who have coached their catchers well and boy these guys are great to watch. You can immediately recognize a well coached catcher. They are just fun to watch. Umpires love them.

So coaches, don't forget your catchers. They'll win you for you games if you help them...they'll lose games for you if you don't. They have more skills to master than the other players. That's just the nature of the position. They need time too. Not at the end of practice when everyone's tired and wants to go home, either.

Oh, one more thing...Don't Forget Your Catchers.

Chico Reese has been closely involved in youth baseball, softball and High School Baseball over the last twelve years and enjoys working with young catchers.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How To Maximize Baseball Strength & Conditioning

How To Maximize Baseball Strength & Conditioning

By John V. Doyle

Now that can mean very different things to different players. If you're in the Major Leagues that can mean a grueling six day per week program that can last up to four hours each day. Or if you're in Little League that can simply mean tossing a light medicine ball around with your father or teammates. Wherever your level of playing is at this moment, there is a strength and conditioning solution for you. And my goal with this baseball tips article, is to help you best maximize that!

Here are my 5 Rules to Maximize Baseball Strength & Conditioning

Rule # 1 - Always focus on Posture

As soon as you lose your posture you are robbed of over 90% of your power! Whether it's pitching, hitting or throwing, when your posture if off so is your performance. Now this doesn't mean being stiff, it simple means be loose at all times, yet have a solid athletic base in order to generate power from your hips and legs.

You've certainly heard the term "off balance". That's another way of saying "lost posture".Whether you are tossing the medicine ball around, running or performing Olympic weight lifting, maintain posture and you will develop. As soon as posture is lost, terminate the exercise immediately as you will just begin to engrain poor habits that will lead to bad performance and possible injury.

Rule # 2 - Don't Isolate!

Please, I'm begging you, unless you have a specific injury you are rehabbing from, NEVER try to isolate a muscle group. Do you hit, pitch, run or throw with one muscle? Of course not! So why would you train that way?

Utilize ground-based, multi-joint movements that will develop your athleticism and allow your body to work together in harmonious fashion. This is what creates world-class athletes.

Rule # 4 - Don't "Train Like The Pro's"

If I had a dime for every time a teenager asked me for ARod's workout program I would be almost as rich as ARod himself! Listen the pros are just that, pro's. When they were teenagers (or whatever age and level you may be) they didn't train like they do now. You must train differently at the many different levels of baseball you go through. Worry about the "advanced" training when you get to the advanced levels and your body is ready for it.

For now stick with the basic ground-based multi-joint movements with various mediums such as barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, bands etc. Whichever levels you're at, there is a training medium that suits your needs.

Rule # 4 - Squat!

I don't want to hear they are bad for your knees. Did you know Olympic weight lifts (who squat every single day of the year) use the highest percentage of weight in comparison to bodyweight and have among the lowest incidences of knee injury among all sports?

Squatting correctly, and I stress correctly, will increase strength, speed, power, endurance, and actually LOWER your chance of knee injury/pain!

And it simply can be done at any age and any level. The young ones can simply hold a medicine ball or use bodyweight, while the advanced trainees can use the many barbell variations such as overhead squat, dead start squat, front squat and drop squat. The possibilities are endless.

I don't care how you do it, just do it often!

Rule # 5 - Work Hard & Have Fun

One thing I tell my players is "Don't be afraid of hard work." With that said, always try to have fun. Remember, the training you do now will comeback to you with a tremendous amount of return on your investment in the near future. These and other baseball tips will pay dividends.

Jon Doyle, MA, CSCS is considered the world's foremost authority of effective baseball training, having worked with tens of thousands of professional and amateur ball players. His baseball training website is the largest site in the world of it's kind. Be sure to check it out and sign up for his FREE baseball tips Newsletter.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Advanced Core Strength Techniques for Baseball Players

Advanced Core Strength Techniques for Baseball Players

By Cj Brooks

One of the most crucial aspects of improving your overall performance if you're a baseball player is core strength training. Advanced core strength techniques will help you improve your overall balance, as well as reduce the chances of getting an injury while swinging, pitching, and throwing. These advanced core strength training tips can help you to become a great power hitter and help you to stay healthy and have a long lasting career.

Advanced core strength work outs are also beneficial for improving a person's throwing or pitching ability. Strengthening your core isn't just about being a power hitter, but about achieving an overall balance and improvement in all of the skills you use on the field. All of the skills and muscle movements involved in the game of baseball start in your midsection, which is your core. If you don't have flexibility and strength in your abdominal muscles, your performance will be poor, and you may end up riding the bench.

The core consists of all the muscles that make up your abdomen and lower back. This particular group of muscles works together to help stabilize your body and help in the transferring of power from the legs to your upper body, and from your upper body back down to your legs. Advanced core strength exercises specifically target these groups of muscles and work to increase their strength, power, and efficiency.

One great advanced core strength exercise that will help you build some serious muscle is the deadlift. Doing deadlifts will help increase the strength in your lower back and will help you prevent injuries to that specific muscle group. These advanced core strength techniques will allow you to get maximum results, but should be done carefully. If these techniques aren't done properly you can end up getting injured or cause any number of different problems and aggravations.

Another great advanced core strength technique is the lunge. Most people tend to think of the lunge as strictly a leg exercise, but this misses the fact that the lunge is a movement that when done perfectly, requires a lot of co-ordination and use from the trunk and core muscles area. There are a number of different variations of the lunge that can be performed which will really work your core.

A great way to develop solid core strength is to do bicycle crunches. This advanced core strength technique is great for working out and strengthening the rectus abdominus and the internal and external obliques. These exercises are great because they are very effective and easy to do. By implementing these into your abdominal workout you're sure to gain a strong midsection.

If you're planning a long lasting career in baseball, then placing emphasis on gaining core strength should be one of your top priorities. By putting together an advanced core strength training program you'll become a more effective player and also prolong your career by avoiding injuries.

C.J. Brooks is a sports training consultant who writes articles dedicated to improving the performance of today's recreational league athlete. C.J. has trained athletes in league preparation for sports such as baseball, basketball, softball, soccer and football in order to transform their weaknesses into strengths. C.J. also offers online consultation which includes personalized sports-specific training and nutrition plans.

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