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Friday, October 30, 2009

Baseball IQ - The Least Considered Skill

By Chuck R Stewart

Every professional baseball player I have seen has talent. They have the ability to consistently reproduce their skills on the playing field, no matter if it is their ability to run fast, throw hard, hit with power, pitch like a pitching machine or to throw a certain pitch at any point in the count. These skills are the skills that most players strive to excel with every single day at practice. They are the most sought after skills in the game and what scouts typically evaluate when looking at a player. While these skills are important, there are a certain group of players who possess these skills and also have and develop one additional skill - the ability to think during the baseball game and increase your baseball IQ.

Most baseball players have the chance to work on their physical skills every day during the baseball season. They get to take batting practice with a pitching machine until their arms are tired and throw bullpen sessions, most of them work out even harder in the off season at very specific skills. They also have all day to do it because of the salaries that they are paid to play the game. There is an abundance of game repetition and skill coaching for all players and it should make you wonder why some players excel and why others just barely get to be in the league for any length of time. The answer is that the players who get to actually make it far in the game of baseball play with their baseball minds as much as their baseball talent. That is the difference between just playing the game and playing the game at a super high level - your mind.

You can list many players who do have exceptional can't miss talent. I think of players like A-Rod, Ken Griffey Jr, Josh Beckett and Josh Hamilton. They are players who were born to play in the major leagues and they have worked hard to hone their skills to continue to play there - they deserve it. The vast majority of players do not possess skills such as the players listed above. They do not throw 95 or have the ability to hit .325. Instead, they constantly have to get a feel for pitching in order to be able to do things other pitchers cannot do - like throwing multiple pitches for strikes and not being afraid to throw a 3-2 change-up. Hitters need to learn how to take an extra base or to be able to play great defense at multiple positions. These are some of the things that players do to make themselves invaluable on a team. They are things that every player can do to improve their game.

Much like being aggressive, having great physical tools, being intelligent, having great character and being versatile are important for players to become truly great. Having a great baseball IQ can be the difference between being a great player and being a good one who. Physical skills can be improved through hard work. Learning the game takes time, patience and a little bit of studying to be able to advance your baseball IQ. Work hard, play hard and learn the game. It will pay you great rewards in the long run.

Coach Chuck Stewart operates a baseball web site called offering pitching machines, training aids and coaching/instructional videos along with lots of free coaching content. Coach Chuck has a pitching machine for every skill level and budget. He has coached baseball teams for 8 years and enjoys sharing the love of the game of baseball with his players.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick