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The Baseball Coaching Digest's blog is your online source to free baseball articles, free baseball drills, and free baseball tips. Our daily posts can help your plan baseball practice, improve your baseball drills, and help make your baseball workouts run smoother. Our daily post and archives provide your with hundreds of recommended baseball coaching posts. Make sure to bookmark this site for future visits. Have a great day and good luck to your team!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

U.S. Baseball Academy Fielding Drill: March 3, 2010

At baseball games of any level, fly balls often drop to the ground between fielders unsure who is going to make the catch. Or worse, two fielders collide while going after the same ball. Here is a great drill to teach and reinforce defensive priorities in an effort to avoid both dropped balls and collisions among infielders and outfielders. USBaseballAcademy's Channel

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baseball Pros Swing Analysis - Albert Pujols

Baseball Pros (, using Sports Motion software, breaks down Albert Pujols batting practice swings from Spring Training, 2005. A brief lesson on how one of the best hitters in the game uses his lower half to achieve extension and power through the ball.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Thinking About Standing Tall For Better Baseball Hitting

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Standing Tall For Better Baseball Hitting
By Guest AuthorChris Moheno

Great baseball pitching, of course, is needed to counteract great baseball hitting. But there is some difference of perspective among those who are involved in professional baseball training about one of the most fundamental issues regarding baseball pitching mechanics: whether or not one should "stand tall and stay back" when on the mound.

Now, pitching coaches generally contrast standing tall against pitchers whom they describe as "drop-and-dive". Drop-and-dive pitchers are represented in the Hall of Fame by such greats as Tom Seaver, Robin Roberts, and Sandy Koufax. But, the conventional wisdom generally adhered to by baseball pitching coaches is that a few Hall of Fame pitchers who had unusual capabilities do not a rule make.

"What you want to see out of power pitchers is that once that stride leg starts lowering, the lower body really goes fast, and they land on a flexed leg...The drop-and-drive is definitely something you wouldn't want to teach. Nobody pitches that way anymore, because in the drop-and-drive, you don't really use your body. It doesn't allow the core muscles of your body to get up and over a braced front leg," insists Amherst College's head baseball coach Bill Thurston.

And University of Kansas pitching coach Steve Abney adds, "Tom Seaver was a drop-and-drive guy, but he was a power-armed, 5' 11", 215-pound guy who could get his arm through. By staying tall and not dropping-and-driving, you allow the arm to get out of the glove and get your fingers on top of the baseball."

Another Hall of Fame Pitcher, the all-time strikeout and no-hitter king Nolan Ryan, credited with having thrown the officially-clocked fastest pitch ever (101 mph), is often cited as the exemplar of the mechanical advantage given to the pitcher who stands tall and stays back. It's well known that Ryan said that the most important part of his body when it came to pitching was not his arm--it was his legs. And when Ryan finished his delivery to the mound, he would be standing stork-like on his front leg, the rest of his body curled up around and on top of that powerful leg. "One thing [Nolan Ryan] told me about his delivery was that he wanted to do as much work out front as possible...Pitchers who drop-and-drive need to alter their posture to get that momentum going again. Keep all the energy you've worked hard to recruit," insists Bioforce Baseball's Bill Mooney.

However, this attitude about standing tall is by no means universally held by baseball training professionals.

Indeed, Nolan Ryan is used as an exemplar of what not to do by those who are antagonistic toward the methodology as he is use as a paragon of perfection by those who are its proponents. The point out that for all of his no-hitters, Ryan never threw a perfect game; and while he's the strikeout king, he's also the all-time walks king. Ryan, who is widely regarded as the greatest power pitcher there ever was, did have a human flaw after all: he did not always have the greatest control. And for those who don't like standing tall in pitching, this was because Ryan didn't do enough practice time on the baseball mound. Not because the great one wasn't training: but he had a personal trainer who believed in cross-training and working out pitchers on flat ground. Ryan spent a lot of training time throwing footballs from a flat-footed position. And they say that as great as he was, Ryan was harmed, not helped, by this training approach, even if he gained leg strength from it.

They also point out that in actual fact, Ryan did not pitch from a downward angle. And, nor did Koufax. Nor did Steve Carlton. Neither do Josh Beckett, "Dice K." , or the great heat-throwing closer Pedro Martinez. Instead, they insist that these great, powerful pitchers gain their ball velocity from long strides--not from standing tall and staying back except for at the very beginning of their wind-up. Proponents of this "lean forward" baseball pitching philosophy also point out that by leaning forward the pitcher is releasing the ball at a closer range to the plate--and while it's only a slight difference, given how fast the reaction times in baseball need to be, this closer-range release point does throw off hitters.

In fact, Koufax (whose single season strikeout record was broken by one pitch by Ryan in 1972) wrote in his 2002 book 'Sandy Koufax, a Lefty's Legacy', "If you look at pictures of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, myself, the back leg is on the ground. You have to get your center of gravity low so that when you're throwing the ball, you're throwing it straight out, rather than down. You can't defy gravity."

What all baseball training coaches want their pitchers to do to create great pitching is: improve the mobility and rotational velocity of their hips and thoracic spine; increase their stores of kinetic energy and their ground reaction forces; and improve the coordination they have between their arms, torso, hips, and ball. Does standing tall and staying back facilitate this the best, or no? Maybe it all comes down to the individual; or, maybe many coaches are mistaken.

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.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

3 Hitting Drills Guaranteed to Produce Hits

Hitting Drills Guaranteed to Produce Hits
By Guest Author Jack Perconte

When a player doesn't hit, frustration sets in for players and parents alike. Hitting can be a very difficult skill for parents and untrained coaches to figure out. The good news is that you don't have to know what is wrong as long as you know how to "fix it." Hitting in its most basic form comes down to doing three things - watching the ball, throwing the hands (bat) at the ball, and opening the hips. The following three drills will make these things happen and can prove a quick exit from the player's hitting slump.

1. Seeing the Ball Drill - In batting practice put an object like a ball glove or empty soda can at the front of the opposite side batter's box. After taking their swing, the hitter should keep their eyes on the placed object for a second or two before looking out to see where they hit the ball. This will prevent hitters from pulling their head out early on the pitch and help prevent them from over swinging.

2. Pad Drill - Place a pad like a sponge, towel or the player's glove under their lead armpit when taking batting practice. The hitter's goal is to keep the glove under the arm until contact and then allow the pad to fall out after making contact. This drill ensures that the hitter is using their hands and forearms to swing the bat in a compact, direct manner.

3. Back Knee Pick-up Drill - Have the hitter pick up their back leg with their back knee turning to point at the pitcher as they swing. This drill will force the hitter to use their front side to pull the bat initially as well as forcing the hitter to open their hips. Both of these forced moves with this drill promote contact, weight shift and power.

There are many hitting drills that can benefit a hitter and it is a good idea to continue with some of them throughout the season. Drills are the best way to develop good fundamentals whereas batting practice is good for the hitter's timing.

Finally, it is always best to challenge hitters during batting practice with game like speeds and speed changes. There is no speed that is too slow or too fast, within reason of course based on the age of the player. Remember, you don't need to know what is fundamentally wrong with a hitter's swing as long as you know how to fix it.

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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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Best Baseball Websites

The Best Baseball Websites
By Guest AuthorScott Campanella

My favorite baseball websites are as follows (no particular order):
Not taking the major leagues into account, baseball is played all over the United States. You can find minor league teams in towns and cities all across the country. Baseball America is a great source for finding out about your favorite major league team's farm system. They provide comprehensive lists of players, sortable stats and commentary for all minor league teams. They also do a fine job covering college baseball, which is growing rapidly in popularity.
Primarily a fantasy sports site, RotoWorld is not just for fantasy geeks. RotoWorld reports sports news in a very timely manner. Because of their superior coverage, they usually get their news items up faster than bigger sites like Yahoo or MSN. Plus, they report or comment on a much greater amount of players on a daily basis. You can look up a great number of professional sports players in their vast database, which gives you vitals as well as career statistics. You can also find quality articles in abundance there.
A fantasy sports blog that currently covers baseball almost exclusively, Roto Journal provides quality articles and commentary on topics such as Division Inequality in Baseball and The Wisdom of Bill James.
The Baseball Cube is a historical almanac providing major league, minor league and college statistics. The major league records go back over 100 years. I have often visited this site when I am trying to find information on minor league players, as they tend to have more info on the minors than any other site I've visited. You can also 'sponsor' your favorite player's webpage on their site.
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) was established in 1971. Their desire is to promote the study of baseball, both current and historical. Of primary interest on the site are their studies on everything from The Deadball Era (1901-1919) to Women in Baseball. It's a fine source for anyone wanting to examine the history of baseball, and how the game has changed through the years.
This site is a nice archive of various topics, ranging from Sabermetrics to the Negro leagues. It also has a fine database of downloadable stats from baseball's early era.
In my opinion, this is the premier website for baseball stat junkies. Here, you will find current standings and boxscores, and past stats going back to 1871.
You'll also discover a comprehensive list of past players, managers, post-season results and awards.
A general discussion site, with articles on all kinds of topics, including the minor league draft and current baseball events. At any given time, you might find up to 1000 people viewing the site.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Coach and Player Relationship in Baseball - It Can Make All the Difference

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The Coach and Player Relationship in Baseball - It Can Make All the Difference
By Guest Author: John Peter Pero

This weekend I played in a celebrity golf tournament with a Big League infielder with whom I did not know prior to the outing.

Truth be told, I was penciled in and looking forward to playing with a young 2-time All Star catcher but was switched and ended up spending the day golfing with another player, one who may possibly have more career behind than in front of him. What a break for me.

I first saw him as a young Big Leaguer and kind of figured him to be a career utility guy, a 25th man. He could swing it a little but probably was not seen as a long-term solution on anybody's Big League roster.

So here he is, as likeable and casual a fellow as you could hope to play golf with, and now a better than ever ballplayer.enough so that he recently signed a healthy free agent contract.

Without meaning to pry or step over any unspoken social boundaries, I was more than curious as to what made this kind of career difference ..the kind of difference that separates having a real job from having a dream job.a starting infielder for a contending National League ballclub!

I got two answers.

1. The first was from this fine young man himself when he soberly stated the difference was working out with his new hitting coach (after being traded from the team he grew up with - the team he subsequently left for a life-changing contract that would provide for his young family). It was this hitting coach whose teachings rebuilt a swing.and a career!

2. The second was when I placed a phone call to my mentor, a retired National League scouting director. His comments were brought up from the dusty memory vaults that long time scouts all seem to have.

Without missing a beat, this old scout pulled up his mental file of the when's and where's he first saw this player, his strengths and weaknesses at that young age.comparing those with his more recent if he were laying one over the other and putting them up to the light to check for differences.

He spoke about the mind and the mindset of this ballplayer; how hard he played, how he would grind it out, giving all he had to help his team win.night after night.

And the point is... Players need to find that coach who makes sense to them. Coaches need to constantly look for ways to get through to ballplayers.helping them to develop repeatable swings, throws and catches. I favor videos (now DVDs) to help me coach, and most video titles generally describe the content.

Whether it is the mind or the body we are working to improve, a connection between coach and player is paramount to success!

Skill alone will only take you so far. Remember, every pitcher throws 90 in the Show. Every Big League hitter has a certain amount of batspeed.but you need more than that to be the best you can be at all levels of play!

Without help.and without a plan.luck is what you have. And luck is nothing to bank on!

As my buddy Steve Springer says. "If this game wasn't mental, then every 1st rounder should play 10 years in the Big Leagues. But they don't. Somebody tell me why David Eckstein (a 19th rounder) was the MVP of the 2006 World Series? No, let me tell's because he's one of the top 10 competitors in baseball!"

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Real Baseball Players Practice With Wood Bats and Win With Aluminium Bats

Practice With Wood Baseball Bats and Win With Metal Baseball Bats
By Guest Author: John Peter

Let me say this up front...
I do not like aluminum bats . . . but I'll win with them.
Practice with wood . . . and you'll win with aluminum.

It's really very simple. An aluminum bat swing can be mechanically flawed but still get results. Inflated averages & power numbers abound with huge aluminum sweet spots & tricked-out metal alloys!

But eventually bigger fields and better pitching eliminates many aluminum bat hitters well before High School . . . and it doesn't have to be!

Allow me to explain . . .

Much of the physical side of the game is about:




Much of hitting is about:

TIMING & BALANCE (Strength helps too)

Wood Bats feel head-heavy, with much smaller sweet spots so any imperfections in a swing are magnified. (Are you getting the picture?)

Training with wood forces the player to become mechanically precise & builds bat speed and strength. Additionally, wood trains hitters to really learn the strike zone and not swing at bad pitches (ever hit one off the end or the handle? . . . it hurts... and many times it breaks!)

To successfully swing with wood...

Trigger the hands earlier into the load position
Keep your hands inside the ball (meaning hands closer to the body throughout the swing to make for a quick rotation to the ball)
Stick with it until your muscle memory acclimates to this new weapon.

#1 Defined

Dead Hands Kill Players!

The first thing a hitter must do is take away the pitcher's fastball. In general, that is a pitcher's best pitch. From Clemens, Johnson, Martinez & Maddux, to the baddest pitcher in your league. Spot the fastball and you are a real pitcher. Ok, hitter what are you going to do about it? You're going to crush it... that's what!

Hands Start The Swing!

Start your swing with your hands (it's your timing mechanism). . . and you can time a jet or a fastball! Call it a trigger, load or hitch, it's all the same. Just get some movement from your hands starting when the pitcher separates his hands from his glove with a movement toward the back shoulder.

#2 Defined

Keep Your Hands Inside The Ball...What?

Keep your hands 4-6 inches from your body throughout the swing. Think about hitting the inside half of the baseball (the half that's closest to you). This will train you to have a shorter, quicker stroke and will help keep balls straight and not allow them to hook foul...see Barry Bonds!

#3 Defined

Use your wood bat instead of your game aluminum for tee work, soft toss, in a cage & when hitting live pitching & you'll get the results you're looking for!


Wood Increases Bat Speed!

Bat Speed Equals Power!

In summary, any player or team that trains with wood will hit the ball harder, plus increase contact and power over all who don't. Ask any hitting coach.

Coaching Hint

Kids, like adults, do not necessarily care for change. Get creative, make it cool like real ballplayers and they may accept it easier. Use marker to put their number on the knob. Tape the handle. Buy some stick-em. Have them use a permanent marker and put their "Signature on the business end."

The Rules

Since January 1, 2001, high school players nationwide must use bats that weigh no less than 3 oz. of their length (meaning a 33" bat can't weigh less than 30 oz.). The barrel diameters have shrunk from 2-3/4" to 2-5/8" and the exit velocities were changed so that batted balls don't "jump" off the bat as quickly. In other words, these bats more resemble the performance of wood.

Younger players take note! The college bat rules have changed, the high schools have changed, and the changes may not be finished. So, train with wood and you will win with aluminum.

Baseball tips & youth baseball equipment, training aids & instruction! It's all here for baseball coaching of pitchers & hitters, little league to high school.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

High School Baseball Playoffs Are the Ultimate For Me!

High School Baseball Playoffs
By Guest Author:Larry Cicchiello

I traveled about 30 miles strictly because the atmosphere of a great baseball playoff game is incomparable. At least to me it is. I went to see one of the finest pitchers around facing a team that is loaded with outstanding hitters. What a surprising outcome. I prayed that this outstanding game would be rained out yesterday because I had an umpiring assignment and would not be able to see it. My prayers were answered and this game was postponed until today and I will be able to watch it!

I am really looking forward to watching this game, which starts at 3:00. I go to my favorite deli, Anthony's Deli in Harrison, New York and order a wedge. It is about about 1:45 and I still have plenty of time to attend this matchup between Suffern High School and Mamaroneck High School. At the deli, I see Steve, a fellow umpire and tell him that I'm going to this game, will be sitting under a tree in the shade, eating a fabulous wedge and watching this classic matchup. I asked him what could be better than this. Steve smiled and shook his head and replied, "Larry, nothing is better." Steve asked me to call him on his cell to give him updates.

The fabulous hitting Mamaroneck team against a very good hitting Suffern team who has the incomparable Robbie Aviles on the hill. Incomparable as in an 0.24 ERA for the year! Are you kidding me? One-quarter of a run per seven innings! It comes as no surprise that he is expected to go high in the MLB draft next week.

Okay, so I make my trip of about 45 minutes and arrive at the park. (Told my wife Wendy that I would drive half way across the country to see this game.) She shook her head, almost insinuating that there is something seriously wrong with me. She very obviously does not share my passion for the game.

I arrive about 2:30 for 3:00 start. I have to get there early to make sure I get to put my chair in one of the best locations at the park to view the game. I enjoy my wedge from Anthony's and wait about ten minutes for the much anticipated first pitch from Robbie.

It is now show time and I'm really up for this game and so are the three hundred or so in attendance. (Very good crowd considering it's a 3:00 start on a work day.) Robbie retires the first Mamaroneck batter. He then walks the number two hitter. His pitching coach visits him on the mound and that sends up a red flag. There is no sense in having a mound visit with this guy on the hill. After about a minute or two passes, it is getting clear to all that something may be very wrong here. Another minute passes and it's now clear that something is definitely wrong. Robbie is removed from the game. Must be an injury, right? Yes it is. Found out later that it was either a groin pull or hamstring problem.

My thoughts are that I traveled to see this classic confrontation and I only got to see Robbie face two batters. What a letdown for me and I'm quite sure many others. Right fielder Nick Kulbaba is summoned to the mound. He warms up for about fifteen minutes because he's allowed as long as he wants because the pitcher was removed due to an injury.

During his warmups I start to think of how each team will react to this sudden change in plans. I don't have the answer as to which team it will help. Will the Suffern team who just lost their ace start to hang their heads? Will the Mamaroneck team benefit? I honestly don't have the answer. But I do know that logic tells me that I would rather face anybody other than Robbie. With all due respect, Robbie is in a class by himself and that's why sometimes a couple of dozen scouts are in attendance.

Okay, we resume play and Nick calmly strikes out two batters to end the top of the first inning. Nick continues to breeze along and does NOT allow a hit until the sixth inning! Not bad, huh? Suffern scores single runs in the first, fourth and bottom of the sixth and lead 3-0 going into the seventh and final inning.

About the fifth inning, I told a fellow I met at the game to not count out Mamaroneck. These guys can hit! Well so much for my predictions. The Mamaroneck bats never got going. Suffern gets a two out hit to knock in their third run in the bottom of the sixth and that one had to sting. At 2-0 you're still in the game. At 3-0 in the last inning, I think you have to be thinking that maybe this is not your day.

In the top of the seventh with one out, Mamaroneck gets a ray of hope with a bunt single. That is only their second hit off Nick. But nothing materializes and they lose 3-0. My thoughts after the game are that I tip my hat to Nick. He came into the game with one out in the first inning and he was lights out and pitched himself a gem. I'll never forget how fabulous he was and hope he never does either. Brilliant performance! And I'm not really bothered that I couldn't watch Robbie, except for only the two batters he faced. Hey...Nick pitched a two hit shutout against the two time defending New York State champions and it doesn't get much better than that.

And Mamaroneck is a perennial power house and their outstanding achievements should never be overlooked either. I've watched them many times as their home field is only fifteen minutes from my home and the reason I attend is to watch great baseball. You would be very hard pressed to find a better program and their coaching staff is second to none.

After the game, in the parking lot, I met up with the three umpires who were assigned this very important game. I asked the plate umpire what made Nick so dominant. He simply told me that Nick had a good well located fast ball, good curve ball and he mixed in about five or six changeups. That's pitching isn't it?

No I didn't get to see Robbie but this truly was a great game. Hats off to both teams and thanks for a great afternoon at the park. What a pleasure! To me, this is the best deal on earth. NO charge to park my car. NO charge for tickets. Completely FREE to watch these two outstanding heavyweights square off.

No losers in this one. Only one winner but no losers!

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, June 16, 2010

Stretching is Fundamental For Baseball Training Programs

Stretching For Baseball Training
By Anthony J Pensabene

Remember your teacher from gym class making it mandatory to stretch for five minutes or so before each class? At the time, you may have thought that it was just a way for them to keep the class occupied for a few moments, but they were actually doing you a favor. Whether you are engaging in softball lessons, youth baseball instruction, or any kind of physical activity, it is vitally important to stretch first in order to avoid injury.

Baseball lessons always involve stretching because athletes playing the sport use their entire bodies to compete. What you may not know is that it is often suggested for athletes engaged in youth baseball instruction to stretch after competing as well. Stretching exercises should target all of the major muscle groups.

Youth baseball drills are headed by experienced instructors. Instructors specifically want to teach kids about baseball, but kids can learn healthy tips to use beyond baseball as well. Consider the following stretching tips provided during baseball lessons:

- Get a good stretch, but don't stretch to the point of discomfort

- The tight feeling in your muscles should diminish as you stretch

- Avoid holding your breath while stretching - breath into the stretch

- Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds

- If tightness intensifies or you feel pain, then stop the stretch

- Shake your limbs before stretching them

- Complete 2-3 stretching exercises on a certain area before moving on

Stretching is just one additional component kids can learn when engaged in baseball training programs. Such programs are designed to also teach children how to work in a team; work towards achieving goals; facilitate self discipline; and much more. Ask your kids about joining baseball or softball camps for the summer. In addition, many areas offer on-going clinics all year long.

ZonedInc ( is a New Jersey-based baseball and softball facility offering camps, lessons, batting practice, pitching practice, and more opportunities. Our company and staff is committed to providing a healthy outlet for kids which focuses on learning good lessons to use in sports and throughout life.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Drills For Little League Pitchers in the Bull Pen

Drills For Little League Pitchers in the Bull Pen
By John R Di Nicola

The Bull Pen is where you can get the most done working with your young pitchers. Here they are working on their wind up and delivery. The pitchers will go through this station while the team is working on infield outfield practices. Once you have had a practice or two you can determine how much time you will allot for this station. You most likely will not get all the pitchers completed. Also your pitchers will be playing a position so you will have to schedule stations with that in mind.

You will most likely have to schedule several practices with pitchers and catchers only before the season starts. You can get so much more accomplished by working solely with the pitchers. Listed below are drills you can do in the bull pen and the actual field.

1. Wind up and from the Stretch - Mechanics

* This is the most important part for the young pitcher. Unless you get real lucky and have a pitcher who has pitched before you basically will be starting from scratch. To help the young pitcher feel comfortable you might want them to pitch from the stretch. History has shown they tend have better control when pitching out the stretch. A big factor that at the 7,8, and 9 year old level there seem to be a lot of base runners so they spend most of the time in the stretch position.

2. Locations

* This is the only time when you can really work on their control. You give them five places to look at while they are in their wind up and delivery.

1) The catcher right shoulder 2) Right Knee 3) Left shoulder 4) Left Knee 5) catcher's mask.

They first throw 10 pitches to catcher's mask. You instruct them to reach out and pull the catcher's mask off. Show them the index finger and middle finger out in front with arm extended and snap them down as to pull down when releasing the ball.

* Have them throw 5 pitches to each of the other locations. Once they are in the ready position they should pick up one of the locations and keep their eye's focused on the location till after the release of the ball.

* In time you should see improvement, However if a player is not improving with his control you to redirect him back to a position and try and find another pitcher.

Organizing your Practice

Set up your schedule and rotate your days you do the drills. You will find that some of the drills they will pick up quicker than others. The biggest thing is you cannot have marathon practices. By keeping the practices short and crisp you will keep players motivated. I found if you have a practice schedule and post it, will show the players approximately how long each drill will be and what to expect.

Practice makes perfect.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you would like further information on this topic or other information you can EMail me at:

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Monday, June 14, 2010

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Baseball Pitching Tips - How to Get to Know a Hitter's Tendencies Very Quickly!

Baseball Coaching and Pitching Tips
By Larry Cicchiello

It is mandatory for baseball pitchers to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the baseball hitters they face. There are certain very clever things a pitcher can do. If the hitter takes a practice swing before facing you, pay attention to his practice swing! If he appears to be hitting an inside pitch with it, he is probably a pull hitter. If he appears to be hitting the ball the opposite way with his practice swing, chances are he likes to go the opposite way. If he appears to be hitting a high pitch, he probably likes the ball up. If he appears to be hitting a low pitch, you guessed it, he's probably a good low ball hitter. One of the best baseball pitching tips to remember is that professional baseball hitters, all the way down to very young players like to practice what they do well and not what they do NOT do well.This very often includes their practice swings.

Some Guidelines To Use BEFORE You Actually See The Hitter Swing:

Batter Has A Closed Stance. He probably likes the ball away from him and out over the plate. Find out if he can handle a pitch inside.

Batter Has An Open Stance. He probably likes the ball inside. Find out if he can handle the low and away strike.

Batter Stands Deep In The Box. I would be thinking primarily breaking balls.

Batter Stands Shallow In The Box. Well, if the batter wants to give me an extra couple of feet on my fastball, I'll take the extra foot or two he's giving me to see if he can catch up to my heater.

Batter Has His Hands Held High. Almost always likes the ball LOW, with very few exceptions! You can check it out for yourself right now. Put your hands up high right now, by your back ear and pretend you are holding a bat. Move your hands like you are swinging at a chest high fastball. It doesn't feel right, does it? Pitch him primarily up in the zone until he proves you to be wrong.

Batter Has The Bat Curled Around His Neck. Find out if he can handle a pitch that is up and in. His bat has to travel extremely far to hit that pitch well.

Some Thought Processes To Use AFTER You Have Seen The Hitter Swing:

Your first pitch is a real good fastball and he pulls it and hits a seed that's a foul about 350 feet from home plate. You now know there is a very good chance he loves the fast ball. You should strongly consider going off speed on your next pitch. The only risk is that if he's a good hitter, he might be thinking along with you after what he just did to your fast ball. (This is part of the chess match that takes place between a good pitcher and a good hitter.)

Good hitters are good hitters for a reason and that's because they are always thinking. OK, he has clobbered your first pitch fastball. I'm not saying that you should not go off speed but you do have another option, considering this guy appears to love the fastball. The thought process goes like this...OK, you love the fastball, well I'll give you another fastball. But this time it's going to be six inches or so off the outside corner. Remember, if he loves to hit the fastball, he may chase one out of the strike zone because he doesn't know if he'll get another one from you. After two fastballs, he may start to think that you are going to stay with your heater. You might then go off speed, on your third pitch. If this sounds like a chess match to you, it is because it IS a chess match that should be going on between a good pitcher and a good batter!

What If You Start The Batter Off With A Curve Ball?

You may start a hitter off with a curve ball and he may act like he's never seen a curve ball before. I experienced this first hand when I was pitching at the age of 15. I had a very successful outing in our championship game. A player on the other team was a feared and OUTSTANDING HITTER! I knew very little about him other than that EVERYBODY knew he was a tremendous hitter. Now please keep in mind the purpose of this article...I want to get to know him as quickly as possible. He had smoke coming out of his ears when he came up to the plate and I thought, "Oh boy, here we go." My first pitch to him was a slow curve ball. He swung down at the ball with the very unusual appearance that he was hammering a spike into the ground. I had him "chopping the wood," as it's referred too. I remember his timing was disrupted and literally saw the look of bewilderment on his face after the pitch. After this peculiar swing, I actually saw his eyes squint as he was shaking his head from left to right and right to left as if saying "no." Well, the only thing I knew about him was that he batted something ridiculous like 600. I now also knew, after only one pitch that he does NOT like my curve ball.

In two subsequent at bats, he hesitated and decided to swing at the last fraction of a second. He was 0-3 against me and did not come close to getting a hit off me. Please...I am not making fun of Danny nor am I bragging. I have always and still have total respect for everyone on the baseball field. The ONLY point I'm making here is for your benefit and NOT mine. The point is that I was able to learn a lot about this hitter after throwing one pitch!

He saw fastballs off the plate and medium speed or slow curve balls the entire game. I still had to show him the fast ball because he's a good hitter for a reason and he will make adjustments. If I threw him only curve balls, probably about the fifth one would go over the fence. He would progressively go from looking terrible to looking very good and that's why he's a very good hitter.

I have to be honest and level with you here. I told you I had a very successful outing and that's totally true. We lost the game 2-1 in extra innings. I had a two hit shutout going into the last inning. We led 1-0 in the last inning and I was starting to get tired. With one out, I walked a batter. I struck out the next batter on a fastball. So there is a runner on first base and two outs. No problem. The next batter hits a fairly easy grounder to second base. Our second baseman runs over about three steps to his left, is in front of the ball and it goes through his legs. (OUCH!) I should be celebrating a 1-0 victory with a 2 hit shutout! But instead, there are now runners on first and second and still two outs.

I still need one out and they have their second best hitter up. I threw him a "mistake," a high curve ball and he singled to left center to tie the game up. The next batter popped up to end the inning and I was done for the game, as the league rules required me to leave after six innings.

They scored in the first extra inning on a walk and then a double and beat us 2-1. It's amazing how I can remember the details from over forty years ago but I was heart broken and that's probably why I can remember it so well. I was very upset and emotional after the game and my father, God rest his soul, had a very nice chat with me. We lived less than a mile from the park but my father and I drove around for about twenty minutes before returning home to break the bad news to my mother and sisters. He kept dwelling on my solid performance and told me, "you pitched your heart out and that's all you can do." My father was great and made me feel a LITTLE better but this one hurt and my tears reflected just that. (Thanks for letting me share my heartbreaking story with you.)

OK, let's get back to knowing a batter quickly. Let's make sure we are clear on something. Remember that even if I see that a hitter does NOT like a pitch in a certain location, it does NOT mean that I can throw that same pitch over and over and over again and expect to be successful. Good hitters will make adjustments at the plate. I still have to show him other pitches and other locations also.

Be cautious that a batter doesn't start out one way and then when he is actually swinging, he changes. For example, a batter may have his bat curled around his head but when he's actually ready to hit, he changes and it's NOT curled any longer.

Another example is if a batter has an open stance. He may possibly close his stance just before getting ready to swing. You have to pay attention, just like a batter who takes your pitch and follows it all the way into the catcher's mitt to see how your pitch is moving.

Baseball pitching tips require clever use of the mind as well as the body and pitching is NOT simply getting the ball and throwing the pitch. Please make sure you learn a hitter's tendencies as quickly as possible!

Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks 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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Friday, June 11, 2010

Baseball Coaching Tips - Mind Games Between the Pitcher and Hitter!

Baseball Coaching Tips - Mind Games Between the Pitcher and Hitter!
By Larry Cicchiello

As you advance to older levels of play, you will find that many baseball hitters will play certain mind games with the pitcher and pitchers will do the same with hitters. Personally, I would NOT recommend getting involved in any mind games until the high school level of play or higher whether you are the pitcher or the hitter. One of the better baseball coaching tips to always remember is that playing good baseball requires clever use of the mind and not just the body.

Hitters will ask for a time out when you are getting ready to make the pitch to annoy you. This is not to say every time a baseball hitter does this he's playing a mind game but sometimes he is. They will wander away from the batter's box while you are kept waiting, hoping to annoy you.

If you are well aware BEFOREHAND that these things are definitely going to happen, it should be easier for you as a pitcher to deal with them. You know batters are going to do it so why let them accomplish what they want to do and let it bother you? If you do, it's a victory for the batter, isn't it?

As a pitcher, you too can play a few mind games with the batter. It is pretty much a proven fact that working quickly on the mound is beneficial to a pitcher because his fielders have to "stay on their toes." There simply isn't any time for their minds to wander. An added plus is that the pitcher is also sending an indirect message to the hitters that he is extremely confident and can't wait to throw the next pitch to them.

There are times however, when it just might be the right time to slow things down a little! When a very aggressive and anxious batter gets to the plate and it appears that he can't wait to hit, it may be a very good time to step off the mound and rub up the baseball. Hey, if the hitter likes things to happen fast, make sure you slow things down which is the exact opposite of what the hitter wants.

It may be the perfect time to talk something over with your catcher. You may want to motion for your catcher to come out to the mound for a chat. Tell your catcher that you simply are "fussing" with the batter and want to simply talk for a minute. Anything to keep the over anxious hitter waiting impatiently.

When I pitched, if a runner was on first base and a real good anxious hitter was up, I would make sure I came to the set position and would pause there for two or three seconds and then lob the ball to first base. I might do it a second or even a third time also.

I may pause in the set position on the rubber for three or four seconds and then step off the rubber. I could literally see the look of anger on the faces of some of these hitters. Many times these mind games will make the batter angry or very impatient at the plate and swing at pitches out of the strike zone!

Obviously, I would much rather have a hitter thinking about how annoyed he is with me instead of focusing strictly on his baseball hitting. That's a victory for me as a pitcher. Disrupting the batter's thinking means that I've won half the battle before it has even begun!

If you are involved in baseball coaching, just remember that mind games should NOT be played with younger players, who are just starting to learn the game of baseball.

Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks 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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Thursday, June 10, 2010

How to Take an Energy Packed Pre-Game Infield Practice

Advanced Skills Batting Tee by Muhltech

Baseball Pre-Game Infield Practice
By Jack Perconte

Pre-game infield practice can be extremely useful for youth baseball, where kids are still learning to play the game correctly. However, I've never understood the traditional infield practice routine. Hitting the ball to a player that knows the ball is coming is not very game-like. Of course, we want our fielders to expect and want the ball hit their way. In games though, players never know the ball is coming to them for sure, like it is done in the traditional infield practice method.

The traditional way of taking infield, where coaches begin by hitting the ball to the third baseman and continuing position by position, is often boring and "energy lacking" for players The traditional way serves to get players' arms loose and ready for the game, however, it can be done in a much more useful way. With a few modifications to the traditional infield practice routine, infield practice can be used to help youth baseball players learn the finer points of the game much quicker. With these modifications, more energy is created, as players become more alert fielders and more knowledgeable players.

Here are the modifications that may add a spark to infield practice. Adding the new dimension of hitting the ball to any position randomly, and at any time, makes players much more alert. This random infield practice method keeps players on their toes because the ball may be hit to them at anytime, as well as putting their mind in a game-like state. Additionally, coaches can call out where runners are on base and instruct players how to adjust their positioning depending upon the called-out situation. Over time, coaches will begin to see players know how to adjust their positioning on their own, which will carry over into games. Of course, having players learn the game and how to adjust on their own, until it becomes second nature, is the objective of good coaching and why this modified pre-game infield practice is so valuable.

Of course, this random approach can be done with outfielders also, where the ball can be hit to any field at anytime, and with called-out situations. When this is done, infielders will be learning how to line up correctly for cut-offs also. Outfielders will have to be thinking game-like also of where to throw the ball and of hitting the cut-off man. This alternative infield/outfield practice can be a valuable learning time. Coaches may find that it takes up more time than available. When that is the case, coaches can use this method in practice until their team is ready to use it pre-game.

Coaches do not have to totally abandon the traditional way of taking infield, but using this method can infuse energy into a team and help players learn the game much better. Finally, I have seen this pre-game infield practice get the competitive advantage over the opposing team. Often, this modified infield practice gets the attention of the opposing team and may served to psyche the opposing team out with the increased energy and innovative approach. Seeing players automatically reposition themselves and know where to throw balls depending on the situation will definitely impress the opposition.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are You a Good Youth Baseball Coach?

Nedco Sports Ebay Sales

Youth Baseball Coach
By Chip Lemin

Hello Coaches,

Are you ready for another season of watching your youth baseball team make tons of errors? Well, if your not,check out a few drills you can use winter work outs or spring training. These drills are fun for youth baseball players, along with helping them learn fielding fundamentals lacking many of today's youth baseball players.So print them up for for better results fielding the ball this year.

Outfield Bucket Drill

Place a large garbage can (clean one please) on its side, on home plate so that the opening faces second base

Players make 2 lines in right and left field. Coach is at 2nd base with bucket of balls. * Have the first two players in each line break away from their groups and assume a normal ready fielding position

Throw a soft pop fly into the air for the fielders to catch. * After the catch, they crow hop and throw the ball at cutoff-height to home plate. Instruct them to throw the ball into the bucket with the ball bouncing once or twice prior to home plate. Players rotate after each throw, and then
Change lines after 2 throws. Add grounders to the mix, showing them how to field balls along
With making proper strong throws home.

Throwing skills include aggressively squaring the body to the target, the crow hop; correct arm extension with fingers atop the ball and pointed straight back; grip the ball across the seams; hip roll and follow through.

Emphasize proper fielding techniques. The players should be catching the ball with there
Momentum taking them towards home plate or the base they are throwing to. Show them
How to run to the spot, step back some, and then come in on the ball. Receive the ball above the bill of their hat, slightly toward the throwing shoulder; glove fingers are pointed to the sky (not turned SIDEWAYS.

To improve focus of the players in this drill, make it a contest between 2 or 3 evenly matched groups. Make up scoring rules, and watch the focus improve. This always adds fun to a work
Out as long as the teams are even. Our Advanced course goes into drop steps, crossover steps, fielding grounders on the run, and much more.

Call out the Number Drill

Take 12 to 24 balls and put the number 1 or 2 on each ball, evenly divided as possible. Have players line up at shortstop, 2nd base, 1st base, and home plate with their gloves. Divide them evenly as possible; you can have whole team in on this drill if you want.

The thrower at home plate picks a ball out of the bucket, and rolls a pretty hard grounder to player at short. The player fielding the ball at short will call out the number on the ball, and throws it to 1st or 2nd base.

After ball is thrown to 1st base, that player will then throw ball to second base, where that player will run ball back to a bucket by shortstop. Each time a throw is made, the player must tag that base before the next throw is made. Errant throws must be retrieved and that base tagged before next throw is made. Any of the 3 players can go get the poor throw, but the throw must go back to the right base before the next throw is made.

The players rotate while ball is being put in the bucket (fielder goes to first, first baseman goes to second, and second baseman goes to end of line), or they can go to home plate and be a thrower. Thrower then would go to short to become a fielder.

The drill can be turned into a competition by splitting up into teams and simultaneously conducting the drill (other team starts in between home and first and throw to third for #1 and home for #2) or timing each team on how long it takes them to complete 12-24 balls. Emphasis should be put on setting the feet to throw to the proper base, along with a quick release with out taking an extra step, and that making good throws will avoid lost time chasing after wild throws. As players advance, make sure proper footwork for tagging a base and throwing to the next base is taught. Players should be taught to stay in low crouching position while making quick throws to 2nd base from shortstop

Circle the Bucket Drill

Helps player to use proper footwork (shuffling and rounding of ball) by circling the bucket before fielding ball. This will help them to use footwork that will square them to target, and provide momentum for their throws.

Need bucket of balls along with extra bucket.

Players line up at shortstop with a bucket 5 feet in front of them. The coach sets up at pitcher's mound with bucket of balls.

As the coach rolls slower speed grounders at the bucket, the player circles the bucket from the 3rd base side and fields the ball, keeping his footwork right, and momentum moving toward 1st base.

The speed of the grounders will increase, as players get better at this drill. This drill is about proper form, not how fast we do it. Increase speed only as players do drill correctly. To add more difficulty have players circle ball from first base side.

Have each player do this 5-6 times. You can have players be the rollers also, and then rotate back to fielding line.

I hope you find these drills helpful.The key to a good practice is that the kids have fun while they learn.You really don't have yell and shout if the team doesn't do it just right.Just look first for the effort.

Thanks Coach Chip

Hello My name is Chip Lemin. I'm a long time youth baseball coach who loves to promote this great game of youth baseball. Promoting sportsmanship in this game of youth baseball is something that really needs I feel. I have a free e-course that will give you some solid coaching information along with great help on the inter-personal relationships we must have to be good youth baseball coaches. Things such as parents, travel baseball, getting parents to help out, how to communicate better to parents and players, just to touch on a few. This course will help to organize practices like an elite coach. How to motivate players and other coaches with your positive attitude. It really is not very hard to be a great coach when you know what to do.Best of all you will learn how to have fun with these great kids that you have the privilege of coaching. Do yourself a favor and check it out, it's free,you will get 1 part every couple of days in your e-mail. Coaching can be fun and rewarding if you have a plan in place first, and you have an idea what you are doing.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Baseball Pitching Tips - How to Hide Your Grip is Critical!

By Larry Cicchiello

For something that's very important, I'm quite surprised hiding your grip isn't talked about or taught more. How many things can be more detrimental for a pitcher than tipping off his pitches to opposing players and their coaches? Trust me, players, coaches and managers will look for opposing pitchers that tip off their pitches!

For decades, I have heard several times of a pitcher who has been very successful and all of a sudden he is hit very hard for four or five straight outings. Then he gets back on the right track and you hear he was tipping off his pitches and that's why he was getting hit hard. And some of these pitchers were outstanding professional pitchers so that shows what a common problem it is.

He can be tipping the pitches off in several ways and quite often it's because he is not hiding his grip on the ball for his different pitches. If you are using the full windup, make sure that even when you are raising your hands and pivoting on the rubber, you keep the inside of your glove facing your chest! If you are pitching from the stretch position, make sure that when you come set, you keep the inside of your glove facing your chest.

It's when raising the hands and pivoting on the rubber that alot of pitchers have a tendency to open up the glove and that is advertising your grip.

Some pitchers start with a fancy grip before every pitch and then sometimes switch to another grip at the last moment. An example would be starting with a circle changeup grip every single pitch and then changing the grip at the last second to the one you really want to use.

You can play some "mind games" with the batter also. If the batter knows that you have a very good changeup, you can move your hand around on the ball for a second or two, and lead him to believe that you might be going to your circle change grip. Then you can surprise him with a good, old fashioned four-seamer in on his hands.

One pitch later, you can move your hand on the ball again and this time you do throw the changeup. I'm not saying to do this on every pitch, but on occasion, it will work well for you and annoy the batter. Why not give the batter a little more to think about? He may start over thinking, outthink himself and become annoyed.

As a pitcher, I most certainly want to annoy a batter in any way I can.

Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks 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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Friday, June 4, 2010

Baseball Pitching Tips - How to Find the Right Grip For Your Changeup!


By Larry Cicchiello

There are hundreds of different grips that pitchers use on many different pitches. You really have to experiment and find out what is the most comfortable for you. This definitely applies to throwing the changeup.

I would venture that 95% of all pitchers, at any level of play, use one of the following three grips for the changeup.

"Circle Change"

One of the very consistent things on the circle change is to remove index finger to the inside of the ball. The index finger is one of your two "power fingers" and you're not looking for power when throwing the changeup. The other "power finger" is the middle finger. The index finger and thumb form a circle or an okay sign on the side of the baseball and that's why it called what it is. A very common grip used by several professionals is with the middle and ring fingers on the seams like a 2-seamer. The index finger is curled on the side and rests either against the thumb or if you prefer, just next to it. Some pitchers prefer to put the index finger against the thumb nail. You can grip it like a two-seamer with the middle and ring fingers going along the seams. One of the advantages of the circle change is that quite often it has movement down and away. One drawback is the circle change is tough to master and must be practiced often. Another drawback is that youngster's sometimes struggle throwing it because their fingers are not long enough. It can also be gripped across the seams. Like I said, find out what's more comfortable in your hand.

The circle change can also be gripped similar to a four-seamer, having the fingers cross over the seams instead of the fingers riding the seams, forming a tic-tac-toe appearance with your fingers and the baseball. Some pitchers grip the ball a little deeper in their hand to slow it down a little. Many pitchers release it with their wrist fairly stiff and like they are pulling down a window shade.

"Choke Change"

As the name implies, the ball is "choked" back further in the hand.

Generally, the more the ball is "choked" back in the hand, the slower the speed because the ball will not leave your hand as freely. There are many different grips used but the important part is the choking. Sometimes the choke change can be a little tough to control. The pressure points are on the first joints of the fingers and the thumb. Instead of having the loose, relaxed wrist like on the fastball, hold your wrist stiffer and straighter. A big advantage with the "choke change" is that many pitchers find it very comfortable. Let's face it, it's the normal grip like their fastball but it's simply pushed back deeper in the hand. For some, it's easy to learn.

The only real disadvantage to the choke change is that sometimes, before you learn it and get command of it, it may be high in the strike zone and that's not where you want to be. Do you know what happens to high changeups? They never make it to the catcher. They usually make it over the left center or right center field fence. Don't worry if you are bouncing some of them in the dirt but never miss high with your changeup!

"Pitch Fork"

This is my personal favorite! Why is it my favorite? First of all, it feels very comfortable in my hand. I find it very easy to throw over the plate, even though I'm an old bag at age 56. I played around with it while playing catch with my son and in no time it all, I was able to throw it pretty well. If I were still pitching, I would have to perfect the height as sometimes I am up in the zone.

I figure half the battle is over already because I can throw it over the plate, and now I just need to work on my height. This is the one I would teach to a youngster! If the youngster feels it is NOT comfortable, then I would experiment with some of the other grips instead. Like I said, one size does not fit all and YOU have to find the grip that is most comfortable for YOU!

The grip with the pitch fork change is like a four-seamer with the horse shoe either facing inside or to the outside. Keep the ball choked back in the hand and don't break your wrist when throwing it and keep the wrist straight. Follow through with your hand going straight down.

Once again, always remember that catchers don't catch high changeups. Spectators in the outfield seats catch them.

Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks 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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