Baseball Coaching and Training Equipment Blog

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to Be a Better Baseball Hitter

By Chris Moheno

Knowing how to be a better baseball hitter begins with an understanding of what you are setting out to accomplish. There is more to it than meets the eye when it comes to baseball hitting. Your mind and body have to work in unison to achieve the better hitting results. You need sharp eyes, perfect timing, sufficient bat speed, and excellent mind/eye/body/bat coordination. Throughout your training you will be seeking to: improve the mobility of your hips and your thoracic spine; increase the loading and explosive power of your hips; and increase the ability of your body to coil up with potential energy.
Since you striving to be a better a baseball hitter, you will want to outfit yourself with the best tools that you can. This means that you want to carefully select a bat size and your cleats. If you aren't wearing the right hitting shoes (cleats) you will be prone to slipping when you take a swing. As far as choosing the right bat, this will take a little bit of time. Swing different sized bats and see how comfortable each one feels to you. See if you can easily move the bat all the way through from your hitting stance to the point where you hit (or would hit) the ball. You want to have a "quick bat" when you are a hitter. You want to generate as much power as possible as well, but not all baseball hitters are power hitters. Bat speed is therefore more important.
Your batting stance is very, very important. The bat needs to be cocked back behind your back ear, but not resting on your shoulder. Never bat "cross-armed" as some new baseball players try to do; your front arm hand grips the bat beneath your rear arm hand--always. You lean forward somewhat and bend at the knees so that you store kinetic energy in your body. These are the basics of all batting stances, but from this point on every baseball hitter is different. Your batting stance will probably evolve over time, and you may try out many different stances before you discover the right combination for yourself. This is where it is very important that you have a hitting instructor. He will be able to objectively see what works for you and what different things you could try to get more hits or generate more power based on your personal capabilities and what makes you comfortable at the plate. For instance, if you are not a power hitter, maybe you'll start choking up on the bat; that is, gripping it farther up the handle instead of all the way down by the knob at the bottom. Choking up costs you some power, but it increases your bat quickness and bat control, meaning it's easier for you to make contact with the ball in the first place and get more hits. Power hitters grip the bat all the way down at the bottom because that is where the most power-leverage is generated, but this also makes it easier to strike out because of a diminished control over the bat.
Form and timing are essential to understanding how to be a better baseball hitter. From your comfortable stance, keep your eyes on the pitcher's pitching hand, and try to pick up the ball from the earliest possible point of his delivery. Watch the ball all the way in to your bat, so that if you hit the ball you will see it launch off the bat and your eyes will naturally follow its path before you put your head down and start running. When you swing, never take your head off the ball; you eyes remain on the ball all the way from pitch to trajectory off your bat. As the pitch is coming in to you, take a timing step forward with your front leg and feel coiled up energy in your back leg. "Pull" the bat "into" and "through" the ball. When you hit it, hit through it--follow through completely with your swing, snapping your hips and driving the bat all the way around in an arc so that before you put it down to run you're holding it somewhere above your forward ear. You are always hitting through the ball, never hitting "at" it. Some hitters have strong wrists and will snap their wrists at the point of contact to get more power; this was the home run hitting secret of Hank Aaron.
The biggest secret to how to be a better baseball hitter is to practice, practice, practice. If you need more practice than others can help you with, use a pitching machine in a batting cage. Listen to your hitting coach, but find a hitting stance that you are comfortable with above all else.
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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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why the horizontal design hitting machine and batting trainer offer more benefits.

The Bataction "Self-Trainer" has a "horizontal hitter" design.

This feature offers four definite advantages over "vertical" machine designs.

Advantage #1
The first advantage is that this machine allows the hitter to read the quality of his swing by the path of the batted ball. The ball will go where it is hit. He can see if he just hit a fly ball, ground ball, or a line-drive.

Advantage #2
The second advantage is that the Self-Trainer" allows maximum "BANG TIMEl" time during practice swings. It allows you to feel the bat drive through the hit ball. There is no cable or rope controlling the ball vertically that stops the ball's forward motion. On vertical machines, no matter how well you hit the ball, you always hit a "pop-up" because the ball is "jerked" upward by the controlling cable or rope.

Advantage #3
The third advantage is convience and versatility. The batter can practice hitting a moving ball that comes in at the speed he desires from a distance that is perfect for practice. The machine allows the batter to hit a moving ball or a "still" ball every 5 seconds. The height can be adjusted for a hitter in less than 20 seconds. The total unit weights less than 45 pounds. The batter never has to stop, chase or pickup balls. The Bataction Hitting machine is 100% energy efficient. All of the energy and effort exerted is used to become a better hitter. Kids love to practice hitting. They hate picking up or rounding up balls.

Advantage #4
The fourth advantage is ball "TRAVEL TIME". This is the distance that the batter is allowed to see the ball coming in and the amount of time that the batter is allowed to see the ball travel after impact. This innovative Bataction Machine feature allows the batter to experience batting practice that closely simulates real game situation hitting. This feature also challenges the hitters and keeps them motivated to get better, which is a key to success.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Youth Baseball Conditioning

By Trever Sumner

There are many valuable youth baseball conditioning techniques to increase your players' abilities by maximizing their strength, range of motion, and flexibility. Just as a car can only travel as fast as its engine will allow, in like manner, baseball players can only perform to the degree that their bodies will allow. If coaches, parents and mentors ensure that their players are involved in recommended youth baseball conditioning training, they will be increasing their players' chances to fulfil their maximum potential.

Here are some advised youth baseball conditioning techniques that are recommended for youth baseball coaches for the development of their players:

Pitching Better through Swimming - Swimming can actually strengthen the shoulder muscles and enable pitchers to throw the baseball harder while protecting pitchers from devastating shoulder injuries. It is recommended that pitchers swim in free style for two minutes with a series of 4 repetitions. If the player can not swim, then the pitcher can stand waist deep in water under adult supervision and push the water away from the body with a hard thrust and fingers spread apart. This should be repeated for 2 minutes at a time.
Sprint to Success - One of the traditional youth baseball training programs remains the best. Players need to build up their endurance in order to play the entire game with strength and energy. Wind sprints are the best way for youth baseball players to build up their endurance and, at the same time, bond with their teammates. If your players run wind sprints as a team or in bunches, such as pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders, you will be building up their endurance and the team will become closer as a unit. Ten 60 yard sprints are a good way to start, and you can lengthen the distance and repetitions over time.
Squeeze that Ball -Another simple youth baseball conditioning exercise can be done everywhere from the ball field to the schoolyard and even to bed. Baseball players can increase their wrist strength by squeezing a rubber Spalding ball. Yes, these pink balls are still of infinite value to baseball players - pitchers, to increase the speed of their pitch; hitters by increasing their bat speed and, therefore, the distance of their drives; and fielders by increasing the strength of their throws.
Stretch Before Games - Stretching and warm-ups are a key element of baseball conditioning training protocols to prevent injuries. Prior to every game and practice, baseball coaches should lead their team in a regular series of stretching and warm-up exercises for at least 10-12 minutes. Before the players begin playing baseball, make sure to cover all major muscle groups including shoulders, legs, arms, hips, and back.

Of course these are just a few, simple youth baseball conditioning exercises among many. Baseball coaches should be familiar with a wide variety of exercises and should weave these into a more holistic conditioning training plan that is appropriate to the age of their players.

Combined with a variety of baseball drills that make the game fun and build the fundamental skills needed to play, a strong baseball conditioning training regimen will ensure that players reach the top of their game and avoid unnecessary injury.

By Trevor Sumner who works for, a youth baseball community dedicated to providing parents, coaches and athletes the tools and information they need to celebrate the love of the game. Weplay has one of the most comprehensive baseball drill libraries in its active baseball community.

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BatAction Hitting Machine - Simply the Best!

Friday, April 24, 2009

How to Bust Out of a Slump

How to Bust Out of a Slump
By Nate Barnett

Recently I had a conversation with an athlete about his performance. He was dealing with a scenario where as a sophomore, a freshman was starting at 2B over him. Obviously this in itself was frustrating, but to make it worse, his offensive game was slipping rapidly without the consistent play every day. He asked me what he could change in his swing that would earn him playing time over the freshman. The problem, I explained, was more than just the physical ability of this swing. The problem has infiltrated his mind. This is where I told him we would start.

My recommendation to him was to learn and utilize the concept of imagery or visualization. I like to refer to these terms as your mental replay system in your mind. When an athlete fails or has a string of failures, his replay system will play the poor performance over and over again in the mind. This has paralyzing negative effects on performance. The trick is then to learn how to manipulate the images of yourself that you allow to be play on loop in your brain. This can be accomplished in two ways.

First, before each game spend some time daydreaming or thinking about a past performance that brings a good memory. I could be a double in the gap, a strikeout of an opposing hitter, a stolen base in a crucial situation. It doesn't matter as long as it has to do with the area that you are experiencing some frustration in. Replay this positive experience in your mind ten times or so. What you are doing is reprogramming your mind to communicate confidence to your body. The more you do this, the better you will get. It will be strange at first, but will make more sense and will become easier after a week or so.

Secondly, use this skill during the game when you experience a failure. Maybe you walk a guy with the bases loaded, or pop out to the pitcher, or strikeout for the third time in a game. As soon as this negative experience happens you will need to quickly replay the scenario in your mind, except this time with a different result. Instead of the picture of yourself walking the hitter and allowing a run, you will see yourself striking out the hitter instead. Instead of popping out to the pitcher you will see yourself getting a base hit up the middle. This takes some time and some concentration but the advantage is that once you can learn this skill, your mind will begin to do this automatically and therefore prevent itself from dwelling on the failures you experience each game.

Nate Barnett is owner of the The Pitching Academy, a pitching information website designed to improve your on the mound performance as a pitcher. The Pitching Academy contains information, products, training, free articles, and more on pitching, how to throw a baseball, pitching mechanics, and much more.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Become a Better Hitter - Have a Hitting Philosophy

Become a Better Hitter - Have a Hitting Philosophy
By Scott M. Thompson

The best way to increase your average happens before you even step in the batters box. I am not talking about your swing either. It would be way to difficult to teach somebody to swing over the internet, so this article is assuming that your coach has taught you the fundamentals of a good swing.

What I am talking about are things you can do before the game. Watch the opposing pitcher warm up. How many pitches does he throw? How hard is his fastball, curve ball, etc? Is he around the plate, up or down? Is his curve ball a 12 to 6 or more like a slider? These are the things that will help you prepare for your upcoming at bat.

The game has started, watch how the pitcher holds his glove, moves his fingers, changes his arm speed. Does he dig in his glove every time he throws a curve? Look for the slight differences between his motion and demeanor depending on the pitch he is about to throw.

Be aware of the other players in the field also, especially the catcher. Do infielders move over a step or two on off speed pitches? Does the catcher change his stance when a curve ball is coming? Do not turn your head and look where the catcher is. You can though sneak a quick peek through your peripheral vision to see if he is set up inside or outside. If the catcher is giving away the off speed pitch, come up with verbal code words with your on deck batter. First name, last name, number, something not to obvious.

Pick out the tendencies of the pitcher. Pitchers and catchers have patterns. Notice what his go to pitch is when he needs a strike, when he is going for a strikeout, when he is ahead in the count. Does he like to throw inside, outside, high, low, all these things you can pick up before you even step into the batters box.

The bottom line is, if you want to be a better hitter pay attention to details that may give you an advantage. There will be plenty of time to catch up with your buddies or play grab ass with your buddies after the game.

It's your turn to bat, you know how hard he throws, the shape of his curve, when he likes to throw the curve, and what he likes to throw on the first pitch to a new batter. The exception to this situation is if you are the lead off hitter. If you are lead off, you have a job to do. Get the pitcher to throw as many pitches as you can. Hopefully you can get him to throw them all. But at least the fastball and curve. This method should not only help you, but your teammates as well, if they pay attention.

Another key is not to think too much, but know the situation. Is there a runner on first, no outs. Look for something to hit to the right side to advance your teammate into scoring position. I can't go over every situation, but I think you get the picture. Do what works best for your coach and team philosophy.

So how do you increase your average? I believe you look for the situation that gives you the best chance for success. You have studied the pitcher, but do you know yourself?

What pitches do you hit the best? Do you like the ball inside, outside, up a little, down in the zone? Do you hit fastballs better than curve balls? I hope 95% of you said yes with the other 5% lying. Well that is the pitch you are waiting for until you have a strike. Let's say you hit the outside fastball the best. The pitcher throws a curve ball, don't swing. If it is a ball you are still looking for the outside fastball on the next pitch. The pitcher throws a fastball inside, don't swing. Cut the plate into thirds and make the ball be in your favorite third before you swing.

Something to avoid is what I call players pride. Players pride is when a batter wants to show the pitcher he can hit the pitchers best pitch. For what reason you ask, stupid pride. Yes a hitter will make contact with the ball, but is it solid contact, usually not. Along the same lines are the hitters that are so afraid to strike out they swing at anything they can reach with their bat. If you are a coach, nip both of these problems in the bud as soon as you can.

Let's say that the second pitch the pitcher threw, the fastball inside, was a strike. The count is now 1-1. Expand the zone you are going to swing at to 2/3 to 3/4 of the plate, the outside part since that was where we hit the best according to our scenario. Now you can add the hanging curve to swing at. It must be in the zone and you must be in a position to put a good swing on it, otherwise let it go. Never guess curve ball, always be ready for the fastball and adjust to the off speed stuff. Use this mentality whenever you have 1 strike and 2 balls or less. This is also the perfect time to go back to studying his tendencies. What does he usually throw with a 0-1, 1-1, or 2-1 count. Did I mention to always be ready for the fastball.

With a 3-1 count, a hitters dream count because of the percentages of knowing a fastball is coming, you are in the drivers seat. Go back to the 0 strike approach, maybe increasing the zone to half because of the probability of getting a fastball. Do NOT over swing. Do NOT be late. Put a good aggressive swing on the pitch, one that is in your ability. When you over swing you get long, slow, and probably jammed on the best pitch in baseball.

Just because it is 3-1 don't assume it is automatic you are getting a fastball. Go back to knowing the situation. What point of the game are you in, the score, runners on base, a base open, and how is the hitter behind you hitting today. The pitcher may want to avoid pitching to you and take his chances with the next batter. The opposite holds true, are there base runners on? Does the pitcher have to throw a strike? What are the tendencies?

With two strikes, your job is to put the ball in play. Do not swing at anything and everything. Stay calm, you hopefully have prepared yourself in practice. All those swings off the tee, all the batting practice swings, you know where the head of your bat is. Have confidence in your abilities. You can put the bat on the ball.

Always be ready for the fastball, I don't know how many times I have said that already, but if you only go away with one thing, you guessed it, always be ready for the fastball. What are the tendencies with 0-2. Does he waste a pitch to see if you will chase? Does he set you up with up and in before he goes low and away? You should already know these things and expect them.

With 2 strikes we go to a defensive mode. We expand the plate 2-3 inches on each side as well as up and down. Cut your swing down to a more controllable swing. Whatever it takes to foul off pitches or put the ball in play. It is a good idea to practice this zone in batting practice for about 8-10 pitches. The idea is to protect the plate. Anything close to the plate, you need to swing. Do not leave it up to the umpire, he gets paid by the out not the hour.

That is a good point to bring up when we talk about umpires. You need to know the umpire's zone that day. Does he love to ring people up? Does he reward the pitcher for making good pitches just off the plate but not in the strike zone? Is he consistent? If any of these answers give you doubt, swing at anything close.

Don't give in. Be what they call a tough out. Somebody that battles and wears a pitcher down. Take pride in not striking out. Anything can happen when the ball is in play. At the very least make the pitcher throw as many pitches as you can.

In the event the pitcher does get the better of you and strikes you out. Tip your hat and say you got me this time. I may not have won the battle but I am going to win the war. I know how you pitch, I've seen you before, you got me once it won't happen again. Keep your confidence. Don't let 1 at bat change your philosophy or your approach to hitting.

In closing I would just like to stress the importance of self evaluation. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Look for opportunities to use your strengths. Know the situation you are in at all times. Have a keen sense for details. Anything that may give you an edge. Prepare yourself in practice. Challenge yourself, don't just go through the motions and think you are going to get better. The harder you work the more confidence you acquire. The more confidence you acquire, the better player you will become. The saying goes baseball is 90% mental.

Have faith in your philosophy. And last but not least be ready for the fastball !!!

Good Luck

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Advanced Skills Tee - "Take Your Tee Work to the Next level"

Our team trains daily on the Muhl Tech Advanced Skills Tee. The forward arm and outside barrier helps our players create a proper swing plane and stay short to the ball. These tees are extremely durable and the brush cup ball holder is a great idea, they have held up for years. I would recommend them to any baseball program.

Stan McKeever
Head Baseball Coach
La Cueva High School
Albuquerque, NM
2004 Collegiate Baseball America/Easton Sports Poll National Champions

"We bought 3 AST's last year after running across them at an opponent's field. Immediately upon seeing the tee, I noticed the bad habits that could be corrected with the simple design it employs. The AST has become an important teaching tool for Lafayette High Baseball. One pleasant suprise has been the durability of the AST. My satisfaction prompted me to buy 3 more for the upcoming year.

Coach Jay Domengeaux
Head Coach
Lafayette High School Mighty Lions - Louisiana

Monday, April 20, 2009

Youth Baseball Drills - It's Not Aerobics

By: Nate Barnett

I was watching a little bit of a little league baseball practice last week and couldn't help but notice the speed in which the players were working on their baseball drills. It was like watching a video tape in fast forward. Kids were scrambling everywhere, harried coaches were issuing directives like it was a battle scenario and his "troops" were under fire. I couldn't believe it. There is a fine line between efficient practice and aerobic practice. I'll explain both below.

Aerobic Practice: Practicing at the pace where the focus becomes quantity rather than quality.

This form of practice, much like the example in the opening paragraph, is employed usually because coaches feel that it's important to keep athletes moving around when working on youth baseball drills. The more players stand around, the less productive they are is the thought. While I agree that many times there are giant chunks of time wasted and unused in many practices, baseball aerobics is not the answer.

If this strategy is employed, many younger kids will begin to shift their focus from learning and developing to hurrying and scurrying. Little effective baseball instruction can occur at this pace.

Efficient Practice: Practicing with the focus on organization, precision, and fluidity.

Good coaches understand that this is the ONLY option to building a successful team. It's a balanced approach between speed and precision of instruction. There a many different ways this style plays out in real time, but let me illustrate with the example my college coach used.

Practice would begin promptly on time. Meaning, all athletes were fully geared up, prepared, and waiting for coach to say "go" at the time practice was slotted to begin. Every day practice plans were posted in the locker room for us to see prior to practice. They were complete with times and additional notes for directing the focus of the day. Once practice began, everyone had an idea of what was being worked on that day as well as individual responsibilities for taking care of gear, cleaning up the field, etc.

After we started, coach would move us around based upon time. After 20 minutes we may move from our live full team defensive drills and break into our designated infield and outfield groups to work on different skills. This type of scheduled work would continue for the remainder of the practice. During these timed pockets we knew we needed to be efficient before we moved on. However, because the focus was on precision and not speed, we got a ton accomplished. Coach would circulate and work with different groups (or our team as a whole) in a relaxed fashion and spend the necessary time needed to work on skill development.

I would strongly encourage you if you coach to work on and put in place the strategy of an efficient and well oiled practice without attention on speed. Your athletes, and parents will love you for it.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at

His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.

Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How To Increase Your Coaching Record By At Least 25%

by: Matt Zavadil

How can I become a better and more effective coach?" We hear this question frequently and there's obviously more than one answer. Today, let's explore one aspect of better coaching.

You need to identify one or two players on your team you think can develop into leaders. You see, mediocre coaches just have a bunch of followers. Superior coaches take the time to develop leaders that in turn aid the coach in leading the team to a winning tradition.

In his book, "Developing the Leaders Around You", John Maxwell says, "The greatest leadership principle that I have that those closest to the leader will determine the success level of that leader. ...the people closest to me 'make me or break me'. ...My goal is not to draw a following that results in a crowd. My goal is to develop leaders who become a movement."

Isn't that what you want as the coach of your team? A couple players that can help you create a "movement" of winning attitudes, winning work ethics - a winning synergy.

Think about this for a minute. How far do you think Phil Jackson would have gone without the leadership roles filled by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaq and Kobe? How about how the leadership of the "Triplets" helped Jimmy Johnson with the Dallas Cowboys?

How much do you think Brian Billick appreciated the leadership of Ray Lewis in 2000 when the Baltimore Ravens won it all? Do you think Gregg Popovich would be as successful without Tim Duncan & Manu Ginobili providing further leadership roles?

By empowering one or two of your players to stand up and become leaders, you create a powerful extension of yourself. Now, these leaders free you up in certain situations where leadership is needed.

If some players are "doggin' it", sometimes a "push" from a "player leader" is more effective than when it comes from you. There are some cases where only your leadership can make the difference. But there are others where the leaders you develop can step in and provide the needed words or action.

The end result of surrounding yourself with a couple of quality leaders is it makes you a more effective coach and leader. Which is exactly what you're looking for, isn't it?

About The Author

Matt & Dave run and enjoy teaching football players and coaches more about the football plays, drills, fundamentals and tips that result in individual and team success. For our free report, "5 Keys to Discovering the Successful Coach Inside You", plus an additional free report, send a blank email to .

We give full permission for you to use this article in your newsletter or on your site as long as you include our Resource Box with our website link and email link included.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coaching Baseball - Strategies For Facing Overpowering Pitchers

By Nick Dixon

Every one of us has at one time or another, either as a player or a coach, has had to compete against a pitcher that is over-powering, dominate, and almost impossible to hit. The pitcher that has an overpowering fastball and nasty curve ball that intimidates teams. How should a coach prepare his team for such a challenge? What I would like to discuss is some of the strategies that can be used when your team has to face such a pitcher. The most important thing a coach must do in this situation is to have a strategy and make sure that your kids know that strategy. Your team must realize that executing these strategies will give your team a better chance to win. Here are the 4 strategies that you should consider using:

1. Run up the Pitchers Pitch Count The main focus here is to make the pitcher throw as many pitches as possible. Have your kids take pitches, going deep in the count, and battling to foul off pitches with a 2 strike count.

2. Make the pitcher change his rhythm. Does the pitcher like to work fast? If he does, have your players step out, and call time frequently to make him slow down. Your players call time to adjust their batting gloves, clean their glasses, check their contacts, tuck their shirt tail in, or tie their shoe strings. This may seem like a display of bad sportsmanship, but I consider it a legitimate part of having a strategy to give your kids a chance to win. You should only use one of these tactics per inning. You cannot make these things too obvious, or the umpire will become angry.

3. Shake the pitcher out of his comfort zone. Does the pitcher throw better out of the wind-up or stretch? Many overpowering pitchers rarely throw out of the stretch because they rarely pitch with runners on base. Your kids have to find a way to get on base. A bunt for base hit should be attempted. If the pitcher shows any tendency to be wild your kids should try to draw a walk.

4. Speed up your bat speed and adjust your swings. If some of your players simply do not have good bat speed, then you have to take measures to improve on the bat speed that they have. There are 3 strategies you can use to increase bat speed:

A) Use a shorter and lighter bat.

B) Choke up at least one inch on the bat. Make sure that your batters move closer to the plate to insure plate coverage when they use a choke-up grip.

C) Move deeper in the batting box. The farther your batter is away from the pitcher, the longer the batter has to see and hit the fast ball. Swing Adjustment means that your kids are not going to try and pull the ball. They are going to hit a lot of balls to the opposite field. With high velocity pitchers, the main focus is to put the bat on the ball. If your kids can make some kind of contact, good things are going to happen. Defenses that play behind dominate pitchers are used to strike outs and are often not expecting the ball to be hit.

The has a great collection of baseball articles. Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Advanced Skills Batting Tee by Muhl Tech

Used by over 2000 high schools and colleges!

The AST (patented) is unlike any other swing trainer available.

Designed to help experienced players perfect their bat skills and begining players to learn proper mechanics, a forward arm and outside swing barrier simultaneously eliminate both "dipping" and "casting".

And, the height adjustable (24"-40"), movable arm positions the ball anywhere across the strike zone to realistically represent inside and outside pitch locations.

Use the AST to build a compact swing, keep the "hands inside the ball" and develop a "quick" bat. Use it to increase bat speed and learn to "hit the ball where it's pitched".

Includes a two-year warranty!

Why the Forward Arm?

In fact, the question should be "Why not a forward arm?". You don't hit the ball over the center of the plate (as traditional batting tees suggest). You make contact in front of the plate. But there are two other equally important reasons to use a forward arm design:

1. The forward arm eliminates "dipping" or dropping the hands and trailing shoulder to lift the ball with a "looping" type swing. If you "dip" with the AST, you hit the back of the arm. It forces you to take the bat straight down to the ball, leveling the swing at the point of contact.

2. The forward arm also pivots and rotates to place the ball on the inside or outside of the strike zone. Then, the arm points in the direction to drive the ball based on pitch location (i.e. pull the inside pitch, go with the outside pitch to the opposite field . . . "Hit the ball where it's pitched").

What is the Purpose of the Outside Barrier?

The outside barrier eliminates "casting". It keeps you form swinging "long" and helps you "keep the hands inside the ball". If the bat or arms are extended prematurely the bat head will slap the flexible upright barrier post. For years coaches have set a tee adjacent to a fence or screen to force hitters to compact their swing. The outside barrier does the same thing except it is a lot more effective. It rotates around the tee to accommodate LH or RH hitters and it moves along with the forward arm to help you keep the hands "tight" when you are working on inside and outside pitch locations. With the outside barrier you are forced to rotate the hips and torso and extend the hands only at the point of contact. It produces a "quick" bat and more power as well.

What Makes the Advanced Skills Tee™ So Durable?

The tubing for the AST is molded from polyurethane, using a open casting process. Polyurethane is a flexible material like rubber; however, polyurethane is much stronger and more durable than rubber (as much as 10 times more durable!). Wheels for roller blades, industrial rollers, and dimpled pitching machine balls are among the many items typically made with urethane. It's a great material for products that must withstand impact and stress yet remain flexible. Urethanes are expensive, and whilte the AST may cost more than a traditional rubber tee, it is guaranteed to last 10 times longer too. We back our Advanced Skills Tees with a two-year warranty.

Practical and Portable

The AST can be assembled or disassembled, by hand, for easy storage and transportation. And, it uses a hollow, canteen style base that is filled with sand or water (and sealed with a rubber plug). When filled, the base provides weight for stability and when empty, the base is light and portable.

Visit for more info.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Baseball Training - The BatAction Machine Makes Learning to Hit Easy and Efficient!

The BatAction Hitting Machine is the Original Rotational Hitting Machine. The BatAction Machine is a great baseball training device for baseball players of all ages and ability levels. The BatAction Machine has an innovative patented design that has a ball suspended horizontally. This simple design makes learning to hit easy, simple and safe. When a player hits the BatAction Ball, the ball is driven forward and around the machine. The machine then stops the ball and returns it to the player.

The horizontal patented design of the machine suspends the ball in mid-air allowing the ball to react to bat contact like a real baseball or softball. The player can hit the ball moving or wait until the ball stops. The batter has ample time between swings to reset and prepare for the next swing. The Bat Action Machine allows the batter work at a comfortable speed and pace. There is no need for another person. The batter has to do nothing but swing the bat. The Bat Action Machine does everything else. These are no balls to gather, no balls to chase and no balls to pick up. There are no levers to press, balls to toss, or pedals to step on. The Bat Action is absolutely 100% energy efficient and it is so much fun to hit! It's no wonder; the Bat Action Machine is one of the most popular and best selling baseball training machines ever!

The BatAction Baseball Training Machine offers 5 great benefits:

1. The BatAction Machine has a large circle of ball movement - This large path of ball movement allows the batter to see, hit and track the ball before and after each swing. The BatAction ball movement closely simulates live pitching!

2. The BatAction Machine allows the batter to read swing contact. The ball is suspended in mid-air without cables, string, or ropes. This unique patented design allows the ball to react to bat contact much like a real ball. The batter receives instant feedback as to the quality and power of every swing. The batter can immediately read the ball after contact to see if the ball hit was a line drive, ground ball or fly ball. This instant feedback is extremely useful and beneficial to rapid skill improvement and bat speed development.

3. Every swing is a challenge - The BatAction Machine features a moving ball with adjustable speeds. Players really love the challenge and fun of seeing and hitting a moving ball. The harder a player hits the ball, the faster it will return. This ball movement keeps the batter challenged and motivated to practice more and more.

4. The BatAction Machine fast moving ball makes every swing a challenge - The BatAction Machine features a moving ball with adjustable speeds. Players really love the challenge and fun of seeing and hitting a moving ball. The harder a player hits the ball, the faster it will return. This ball movement keeps the batter challenged and motivated to practice more and more.

5. The BatAction Machine is a great trainer for planned or impulse training - The BatAction is often used as a hitting station for team training. It is great for these planned activities. But, one of the benefits that makes it one of the most popular home trainers ever, is the fact that it can be set up as a hitting station in the backyard. This makes the BatAction Machine always available to a hitter for fun and recreational use. These impulse workouts can be done alone, even when Dad or Mom is not at home. This is why the Bat Action Machine is often called the Backyard Basketball Goal for baseball and softball players. It is so much fun to hit that kids spend hours and hours of their free time hitting the fast moving ball. These fun workouts are the reason that BatAction Machine owners are some of the most dominate hitters in the game today.

Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

4 Baseball Pitching Drills For Little League Players

By Nick Dixon

Teaching, training and developing young baseball pitchers takes a lot of time, patience, and practice repetition. Many young pitchers need to practice pitching skills daily. To keep the interest level high, it is best to use a variety of drills on alternate days to prevent boredom. Here are 4 baseball pitching drills that can be used to train youth and beginner pitchers.

Drill #1 - Up & Out Foot Drill Objective - To help pitchers perfect the proper back leg action. The purpose of this drill is to stop foot drag and prevent over striding.

Equipment Needed - A brick, block or wood or other suitable object. The object will be placed at a location just in front of the pivot foot of the pitcher. The pitcher will be working out of the stretch. The pitcher should be reminded to roll and pick his back foot up so that it clears the object.

Procedure - The pitcher throws using his normal motion and delivery. If the pitcher fails to clear the object, then his back foot is "dragging" or he is over striding. Young pitchers should be coached to step out of the "hold" and up and over the block.

Drill #2 - Dot Spot Drill Objective - The purpose of this drill is to build confidence, to teach young pitchers to hit their spots and to teach young pitchers to have great control.

Equipment Needed - Good balls, Catching equipment, and glove.

Procedure - The catcher has 4 dots on his gear. The 4 dots or spots are different colors or they each have a number on them. The dots are taped to each knee on the shin guards and one to the left shoulder and right shoulder. The catcher or coach calls a color or a number. The pitcher must hit the dot called. The pitcher has 6 pitches to hit all 4 of the dots. All dots should be called in different orders each time. If the pitcher fails to hit 4 dots correctly, the pitcher must do 10 push ups. Two pitchers can compete to see which finishes first. The dots may be placed lower on the catcher to stress keeping the ball low or down in the zone. Drill

#3 Long Toss - Power Building Drill Pitchers should long toss several times a week to build strength and endurance. The two players should warm-up as usual and then move back a few steps after each 4 throws. Pitchers should be able to increase their strength and extend their distances within weeks. Pitchers of all ages should work out to a distance at least 3 times their normal pitching distance. Some coaches allow players to "crow hop" at the farthest distances. That is up to you.

Drill #4 - Front Side Drill Objective This drill is used to teach and reinforce the proper front shoulder action during delivery.

The drill is performed as the pitcher kneels on the pivot-leg knee. The pitcher will begin the drill with the throwing arm in the "T -position" and the stride foot aimed at the plate. The pitcher begins the throwing motion by pulling and tucking his front arm and glove. At the same time he is bringing his throwing arm and shoulder around and toward the plate. The drill should be performed many times to give the pitcher the feel of proper mechanics and front shoulder movement. The front elbow should be used as the guide for the front side. The glove should be extended out and tucked as the pitcher rolls his lead shoulder and pulls it in. This deceptive move is used to distract and deceive batters. The drill should be finished with the throwing arm in proper finish position outside the stride leg knee.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL HITTING, COACHING and TRAINING DVDs Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How Does a Composite Bat's Performance Get Better As it is Broken In?

By Brock Gibson

By how much might a typical bat improve with use? A recent Master's Thesis from the Washington State University studied the performance of composite slow-pitch softball bats and the performance gains through various ways a bat might be modified. Three bats that were broken-in naturally by hitting balls. First, the bats were performance tested brand new, right out of the wrapper, in accordance with the high-speed cannon test (ASTM F2219) used by the ASA to certify bats. Then each bat was used to hit ASA certified 0.44 COR 375lb softballs 500 times in an indoor batting cage. Balls were pitched slow-pitch style, and batters were amateurs. After 500 hits the bats were ball speed tested again. Then another 500 hits and another performance check, and so on until 2000 hits were accumulated.

The outcome shows that all three of the bats showed noticeable gains of 2.5-3.5 mph in batted-ball speed after the first 500 hits, followed by a slight decrease in performance after 1000 hits. The evidence seemed clear - the performance of a bat can get better by quite a bit after the bat has been broken in naturally by using it to hit balls. What does a 3.5mph increase in batted-ball speed mean in terms of performance? The difference between a softball launching off a bat at 98-mph and a softball launching at 102.5-mph is about 31 feet in distance traveled. That could very easily be the difference between a pop fly to the outfield and a homer.

This improvement after break in poses a dilema for associations with bat performance standards and certification. All three bats started out meeting the 98-mph criteria tested new. However, after 500 hits, all bats are now above the 98-mph line. The ASA requires that a bat pass the certification test at any time during its useful life. So, from the ASA viewpoint, these bats three bats are no longer legal bats after they have been broken in. This is largely why the ASA has moved to begin breaking in bats prior to sending them out for certification testing - and why very few composite bats are able to pass the 98-mph certification performance standard after being broken-in.

Learn more about rolled bats

Article Source: - Baseball Coaches Super Store.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Outfielders Get Good Jumps Through Footwork

By Steven Michael

Amazing catches from outfielders are really fun to watch. Highlights on evening sports shows are filled with outfielders and their spectacular plays. Most times the grabs made by outfielders defy logic. People say, "How did he make that catch?" "That looked like a sure triple didn't it?" "That guy wasn't anywhere near that ball -- he seemed to come out of nowhere."

So how is it done? Almost all great outfield catches are done by getting a great jump, reading the ball, and taking perfect angles to get to the catch. And while the great outfielders are also really good athletes, athletic prowess alone doesn't make them great outfielders. Effectively working on their jumps, reads and angles makes the catches possible -- nothing more, nothing less.

360 Degree Footwork

An outfielder has 360 degrees of area to cover. When the outfielder starts from an athletic ready position, he is facing home plate. So, he is facing one direction -- forward. Assuming he can run forward to easily cover 30 degrees of field, that leaves 330 degrees of possible field to cover he is not facing. That's a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of different directions. To get a good jump, he must move as efficiently as possible to the ball. The outfielder must quickly change direction at the start. To do this, he must use footwork.

Cross-Over vs. Jab Step

The steps described in this section are for balls hit in front of, or directly to the side of, the outfielder. We will discuss the correct footwork for balls hit behind, or over the head, of the outfielder later. For a long time in my college career, and all through high school, I used the jab step. And it was wrong.

The jab step is just like it sounds. If the ball is hit to the outfielder's right, he moves his right foot first -- a jab step that only covers about half a stride. And when he wants to go left, he jab steps with his left foot first, again only about half-stride. The player's upper body is not yet completely turned toward his target. This will not allow him to get to the ball as quickly. In contrast, the cross-over step is more efficient. Why? Because more ground can be covered with practically the same time and effort.

Let's use the same example: ball hit to the player's right. In the cross-over step, the outfielder crosses his left foot in front of his right foot and strides normally. At least an additional half-step is gained in covering ground. To quickly use the cross-over step, the upper body must turn as well. The only way, and the best way, to accomplish this quickly is to use the arms, specifically the elbows. When used properly, the arms and elbows will turn the torso toward the catch target and help clear the hip. Just as in golf, getting the hip out of the way so the body can turn completely is critically important.

When the hip clears and the shoulders are facing the intended direction, it is much easier to move the left foot past the right foot in our example. The outfielder pulls his right elbow back behind him, and thrusts his bent left arm across his body, to turn his shoulders and clear his right hip. His left foot is easily moved in front of, and past, his right foot. This is the classic Cross-Over Step.

An important point to remember is the outfielder's elbows are used to turn the torso. His arms are not straight. Why? Well, we're back to physics again -- with arms bent, it takes less time to swing the arms to the proper turning position. Think about it like this: when ice skaters want to turn slowly in a spin, they keep their arms straight and away from their bodies. Then, when they want to spin faster, they bring their arms closer to their bodies. The same principle applies to outfielders.

In these examples, the player is always moving to his right. The same principles will be executed if he has to go to his left. The left elbow is thrust backward behind him at the same time his bent right arm punches across his body. This turns his shoulders left and clears his left hip. His right foot crosses over his left foot and he is off to the races.

It is vital that the player get his upper body and hip turned in the direction he wishes to go. Without the violent use of his elbows, in either direction, the upper body would stay fixed and he would not be able to properly use the cross-over step.Cross-over steps are the best use of an outfielder's limited time when he moves toward the baseball. And they should always be used when the direction he needs to go is directly right or left, or any degrees of that in front of him.

Drop Steps

But that leaves another 180 degrees of outfield to cover. The other half of outfield coverage is behind the outfielder. And correct footwork will play a huge role here as well. Drop steps are used to quickly get the outfielder headed in the right direction -- somewhere behind him. In the drop step, footwork and upper body movements are crucial. As much as pitchers don't like to admit it, some batted balls are actually hit over an outfielder's head.

We will use an example of a center fielder. The ball is hit very well and to his left. He has no chance of catching this ball, but he is determined to cut it off before it gets to the wall. If the outfielder uses the cross-over step, he will not be able to cut the ball off. This is because his right foot can't cross-over and get behind his left foot far enough to start on the correct angle to the ball. Therefore, he must use the drop step. His left foot turns back behind his body. Essentially, he is opening up his stride by expanding the distance between his feet -- and his left foot moves behind him. When his left foot hits the ground, it is aimed in the direction he will run.

It is vitally important the player not close his dropped foot to the direction intended. Closing the foot stops the hip turning process and prevents the player's body from completely opening. Almost simultaneously as he drop steps his left foot backward, he must thrust his left elbow behind him while punching his bent right arm in front of him. Again, clearing his left hip is very important here.

This two segment process (drop step left while arms turn the torso) gets the outfielder's upper body set in the direction he wishes to run. By dropping his left foot back behind his body, the outfielder is creating an angle of attack to go get the ball. The further back the outfielder needs to run, the deeper his drop step should be, and the more violently he should use his elbows to turn his torso. Thanks for reading!

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

Figures cited in this article and Mr. Michael's new book, "How To Play Baseball Outfield: Techniques, Tips, and Drills to Learn the Outfield Position" is available at

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Baseball Product Spotlight: The BatAction Hitting Machine

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!

The BATACTION SELF-TRAINER™ can be used indoors or outdoors and it makes a perfect year-round hitting station in your home or backyard. Buying a BATACTION SELF-TRAINER™ could easily give your player up to thousands and thousands of more practice swings a year! If you want your player to compete with other kids in the league, you must find a way to get as much practice as possible. The competition is tougher than ever because everyone practices and plays almost year round. Buy a BATACTION SELF-TRAINER™ and give your player an edge over the competition! You will be glad you did when you see your player become one of the team's or league's best hitters! With the purchase of a BATACTION SELF-TRAINER that goal could be reached!

Friday, April 3, 2009

"Pitch Tracking"

By Nick Dixon

"Pitch Tracking"

Great Drill for Hitters, Catchers, and Pitchers!

The pitcher is throwing to a catcher as he normally would in pitching practice or bull-pen work. The pitcher is throwing at his normal pitching distance. The purpose of the drill is to increase a pitcher's level of concentration, to work a catcher, and to allow one batter or two batters learn to "track" every pitch.

Variation #1: One Batter - Right or Left handed
C --------------------------------------- P
Variation #2: Two Batters - One Right and One Left handed
C --------------------------------------- P

Variation #1 - One batter is standing in and tracking every pitch from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt. The batter does not have a bat. The batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batter will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and eyes on the ball all of the way. The batter must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the second paragraph below.

Variation #2 - Two batters are standing in the batter's box without bats. Each batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batters will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and his eyes on the ball all of the way. The batters must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the paragraph below.

Next the batters will swing away with their "imaginary" bats. The batters will read the location of each pitch the pitcher throws and hit the ball where it is pitched. When two batters are tracking, they will do opposites. One will pull a pitch in a location that his tracking partner will hit to the opposite field.

The coach can call out a count such as 2-0, 3-1, 1-2, and 0-2 to allow the batters, pitchers, and catchers certain mind-sets in different situations.

Note: If your hitters are too young to perform this drill, have a coach to stand in. The coach may wish to wear a helmet and wear a glove for protection. This is a tough drill, but it is great for developing concentration. Make sure all batters wear helmets and other proper protective equipment.

Coaching Point: The hitters do not hold a bat. The batters will swing a "invisible" bat. They must attack and hit every pitch according to its location. This drill is great for teaching hitters to see spin and to teach them to see a pitchers release point.

Coaching Baseball Pitchers - Absolute Best Drill You Can Use to Improve Control and Build Confidence

By Nick Dixon

Learning to control every pitch and to be able to "hit spots" is a required skill for pitching success at all levels including Little League, High School, College and MLB baseball. There is no better baseball pitching drill for improving a pitcher's control and building a pitcher's confidence than the "Japanese Pitching Drill". I do not know where the name came from. I saw this drill used back in the late 80's at a college summer baseball camp and the coaches called it the "Japanese Drill". When I asked the coaches why they called the drill, the "Japanese Drill", they respond that the drill was called that because it was originated in the country of Japan. I know that if you use this drill regularly, it will definitely build pitching control and confidence.

"Japanese" Pitching Drill

The drill involves a pitcher throwing strikes at varying distances as shown in the diagram below. The catcher is "c" and each spot the pitcher throws from is marked with an "x". The distances shown are for high school and college pitchers. You can reduce the distances between spots and reduce the number of spots for younger players.


----------- 10'----------20'---------30'-----------40'---------50'---------60'----------70' (Distances)

The plate and catcher are set at a stationary location and they are never moved. The pitcher will move forward or back from "spot to spot" after throwing a set number of pitches at each location. Normally the spots are marked with cones or plastic round markers. The pitcher should begin throwing at a distance about 1/4 of his normal pitching distance. At the close spots the pitcher will throw at 1/2 speed. You should have 6-8 distance markers with the first being at the starting point and the longest being 1 and ½ times the normal pitching distance. The markers should be in a straight line with the plate. The object of the drill is to develop control by throwing pitches from spots will gradually moving away from and toward the plate. The pitcher is required to throw 3 strikes from each marker before moving to the next. The catcher serves as the umpire.

It is good to have the pitcher throw from each spot going backward and then throw from each spot coming forward. If your pitchers are young, you may want to make then throw just 1 or 2 strikes from each spot. Pitchers gain great confidence when they see that they can throw strikes from a distance farther than their regular pitching distance. They learn to concentrate on the target and throw to the mitt. You will be very pleased from the results you see in the control of your pitchers. Another variation of this drill is to have 2 pitchers competing against each other in a timed drill. The winner is the pitcher that starts at the front, goes to the back, and returns to the front, first. The pitchers must throw 3 strikes at each spot before advancing to the next spot. This is a great drill to teach pitchers to throw strikes under pressure. When more than one pitcher and catcher are involved, make sure that your catchers are far enough apart to prevent a wild pitch from hitting another catcher. It is also a good idea for catchers to wear full gear when participating in this drill.

When two pitchers compete in this drill they learn to work fast, concentrate, and execute a perfect pitch. Make sure your pitchers are in condition for this drill. They will find that throwing strikes from longer distance requires great mechanics and builds arm strength. Make sure your players stretch and warm-up first.

The has a great selection of BASEBALL PITCHING, COACHING and TRAINING ARTICLES. Check out the Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal for free baseball coaching drills, tips, and other valuable information.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

3 Drills That Make Batting Cage Work More Productive

By Nick Dixon

Batting cage batting practice is a great way to improve batting skill, bat speed and batter confidence. Coach Dixon discusses three Hitting Drills That Make Batting Cage Work More Productive. The three drills are the MOVE UP, COUNT ADJUSTMENT and LINE DRIVE CONTEST. These drills are great ways to get maximum benefits from your baseball teams batting cage workouts. The three drills are:

Move Up Batting Drill

Purpose: Used to improve bat speed, visual concentration, and batter confidence.

Description: The MOVE-UP hitting drill: The batter learns to see and hit the ball quicker out of the machine or batters hand. Before the drill begins, 4 spots are marked on the floor, in measured distances of 40, 35, 30, and 25 feet. The machine or pitcher should maintain a safe medium speed velocity during this drill. The accuracy of your pitching machine must be checked and rechecked during the drill for safety purposes. The spots are the locations at which the batter will take a certain number of swings. The batter hits 4 balls at each spot and then move closer to the machine or pitcher at the next spot.

Procedure: The batter hits 4 to 6 balls at each spot, then moves to the next spot closer to the machine or pitcher. The machine or pitcher should not deliver the next pitcher until the batter assumes a proper stance, triggers or loads to the proper launch position, and has visual focus on the pitcher or machine. The batter starts the drill at 40 feet and hits at all spots until he has hit 4 to 6 balls at each spot, ending with ball hit at the closest spot to the pitcher, 25 feet. Distances can be shortened or made longer to meet the needs of your players.

Coaching Points: Sometimes you may have the player hit two balls at each spots moving toward the machine and then hit two balls at each spot moving away from the machine, until two balls are hit at each location or distance. This process makes the batter adjust to varying changes in pitch speed. This drill is great for teaching batters to stay-back and let the ball in.

Count Adjustment Drill

Purpose: The drill is great for teaching young hitters to make adjustments in their approach at the plate based on the current count. Batters learn to be properly aggressive for the following counts or situations 0-0, 2-0, 0-2, 3-1, runner at 3rd with 1 or less outs, and hit-in-run.

Procedure: We have 5 batting cages at our facility. Batters are always hitting in all cages. In a normal situation, the players would be hitting every pitch that they can reach to a location based on the pitch location. To change the approach, a coach calls a count such as 2-0. For the next two pitches, the batter will be properly aggressive as he would with that count in a game. Of course in this situation, the batter is looking for a pitch in that perfect spot. If the ball is at that anticipated location, the batter attacks, the ball. If the ball is not in that spot the batter will hold off the pitch and adjust to the new count of 2-1 or 3-0. If the coach calls, Runner at 3rd, the batter is looking for a pitch up to drive deep enough for a score or tag and score. The batter will try to lift the ball and drive a deep fly ball to the outfield. If the coach calls, Hit-n-Run, the batter will execute a hit-in-run approach at the plate.

Line Drive Contest Drill

After a session of batting cage workouts, we often end the day with a line-drive hitting contest. An assistant coach will do the pitching. The coach is protected by a L-screen. The player should only swing at great pitches. The contest is to see which player hits the most line-drives in a row. A line-drive is a ball that hits the side walls, back wall, or pitchers L-Screen hard and directly off the batters bat. The hit ball can not touch the top of the cage in front of the pitching protective L-Screen. As long as the batter hits line-drives with each swing, the batter continues to bat and his TOTAL COUNT increases. This drill tends to put pressure on the hitters making them learn to hit under pressure.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL HITTING, COACHING and TRAINING DVDs

Check out for top quality batting cages at discount prices. They specialize in complete batting cage kits with net and frame included for one low price.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

Article Source: Dixon

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Product Spotlight: The HBH Baseball Trainer

Hands Back Hitter is a great training tool.
How It Works
Place a ball on the launcher. With a normal stride, the batter sets the ball into motion by stepping on a string (firing cord). The ball will appear in the hitting zone with the hitter in the correct timing sequence...hands back, foot down, hips launching the swing.

The Hands Back Hitter corrects hitting flaws. The offset tee position makes you contact the ball between the balls of your feet. The resistor arch makes you stride carefully to balance softly on the lead toe. The vertical popper elevates the ball after the front foot is down, creating the timing sequence of the early stride. The front toe down on the string and the heel up sets the stage for bat launch through hip rotation. Feel and teach how to load/coil your body as you stride to hit and the effortless power that comes from torque.

----Customer Feedback

HBH is a great training tool.
It is paticularly useful in separating the stride from the swing (it does not encourage the dreaded interruption feared by PCR "slop eliminators") so kids can practice getting a good lower body foundation beneath themselves to support the swing instead of trying to stride and swing at the same time.

Kids can get some brief instruction, then amuse themselves for hours with the device in a way that fits with the principles of the mlb swing.
the mlb swing.

I bought the HBH when it first came out, and I must say that I was more than pleased with the results. It soon became the most popular by far of our hitting stations, and with very few exceptions, at least the problem of swinging while striding quickly ceased to be a concern. It also seemed to be as effective for the less motivated as for those who really worked to improve.