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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.

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