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Friday, April 30, 2010

Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities


60 Ft. Batting Cage Package with Net & Frame


Article Title:
Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities
By Nate Barnett

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

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

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

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

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

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett


60 Ft. Batting Cage Package with Net & Frame

Tips to Practice Good Baseball Pitching and Avoiding Injuries


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Tips to Practice Good Baseball Pitching and Avoiding Injuries
By Connor R Sullivan

Baseball is one game played by every other child as soon as he steps into school. Even better enthusiasm is seen in high school children. However, it is a dire need that one should have a good knowledge about proper baseball training aids and pitching techniques. Many people encounter serious pitching injuries because of limited knowledge about it. Pitching machines are hence a wise idea to select to avoid them.

Because pitching requires a great deal of wear and tear, it is better if you ensure that your body is in a proper shape before you even think about pitching. Arm injuries are one of the commonest of injuries faced by the players. It is also important that you should only start throwing pitches when you reach the maturing age. Bodies that are in their growing phase tend to easily get caught up by wear and tear. There are standard numbers of pitches thrown per day according to your age group and ability. Overuse will cause stress to build up in your tendons and ligaments and may even lead to ruptures in serious conditions.

Next area is of the legs. You should have strong and active legs if you have to start pitching. Training mechanics are usually seen to work out your legs at the primary stage. A tired leg will increase the stress on your arm as you will now happen to drag it once you get tired. This may lead to many leg injuries. Wear comfortable, running shoes to facilitate you while running fast.

Another trivial point is the warm up exercise. Players tend to be a victim of a lot of wear and tear if they fail to warm their body up before starting the game. A relaxed body is more likely to experience injuries. A small warm up exercise for about 5-8 minutes will minimize this problem.

Throw harder! Often baseball trainers deny this as this would cause an added strain on your arm, but this is how you will get used to it. Throwing harder is the only way how you will learn to be perfect at this game. However, you must not throw harder the very first time when you start. Begin with throwing with a little strain and gradually learn to throw harder and harder.

You should learn to stay healthy and eat a well balanced diet. Eat well but do not eat too much. Drink a large amount of water at least six to eight glasses per day to avoid dehydration of your body but do not drink too much water just before the game. Consult your coach or training mechanic to learn more about batting tees, handheld trainers, hitting machines, and soft toss machines. Health is the basic requirement for every game, so make sure you stay healthy and take full assistance from your coach. Discuss about your lacking areas and he will help you for sure. Work on these little areas and who knows, you might become the star player of tomorrow. Good luck!

Connor R. Sullivan owns and operates a top ranking web site to help people find pitching machines to improve their baseball skills. He offers a variety of baseball training aids for youth baseball coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Connor_R_Sullivan


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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Four Steps to Organize Your Little League Practice


Four Steps to Organize Your Little League Practice
By John R Di Nicola

The only chance you have as a Little League Coach is try and get yourself organized. I have listed out the very basic steps to organize your practice. You have so so many constraints on you it very difficult to get all the practice completely covered. The amount of practice time is limited maybe to 3 days per week. Getting practice fields is a major problem in most instances. The length of practice is another. You cannot hold marathon practices three to four hour practices. Using a planned schedule will enable you to have practice that are fun for the players therefore they will learn what what you trying to teach them.

Scheduling Practice -

You have a such a short time to prepare your team usually about 3 to 4 weeks. It is important you are organized your practices so that you may over come the constraints that come with being a Little League Coach.

Getting Practice Fields


number of times you practices: weather, all players can make to all practices.
practicing to much parents complain
not practicing enough

Fielding, Defense, Pitching and Hitting

Fielding


Outfield
Infield

Pitchers


Pick off - 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and covering home
Run downs
Out field: Cut off men, short stop, 3rd base, 2nd base, 1st base, Pitcher
Throwing to bases -2nd,3rd, home
Situations - Simulate a game situation with coach hitting and player running

Hitting Stations


Hitting off of a "T"
Soft Toss
Live Hitting - 10 swings
Bunting

Pitchers


Throwing a bull pen with catcher

You look at this say wow! You just have organize yourself. Make sure self a template (using Microsoft word) for your practice days. Plug in your dates. You can do A, B C, D and rotate them through your practice schedule. It is a must that you get parents to help. You will need at least two to help to run a practice. You will have to do two of these segments each day and possibly a third.

You will find defense is one of the most important segments you must cover everyday. You can never hit enough ground balls to your infield. So fielding must be done just about every day. You may want to have just your infield come and work on ground balls and going over where they positions themselves for cut off from outfield. You can do the same for pitchers. Bring the pitchers and catchers to practice their defense and working on their wind up and delivery.

Best thing a you can do is make sure you are organized! Stick to your schedule and make adjustments as you go. Please do not get frustrated and not follow an organized plan.

You will soon realize the areas that you need to work on a little longer as you play games. During game you are still coaching as if it were practice. when situations happen taken player aside and talk to them.

You Never Stop Coaching!

Practice Makes Prefect

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you would like further information on this topic or information you can E-Mail me at: jdinicola@easypitching.com

You can follow us on Twitter - http://twitter.com/easypitching

Web site: http://www.easypitching.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_R_Di_Nicola

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pitching at the Next Level - Hard Work Required


Joe Mauer Quick Swing Batting Trainer


Pitching at the Next Level - Hard Work Required

By Nate Barnett

I have instructed pitchers for almost 10 years. My best pitching students are those that take the knowledge they learn from every lesson to heart; they go home and repeat movements that improve their mechanics.

They study other successful pitchers, they are eager to learn about every aspect of the game of baseball, not just pitching. They understand that they have to have a depth and breadth of pitching knowledge to succeed. The best students also understand what their true potential can be and are willing to do what it takes to improve everyday. They expect more of themselves than others expect of them. These pitchers are not naïve to think after a few great games, they have it made. They expect greatness and that is what they get half of the time. Yes, half of the time. Hall of fame pitchers win half of the time; it's just part of the game.

The most successful pitchers learn from their mistakes and then get over them quickly. Pitchers who win the most games accept failure as a learning tool and expect to win their next game. They cannot change the past; they only move forward.

Winning pitchers visualize success before it happens. They study hitters; they know each hitter's weaknesses and then they attack those areas they are most vulnerable. Their pitching workouts are very challenging; they are workhorses. Winning pitchers trust their team that they will back them up. They help other teammates succeed. They are leaders!

Winning Pitchers don't stress the small stuff. If they give up a hard hit; they will never allow that hitter to do that again, especially that very day.

If you want to be a winning pitcher, my guess is that you do because you are still reading; you need to be willing to work very hard at your game. You cannot expect greatness if you haven't put in 100% effort!

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. You can find The Pitching Academy's videos, blog, and more articles when you visit the website.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule
By Nick Dixon

The word is PLAN

There are many four letter words that baseball coaches know, but few are as important as the word for today, PLAN. There are very few volunteer jobs more challenging, time-consuming or rewarding than being a coach in your local league. There are many four letter words used by coaches that I can not use here. Here I want to discuss the 4 four-letter words that can and will determine the amount of success a coach has during the coming season. The four words are Goal, Plan, Work and Time. In part one I discussed the important of the word Goal and the importance of setting a goal to drive a team toward success.

The Baseball Coaches four letter word of today is P-L-A-N:

Planning is one of the most important responsibilities of a head baseball coach is planning. Planning is organization. Planning is delegation of duties and responsibilities to your assistants. You must plan every practice. You must plan your season. You must have a game plan going into every game. Planning practice after you start is a sign of bad coaching. If the team has practice at 3:00 PM, and the head coach turns to the assistant coaches as the team is warming up, and says, Well, guys what do you think we need to do today? A team with a coach like this is destined to have a difficult year. The coach is not organized and does not have the dedication to do his coaching homework at home before he arrive at the field. Have a plan and a schedule before you arrive at the field. The practice plan should be in the can! Planning as you go will waste valuable practice time that will never be recovered. It is extremely important to have a daily practice schedule written down. You must decide on each practice activity for that day, the assigned amount of time to be spent doing each drill or activity, and the objective or reason for doing the activity. A written practice schedule is a must! You practice plan must be detailed, easy to read, and easy to understand. Your practice plan begins with the first minute of practice and ends with the last minute. Every minute is scheduled. Include breaks and transition times from one activity to the next. You should write out the practice plan, run copies, and give each coach a copy. The schedule will have time slots, each coach drills and duties, and location of each activity.

A sample practice plan:

3:00 to 3:12 Team Stretch and Warm-up

3:12 to 3:27 PFP (Pitching Fielding Practice)

3:30 to 3:45 Outfield Drill Work & Infielder Drill Work

3:45 to 4:00 Team Defense, Infield, and Outfield Cuts

4:00 to 4:45 Team Batting Practice

(4 Groups, 4 Station, 12 Minutes and Rotate to the next station

-Station 1 On-field Batting Practice -Station 2 Batting Cage Work -Station 3 Bunt Station -Station 4 Tee & Soft-toss

4:45 to 4:55 Break

4:55 to 5:15 21 Outs Drill

5:15 to 5:25 Base running Drills/Conditioning

Coaching Note:

6 Pitchers will throw after practice bullpens. List Names. The greatest difficulty in having a practice schedule is staying on time. You must have a set rule that when drill time is up, the drill ends. If the drill was performed so bad that it needs to be done again, it will be done over after practice. Always have a coaches meeting after each practice to discuss what the staff has to say about the day practice. You also need to ask what they think the next practice schedule should cover. Listen to your assistants and consider what they say when you make out your next practice plan. Another part of having a plan is the delegating of responsibilities. You can not do it all. Recruit some good volunteer coaches to help you.

Good coaches always delegate task and duties to assistant coaches. Let certain coaches work with certain positions. One of the crucial assignments on every team is the position of pitching coach. You must have a coach that oversees pitching practice, bullpen work, and that calls the pitches during the game. Another important role is that of the team hitting coach. The hitting coach is often the offensive coordinator and 3rd base coach. This coach oversees all batting drills, batting practice and base running practice. Organize you pregame routine. Plan it, write it down, and make sure every coach know it by heart. Have a set time when you start stretching and warming up. Have a set time that you take pregame defensive infield and outfield warm-up. a set time that players may have 3 minutes to go to the restroom if they need to. Have a set time that you have a team huddle. Plan what you are going to say during this team moment. Having a plan is having a purpose, a time, and a place for everything and everyone.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Monday, April 26, 2010

How to Hit a Baseball - Is the Stride Necessary?


How to Hit a Baseball - Is the Stride Necessary?

By Joe Brockhoff

An instructor during my pro days who was teaching me how to hit a baseball told me that if the pitch is straight down the middle, step forward. If the pitch is outside, step toward the outside, and if the pitch is inside, step inside. The problem is that against good velocity, there is absolutely no way for a hitter to wait until after he determines the direction of the pitch before he takes his stride. He will always be late getting to the pitch and will have extreme difficulty with his timing.

Another method made famous by Kirby Puckett, is to raise the front foot in an exaggerated hop-step stride. Many hitters who try this method struggle because they cannot get the front foot down in time to start the stroke.

Super 8 Hitting System techniques are simple, easy and repeatable.

Here is a very important principle: THE STRIDE DOESN'T HIT THE BALL. It merely gets us in position to hit the ball. This means the hands are still back at the completion of the stride. The stride overcomes inertia and supports the hitter against the fastball.

If the pitch is a fast ball, the action would be "stride-stroke". If the pitch is slower, there would be a momentary pause. Example: "stride-(pause) stroke".

The stride is initiated by the large muscle in the upper leg (hip thigh area), which keeps it consistent.

Here are the rules:
1. The stride travels only 6 inches, directly forward, in the same place every time.
2. It occurs at the time of pitcher release.
3. It distributes approximately 30-40% of the weight to the front side, and lands on the ball of the foot, which remains closed, open no more than 45°, which usually happens during the pivot. Some players stride in a "toe tap", with no significant weight on the front foot. If a player places only 10% of his weight down on his stride, how will he get 90% more of his weight off his back side when he rotates to the pitch? He can't.
4. It happens quickly, getting the batter into position to hit.
Finally, never underestimate the importance of a good stride. It is part of the hitter's timing. When he's striding, he's deciding.

The hitter must work on his stride in his baseball hitting drills, using either live or pitching machine practice, so that he can drill "stride and take", just concentrating on technique.

These techniques are fully explained in our baseball hitting tips web site for the "Super 8 Hitting System", completely demonstrated in eight baseball tips which include many tips on how to hit a baseball.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average. http://www.LearnBaseballHitting.com/lcp.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joe_Brockhoff

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Baseball Coaching and Training Articles



Coaching Baseball - 4 Things the On-Deck Batter Should Always Do and 4 Things He Should Never Do

Baseball coaching is teaching the big and little details of the game. Every position or location on the field requires a player to observe and to be aware of what is happening. Many young batters on deck often do no pay attention to what is happening. They are often guilty of looking into the crowd or even talking to someone through the fence. On-deck batters that do not closely observe the pitcher and the catcher are missing a greatly opportunity to "scout" the opponent.

Baseball Pitching - Coaching Pitchers to Succeed by Starting With the Basics

The coaching of baseball pitchers does not require a degree in "pitchingtology". There is no such degree to my knowledge. I just made that up. My point here is that coaching baseball pitching is not rocket science. However, having a basic knowledge of the terms and mechanics is a must.


Coaching Baseball - 12 Things That 3rd Base Coaches Should Say to Baserunners

Fewer things in baseball are more embarrassing for a young baseball player than to make a base running mistake that cost his team a run. Some of the most devastating and demoralizing mistakes in baseball are made by baserunners at 3rd base. When a runner gets to third, the team momentum and confidence is increased. The team and the player, and the fans feel like they are going to soon score a run. But, to have that chance of scoring removed by a blunder by the runner or coach can take the momentum completely away from the team.

Coaching Baseball Pitchers - The Use of Visual Anchor Points For Curve-Ball Accuracy

The skill of throwing a good curve ball accurately is a skill that must be taught and coached. Teaching curve ball control and accuracy is vital to a pitcher's success at any level. Here I discuss the method I use to teach and coach our high school pitchers to vary their curve ball location and to accurately control the spot to which the ball will break.


4 Baseball Pitching Drills For Little League Players

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.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

One Drill That Guarantees the Correct Baseball Swing


One Drill That Guarantees the Correct Baseball Swing
By Jack Perconte

There are very few coaches of young baseball players who can look at a baseball swing and know it is a good fundamental swing. Even many high school coaches are not experienced enough to do this. There are some fine technical ingredients that are hard to notice by an untrained eye. The good news is that anyone can help a player with their swing with one drill.

One common saying that I tell hitters is, "It takes perfect fundamentals to hit an outside pitch solidly to the opposite field." For example, a right handed batter would be able to solidly hit a pitch on the outer half of the plate into right field. Hitters' hands and bat barrel position, as well as their timing must be perfect to continually drive this ball the other way. Many hitters hit pitches to the opposite field because of swinging late or because of incorrect fundamentals. However, in order to consistently hit a pitch "the other way" on a ball that is on the outside half of the plate, it takes a perfect fundamental swing. This is very important because the odds of hitting the outer half pitch solidly when it is pulled are not good. Pulling a ball is hitting a ball to the same side of the field as the side a hitter stands in the batter's box. Believe it or not, a ball that is fouled off to the opposite side of the field or straight back is often a better sign of a good fundamental swing than when this pitch is put in play to the pull side of the field. A foul ball is a positive on a tough pitch.

Coaches can get an indication of a good fundamental swing by noticing which direction players hit balls depending on the location of pitches. Players should work on the correct baseball swing by working on driving outside pitches to the opposite field with the following drill.

Drill

Very simply, set a batting tee on the outer half of home plate making sure the batter stands in their normal position at the plate, as in a game. Have hitters work on hitting line drives the opposite way until they can do it repeatedly and until it becomes very natural. A continuation of this drill would be to do the same thing with balls flipped by a coach to this part of the plate and following that with batting practice on outer half pitches.

As mentioned, it takes great fundamentals to consistently do this on this pitch. Hitters will find that as they become more consistent with this pitch, their swing will be correct on all pitch locations.

This drill is also another way of analyzing a player's swing to see if it is a good fundamental swing, especially for people who don't have a trained hitting instructors "eye." Players, who cannot consistently drive this pitch to the opposite field (8 or 9 out of 10 times), need improved baseball swing fundamentals. Additionally, because of the use of aluminum bats and their fear of hitting batters, pitchers throw more pitches "away" from hitters so becoming better at hitting outside pitches can only help hitters' batting averages.

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 http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hitting Tips, Batting Tips, Sports Psychology and Baseball - How to Break Out of a Hitting Slump



Hitting Tips, Batting Tips, Sports Psychology and Baseball - How to Break Out of a Hitting Slump
By Jay Granat

Every week, I get calls from parents, from coaches and from baseball players who are concerned because they or someone they are concerned about is stuck in a hitting slump.

Hitting a baseball is difficult and when you lose your confidence and your focus, it is very hard to perform well when you are batting.

A lot of the players who call me or who come to see me have excellent swings. Many of these baseball players have had private hitting coaches for years. Some have hitting coaches, fitness coaches, flexibility coaches, speed coaches and nutritionists. The athletes are hoping for baseball scholarships and some are hoping to play Division I baseball or professional ball.

So, you might ask, why to players with great strength, great balance, great technique and good timing get into slumps? And what can be done to shorten the slump and get the hitter on track once again?

In my view, many of the hitters who I counsel know very little about their own psychology. That is, they don't know how to get their mind into the right place prior to getting up to the plate. In addition, they don't know how to adjust their mental attitude in a way that will allow them to break out of their hitting slump.

Sometimes, we need to revamp their whole approach to hitting to get them to hit to their potential.

In other cases, one minor adjustment can solve the problem. I try to start with something simple first. Changing something minute can sometimes free up a baseball player to feel confident and empowered at the plate.

One batter was given a confidence building slogan that he was to repeat to himself in between pitches.

Another was taught a simple way to relax when he got up to bat.

A very talented switch hitter needed a different way to focus when he got into the batter's box.

Another batter changed what he did in the on deck circle. This helped him to feel more comfortable when he came up to bat.

Many of these techniques can be found on 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis. Here is the link to get this program.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com - He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New York Times, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. He can be reached at info@stayinthezone.com - He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. His new baseball cd and free book is available at: http://tinyurl.com/yh3srae

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jay_Granat

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Youth Baseball Digest - The Power of Praise in Coaching Little League Baseball

Youth Baseball Digest - The Power of Praise in Coaching Little League Baseball

By Nick Dixon

Praise is the easiest and most effective way to motivate young baseball players. Understanding and believing in the "Power of Praise" can make a Little League Baseball coach a better and more effective coach. Knowing how and when to praise is the key. This article discusses the value of praise in coaching youth baseball.

Good coaches have a variety of skills. They know how to teach the game of baseball. They know how to communicate their thoughts and observations almost immediately. They know how to correct without humiliation. They know how to motivate without intimidation. They love the game of baseball and that love is displayed through their actions and behaviors. But, one of the universal traits of successful youth baseball coaches is that they know the "Power of Praise".

Good youth baseball coaches know that kids respond differently when they are coached and taught the game of baseball. Many kids do not take constructive criticism. All kids do not respond the same to harsh words or loud instructions. But, one thing that 99.9% of all kids respond favorably to is praise. They love to hear words of encouragement and words that tell them that they did a task well.

What youth coaches must always remember is that many kids we coach never hear many positive words. It is sad and true that many kids never hear words or praise or encouragement at home. Words of praise are "words of respect" for a youngster. They want to love, appreciated, and respected just like most people do. Many kids we coach are hungry for attention, discipline and most of all praise. The more they are praised, the more they want to earn more praise.

So when you see a player struggling or having a bad day, find something that he is doing correctly and praise him for his action. Make his day a better day. I do not mean to give out unmerited or false praise. Make sure that the praise is deserved and merited. Kids can sense if a coach is sincere or genuine when the coach praises a player. False praise is useless and counterproductive.

One good rule to live by as a youth baseball coach is that you should find a way to praise every player on your team at least once a day. A pat on the head or back takes little time and energy on your part, but can do wonders for a kids self esteem and attitude.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Good luck to you and your team. Your friend in baseball, Nick.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Youth Baseball Hitting - How to Fix Your Baseball Swing


Youth Baseball Hitting - How to Fix Your Baseball Swing
By Brian McClure

To hit the ball well takes a lot of practice. Youth baseball is actually easier than for older players because there is only the basics to learn and develop. This makes it easy for as as coaches to improve our youth baseball teams hitting.

We still must do it right. Practice does not always make perfect. The practice must be effective and done correctly or the mind and body will instill the wrong mechanics.

Hitting off the tee - has probably been a lost art. It is however making a comeback in certain circles. I have always started batting practice by hitting off the tee. Yes..all ages. Purpose of the tee is to load the bat and get our weight back. First check that the players hands are in the right place..batting stance should comfortable. Second, Load the bat (Body and hands go slightly back and front foot comes up) Third, short quick swing.

Common mistakes to look for and avoid is the player dropping his hands and and weight back to far which is caused by wrapping the hands around the head. Wrapping the bat and Dropping the hands is usually the youth baseball player trying to hit a hard fly ball. It lengthens the swing and there will difficulty in hitting the ball correctly(popups) if at all, in live pitching.

Soft Toss - My favorite way to practice hitting. A youth baseball coach (or whoever is doing the tossing) can get a lot of control over the ball and watch the mechanics without fear of injury. The most common way I see soft toss done is from the side of the batter. I prefer to use a screen and toss from the front. This better simulates the pitch and the tosser and see the hands, head, and stride better too. Franklin L-Frame Pitching Screen
Work on strike tosses in the middle, inside, and outside... up, down. Toss in a few balls too so the player can work on learning the strike zone also. As you see a lot of work can be done in a short period of time.
If you toss from the side ,it is best to have net to target the balls.

Free Hitting - Turn 'em loose. Pitch or use a pitching machine and let the youth baseball player work on improving his hitting with live pitches without a lot of coaching at this point. Let the player have fun and just hit away. The Tee drill and soft toss is to work on mechanics. Now Focus on the ball and Swing.

These tips and basic batting practice strategy will greatly help your players improve their hitting skills. As a parent you can quickly move your son to the meat of the batting order with these simple batting practice two or three times a week. As coaches we should try and implement some batting practice every practice. The best way is to divide them into groups..some work on tee..move to ..the soft toss..then free hitting and move on to shagging.

Author- Brian McClure Want to learn more about helping your child in youth baseball as a parent or coach? http://www.coaching-youth-baseball.com

See our complete list of Topics and articles on youth baseball here http://www.coaching-youth-baseball.com/topics.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_McClure

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Word That Will Make You Sound Like a Baseball Expert - 5 Tips For Hitting, Pitching & Fielding


One Word That Will Make You Sound Like a Baseball Expert - 5 Tips For Hitting, Pitching & Fielding
By Jack Perconte

Not everyone knows the finer details of the game of baseball and, of course, many do not care to be baseball coaches or experts. Everyone has there own interests and that is fine. However, that does not mean you cannot say helpful things to young ballplayers. Using this one word will make one sound like a baseball expert and sound like you really know the game of baseball. As a baseball instructor over the past 21 years there is one word that I believe I have said more than any other word. This word is revealed below. If you would like a hint, think of the first thing that you teach your dog to do?

You guessed it - stay. Using the word "stay" with most any baseball term gives instant, "expert" credibility to the one saying it. Following are the terms good coaches often use when talking to players about the three key skill components in baseball - hitting, pitching and fielding. People, who use these terms with the magic word "stay," will sound like a knowledgeable, baseball expert.

Hitting Tips:
1. Stay back - good hitters do not jump at the ball, they let it come to them.
2. Stay inside - good hitters do not reach for balls, they try to hit the side closest to them on all pitches.
3. Stay behind - when good hitters swing, they rotate, transfer their weight and throw their bat at the ball while keeping their head back over their rear hip.
4. Stay balanced - good hitters swing the bat at 100% speed, but make it look like they are not working hard at all.
5. Stay ready - good hitters always expect the next pitch to be "their pitch."
6. Stay focused - good hitters concentrate on just watching the baseball from the pitcher's release to the hitting zone and tune out all other thoughts.

Pitching Tips:
1. Stay balanced - good pitchers throw at maximum speeds but make it look effortless.
2. Stay direct - good pitchers keep great direction, stepping on direct line towards home plate with their delivery.
3. Stay on top - good pitchers keep their fingers on top of ball on backswing and at release.
4. Stay behind - good pitchers do not rush themselves, allowing their arm time to come around.
5. Stay focused - good pitchers remain focused on their target, and tune out any distractions.

Fielding Tips:
1. Stay ready - good fielders "want" and expect the ball to be hit their way.
2. Stay down - good fielders approach ground balls low to the ground and keep their glove below the hop initially.
3. Stay smooth - good fielders make fielding look effortless, moving through the ball with grace.
4. Stay focused - good fielders keep their concentration on the ball, ready for any hop.
5. Stay balanced - good fielders have great footwork when fielding, always remaining under control.

You may have noticed that there are two terms used with our word "stay" that applies to every fundamental tip and those are balanced and focus. Everything in sport requires great balance and focus. So, when you are not sure what to say to your athlete, you can never go wrong with saying, "stay balanced" and "stay focused" as long as they are said in a positive, affirmative manner.

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 http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball 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 http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tips to Practice Good Baseball Pitching and Avoiding Injuries


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Tips to Practice Good Baseball Pitching and Avoiding Injuries
By Connor R Sullivan

Baseball is one game played by every other child as soon as he steps into school. Even better enthusiasm is seen in high school children. However, it is a dire need that one should have a good knowledge about proper baseball training aids and pitching techniques. Many people encounter serious pitching injuries because of limited knowledge about it. Pitching machines are hence a wise idea to select to avoid them.

Because pitching requires a great deal of wear and tear, it is better if you ensure that your body is in a proper shape before you even think about pitching. Arm injuries are one of the commonest of injuries faced by the players. It is also important that you should only start throwing pitches when you reach the maturing age. Bodies that are in their growing phase tend to easily get caught up by wear and tear. There are standard numbers of pitches thrown per day according to your age group and ability. Overuse will cause stress to build up in your tendons and ligaments and may even lead to ruptures in serious conditions.

Next area is of the legs. You should have strong and active legs if you have to start pitching. Training mechanics are usually seen to work out your legs at the primary stage. A tired leg will increase the stress on your arm as you will now happen to drag it once you get tired. This may lead to many leg injuries. Wear comfortable, running shoes to facilitate you while running fast.

Another trivial point is the warm up exercise. Players tend to be a victim of a lot of wear and tear if they fail to warm their body up before starting the game. A relaxed body is more likely to experience injuries. A small warm up exercise for about 5-8 minutes will minimize this problem.

Throw harder! Often baseball trainers deny this as this would cause an added strain on your arm, but this is how you will get used to it. Throwing harder is the only way how you will learn to be perfect at this game. However, you must not throw harder the very first time when you start. Begin with throwing with a little strain and gradually learn to throw harder and harder.

You should learn to stay healthy and eat a well balanced diet. Eat well but do not eat too much. Drink a large amount of water at least six to eight glasses per day to avoid dehydration of your body but do not drink too much water just before the game. Consult your coach or training mechanic to learn more about batting tees, handheld trainers, hitting machines, and soft toss machines. Health is the basic requirement for every game, so make sure you stay healthy and take full assistance from your coach. Discuss about your lacking areas and he will help you for sure. Work on these little areas and who knows, you might become the star player of tomorrow. Good luck!

Connor R. Sullivan owns and operates a top ranking web site to help people find pitching machines to improve their baseball skills. He offers a variety of baseball training aids for youth baseball coaches.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Baseball Hitting Drills - Teaching Plate Discipline


Baseball Hitting Drills - Teaching Plate Discipline
By Hunter Sendefer
Hitting drills are very important for young players and one of the best hitting drills that a coach can utilize teach plate discipline. It is very important that a hitter learns to have an approach at the plate, rather than simply swinging away at every pitch, so this drill is vital to the hitter's overall makeup.

This drill starts with the screen close enough to the plate that the batting coach pitcher can have excellent control. Each hitter then gets up to ten pitches, although only three strikes will be permitted. Before the hitter steps up to the plate, he or she will be told how many strikes he or she currently has, as this will directly influence how the hitter handles the pitches.

If the hitter is stepping up to the plate with a fresh count, he or she will begin by showing the pitching coach where he or she likes the ball. If the pitch is in the hitter's hitting zone and he or she takes a swing, the pitch count is reduced by one. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone, but the player still swings, the hitter not only loses that pitch, but one additional pitch. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone and the player does not swing, the pitch does not count at all. If the pitch is outside of the strike zone altogether and the player swings, however, he or she will lose half of his or her swings remaining.

If there is one strike, the penalty for swinging at a pitch outside the strike zone is less strict, as the player will only lose that pitch plus one more. This is because when there is one strike, pitchers will tend to come after the hitter a little more, which makes these pitches a little harder to lay off.

Finally, when there are two strikes, the hitter's goal is to be as tough an out as possible. If the player swings at a pitch that is in the strike zone, he or she only loses that pitch plus one more. If a pitch that is around the strike zone is taken, it is an additional pitch penalty because umpires tend to call borderline pitches strikes when there are already two strikes. If an obvious strike is taken, that player is done completely because it is never a good idea to take a third strike.

The goal of each hitter turning this drill is to make sure that he or she gets through all ten pitches without striking out. Also make sure that your players know that each strike that you call will be a judgment call, which is exactly how an umpire will make the call. By teaching your players to have an approach at the plate based on the strike count, you can turn them into smarter hitters. You will also be giving them a better idea of where the strike zone is, so they will know which pitches to take and when to take a cut.

Hunter Sendefer is a former player and current youth baseball coach who consistently coaches his teams to the winners column including an active 26 game winning streak. He frequently contributes to http://www.Batting-Trainer.com where you can sign up for free baseball batting videos and hitting tips or learn about the revolutionary new Insider Bat batting trainer. http://www.Batting-Trainer.com/features

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Hunter_Sendefer

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Connection - The Engine That Drives the Baseball Swing

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Connection - The Engine That Drives the Baseball Swing
By Dana Maggs

One of the most difficult aspects of learning the rotational swing is developing and understanding what almost all instructors term as staying "Connected". 10 years ago hanging around the baseball and softball fields this term was a virtual unknown among most coaches and instructors.

So, what is connection? Why do I need to stay connected coach? As children we grow up and our intuition tells us that when we pick something up be it a fly swatter, a yard stick, or even a little toy hammer like dads and we swing it, we take our hands to the object we are hitting. This is natural instinct for all young humans. Even if it is the coffee table we just left a mark on and Mom and Dad don't have a happy look on their face. Learning connection is counter intuitive to what all of us have learned as children.

In the world of the rotational swing connection is the engine that drives the ball hard. You will hear all kinds of debates on the internet web blogs and sites on linear and rotational hitting methods. Even among those rotational purest there is debate about which method is best. None of those purest ever debates about connection. It is probably the single thing that they all realize has to happen in the rotational swing.

So how does connection work and how do I know if I am connected in my swing? As the hitter sets up in their stance lets assume that they are in a good athletic position and that they have the bat in position ready to take a swing. They are tilted forward in their stance knees slightly bent. Bat is positioned at a 45 degree angel in their hands or across the ear hole of the helmet. In short cutting the helmet in half if your viewing them from their back arm side. Or the catchers view of the hitter.

Depending on where you're at as an instructor with that particular hitter, they might take a stride, or they might not take a stride. One of the first things I do to a new student that comes to me is stopping the stride for a period of time. I do this to help them develop better rotation methods for the swing. Most students who come to me suffer from what a good friend of mine terms "Rotational deficit". If you take the stride away and teach them how to rotate first then you will see immediate results in quickness and power to the ball. This, in my opinion, not only applies to Rotational hitting but Linear hitting as well. Having taught and used both methods I feel pretty comfortable in that statement.

Now I have a hitter that has good hitting posture and decent rotational skills but is disconnected going to the ball. Disconnection takes on many forms in the rotational swing. I will touch on those a little further down in this article. For now I will state that Disconnection is leak that breaks the rotational engine. It bleeds off power.

As the hitter initiates the swing to the ball they are focused on the first point where they are going to see the ball. I have heard many a coach state watch the hip. That view being the first point of getting a good clear look at the ball. As they initiate the swing they go to toe touch. This creates linear movement towards the ball. At the same time the hands are moving back towards the catcher.

(I am talking about an advanced student in this example) At foot plant the back hip fires (As I teach it) against a firm front side flexed leg. The knob of the bat then initiates the movement of the bat as the hips and the bodies' core start to rotate. The core of the body is now driving the swing. This is THE engine of the rotational swing. As the back arm starts coming around with the rotation the arm starts moving around into the slot. The arm needs to be away from the body and the hand and forearm are stacked on top of each other. If viewed from front with a tee in front of the hitter, the rear arm would be parallel to the tee. This would be as another hitting instructor who is a good friend of mine describes it. When the bat gets parallel to the ground during the swing this is the Bat Lag position.

At this point in the swing the knob of the bat should be directly perpendicular to the axis of the hitters spine. If I stopped the swing right there and took a pencil and placed in on the knob of the bat pointing towards the hitter it should be in line with the belly button. This defines a CONNECTED swing. The arms are not moving but are just holding on to the bat letting the core rotation drive the swing into contact. The other key here is holding that position as LONG as possible during the rotational portion of the swing into contact. The barrel and weight of the bat force the wrist to un-cock creating a whipping effect through the hitting zone into contact with the ball. The engine of rotation combined with the batter being connected and the wrist un-cocking is how the best hitters in the world drive the ball hard in today's game.

Disconnection - The Engine Breakers

There are many things that can occur during the course of the swing that will cause a batter to disconnect or break the box as some instructors call it. The "Box" being the front arm angle that maintains a "Set" position with the bat over the shoulder. When viewed from the front of the hitter it would appear as if they have a box formed with their arm and the bat.

They are:


Taking the hands to the ball.
Dropping the back elbow to the inside (Close to the body) as a first move creating Bat Drag.
Dropping the hands then going to the ball.
The bat not being parallel to the shoulders at contact with the ball (Created by all the above)
Casting the hands.
Throwing the front shoulder open too soon.

I hope this article has given you a better idea of what the term connection means in the context of the rotational swing. I strongly suggest you see a qualified hitting instructor to help you become better connected with your swing so that you too can learn to drive the ball hard to all parts of the field. That is what connection is all about in the rotational swing.

This picture shows an example of a connected swing. Arms are in the power L position and are driven by the core rotation. The bat at contact is on a slightly upward swing plane.

Dana Maggs
Baseball Hitting and Pitching Instructor
http://www.schoolofbaseball.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dana_Maggs

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Youth Baseball Practice & Coaching-Making The Best Use Of Your Practice Time

Youth Baseball Practice & Coaching-Making The Best Use Of Your Practice Time
By Michael Sakowski

Making The Most Of Your Youth Baseball Practice

If you ever have the opportunity to watch a professional sports team practice, the one aspect that jumps out at you, other than the abundance of talent, is the degree to which every single minute is utilized in an efficient manner. Different groups rotate around drills for set amounts of time governed by a clock and timed buzzer. You can do somewhat the same thing with your youth baseball practice. Here is a good basic formula for an hour and 45 minute practice:

In the first 10 minutes have players each find a teammate to warm up with by throwing and catching with each other. If a player does not have a partner, an assistant coach should throw and catch with the player.

In the next 5 minutes you should have your team meeting and discuss what you will be doing in the practice and cover details for an upcoming game.

In then next 1 hour divide the team up as follows: Have your 3 starting pitchers and starting catcher in the pitching & catching group, have half of the remaining players in an infield practice group, and have the remaining players in an outfield practice group.

Have one of the pitchers throwing to the catcher (in full catcher's gear) while the other two pitchers throw to each other. Have all the pitchers switch off after ten pitches to the catcher so all pitchers have a chance to throw to the catcher. Have a coach watch the pitching form of each pitcher.

Have the infield group cover all the infield positions with extra players going to the outfield. A coach should bat balls to all areas of the field. Have extra players assume the roles of base runners. Rotate the infield positions after every few hits.

Have your outfield group spread out in a wide semi-circle in pairs of two with each two players about 8 feet from each other. A coach or assistant bats or throws balls to each pair. The player closest to the ball calls it and the other plays backup. Stress the need for good backup! Only 2 outfielders should be involved with each throw but you can keep the hits/throws going as quick as possible. It is nice to have an extra helper to the coach to gather balls as they are returned.

After 30 minutes, have the infield and outfield groups switch. On every other practice have the pitchers & catcher mix in with the infield/outfield groups.

Devote the last 30 minutes to batting practice. Use a variety of batting drills and make sure every player gets a lot of practice.

Michael Sakowski works full time and volunteers as an assistant coach for his son's youth league baseball team. He also has researched effective youth baseball methods and has published a website, Youth Baseball Basics that provides helpful information to first time baseball players and first time baseball parents.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Sakowski