Baseball Coaching and Training Equipment Blog

Welcome to the Coachesbest.com official baseball coaching and training blog. Our free baseball coaching articles, drills and tips will help your improve your baseball training and baseball practice. Our daily posts and archives provide you with tips to help you plan your baseball practices and baseball workouts. Make sure to save or bookmark this site to your favorites for future visits. Good luck to your team!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Increase pitching velocity with one exercise



Most pitchers are NOT doing this one crucial exercise...but every one of them that wants to throw harder should be.

http://www.majorleagueinsidertraining...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Explosive Rotational Hitting for Beginners thru High School

Using the rotational power of the hips, exerpts from this 60 minute dvd, show 4 drills and help parents and athletes undertstand powerful hitting in easy to follow terms. For baseball and fastpitch



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Monday, June 28, 2010

More Effective Baseball Hitting by Better Training Techniques

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Better Baseball Hitting Training Techniques
By Guest Author: Chris Moheno

Baseball is one of the most popular sports on the planet. People flock to the stadiums and pile around their televisions to watch the games. Beyond that, however, hundreds of people want to become more successful as baseball players. But their ability to succeed requires working on their skills. Just because you don't have a personal trainer, that doesn't mean you can learn how to make the most of your baseball training.

Baseball: What is Considered as Effective Hitting?

Effective hitting, in a nutshell, is hitting that results in the bat connecting with the ball. While this may sound simple, most experts agree that hitting the ball is the hardest skill to master. Even some professional players strike out or end up having to walk the bases during a game. The key to being successful in learning how to improve your baseball hitting is obviously practice but you have to practice the right way.

Here's where trouble often comes from. When you're on a team, everyone receives the same training. If you're learning the rules of the game or how to catch the ball, there's nothing wrong with using a standard method of baseball training. Baseball hitting is different. Each player is going to come to the game with a different level of skill and with different techniques that are going to hurt or help their performance. Good training finds ways to work with these existing skills and to maximize them for an overall positive performance. In many cases, that's not going to be possible without one-on-one training.

How Do You Train for It?

If baseball training is important to you but you can't afford to hire a personal trainer, there are other ways to improve your game. As mentioned above, practice is definitely going to be the key to ongoing success. The most effective approach to improving baseball hitting is to practice the individual components of good hitting, including the grip, the stance, and the approach.

Approach, for example, is something that is essential for good baseball training. However, most people have real trouble learning this information because it conflicts with their earlier training. For example, most players are taught from an early age that when they see a pitch coming they need to swing. They are not asked to judge the effectiveness of the baseball pitching. When the people doing the baseball pitching aren't very skilled either, this technique can work. As they improve, however, the will stop pitching strikes when they know the hitter is going to be swinging at every potential shot.

Instead, good hitters need to be able to determine which of the pitches have potential and which do not. Only then will they be able to get those doing the baseball pitching to send them balls with the potential to be great hits.

Another part of training to be a good hitter is practicing the swing. Even a good pitch for the hitter can not connect if that hitter does not have a good swing. Hitters need to realize that more than their arm movements are playing a role in the connection of the bat to the ball. The process actually involves the legs, the hands, the hips, and even the head. One main difference between good hitters and exceptional hitters is their ability to keep their eyes on the ball all the way through contact.

Additional Advice

Professional baseball players who have spent a good portion of their lives and their careers perfecting their ability to make that connection can provide some good advice for newer players, too. One of the most common pieces of advice involves bat selection. Again, no one recommendation is going to work for all players, except the recommendation to find a bat that feels comfortable in your hands. Try out a few and find one that delivers results.

Some pros also suggest that you have someone else watch your performance to provide feedback. That's a benefit of having a trainer but you can get around that problem if you can't afford a trainer. Instead, have someone record your actions so you can watch them later yourself and tweak your performance. You might also be able to watch the recording of your hitting performance with a coach who can evaluate your performance.

The pros also know that good baseball hitting training includes lots of practice. You'll need to complete countless numbers of drills if you want to start seeing an improvement in how often your bat makes that connection with the ball.

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. Discover more about baseball training secrets on baseballtrainingsecrets.com

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

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Friday, June 25, 2010

How to Throw Strikes - Great Drill For Youth Baseball Pitchers


Drills For Youth Baseball Pitchers
By Guest Author Jack Perconte

If anyone could discover a guaranteed method of teaching youth baseball pitchers how to throw strikes, they would strike it rich. Obviously, youth baseball games would go a lot smoother if kids threw more strikes. More innings could be played in the allotted time span and umpires would be able to keep some semblance of the strike zone. Often at the under 10 year old kid pitch leagues, umpires have to call any balls caught by the catcher "strikes" just to keep the games moving. Obviously, this umpire practice does not allow hitters to learn the strike zone and coaches have to tell hitters to swing at almost everything so they won't get called out on strikes. This result of calling a huge strike zone doesn't serve the development of pitchers or hitters, and causes much frustration in youth baseball leagues.

One thing I have noticed over the years, which is not earthshaking news, is that kids are accurate and display good throwing mechanics from a close range. Once they reach a certain distance away from their target, their throwing mechanics change and any consistent throwing accuracy is lost. The usual result of throwing a further distance is that kids step away from their target and open up their front side way too soon. Overtime, these incorrect throwing habits become a habit and may lead to arm injury.

Of course, even with the following practice drill, kids still have to be taught the correct throwing mechanics and they should work on perfecting them. With this in mind, following is one of my favorite drills where youth baseball pitchers can learn a consistent release point and have some fun at the same time.

Advance and Retreat Drill for Pitching

Once pitchers have warmed up, I start them at the midway mark between home and pitchers mound, where they begin pitching. For every "strike" they throw, pitchers back up a step towards the pitcher's mound and for every "ball" they move a step closer to home. I then count the number of pitches it takes them to get back to the pitchers mound (less the better, of course). The next time they work on pitching, the pitcher tries to beat their previous number of pitches. This drill is a great way for baseball pitchers to focus, try to keep the same mechanics and release point as they eventually get to the correct distance from home plate.

Of course, this same type drill can be used for kids who are just throwing, as opposed to pitching, and works with throwing off a wall or into a target as well. Additionally, different throwing contests can be designed and competition among players used with this baseball throwing drill.

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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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - The 4 Key Elements That Help a Batter Hit a Baseball With More Power


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Every baseball player loves to hit the ball hard and far. The power required to hit the baseball deep comes from the generation of maximum bat speed. The generation of bat speed is created by the correct use of the lower body, hips and hands. Four key elements are required to make the batting swing more powerful.


This article outlines and explains those key elements.Those key elements are:


1) The Batter Uses the Front Leg as Leverage to Generate Maximum Bat Speed. - What is leverage in the baseball swing? Why is leverage important? How is leverage generated? Leverage in a baseball swing is a resistance point or stationary object that stops forward movement. The front foot acts as the lever and provides leverage to the swing. For this leverage to occur the batter must allow the ball pass front foot. The front foot should be closed with the toes pointed toward the plate to supply maximum leverage to the swing. This leverage is the force against which the batter rotates the hips against. The front leg must be strait and planted to allow the hips to turn.


2) The Batter Generates Maximum Rotational "Torque of the Hips". - I use the term "Hip Torque" to describe the power the hips add to the swing. Batters must rotate the hips to achieve maximum bat speed. To get the maximum hip turn the front foot should be kept in a closed position. If the front foot is allowed to rotate or is in an open position at any point during the swing, there will be a loss of hip energy and a reduction of power in the swing.


The back foot is often lifted or turned up onto the toe. Many coaches describe the action of the back foot as a turn of the "shoe laces to the pitcher". The back foot action is not nearly as important as the front foot. The one thing that must be monitored is that the back foot does not travel forward. The back foot should stay where it was at the beginning of the swing, but the heel should lift and the foot turn to free the back side and to allow for maximum hip and torso rotation.


3) The Batter Keeps of the Hands Close to the Body. The Batter Keeps the Hands on the Shortest Power Path to the Ball. - The power track for the hands is a path that starts above the ball and close to the body. The "power track" is a short compact swing that is directly to the ball. To generate great bat speed the batter must drive the knob and bury it at the power contact position. Keeping the hands closer to the body also keeps the hands inside the ball.


4) The Batter Achieves Maximum Extension Through the Ball. - The batter that keeps the bat on the ball plane as long as possible is able to generate the maximum amount of power possible. The track or path of the bat should be downward until it gets to the balls plane. When the bat gets on an even plane with the ball, the batter should then drive the hands forward through the ball. This power extension has the top hand in a palm down position and the bottom hand in a palm up position. This forward extension or drive through the baseball is a key element of generating power.


I hope that this article was informative and helpful to you. I appreciate you taking the time to read. Have a great day, Nick.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

5 Ways to Add Power to Baseball Swing and Improve Arm Strength


Increasing Baseball Swing Power and Improve Arm Strength
By Guest Author Jack Perconte

If there is one thing I would have done differently in my major league career it would have been to consistently use a strength building program during the season. Understand that for most of my early career lifting weights was frowned upon for baseball players. Why that was I am not sure. Probably because people assumed that lifting weights would make players build muscle that would inhibit the long fluid actions ballplayers need. Anyway, gaining and maintaining strength for ball players is essential and can keep a baseball player physically and mentally strong throughout the season. The great number of games during the season often zaps a player's strength which may lead to mental fatigue as well.

Of course, the best way to develop strength and power is to swing the bat and throw the ball more. Performing repetitions of the actual skills of swinging and throwing will lead to strength. For players who want to be their best, there is no substitute for swinging and throwing more than your competition. From experience I have noticed baseball players who throw and swing more months (up to nine), are the players who increase their power and arm speed the most. It is a good idea to give the body and mind a two or three month break from the skill training, but the conditioning and strength work can continue year round.

However, it has been proven over the years that bigger, stronger, faster can be improved through a weight training program. With that in mind, following are some basic tips that players of all ages can use to develop power and arm strength without having to hire a personal trainer or buy expensive exercise equipment:

1. Much of the bat speed, control of the bat and throwing speed comes from the forearms, hands, wrists and fingers. Players can work on these areas by squeezing things. There are many useful items on the market designed to help, but squeezing a tennis ball or water out of a towel will work just as well. Doing this a few minutes a day will develop the strength that will make a difference with how to get the ball to "jump off the bat" and have a "livelier" fastball.

2. The next set of muscles to develop is the core muscles of the midsection. Doing fast hip turns while holding a weighted object are good. Gradual increases in the amount of weight held will develop this core strength. Old fashioned sit ups or any variation of those are beneficial too.

3. Most of the time we think of running exercises only for running speed. However, working on fast crossover steps and explosive first moves of the lower body are just as important for hitting power and throwing speed. Much power is generated by the muscles around the thighs and rear end. Using these muscles with explosive movements will help. Working on explosive crossover steps will develop fast hip rotation for both the hitter and pitcher.

4. Old-fashioned pushups are still great strengthening tools that are good for any and all ages. They will help develop the bigger muscles around the chest and shoulders. Performing different variations like hands wide, hands together and finger tip push ups will work on different muscles.

5. Finally, doing lunges and knee bends will help develop the leg and rear end muscles, which are a major source of power for both a hitter and pitcher.

After a few weeks of this conditioning and continued work on the fundamentals, players will notice the difference with increased bat and arm speed. Working to be bigger, stronger, faster and fundamentally sound will allow players to reach their full potential, without future regret of what they might have done differently.

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, June 22, 2010

Training Baseball Players - Why Hitting a Small Ball Leads to Big Results

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Small Ball Training for Baseball Players
By Guest Author:John Peter

In all of sports hitting a round ball with a rounded bat is said to be toughest thing to do. It might be true, it might not, but I can tell you that the difference in Major League Baseball between $2 million per year and pumping gas at a Texaco station could be as little as 30 more hits a year. So, it sure is not easy!

Think about that for a second...

500 at bats and 150 hits, and you are hitting .300.

500 at bats and 120 hits, and you are hitting .240 and maybe out of baseball!

So what's my point? THE GAME ELIMINATES US ALL (see the related article of this same title). Some way, some how and some day we are all out of the game. Sometimes it's injury, but more frequently, it's on-field performance. And hitting is the one skill that will keep a position player in the game longest! Whether it is breaking into the starting line-up, the clean-up spot, a travel or High School team, or even a Major League roster, hitters have a way of staying in the game longest! (Remember, there still is a DH for poor-fielding wall-bangers in Big League ball).

Focus Plus Quality Repetitions Equals Success

Can you find ways to make better, solid and more frequent contact with the talent you now possess? You bet you can. It's easier than you think and can be done right in your backyard! Hit a small ball...first with a bat, then with a smaller bat, then do it again and again. It's a simple idea. I hope most readers will agree that this makes sense. ... But lets dig deeper into how and why this works.

I will tell you that it is a baseball truth that if you learn the proper swing mechanics and then simply do it again and again... You become better...period!

Here's Why It Works

1st - Players of all ages can do this though we will be making some adjustments based on age and skill level.

2nd - Hitting requires timing and balance. This is achieved through repetition of proper swing mechanics done again and again.

3rd - Focus heightens when a player is challenged - a smaller ball perhaps struck with a smaller bat will create an even greater amount of focus. Do this again and again...you will see results almost immediately!

4th - Hitting is fun!

Here's How It Works

Your local K Mart or Wal Mart sells golfball sized whiffle balls by the dozen. They also sell broom handles. Get the picture? It stands to reason that if a player can hit a small ball, he certainly can hit a regulation-sized baseball. The same is true with a smaller bat. Start with 2-3 dozen balls and a bat. Throw from 15 to 20 feet depending on the hitter's age and skill level. Even if he struggles in the beginning, watch what happens when he starts connecting. The eyes narrow, the "this is no fun" attitude disappears. In short order, he's taken 50 - 150 swings! This is where progress begins to happen.

Note - If you do this three times or more during the first week especially the day of or the day before a game, you have just raised the hitter's timing and confidence levels tremendously! But if you do it one time only, you or your player may not be motivated enough at this time in the player's development to become a more skilled player or coach. I say this simply because this exercise requires less effort and time than most skill-building exercises that I could possibly invent or teach!

Coaching Tips & Variations

For Younger or Less-Skilled Players - Buy what used to be known as a Fat Albert Bat. It's plastic and about 3 times the diameter of a regulation-sized bat. Cost is less than $5.and is available at a K Mart or Wal Mart type store. It's a great way to build confidence. Players get a kick out of how far they can hit the ball too! Eventually, let them advance to their own game bat.

The Soft Toss Drill - This should be a staple for any team. Simply stated, the "pitcher" kneels about 5 - 7 feet diagonally (a 45 degree angle) to the front side of the hitter and tosses underhanded toward the front hip or thigh area in a small-to-no arc path. This is a great way to get alot of swings without all the bad throws that happen when pitching from longer distances. It saves on the pitching arm as well. The batter takes a minimum of 15-25 cuts. Take a break to retrieve balls when the player's swing begins to get sloppy or his breathing becomes labored.

Note: Pitcher must allow time between pitches for the player to get his bat back to the set position. This is extremely important for his timing as too fast will eventually equal lousy swings and may allow bad habits to invade.

Make It A Challenge & Make It A Game - Look for the fun in any drill. Why be bored or feel like you are working when you don't have to. Here's a few quick , fun ideas...

Batting Average Game - Each player (or if one player, each rack of 20 swings) keeps track of how many good hits during each round of 20. Play it in 6 or 9 "innings"

Total Hits Game - Make each round a continuous total. Again play it in "innings".

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

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Top 5 Baseball Drills to Improve Your Baseball Game


Free Baseball Drills for Team Practices
By Kendra L Fagan

Open professional baseball tryouts are designed to help scouts determine the physical talents and abilities of aspiring baseball players.

Though many of the drills that young MLB hopefuls are put through might seem random. This is because different drills are put to people to test their skills level. While one person trying out might have a killer pitch and he knows it, a scout might want to see what the person's skill level is with other types of baseball maneuvers.

Scouts look for speed, arm strength, glove skills, and hitting skills and overall mechanics. The tryouts are grueling and not like any version of American Idol you've seen. There is no "nice" judge. Instead, baseball scouts simply call out the names of those they like. The rest of the players go home, and many of theme eventually give up on their dream.

But not unlike any talent-based industry, hearing "no" is just part of the game. It is up to you and your trainers to make sure you are getting all the necessary drills and skill-building exercise to take you to your goal of becoming a professional baseball player.

I have compiled some of the best drills for cross-skill development that will give you a leg up in the competition and hopefully win you the interest of a baseball scout.

AROUND THE WORLD DRILL

The "Around the World" drill is a great conditioning exercise that will help any baseball player develop physically.

Here's how it works.

Take the players to the foul pole in left or right field. Then time them from foul pole to foul pole to get a good accurate base time. Then have a set time that they should complete each of the laps. Some choose seven laps, some others. The number should be based on the number of innings one would play professionally. A good hint is that coaches should remember to adhere to is to not let a lap count if it is under time. This will help the player push himself to get it right. There is no "almosts" in pro baseball.

DIVE BACKS

Besides basic conditioning, this drill helps to build the players speed and quickness back to the bag. Also, it is helpful to work on quickly leaving the bag as well as helping the players to recognize how big of a turn they can make around a bag to make sure that they get back in case of a throw. Here's how a good Dive Backs drill is set up.

The players start out at Home Plate and run around first base, making an aggressive turn, and then dive back into the bag. After diving back they get up as fast as they can and head to second base to do the same thing. They do this also at third then slide feet first into home plate to end their round.

A good way to prove the get back theory is to have an outfielder and a second basemen trying to get a player out every couple of times through. This exercise works wonders for agility and speed skills which is an absolute necessity to play in the major leagues.

THE GLOVE BASEBALL DRILL

Conditioning is a grueling task, so some fun elements need to be used as well. A good fun conditioning drill is great because you can make them the hardest and the fun elements makes it not so bad.

The glove drills starts off with separating players in groups of 4 or 5. (If you are just with yourself and your coach, find a friend or two to help.) Line the people up and put their gloves in the outfield at about 25 foot intervals apart, away from them. They start the drill with a ball in their hand and run to the first glove and set the ball on it and come back to the line and go back and get the ball and come back to the line and go to the second glove and set the ball down and go back to the line and so on and so forth, until all the players have gone through and the winners get out of laps at the end of the practice.

SPEED QUICKNESS AND POWER

In any good baseball training program, player development is a primary concern. As players get older they also raise their level of function in the game. One of the areas to try to improve is the physical or talent area. If you are at all seriously about playing professionally you must first be in the talent pool of players. If you can't do the physical levels, no one will look at the skill or playing abilities.

A well rounded pre-season conditioning program starts when the players get back from Christmas break. Work should be focused on 3 areas essential to playing baseball at a professionally competitive level - speed, quickness, and power.

The first day should be spent testing the components of each skills set that are vital to an overall skill matching assessment. Test items can include:

· 40 yard sprint
· 10 yard sprint
· Standing 2 footed vertical jump
· 30 second dips
· 30 second sit-ups
· Home to 1b
· Bench press
· Dot jumps
· Diamond push ups

After the testing is done, you should have a good two months dedicated to a program that incorporates exercises, running, and strength training. Once this part is done, practice the test points listed above again. This will help you accurately measure your progress and where to improve.

THE 60 YARD DASH DRILL

This is used to determine sheer sprint speed, and it is chosen to determine the athlete's ability to run from the length of two bases. If you decide to incorporate this for your child, do so sparingly and make sure that your child is warmed up. Also reduce the length from 60 yards to only twice the distance from home to first. Of course, make sure that your child is medically approved to do sprinting. Keep the number of such dashes very low and GRADUALLY build up over time.

Here is a good pointer:

When asked to hit, scouts do not look at the end result of whether the ball was a hit, home run, foul ball, etc. Instead, they look at mechanics in order to determine if there is a "loop" in a batter's swing, weight transfer, and the batter's overall approach to the plate appearance. If you are able to introduce your child to one of the scouts during a break at the tryout, ask the scout to give you a minute to understand what he likes to see in his ideal batter. You may learn quite a bit.

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



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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baseball Hitting Aids Can Fix Many Hitting Issues


Baseball Hitting Aids Can Fix Many Hitting Issues
By Guest Author: Joseph Harrison Jr

One of the most important parts of playing great baseball is being a great hitter, and it is much more complicated than one would suppose. There are many problems that prevent properly hitting the baseball, and it can be very frustrating to not know what is causing the problem. Many things that hinder a hitter's performance may be the lack of proper hitting mechanics and this is easily fixed with some knowledge of your body which could be gained through baseball hitting aids.

The most common problem hitters have is they focus too much on their upper body when hitting and don't worry too much about their lower half. Focusing on the lower body problems must be done before you can even begin to start hitting properly.

Trying to hit without knowing what to do with your lower half is like trying to build a house without a proper foundation, it will surely crumble.

One of many problems hitters face is called shoulder dipping, which is caused by collapsing of your backside. Another issue is hunching their upper body over the plate, and yet another issue is when the hands extend away from the body during a swing. All of these problems can result from lacking knowledge of proper positioning of the lower body during your at bat.

Hitters "load" prior to the pitch, which is shifting your weight onto your back leg, and if the weight doesn't stay on the back leg during the swing this can cause a problem. Some hitters shift their hips forward towards the pitcher during the start of their swing, and if this happens it can cause all or most of these problems listed above. This problem with shifting the hips is referred to as floating.

Floating is quite fixable once you recognize it is the problem with your swing. Many hitting aids, including videos and books, can be found to help you detect and then subsequently fix these lower body hitting problems, and this will have you well on your way to fixing the upper body issues next.

Using these aids will help you or your coach to recognize which of these most common hitting problems you may have and get you hitting better than you ever imagined possible. Aids for hitters such as videos and books could be found at your local library or bookstore, and you can also find many great sources online as well.

I am Joseph Harrison, a baseball coach since 20 years ago. I love baseball since I am young, especially the feeling when you know you will absolutely crush the ball. Training your kid to gain interest in baseball will benefit him from both mentally and physically. In with he will gain team spirit, learn how to cope with teammates, and at the same time train up his physical, and concentration (to have good eye and hand coordination and the ability to use both at once). Go through my article and you will know all the benefits of baseball.

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

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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


Baseball Coaching & Training Books at Baseball2u.com
One of the better baseball coaching tips
By Larry Cicchiello

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks covering 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY player, coach or parent who wants to help their child will be fully equipped! Check out some FREE baseball tips on hitting and FREE baseball pitching tips at LarryBaseball.com.

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

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Monday, June 14, 2010

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Fixing Problems Using Baseball Hitting Aids


Youth Baseball Hitting Aids
By Joseph Harrison Jr

Chief among the positions in baseball is the position of hitter, which is way more complicated to do than most people would assume. Many problems could be said to cause a player to not hit properly, and these problems can be very frustrating until the source of them is discovered. A player's performance can be hindered if they lack proper hitting mechanics, and luckily these problems can be remedied through learning about the human body and with the use of baseball hitting aids.

Focusing way too much on the upper body and neglecting the lower half is a major cause of hitting problems for player of baseball. Learning about your lower body is a must before you can expect to begin hitting the ball correctly.

Attempting to hit the ball without knowing what your lower half is doing, is similar to trying to build a house without establishing a proper foundation, it will fall to the ground.

Shoulder dipping is one of the problems faced by hitters, and it is caused by collapsing of the player's backside. Other issues include hunching out over the plate, and letting your hands extend away from your body during a swing. Every one of these problems can result from not knowing enough about how to position your lower body during a swing.

Shifting your weight onto your back leg before the pitch begins is called loading, and if the weight does not stay on that back leg it could cause a hitting problem. Many hitters naturally shift their hips forward in the direction of the pitched during the beginning stage of their swing, and this issue may be the source of many or all of the problems listed, and this hips shifting problems is called "floating".

The "floating" problem is definitely fixable once the hitter is able to recognize it as a problem. Videos and books are good examples of useful aids, and they can be quite easily found. These aids will help one detect and the fix problems with the lower body during hitting, and then you can focus on the upper body during the swing.

Use of these types of aids can help your coach or yourself recognize which problems your have when you are at bat, and you will soon be hitting better than you had once imagined possible. These books and video hitting aids can easily be found at a local bookstore or library, and if those don't pan out you can find many online sources for aids too.

I am Joseph Harrison, a baseball coach since 20 years ago. I love baseball since I am young, especially the feeling when you know you will absolutely crush the ball. Training your kid to gain interest in baseball will benefit him from both mentally and physically. In with he will gain team spirit, learn how to cope with teammates, and at the same time train up his physical, and concentration (to have good eye and hand coordination and the ability to use both at once). Go through my article and you will know all the benefits of baseball.

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

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Zone Hitting - Working the Pitch Count



Zone Hitting - Working the Pitch Count
By Fred Bonds

Undisciplined hitting has two major pitfalls. First, the batter is not swinging at pitches that are located where he hits most effectively, resulting in weak grounders or fly balls and easy outs. Second, a team of undisciplined hitters will never (and I mean NEVER!) press the opposing pitcher to the point of breakdown. Bottom line is that the pitcher will always maintain control of the ballgame as long as he can count on hitters swinging at his pitch and not theirs.

There are many ways to have a good at bat (let's call it a QAB or quality at bat) from this point on. QAB's come from good clean hits. The pitcher throws the all, you hit it hard, it finds a hole and you're on base. That's the most obvious QAB. The less obvious ones come from forcing the pitcher to throw you your pitch or taking him deep into the count before getting a walk or making an out. Both should be rewarded by teammates for reasons I will explain later.

Let's start by defining a QAB. This is a concept you must learn, understand, and apply every at bat from this point on. A quality at bat is any at bat you have that results in either you getting on base via a hit or walk, or you forcing the pitcher to throw more than four pitchers. Why four? Because if I, as a pitcher, can get you out in 4 pitches and I can do it again for each of your teammates, then my pitch count is 12 pitches per inning, 108 for the game. That's not too bad for a pitcher. Also, it means that you, as a hitter, are only getting 12-16 pitches (if that) per game to hit. Later in the game, you'll not have seen enough pitches to get your timing down and get comfortable. Have you ever wondered why a pitcher, who is cruising along in a game with no real problems but is going to full count with nearly every batter, suddenly gets rocked even though he is doing well? The batters got comfortable with him. They saw enough pitches to figure out how to hit him effectively. That's why closers are so effective even if they throw only one type of pitch.

By forcing the pitcher to throw more pitches, you get to see him longer, and see all of his pitches. Also, you wear him down. So instead of 4 pitches, it now takes 7 pitches to get you and the rest of your team out. Assuming no one gets on base, the pitcher ends up throwing 21 pitches per inning or 147 per game. That is a very high pitch count for anyone, especially high school or collegiate pitchers.

Let's assume that most pitchers have an effectiveness ceiling of 80 pitches. You face a pitcher and get on base in 5 pitches. The next hitter flies out in 6. The number 3 hitter hits a ground ball through in 4 pitches. The cleanup hitter is out in 7. The last batter of the inning fights back from 1-2 only to ground out in 7 pitches. No runs score, but your team has made the pitcher throw 29 pitches in one inning. At that pace, the pitcher should lose his effectiveness in the third inning. If your team continues to wear him down, you will have created a window of opportunity to break the game wide open somewhere in the third or fourth inning.

How do you have a QAB? The answer depends on the situation present when you enter the batters box. For now, let's discuss your first at bat, no runners on, and no outs. You should have a good idea of where your "happy spot" is in the strike zone. A "happy spot" is your power zone. Normally, it is mid-thigh to belt high on the inner half of the plate. Where ever it is, this is the spot that you want to hit the ball for power and solid contact. When you are at the plate, you are looking for a fastball in that specific location. You will not swing at any pitch outside that zone even if it is a strike. Also, you will not swing at any off speed pitch. You will keep looking for a pitch in this zone until you have one strike on you.

With one strike, the zone you are hitting in expands slightly. Now you are looking fastball (or hanging off-speed) across the heart of the plate. Height-wise look just above knees to hip high. You must make a mental note to stay closed as you expand your zone. The odds of getting pitched outside increase dramatically when you have one or more strikes on you. Also, your mind-set should be to hit the ball up the middle. You should not swing at pitches outside of the zone or at off-speed pitches that are not mistakes. You will hit this zone until you have two strikes.

With two strikes, the zone is wide open, extending at least 2 in. on the corners and a ball width up and down the zone. Make note of what the ump is calling and adjust your zone accordingly. Your swing shortens slightly as you look to put the ball in play or foul it off. You are now looking for the ball away and will keep your front hip closed as you approach the ball. You are looking to hit opposite field as a majority of pitches will be thrown to the outer half of the plate with two strikes. You will react to the inside pitch.

Now with this mind-set, the pitcher must throw a minimum of 3 pitches to get you out or get a walk. So, a minimum of 3 pitches to get you out or 4 to walk you. You have that many pitches to find one that is in your hitting zone to hit for power. Expect to go at least 5 pitches as we can expect the pitcher to waste a pitch or miss the zone. It is very likely one of those five pitches will be the money pitch for you. Be ready. The big difference between amateur and professional hitters is that pros can hit the pitch when they get it a majority of the time.

With runners on, your zone will change depending upon where you want to hit the ball, but for the most part, those three zone situations will suffice. Also, should you face a pitcher who is throwing strikes and a lot of them; you will need to match his aggressiveness. Still looking for your pitch, your zone should expand larger after the 1st strike to incorporate the zone the pitcher is hitting. If he's not missing much, you have to step it up a notch and match him. Sure, you are not going to drive up the pitch count (unless you hit him a lot and keep him out there) but you will see pitches you can hit so go get them.

Working the count is extremely important when hitting against a pitcher you haven't seen before. A team effort is required to gain info on what the pitcher has in way of velocity, location, and pitch types. Done properly, batters can swing the advantage to their side of the plate while possibly increasing their batting averages. Will this work every time? Probably not, but it will make you a better hitter and increase the odds of your team winning.

Variations of this approach can be made by moving your initial zone to wherever you want to hit the ball. If I know I can hit the outside pitch away with power, I may want to go after the first fastball I see on the outer half of the plate (very likely the first pitch). It's up to you. The important part of all of this is to learn discipline at the plate and not go up there hacking at anything that moves. Have a plan and stick to it unless the conditions make you change.

Ultimately, QAB's will help raise your batting average, RBI count, and on-base percentage. In order to be effective, however, you must learn to recognize pitches as well as developing a short quick stroke to the ball. Putting it all together is what it's all about!

Fred Bonds is the Director of Research for Area51Sports, an innovative new wood baseball bat company, http://www.area51bats.com. He was director of the Central Michigan Sports Center, director of the BPR Nationals Baseball HS Prospect team, and a former associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds and Global Scouting Bureau. Be sure to visit the Area51Sports website and get on the email list for the latest advances in hitting, coaching, and great discounts on the hottest baseball bats in the game. For more info on wood baseball bats or to contact Fred, go to http://www.area51bats.com.

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

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Favorite Team Fielding Drill - Catching the Fun of Baseball


My Favorite Team Fielding Drill - Catching the Fun of Baseball
By Jack Perconte

As every baseball coach and parent knows, kids love to hit and pitch. Getting players to practice these skills is relatively easy. However, many youth ball players do not enjoy working on their fielding nearly as much as they do their hitting and throwing. Of course, fielding often requires a great amount of physical exertion, which is why players do not enjoy working on it as much. As I continually tell young players, there is only one designated hitter in a game and that position is usually reserved for a power hitting player who has little mobility. This is especially true of teams at the high school level. Therefore, it is important for young baseball players to learn, work at and practice fielding as much as the other parts of their game.

Good coaches have a way of teaching the game where players do not realize how much and how long they are even working at a skill. They make practice fun and challenging at the same time, where kids do not even realize they may be getting tired or bored. Additionally and most important, players are learning the fundamentals as well as the language of the game. Following is one of those drills that is fun and challenging, where coaches can get a good 10 to 15 minutes of good work and much repetition for their team without players getting bored. It is one of my favorite defensive baseball drills for teams.

I call it the "players teaching players ground ball drill." It goes like this: Divide players into two groups and line them up one behind the other. Set each group about forty to fifty feet apart. One ball is used and the drill gets started by one of the players at the beginning of the line rolling the ball to the player at the beginning of the opposite line. After releasing the ball the player runs to the back of the line where he rolled the ball to (opposite group) - however when he releases the ball he is expected to yell out (to the player he is rolling the ball to) a fielding instruction, beginning with "Stay Down."

Easy enough - after everyone has gone through a few times with each player yelling stay down as he releases the ball, the coach then instructs players to yell "Stay Down, Line It Up" the next round. After a few rounds the coach adds a new instruction for kids to yell to their teammate as they release the ball - "Stay Down, Line It Up, Two Hands "- is the next instruction. The next would be "Stay Down, Line It Up, Two Hands, Look It In." The last one for kids to yell would be "Stay Down, Line It Up, Two Hands, Look It In, Get Rid of It." By the end, as you would guess, kids are all tongue tied, confused, and laughing as they attempt to say all those things as they are rolling the ball to their teammate. Remember, players take off running to the back of the opposite line after rolling and while yelling out instructions.

Of course, the point of the drill is that kids are learning the correct fundamentals and baseball terminology as well as helping players perform the correct fielding basics. Coaches are there to make sure that the fielders are fielding the ball correctly and should stand at the back of the lines so they can inform players of what they may be doing wrong, and what to try when their turn comes up again. Finally, coaches can have players doing this drill for different types of ground balls - slow, fast, left right, bare hand plays, glove only, etc... This drill can even be adapted to fly ball drills, too.

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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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Correct Technique to Throwing a Curveball


Throwing a Curveball
By Nate Barnett

There is no secret that most pitchers throw a curveball as one of their three pitches. And while this pitch is important to learn correctly, it is more important to understand proper pitching mechanics first. Only with a good understanding of how to throw a baseball right can one avoid unnecessary injury of the arm.

To correctly throw a curveball, place your index finger on the opposite seam as your thumb. When finished, your thumb and index finger will have split the baseball in half. Next, place some medium pressure on your thumb and middle fingers only. The index finger should rest lightly on the baseball.

To get the right spin off the baseball, you may consider learning this pitch by taking your index finger off of the baseball to make sure that you do not apply too much pressure with it. Too much pressure by the index finger will cause you to have poor release with the baseball and not get the desired curve effect.

Once you have a basic understanding of this pitch you will be tempted to work on it a lot. I must remind you that without proper pitching mechanics, you run the risk of hurting you arm. In addition of injury, there are some other important reasons why you need to understand pitching mechanics. First, you will end up showing hitters what your are throwing and giving you're your curveball. Secondly, you may end up reducing your arm speed when throwing a curveball which will ultimately telegraph your pitch to the hitter, obviously making it less effective. The only thing that changes when throwing a curveball is your wrist and forearm angles. There is no snapping of the baseball, instead, let the baseball roll off your index finger. If you have the correct angle with your wrist upon release, this should be a natural motion.

Coaches and parents should keep a close eye on how many curveballs are thrown per game. This is especially the case if a young pitcher has some early success with the pitch. As a general guideline, pitchers should throw curveballs no more than 15% to 20% of the time. Any more than this, athletes who are young may increase their risk of arm injury.

The Pitching Academy teaches baseball pitching grips like how to throw a curveball and how to throw a slider. Come check it out!

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

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teaching Kids Baseball Pitching Mechanics


Youth Baseball Pitching Mechanics
By Nate Barnett

It is fun to watch youth baseball games. I enjoy watching the kid on the team with the least amount of talent "accidentally" catch a fly ball that was hit right to him. Those kids will always remember that time in their life when they were a hero; at least they felt that way for that moment in time. That is what youth baseball is all about.

I will always remember (in great detail) hitting my first homerun over the fence in Little League. I was 10; 23 years ago. I remember where I hit the ball, how far I hit it, how the ball almost hit a green car when it finally landed, who the first base coach was, what he said to me when I reached first base, how the sun was setting just above the mountains, the excitement rounding second when I could barely control myself from leaping all the way home, what my third base coach told me just as I was rounding third, how my teammates surrounded me when I reached home plate and the reward of the hamburger after the game for hitting a homerun. It was tasty! I also remember that was the only game my parents didn't make it to that year because it was my older sisters High School graduation night. That is the joy of youth baseball!

As parents and coaches we often forget what baseball is all about as we focus on winning more than we do developing players on and off the field. The coaches that have fond memories of playing little league Baseball can be some of the most influential coaches to the youth.

Here are a few things we need to remember when coaching youth baseball pitchers:

Youth Coaching Tip #1: Youth pitchers have to be taught mechanics with patience and understanding. You shouldn't be aggressive in your teaching style. Most players respond with a negative attitude and won't enjoy the learning process regardless of how well you think you teach if you are too intense. Nobody performs well under pressure from coaches when they are overly aggressive constantly yelling or barking at them during games and practices. They are on the field to have fun learning life's lessons and the fundamentals of the game. Pitching mechanics take time to learn so parents and coaches need to understand that little league is a developmental league not MLB. I read once that it takes Tiger Woods 18 months to incorporate a new swing to his golf game; be patient with the youth.

Youth Coaching Tip #2 Most of us are visual learners and need to be shown how to do things. Coaches should take the time first to learn what they should teach and then practice it themselves so they can physically show pitchers proper mechanics. If the coach is unable to do that, they should find instructional videos that allow the pitcher to visualize what is being taught.

Youth Coaching Tip #3: During practice explain why a concept is important in the throwing motion. If the student doesn't understand why they are supposed to do certain things mechanically they have a difficult time retaining the knowledge. They will continue to do what they have always done.

Youth Coaching Tip # 4: To ensure you know your players understand what is being taught it is necessary to ask them questions about what they are learning during practice. I always make my students re-teach what I taught them at the end of the lesson, or many times during, to help me know they get it. Taking it a step further, have them physically show you what they have learned and have them repeat it time and time again until the mechanics become a part of their muscle memory. This takes a lot of patience because mechanics take time to develop for any pitcher.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

You can find The Pitching Academy's articles, blog, and videos on baseball pitching mechanics, pitching grips, and hitting mechanics when you visit the website.

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

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Good Hitters Hit, Great Hitters Hit More


By Mike Posey

Recently, I was talking to a friend that works in Major League Baseball. We were having a discussion about hitting and agreed many instructors say things to hitters that do not actually happen. Here are a few examples:

1. Stay Back - The hitter does not have their weight all the way back when swinging the bat. What should be said is stay centered. Do not let your weight come forward too soon.
2. Line Up Your Knocking Knuckles - The knuckles are usually off centered with the knocking knuckles on one hand and the big knuckles on the other hand lining up.
3. Rotate on Your Back Foot - On hitting contact the back foot is usually toe down and in some cases off the ground.
4. Hit It Out Front - If the pitch is away, you will actually hit it farther back on the plate. Out front would be for a pitch on the inside half of the plate.
5. Extend Your Arms - Extension only occurs after contact has been made with the ball.
6. Roll Your Wrist Over - On contact the top hand is under the bat. Wrist roll happens after contact.

With all the instruction being given today, one has to wonder why some of the same mechanical flaws still occur over and over in youth players. Too many expect paid lessons to be the answer to develop their players hitting abilities.

It might be better to let a hitter develop naturally and not put a lot of extra ideas in their heads to confuse them. Good hitters will hit alot and develop a feel for their swing as they grow. Proper instruction can help a good hitter become better. Many have an expectation that paying for a lesson will somehow cause magic to occur and the good swing appears, "poof", before the next game. Without hours of hitting practice on their own (outside of instruction) a good swing will never be developed.

Hitting is rhythm and timing, this can only be developed through live swings. Good hitters hit, Great hitters hit more.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Make Believe" Infield Warm-up Drill

"Make Believe" Infield
Great warm-up for certain situations


The teams takes perfect infield by allowing every player to make a perfect catch and throw. The way this drill is conducted is the coach does not use a ball. He hits a "make-believe" ball. Each time the player goes through the correct motion of fielding the ball and making a perfect play. Each time the player receiving the throw will pat his glove to simulate a catch.

Emphasis is placed on talking, following through, and making everything look perfect. No one will mess up or make a bad mistake. I have used this drill many, many times in practice and before games. It is especially good with young kids to emphasis correct body mechanics.

It is also useful if you get to a field for a game and the playing surface is too wet or rough to take a "good" round of infield. Sometimes it is better not to use a real ball in warm-up if there is a risk of the ball taking a terrible bounce. Bad infield and warm-up may bring down "team esteem". I've never had a team take "make believe" infield that was anything less than great! It's always perfect!

Have a great Day, Nick