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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baseball Coaching Digest: 5 Solid Tips for Taking Your Team From Worst to First in Batting Stats

Baseball Coaching Digest: 5 Solid Tips for Taking Your Team From Worst to First in Batting Stats
By guest author: Nick Dixon

There are five things that I recommend baseball coaches do to improve a team's offensive numbers. These are changes that coaches must put into place if they are looking to take their team to a higher level in hitting statistics. This article explains those five things that I suggest that you make a part of your regular team routine.

Your team can become a better hitting team. I am 100% confident that you can be the reason that your team has a better hitting season this year than last season. The number one thing you must remember is the saying, "Stupidity is never more evident than when a coach has his team do the same thing over, and over and over, but expects different results". If you want your team to be better than they have ever been, you have got to plan, coach, instruct, teacher, work, and organize your practices better than you ever have.

Here are three things I recommend for helping a team become a better hitting team:

1. Change Your Attitude - Teams always emulate the attitude of the coach. If you expect the team to hit better and do all of the work and preparations to do so, then the players will expect better results. Make it known that "thing are changing around here". Make it known that you have a new system, a new approach, and a new commitment to getting the job done at the plate. Let the team know that "everything counts". Every practice swing must be performed, reviewed, assessed, and critiqued. Make it known that every fundamental will be given the attention necessary to make the team better. Sub-par practice will not be accepted. We will practice like we play and play like we practice, with a stated purpose and with total focus.

2. Sense of Urgency - Make sure that your team and staff know that improvement is a must. They must realize that last year's or season's numbers were bad for a reason. Those numbers are unacceptable and unexpected this year. And explain to them that the reason for those bad numbers last season was a lack of work, a lack of commitment, and a lack of performance. The players and staff must realize the importance of making improvements. When a coach becomes better at teaching a skill, the team just got better. When a player becomes more knowledgeable on a baseball task, the team just got better. All players and staff must know that they must be committed to doing more than normal to help the team improve. Players and staff should be willing to stay after practice, come in before practice, or find extra time, outside of team practices, to work and improve on fundamentals. A player must know that the team "chain" is no stronger than the "weakest link". If a player is weak at a particular skill, until that player improves, the team will not be as good as possible.

3. Repetition of Quality Swings - Practice repetition for the sake of practice repetition is useless. Swing the bat is useless if the swing is a bad practice swing of less than game speed or game quality. You team needs to have a commitment to numbers and quality if your team's hitting numbers are going to drastically improve. My "rule of thumb" is that I want every player in my program to take at least 300 practice swing a day. Those swings must be purpose driven with no tolerance for "playing around", "goofing off" or "less than perfect execution". I don't care how the swings are performed. They can be off a batting tee, a training machine, live-arm in the batting cage, or simply a soft-toss drill. The key is to take enough swings every day to allow the player's swing to become instinctive, smooth, and as powerful as possible. The more quality swing a player takes, the more confidence that player will have.

4. Improving Knowledge - To improve quality of play, improved knowledge must take place first. Player must know what a good swing looks like. They must know what makes a stance a good stance. They must know and be able to identify good and bad hitting mechanics and fundamentals. They must hear the correct words and terminology when it comes to instruction, teaching, and practice. A coach must do his homework when it comes to learning the fundamentals of playing and coaching the game. Read books, articles, and everything else that you can get your hands on. Visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest or the Baseball Today Coaching Journal to access free drills, tips, and coaching articles. Watch videos on YouTube of batting drills and coaching tips.

5. Truth and Consequences - Never lie to your team. Tell them honestly when a drill is good and tell them when a drill is bad. Have a consequence for poor drill performance. I try to keep my drills and instruction periods short at no than 10 to 15 minutes. But, if a drill is done sloppy or poorly, I have told my team that I reserve the right to always to have the team do a drill over or do a "start over". I want my players to know that we have a commitment to quality not quantity.

I hope that you found this article to be informative and useful. You may read more articles like it at the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, and the Baseball Parent Guide. Thanks for reading this article. I wish you and your team the best of luck in the coming season. Have a great day, 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. Dixon coaches at Boaz High in Boaz Alabama. Dixon is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.

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 considered an expert in baseball training and skills development. Dixon also serves as an active consultant to baseball equipment companies and other sports product inventors.

Dixon is also a contributing writer for the Baseball Coaching Digest, the baseball Coaching Digest Blog, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest Blog, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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