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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coaching Little League Baaseball - Two Batting Videos on Youtube that You Can learn From

Coaching Little League Baseball - Two Batting Videos on Youtube that You Can learn From

For more information on the BatAction Machine visit

Hello and good Wedenesday morning to you. We begin our 2009 summer baseball camp today. I just hope the weather cooperates. Here are two hitting youtube links that I recommend that my players watch. T think that you will find these useful also.
Have a great day,
Nick - The ultimate online coaching and training store. Top quality Products - Outstanding Service - Discount Prices

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coaching Little League Baseball - Situational Pitching - Squeeze Play Situation

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Coaching Little League Baseball - Situational Pitching - Squeeze Play Situation - By Nick Dixon

We often hear the term "Situational Hitting", but just as important is "Situational Pitching". Knowing what to throw and when to throw it. Here are three examples of situational pitching.
"HIT and RUN Situation" - Most often occurs with the batter ahead in the count and no outs. The most common counts are 1-0, 2-0, and 2-1. The pitcher should know when to expect the "HITand RUN" and keep the ball inside on the hitter to prevent the pitch from being driven to the opposite field.


"DOUBLE PLAY Situation" - The most important point to remember is to keep the ball down. One of the greatest plays in baseball is the inning ending double play. It is not advised to throw a change up or curve ball in a double play situation.

"SQUEEZE BUNT Situation" - There are many things to know and remember in this situation. Here are suggestions on how to have a "pitching approach" when the squeeze bunt may be on.

1. Throw the pitch either "UP and IN" or "LOW and IN".
2. The pitcher should not try to hit the batter, but if the batter is hit, the runner must return to third base.
3. It is more difficult to bunt the low pitch than the high pitch.

1. Throw the ball outside. The pitch is actually a pitch- out.
2. Make sure the pitch is "UNTOUCHABLE".

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Correct Batting Practice Methods For Little League Baseball Teams

Good Friday Morning to You.
I hope all is well with you and your team.
Here is a great article by Marty Schupak that I found beneficial and informative. I hope that you find it useful also.
Have a great weekend!

Correct Batting Practice Methods For Little League Baseball Teams

By Marty Schupak
In my eighteen years of coaching youth baseball, I am always looking for the most efficient practice methods for every aspect of baseball. It took me only a few years to realize that most youth baseball coaches and myself were running batting practice, not incorrectly, but not efficiently. From what I have seen with the typical batting practice, a coach will pitch a predetermined number of balls for each batter with the fielders fielding the hit balls and throwing them to first base. Usually the coach will yell something like “run the last one out”, and the batter does just that. If the ball is an infield hit, they try to throw him out at first. If it is hit into the outfield, he usually runs until he is thrown out. This is all well and good intentioned, but it is wasting valuable time when a coach wants to run an efficient practice.

Here is the most efficient way of running a batting practice that I’ve come up with. First of all, let me say this. Batting practice is just what it is, batting practice. Batting practice is not fielding practice or base running practice. So all youth coaches and parents should really define what a youth batting practice is and what they want to get out of it.

Most of my youth practices do not run more than one hour. Every minute of wasted time will affect all other aspects and time of any other drills or techniques I want to accomplish. The first thing a coach needs to have is an over abundance of baseballs. The league will provide baseballs but I always make sure I purchase a few dozen extras. I try to work with three-dozen and keep an extra dozen in my trunk. And don’t think I’m not frugal accounting for every baseball at the end of practice. I try to make sure we find each one, and after practice, we comb the field to make sure we got them all. Usually we find extras and end up with more than what we started with.

Now, here is the actual logistics and set up that I do about 95% of the time I run batting practice. I’m a big proponent of bunting. I set up two cones on the third base line, about six feet apart, approximately where the bunt is suppose to go. I set up two empty buckets, one about three feet behind second base and the other one at the far base of the mound toward second. I have another bucket with the baseballs on the mound easily accessible to me. Now, this is a key. As a youth coach who wants a well-run practice and a lot of repetitions for the kids, I move up almost to the front base of the mound to pitch. I do this mainly so I can throw strikes consistently. For safety purposes, an “L” screen would be required from a shorter distance for safety. If your league doesn’t have any, make them get them.

I have the first person up at bat with the 2nd and 3rd player ready to go. I have the 3rd hitter (or double on deck hitter) on the outside of the screen hitting balls on a batting tee using pickle balls (plastic) or wiffle balls with another parent feeding the balls on the tee. I always have the number 2, or on deck hitter, ready to hit.

The batter bunts the first to pitches. For each successful bunt, the player receives an extra swing. I usually give a player five swings besides his two bunts. So if a player lays one bunt between the cones, he get six regular swings. If he lays both bunts between the cones, he gets seven swings (the maximum per hitter). Now, there are certain things that have to happen to make this work. Remember there are two buckets strategically located. After the bunts, when the hitter swings away, wherever the ball is hit, the fielder tosses it into the bucket closet to him. If it is hit to the outfield, he will throw the ball as close to the bucket behind second base. If he hits it to the infield, the fielder will toss it to the bucket behind the pitcher’s mound. Reinforce to the players that they must toss to the bucket on one or two bounces or they will tend to play basketball with the baseball and bucket.

Now the point here is that the fielders do not make a play to first and the hitter does not run the last one out. We get more repetitions in a short period of time. The players are always facing the hitter. One might ask, isn’t this boring for most of the players in the field? Well, not really. Because of the amount of balls hit in a short period of time, the ball is usually hit all over the place. And the coach throwing batting practice will keep one or two extra balls in his glove and is ready to pitch the next ball right away. When out of baseballs, have the players in the infield hustle to gather up the balls, combine buckets, and we’re ready to go again. This works great!

Batting practice is a favorite of any baseball player at almost every level. Do not deny batting practice at any practice. And always look for the most efficient, safest procedure to help enhance your whole practice.

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills", "Winning Baseball Strategies", "Hitting Drills & Techniques" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is a principle for Videos For Coaches and is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baseball Training Product - The Advanced Skills Baseball Tee

Baseball Training Product - The Advanced Skills Baseball Tee

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

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

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

The outside barrier can also be placed to the rear of the AST. This will further eliminate a level swing plane and force a shorter more direct swing path to the ball. This will also teach hitters to get more backspin on the ball.

You can even add an outside barrier to make the Advanced Skills Tee the most complete batting tee on the market. Simply slide on an extra barrier to develop the quickest, most powerful and compact swing possible. Eliminate casting and dropping the hands all in one workout!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

12 Things You Must Know Before You Purchase a Batting Cage

12 Things You Must Know Before You Purchase a Batting Cage
By Nick Dixon

Purchase a Batting Cage Only After You Have Considered These 12 Things. There are some basic points that you must know before you buy a batting cage.

1. Batting cages nets come in a variety of sizes but they are all rectangles. The net itself must have square corners to save construction time and cost. The sizes of a cage vary with the length, width, and height of the netting. Be careful not to purchase a batting cage that is too narrow. These cages do not allow older batters to take a comfortable swing and finish.

The greater the width and height of the batting cage, the better sensation a batter has when a ball is hit. The wider and higher cages allow the batter to read the path of the ball when it comes off the bat. A short and narrow cage tends to “smother” a hitter. The higher and wider cages are also safer for the coach, player or parent throwing batting practice.

2. Batting cage netting is most commonly available in three common “twine sizes” #21, #36, and #42. The lower the number the smaller the twine used in construction and the lighter-weight the cage. Heavy-duty cages such as the #42 better withstand the elements of time and use therefore they offer more durability and added years of use.

3. Batting cages are most often available in black. The twine is dyed black and UV is added to the netting. Black cages seem to last longer and in my opinion, they look better.

4. When you purchase a batting cage, don’t just consider the cost of the cage, but also calculate the cost of shipping. Many companies have shipping managers that provide you with an added service of securing the lowest shipping cost possible.

5. When you purchase a batting cage, you must also purchase or build a frame for the batting cage net. All cages require a support structure from which the cage will be hung. The longer the cage, the more support sections that will be required to hold it in place. The smaller and more light-weight a batting cage is, the less support structure it must have. You can depend on putting a support section at both ends and every 20 ft’ if you want your cage to be hung adequately without a lot of droop. So a 60’ batting cage would require at least 4 supports for a heavy-duty net and you may get by with three supports for a light-weight net. You may also need cable or heavy duty rope suspended between your supports to maximize cage support.

6. When you purchase a batting cage remember that you can not fit your available space to the batting cage. You must fit the batting cage into the space you have available. Step off you or measure the area you have available. Make sure to purchase a batting cage that will best suit your available space. Do not allow space to deter your commitment to a batting cage purchase. Small cages in the 35’, 40’ and 50’ lengths are long enough to allow great batting practice work.
7. Your chosen area must be level and it must drain well. If you can afford the additional cost, you may want to add a floor to your cage. There are two materials that make a great floor. Cement or concrete is the most costly. You may want to cover your hitting zone with indoor-outdoor carpet to extend the life of your leather baseballs. If you use rubber pitching machine balls in a pitching machine, they will withstand the abrasive properties of the cement cage floor.

Another great floor alternative is to use weather treated 2 x 4’s to build a raised floor. You will border all sides and ends of your batting cage floor with the 2x4’s and stake them into place. You will then fill the inside floor area with a commonly used infield material, crushed stone. This provides a raised dry hitting surface that will offer a safe and less abrasive surface upon which to hit.

8. When you purchase a batting cage, you are going to need to purchase a “L” protection screen to protect the pitchers throwing batting practice. Make sure that your “L” screen is a “sock” type with at least #42 netting to insure that it will withstand the heavy-duty abuse it will be subjected to.

A “square” screen is also a great investment to consider if you will be using a pitching machine often. There are screens specially designed to protect the person operating the pitching machine.

9. You will need a plate for batter and pitcher reference during batting practice. The pitcher will use the plate to throw the various pitch locations and the batter will use it to adjust to certain situational hitting drills. If your cage has a suitable floor, you may want to paint a plate and batter’s box to add a much appreciated feature.

10. You will need a power source if you have plans to light your cage and to use a pitching machine. Make sure that you can reach a source with extension cords or run a permanent source if you can do so safely.

11. When your purchase a batting cage, I recommend first talking to the supplier by phone. This allows you to ask questions and get answers. Depending on the description and details listed on a website, may cause you to purchase a batting cage that is not suitable for your needs. Most reputable batting cage companies have toll-free phone numbers and a staff available during business hours to offer you advice and information before you buy.

12. For many families the best and most “user-friendly” approach to buying a batting cage is to buy a complete batting cage package. These packages contain the nest size and weight of your choice and a “pre-fab” batting cage frame specifically designed to match the net. These packages are easy to assemble. Most of these “batting cage packages” can be assembled by two persons with about 2 hours of work. These “batting cage packages” can easily be taken down in the off-season and stored if there is a need to do so. Many of these packages include everything you need including the “L” protection screen. When the package arrives, all you have to do is carefully read and follow the step-by-step instructions to assemble your new batting cage.

I hope that these 12 points helped you gain a better prospective on how to buy your new batting cage. If you need additional help, please feel free to call our toll free customer service number, 1-877-431-4487. Our friendly staff will be glad to help you anyway they can. Trey and Bill are in the office from 8:00 to 5:00 CST, each day. Our company specializes in “Complete Package Systems” for home, school, team or commercial use. You may also visit one of our company sites:,,, or

Good Luck in your buying process. See you next time, Nick. Purchase a Batting Cage Frame and Net Package From and Save Time, Money and Construction Time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baseball Coaching - How to Teach Throwing to Baseball Players

Baseball Coaching - How to Teach Throwing to Baseball Players

In the game of baseball correct throwing mechanics are of the utmost importance. If a player can’t throw with accuracy he does his team little good out in the field. Players must constantly strive to perfect their throwing mechanics. Few players take the time necessary to become really good throwers. Great pride should be taken when a player can consistently throw to a target.

Key Points in Throwing

The Grip

Many young players grip the ball with their fingers too wide apart. This affects accuracy severely reduces velocity of the throw. The fingers should be about ¼ inch apart (about the width of a yellow #2 pencil). The index and middle finger should lay across the wide seams of the ball. This grip is also known as a 4-seam fastball. The pads of the index and middle finger sit on the seam of the ball. If you think of the ball as a clock, the index and middle fingers should rest on either side of 12 o’clock and the thumb would rest straight underneath the ball at 6 o’clock. There should be "daylight" between the ball and palm of the throwing hand. This is the best grip for achieving straight backspin and avoiding any "tailing" of the ball.

Arm Action

Arm action refers to the path the throwing arm travels from hand separation to release-point and follow-through. Baseball throwers must concentrate on breaking the hands and making a big sweeping motion with the arm in order to stay long with the arm going back to a good power position. Power position refers to the position where the player has the throwing arm back, level with the shoulder or higher, and bent at the elbow. The throwing-hand index and middle fingers should be point up forming a "V". The back of the throwing hand should face the thrower while the palm of the throwing hand should face away from the thrower. Practicing a good power position is essential in becoming a good thrower. The front shoulder should always point at the target and stay closed. As the player turns to throw, the glove-side elbow should be as high or higher than the throwing-side shoulder. The throwing fingers must stay pointing up through release to get good straight backspin. When throwing with a partner, young players should imagine painting a vertical line with their throwing hand from the letters on their partner’s hat to their partner’s belt buckle.

Throwing To The Circle

Baseball players should always practice throwing on a downward plane to their target. When throwing with a partner, the player should focus on throwing down into "the circle". The circle is an area from the partner’s hat, right shoulder, belt buckle, and left shoulder. A player who can throw down into the circle consistently is a good thrower.

Note: A player receiving a ball should always have both hands in front of the chest with fingers pointing out and up. This makes a great target in the center of the circle.

Staying On Line

Throwers should imagine a line running from their pivot foot straight through their target. As they throw, they should separate their arms on the imaginary line being careful not to let the throwing arm pass behind the line. The stride should also be on the line. Any variation from the line will decrease accuracy. As the player releases the ball he should concentrate on keeping his body on the line. Many players spin off the line when they throw instead of following-through toward their target.

Note: The chin MUST point toward the target. Where the chin faces the eyes will face and the body will follow.

Squaring the Pivot Foot

The pivot foot (throwing hand-side) needs to be "square" to the target. If the player starts by facing the target when throwing the pivot foot should be opened 90 degrees toward the target to allow for the closing of the front side (hips and shoulders). Failure to do this can result in poor accuracy and velocity. Many young players do not turn their pivot foot a full 90 degrees to their target. Squaring the pivot foot should be emphasized to all players to ensure correct throwing mechanics.

It has been said many time that baseball is a game of catch, and the team that plays catch the best will usually win. As a coach, teach your players the proper fundamentals of throwing and you will win more games and develop your players.

About the Author: For more baseball coaching tips about baseball throwing, baseball throwing tips, and baseball throwing drills visit the Dick Birmingham Sports Championship Baseball Drill Book at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coach, Why Does My Arm Hurt?

By Chip Lemin

Greetings to all coaches,

Now that the youth baseball season is in full swing, we will hopefully see the results of any pre-season work. If your team worked extra hard on defense, you should see the results. You may also notice a drop off in offensive production, due to the extra time on defense. This is normal and will adjust itself over the course of the season. What you don't want to see is any of your players coming down with sore arms as the result of too much off season throwing.

Many teams want to get started early in the year,often many weeks before the start of the season. Too often these practices include too much throwing without monitoring the amount of throws by the players. Players are also not properly warmed up,or worse yet, not stretched out enough. Often, coaches will have the players throwing too hard, too early.Coaches need to teach players how to properly stretch out and warm up early in their careers. An 8 yr old may not need to warm up as much,but they should be taught. As these players get older,it will become very important. They must have this ingrained into them before that age. This is YOUR responsibility as a youth baseball coach.

These players that came down with sore arms all had some type of growth plate injury. Their parents listened to the players complaints and went to doctors for exams.The good thing is that none of these injuries were very serious yet. They were the result of overuse. It began with too much pre season throwing.I know that none of these coaches did this out of negligence. They are all good veteran coaches from successful programs.

One parent, who is a good friend of mine, stated that the specialist they saw, told them this fact. No player at 12 years old should have ANY ARM PAIN. If they do, shut them down right away. Then consult your doctor.It is not worth the young player's health under any conditions.

There many ways to run pre season workouts without throwing the baseball so much. Speed and agility drills are one. Foot work drills are another. Fielding drills without throwing full speed is another. You want your players to come out of spring training fresh and ready to play, not compensating their throwing form because of a sore arm. Remember, these young players may not want to disappoint the coaches or parents by getting hurt,so they may not tell you. You must pay attention to your players. If you see any change in their form ask them if their arm hurts. The earlier it is noticed the quicker it can be treated. Many times all it will need is rest.

This just a reminder to keep a close eye on your young players. They are giving it all they have most of the time.You must give quality leadership and instruction as a youth baseball coach. Do your best to protect their health on and off the field. Please abide by pitch counts for your age groups. Thanks for your time and I hope you and your team are enjoying a fun season. Thanks

Coach Chip.

Chip Lemin has been a promoter of youth baseball since they started using aluminum bats. That's a long time. I have witnessed many good people get into coaching without solid coaching skills and it is not fun for them or the kids.Today's newer coaches are also being shortchanged on sportsmanship, like there is none. Visit my site to sign up for a insightful, informational, free coaching e-course at

Article Source: - Mega Baseball Training and Coaching Store.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tips for Coaching Little League Baseball - Pitching Like A Pro, Top 5 Things You Can Do To Be The Perfect Pitcher.

Tips for Coaching Little League Baseball - Pitching Like A Pro, Top 5 Things You Can Do To Be The Perfect Pitcher.

By: Mike F.

You want to pitch like a pro? Want to make people you've been pitching for 30 years? After many years in the college pitching circuit I've found there are 5 things that every pitcher needs to know. These are 5 important tips, however there are many more. I just feel like these would be the top 5:

1.) How to stay cool before you go out to play a game.
2.) Play as much as you can.
3.) How to tune out the world and focus on they job you need to do.
4.) Covering the hit after you throw a pitch.
5.) Keeping base runners from stealing bases.

Before you even step out onto the field you will get some pregame jitters. It's just normal. It's how you handle those feelings that will determine if you win or lose on the mound. To help you get focused, remember it's normal to feel how you feel. Many pitchers are able to transform that energy into positive results at gametime.

If you love pitching you will want to pitch as much as you can. This is good. Play catch with whoever will play with you. When you throw the ball, aim for different areas on your catcher body. Aim at his left arm area and try to throw it there. Have him move his glove around and try to hit his glove without having to move it an inch.

Focus is key in any successful pitching. Being able to block out the world is a hard task. Thinking too much can be a bad thing. If you're mind is racing about what you're having for dinner, and if your jersey is untucked, it will definitely affect your pitching. Learn to breathe deeply. This will certainly relax you and focus you for that next perfect pitch.

Next on the list of successful pitching is what happens after the pitch. You are a fielder like anyone else after you release the ball. After you pitch square yourself with homeplate and be ready for anything that may come your way. It is very important that you remain balanced during play so that you can throw the ball when necessary.

Keeping base runners on the bag is one of things that can keep pitchers unfocused. Don't let them spook you. Hold the ball, and look at the runner when you can. Let them know that you're not going to lose if they challenge you.

Remember that you're a pitcher, and that pitching perfect takes work, and lots of it. Practice anytime you can and don't be afraid to take a break if you feel yourself getting "burned out." Sometimes time does make they heart grow fonder, even with pitching.

Article Source - Reprint Content

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Allowing Failure In Youth Baseball Drills

Allowing Failure In Youth Baseball Drills

By Nate Barnett

I'm sure you have heard the words, "practice makes perfect". Or, "perfect practice makes perfect". And while I enjoy the utopian view that someday I'll get to coach the perfect team, or the perfect player, it's just not going to happen. Especially not in a sport where failure is a common and frequent occurrence. It is vital that our athletes understand failure and be taught how to employ a strategy to use failure as a positive and not as a negative. It takes some rewiring in the minds of athletes, but it's well worth the time spent.

What I would like to explore here is how failure can be utilized during youth baseball drills and during practice in order to create more fundamentally solid baseball players.

For many youth today failure is terrifying. Afraid of messing up a speech in class, afraid of getting an "F" on a exam, afraid of striking out, and afraid of being rejected in this or that. Failure is everywhere and and it is an integral part of our daily lives. The problem I have with the focus on failure is that it tends to paralyze many from attempting to achieve. Let me be clear when I say that I am not trying to do away with things that cause failure, or to shelter youth from experiencing it, I'm simply stating the lens in which we view failure needs to be cleaned.

Facilitating a new angle on failure during youth baseball drills and practice time is actually quite simple. I'll provide one solid example on one aspect of the game of baseball and let you apply the principle to the rest.

A Tangible Example: Batting Practice

When working with hitters, I will watch closely how they approach batting practice. During BP, all hitters want to do well, and why not, it's their time to shine. However, it usually only takes a few missed pitches, a few ground outs, or a few fly outs before the hitter begins to be frustrated and lose focus. This just compounds the problem.

The problem is not the missed pitches or the poor results, the problem is the perceived meaning of the missed pitches. In other words, the hitter sees the missed opportunities as a sign of inferiority. This feeling compounded upon will create a belief that the athlete himself has failed.

Good hitters approach batting practice mistakes far differently. A few missed pitches, repeated ground outs or fly outs simply communicate to a quality athlete that there is something not quite right with his swing. Instead of focusing on the feeling of personal inferiority, a non-emotional response is used and the mistake is not personalized. Upon completion of batting practice, this same athlete can be found in the batting cage or off to the side working on the specific problem.

The key differences with the above examples is how each hitter dealt with failure. In the first example the hitter allowed the mistakes to be an end result. Personal inferiority. The mentally successful hitter viewed the mistake as simply a PART of his offensive game that needed some help. Two drastically different view points.

I would highly encourage during your youth baseball drills to teach and cultivate the following ideas:

1. Failure is just an indicator of something that needs to change.

2. Failure should never be allowed to be related to the person of the athlete

About the Author

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

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

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

Check Out These Recommended Baseball Coaching Websites:
Baseball Coaching Journal

Baseball Training Equipment Sites:

Online Baseball Stores:
Baseball Dealz

Baseball Blogs for Coaches - Free Training Tips, Coaching Articles and More
Check out these recommended blogs for baseball coaches.
Baseball Coaching and Training Equipment Blog
The Hurricane Hitting Machine - Derek Jeter Series - Training and Coaching Blog
BatAction Machine Baseball Training and Coaching Blog
Batting Cage Information and Know-how: Buying, Building and Using Your New Batting Cage
TeeBall Coaching Drills, Tips and Other Information
Baseball Training Homework For Youth Players Blog
Baseball Parents Guide To Helping a Player Improve Blog
Baseball Coaching, Training and Instruction

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baseball Instruction - He Told You What About Your Swing?

Baseball Instruction - He Told You What About Your Swing?

By Nate Barnett

Baseball instruction is everywhere. Graphs, charts, philosophies, gimmicks, facilities, machines, etc. Sometimes I feel my head may explode from baseball information overload. So where does one turn? How do you sift through all of the baseball instruction and information and find what works for you? I have some help for you.

Baseball instruction is big business. With high speed internet, baseball instruction has moved to a different level. Information and training tip mania is quickly approaching critical mass. Ironic isn't it that you're reading more baseball instruction here and I'm contributing to the issue at hand. In any matter, here is a bit of advice as you go about your own learning, development, and teaching of this great game.

1. Learn to ask questions. If you are receiving baseball instruction in person, get good at asking for explanations. This will accomplish a couple of things. First, it will help the information stick better for you as you begin to truly understand the part of the game you're working on. Secondly, it will help you decipher the baseball intellect of your instructor (assuming you utilize the next step properly).

2. Network. The more baseball connections you make, the greater the ability you have to cross-reference training information, instruction, and methodology from a variety of sources. Without a network of knowledgeable individuals, you must take the advice of your source and assume it is accurate. Most professionals respond quickly to email, I know I do. Especially when I know that I can add value to one's game. That's a good place to start.

3. Learn. Read things on baseball instruction, listen to teaching, attend clinics, get on YouTube, etc. There is no shortage of accessible information out there (especially in the online world), just a shortage of desire to sift through all of it. But if you can sift properly, it will be one of the most invaluable baseball tips you'll learn.

About the Author

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

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

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

Baseball Dealz - Baseball Training Super Store on Ebay

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Do Kids Hate Playing Outfield?

Why Do Kids Hate Playing Outfield?

By Chip Lemin

Yes, as youth baseball coaches we have to overcome an unfair stigma that outfield is where we hide less skilled players during a game. To some extent that is correct. In youth baseball leagues under 10 years old, there fewer balls hit into the outfield. What a player catches a fly ball in the outfield, it is an exciting and uplifting play for the team, more than a routine grounder can provide.
Click here to read this article at

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tips and Strategies For Players on a Baseball Team

By Ruth Cracknell

The pitcher is one of the most important players on a baseball team. Above all, he needs to know when to throw. He should always try to throw when the runner is moving away, or leaning away, from the base. Getting off the mound to back up the bases is another important duty of the pitcher. Read this article to learn the important duties of the pitcher. The pitcher must always remember what a crucial role he plays.

The left-hander, obviously has a great advantage in holding runners on 1st. He is looking directly at the runner and that alone will make the runner cautious. With a runner on 1st, the lefty should have the toe of his pitching foot about even with the instep of his right. He should practice the head-bob and the same trick of throwing from the three different stretch positions.

His best move however is this: he takes the stretch. He looks at the runner. He looks at the plate. He turns his head back to the runner. And-just as he starts to turn the head to the plate again, he steps toward 1st. If the lefty works hard on this move, he will pick more runners off 1st than he ever dreamed possible.

On throws to 2nd base all pitchers should use the "jump" move, turning in the direction of the glove hand. (A right-hander would turn left, for example.) If the runner is safely back or if the shortstop or second baseman fails to cover don't throw the ball. (No balk on feint to 2nd.)

One more thing: if the pitcher is standing on the mound and suddenly sees the runner break, he should 'back-off'-take his pitching foot off the rubber, and move it toward 2nd base. When a runner is stranded between the bases, the pitcher (or any fielder) should charge the runner, favoring the base ahead of the runner. With runners on 3rd base, the pitcher may use either the stretch or full windup. If he uses the full windup, he should shorten the arm swing and quicken the move. He must never pump more than once!

Backing Up The Bases

As one of the most important players in a baseball team, the pitcher has the duty of getting off the mound to back up the bases. The pitcher backs up the third baseman on a single with a runner on 1st, the catcher on a single with a runner on 2nd. If both 1st and 2nd are occupied and the batter singles, the pitcher should hustle to a point off the left field foul line that is half way between 3rd and home. He can then back up 3rd or home, depending on where the play develops.

But like going to his left on balls hit to his left, the pitcher must start immediately. Any time a pitched ball gets by the catcher with runners on the bases, the pitcher should quickly cover home plate! In covering the plate, though, he ought to be careful of where he puts his feet. With his back to the runner, it would be foolhardy to stand in the base path. It's best to leave one side of the base open, with the feet straddling the other and the body partly turned to the open side.

If the ball is to the pitchers right, he should leave the right corner open; if to the left, leave the left corner open.

Beware the $1,000,000 Arm and 10¢ Head

A boy may have a strong arm and know all the mechanics of pitching, but if he doesn't think about the hitters weaknesses and strengths, he will become nothing more than a "thrower" and will not help his team much.

A pitcher, even more than a catcher or manager, will know which of his deliveries the batter can or cannot hit. That is, if he studies the hitter constantly. The younger the hitters are, the more faults they have. Thus the young pitcher has a great advantage if he thinks about the hitters.

Because he is one of the crucial players in a baseball team, the pitcher must always remember his important duties.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Baseball Fielding Technique and Fundamentals

By Ruth Cracknell

Good fielding technique is crucial for baseball players. In this article you will find drills and tips to help develop fine fielders.

"Show The Button"

For all-around fielding practice on ground balls, managers will find this to be a good outdoor drill:
put a boy at normal infield depth. Put a second boy 20 feet behind him to back up. Off to the left of the fielder, at about 15 feet, place a third boy. Have a fourth boy stand next to the hitter, but also to the fielder's left, to feed balls to the hitter.

Get six or a dozen baseballs and constantly hit to the right and left of the fielder. Have the fielder put his right hand in his back pocket and field the ball with glove only. And, still with the glove hand, instruct him to shovel the ball to the boy waiting at his left.

This boy tosses to the one assisting the coach. After several hits to either side, the fielder takes the back-up position, the others rotate clockwise.

The coach wants to compliment when compliments are in order, correct defects when they appear. He should keep telling the fielder to "show the button of your cap ... show the button of your cap." If the coach sees the button, which is right on top of the head, he can be sure that the fielder is watching the ball go in the glove. On the other hand, if he sees the letter just above the peak of the cap, he knows the boy has his head "up". "Don't show the letter," he should say. "Show that button!"

Boys enjoy this drill and it serves to develop the important habit of keeping the glove low and the eyes on the ball.

Fly Chasing

When chasing a fly, fielders should try to get under the ball as quickly as possible and wait for it to descend. Amateur players shouldn't attempt to catch the fly ball on the run if it isn't necessary. Every player should get in the habit of adjusting the body to throwing position after every catch-whether during practice or a game.


Throwing, like batting, gives the beginner a good deal of trouble, despite the theory that boys throw "naturally." To get a youngster to start and continue this aspect of his fielding technique correctly, a manager might instruct him as follows:

Draw a line on the ground about three feet long, with one end pointed at the target. Straddle the line at the opposite end with the feet about six inches apart. Raise the elbows sideways in relaxed fashion until they are at shoulder-height. (Following movements are for right hand throwers, opposite for left.)

Twist the body right, take a normal step forward with the left foot, bringing it down to the left of the line. As the left foot strikes the ground, sharply twist hips and shoulders to the left. Pick up the right foot and bring it down near the left. Return to the original position, then repeat several times.

To work in the movement of the throwing arm, the manager can add these instructions:

raise the throwing elbow sideward to shoulder height. Raise the hand to a position directly above it, with palm facing target. Bend wrist and hand back as far as they will go. Pull the elbow back as far as it will go. Twist the body toward the throwing hand slightly. Raise the left hand and elbow to shoulder height. Now-start the step, stretch the left hand toward the target; bring the throwing arm forward, elbow leading.

The elbow should be about opposite the throwing shoulder as the front foot hits the ground. As the striding foot hits, the upper torso twists left, the throwing hand snaps forward and down. Put all the movements together and practice them until the throw becomes easy and rhythmic. If the ball does not strike the target at the right height, it is being released too soon, or too late.

Remember practice is the key to developing a great fielding technique.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The 30 Cardinal Sins of a Baseball Pitcher

Baseball Pitching Know-How
The 30 Cardinal Sins of a Baseball Pitcher

Every baseball team's fortune lies in the hands or the "arm" of the pitcher on the mound. This can be said for pitching at every level from Little League Baseball to High School Baseball to College Baseball and to Major League Baseball. As I was watching the College World Series on ESPN last June, I noticed that every pitcher did the little things perfect. Every pitcher had basically the same approach to the game. Every college baseball pitcher in Omaha tried to get ahead of the batters, pound the strike zone with good pitches, and let their defense make plays behind them.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

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