BaseballParentGuide.com - Official Blog

Welcome to the official blog of the Baseball Parent Guide. Our free baseball articles and daily post provide baseball parents with valuable drills and tips to help improve your home, team and backyard baseball practice. Our archive has hundreds of informative and useful articles and posts related to all aspects of baseball training, practice and skill development. Make sure to save this site to your favorites for future visits. Happy Hitting and Good Luck to Your Team!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Are You A Side-Line Coach



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Are You A Side-Line Coach
by: Charles French

With spring in the air, flower’s and baseball are in full bloom. As the father of a nine-year old son, each day is spent perfecting the art of baseball. This includes making that perfect pitch to first base, snagging those ground balls and driving those hits when we’re in the batters box. Oh, did I say we, sorry, I meant, when my son is in the batters box.

My son and I haven’t quit practicing baseball since last year. You see, he loves baseball and as many young players, has dreams of growing up to play Major League Baseball. For this reason, I must make sure he’s doing everything right, avoiding any mistakes humanly possible, or should I?

Before my son started playing baseball, we would often go to the ballpark and watch other kids practice and play. One thing I found amusing and often disturbing was parent involvement and sideline coaching to the point of disrupting the entire game. To my dismay, I vowed to never be this sort of parent.

Oh, how we tend to forget those famous words, "I’ll never be that kind of parent". It usually starts out with a simple shout from the stands "pay attention" or "get your head in the game" and then before you know it, your standing on the side, shouting and pointing out every mistake your child makes. Thankfully, I haven’t reached this point, although it has been brought to my attention that my scorning frowns and sideline presence are quite distracting.

It is so important for parents to remember, these are youth sports. These are our children and they need our support and encouragement. We as parents have to let our children have fun and learn at their own pace. My son brought this to my attention when he said "dad, I know when I mess up but it makes me play worse when you look like your mad at me".

Sports play a very important role in teaching children how to function in society and being able to work as a team. As parents support and encourage your children to play sports. Have fun!

About The Author

Charles & Lisa French are active members of the Sports Developement Community. Feel free to contact us and visit our site on Decorating Country Home.
http://www.decorating-country-home.com
burtf51@bellsouth.net

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Batting Lessons Are Not Cheap - Are You Listening Mom and Dad?


Batting Lessons Are Not Cheap - Are You Listening Mom and Dad?
By Tom Read

Is It Time For Hitting Lessons?

Your son is starting to play competitive baseball. Or he is now done with tee ball and coaches pitch and moving up to kid pitch. Or maybe he has played a few years of kid pitch and now the pitchers are throwing a little harder. Whatever your situation, you know it is time for some hitting lessons.

How Much Do They Cost?

Everything has a cost associated with it. Around where I live the going rate for individual lessons is $50 for a half hour. A package of seven lessons is $300. A group rate for 5 players together is $250 an hour. And these instructors are busy. Most kids only need a few lessons to understand the batting techniques the instructors are teaching. But kids have short memories, and the only way to get better is to practice with the proper batting mechanics. This means continuous lessons, and continuous cost.

Will The Coach Of The Team Help?

Maybe you are thinking the coaches on the team will work with your son. Most little league teams have between eleven to fifteen players. They practice two or three times a week. Not alot of individual time for each player. And these practices are usually for fielding and base running. Maybe the team goes to the batting cages on Saturday morning. Again, how much time does one player out of fifteen get at these practices.

Who Is The Best Instructor For My Son?

You are the best teacher for your son. You can work with him every night or every weekend. You can watch and remember his every at bat during a game. To you he is the most important player on the team, and the one you watch most closely. You already have the high cost of bats, gloves, uniforms, the team, and more. Why not save a lot of money and learn some hitting tips and get your son out in the back yard. Or take him to the cages where he will get one on one training from you. When he gets that big hit to win the game, you will feel even more proud, and you will have more money in your pocket.

But I Know Little About Hitting Techniques
That is ok. All of us know the game of baseball, the rules and basic strategies, but few of us know the finer details of hitting, fielding or pitching. But many of the experts will share their tips. The internet is a great place to find all the information you need. Information that you learn and then teach to your son. You are going to save a lot of money, and you will get to spend some real quality time with your son. Get started.

One of the websites I recommend is http://hittingsystem.info

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


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Monday, March 29, 2010

Wiffle Ball Pitching Machines, Get Training and Just Pure Fun


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Wiffle Ball Pitching Machines, Get Training and Just Pure Fun
By James Quick

The balls are safe to use with small children and you can start training them to be a future baseball or softball star with a wiffle ball pitching machine. Using a machine will give anyone great practice on both batting and catching. They are just like regular pitching machines that throw a variety of different balls like curve balls and fast balls. You can be training baseball players of tomorrow without any worry of serious injury.

These machines are safer to use than a softball or baseball machine. The balls are smaller and very lightweight having holes in them. If one of the balls hits a child it will do little damage even if it being pitched by the machine. Other machines can pitch balls at 50 miles per hour or more and can cause some serious damage if it comes in contact with a child's head. The machine pitches fast balls but because the ball is so light it will not cause damage.

With a pitching machine kids can learn how to hit all types of balls that they would encounter in a regular game. It is easy to translate from a wiffle ball to a soft ball. Curve balls can come from the right or the left and you can set the machine lower for the height of a smaller child. Most machines come with a variable speed control too.

One of the best things about the wiffle pitching machine is that you can take it indoors, like a gym and not have to worry if you will break anything. Set the speed for very low and practice catching. A wiffle ball bat is smaller and light weight so you will not have to worry if anyone gets hit with the bat either. All in all with wiffle ball pitching machines you can train the baseball stars of the future in a safe and easy way.

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

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Baseball Hitting Tips - How to Recognize a Curve Ball Quickly!



Baseball Hitting Tips - How to Recognize a Curve Ball Quickly!
By Larry Cicchiello

Recognizing a curve ball quickly is not an easy thing to do. Hitting a well located curve is not easy either.That's why you will hear the expression, "he's a good fastball hitter" ten times for every one time you will hear, "he's a good curve ball hitter." I'm well aware that part of that is because there are many more fastballs being thrown, so of course more fastballs will be hit harder. But I'm also well aware that the movement on the curve makes baseball hitting much more difficult and the slower speed disrupts timing. The quicker you can recognize that it's the curve that the pitcher is throwing, the better chance you will have of hitting it well. Like we've said many times, a fraction of a second is an eternity when it comes to baseball hitting and it most certainly applies here. That's why pitchers who have "late breaking" pitches are usually very successful, because the batter does not realize it is a breaking ball until it's a fraction of a second too late.

Ways to Recognize the Curve Ball Quickly:


Watch the release point of the pitcher very closely. The pitcher's release point may be slightly different from the fastball point of release.
Watch the trajectory of the ball as soon as it's released by the pitcher. It could very well have a slight arc to it that is not present on the fast ball.
Watch the pitcher's arm angle. There's a strong possibility that with the fastball, the pitcher may come almost directly overhand and with the curve he may drop down a little bit. This happens very often because many pitchers are in love with horizontal movement. (Personally, I'm in love with downward movement.)
Practice watching as many curve balls as possible.

Let's say you play three times a week and get about ten at bats per week. Out of those ten at bats, you see about one curve per at bat, which is about ten per week. I strongly suggest that to improve at recognizing a curve quicker, you must see more than ten per week. If you are serious about baseball hitting and having better at bats against the curve ball, here is what I highly recommend you do.

1. Whenever you have batting practice with your team, ask your pitcher to mix in some curve balls during your last ten or twelve swings.

2. If one of your pitchers is pitching batting practice, stand behind the backstop and practice trying to recognize his curve ball as quickly as possible.

3. If one of your pitchers is throwing a "bull pen," go stand nearby and watch him closely. Try to read the curve as quickly as you can.

If you're serious about your baseball hitting, you will find the time to do these things. By doing the things listed above, you may very well be seeing 50 curve balls per week instead of only 10 per week. I'm well aware that it's not as efficient as if you were up there hitting in the batter's box but it will still improve your recognition of the curve. How can it not help? It has to to help you.

Hitting the Curve Ball:


Quick hands are an essential part of successful baseball hitting. If your hands are quick, you can "stay back" longer. By staying back and not over committing, this is extremely useful when attempting to hit the curve ball. There is much less of a chance you will be fooled by it and be off balance and too far out in front. There is no substitute for having quick hands.
"Hit it where it's pitched." An old cliche but a tough low and away curve ball with very good downward movement is not an easy pitch to hit. I highly recommend hitting it to the opposite field. Very few well located low and away curve balls are pulled by a batter and hit well.Very few.

Larry Cicchiello is the author of "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." His very user friendly eBooks cover 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY players, coaches or parents who want to help their child improve will be fully equipped! Some FREE tips are available at http://www.LarryBaseball.com/product/all

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

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

BaseballCoachingDigest.com has the articles that you are looking for!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pitching Burnout in Baseball In Youth Baseball


Pitching Burnout in Baseball In Youth Baseball
By Marty Schupak

At one time or another, a pitcher can have a tired or stale arm. This can happen on the youth level just as it happens on the professional level.

In youth baseball, pitchers are even more susceptible, especially during All-Star time if pitching rules are relaxed and pitchers are able to pitch more innings. There are a number of things a manager and parents can do during the season so as to not burn out, or even possibly injure a pitcher's arm.

Loosening up is very important before a pitcher throws one pitch. The expression "warm up to pitch, don't pitch to warm up" is very relevant. For example, if you have ever noticed the great relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera. When he is called on to pitch, he goes through a stretching and loosening up routine for five or ten minutes before he even picks up a ball.

During the regular season, managers, coaches and even parents should pay more attention to a player's pitch count rather than the number of innings pitched. Every player is different, but the manager should use some sort of guideline to determine how many pitches are enough for a particular player.

A few years ago the American Sports Medicine Institute did a study sending surveys to orthopedic surgeons and coaches around the country. They recommended for 11-12 year-old pitchers a maximum of 68 pitches with two days recovery. This might seem very conservative. The study also stated that conditioning of the arm and entire body can reduce injury.

Another issue facing the youth baseball pitcher is dual leagues, or playing for his school and an outside league. It is always a good idea for the manager to make contact with the school coach. Let him know that you understand that the school team is the priority and that you want to be aware of how much the player is pitching. Responsible school coaches should be able to give you the amount of innings and pitch count for a player throughout the season.

Baseball seasons are increasing in length at the youth league level. All-Star games and the popularity of fall baseball all add up. There is potential for pitchers to do harm to their arms. Loosening up and stretching are a must. It is up to the manager, coaches, and parents to look out for the long-term interest in their player, rather than overpitching him to win one particular game.

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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.

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

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Or Two Piece Baseball Bat?

One Or Two Piece Baseball Bat?

By R. Nelson

It used to be simple; a bat was one piece of wood, aluminum or composite. How things have changed! Two-piece bats are now extremely popular and seem to be the trend for the foreseeable future.

Easton, Demarini and Nike have long championed the two-piece design. Demarini and Nike have held fast to this philosophy while Easton has branched out to make bats in almost all designs in an effort to appeal to everyone. They say the major benefit of a two piece bat is that it gives more flex to the barrel at the point of contact and, therefore, increases the trampoline effect. This should not be confused with handle flex (or whip action). Handle flex or whip action is supposed to take place before the point of contact with the ball, and the trampoline effect at the point of contact.

The one-piece bat argument long championed by Louisville and recently COMbat. Louisville claims their Triton and H2 are "bonded" together to act more like a true one-piece bat. They say the two-piece design results in weakness at the joint of the handle and barrel thereby reducing the trampoline effect or spring back. They're essentially saying that it provides very little resistance and therefore will not spring back as quick and hard as a one-piece design.

Before we go any farther, let's understand what trample effect actual means in the scientific world. The trampoline effect refers to pronounced elasticity in the impacting object (baseball bat, tennis racquet, golf club, etc.) such that it acts like a trampoline. It is also referred to as the spring-like effect because of the degree to which the object depresses, then springs back into shape when striking a ball. Here are the scientific specifics for a baseball bat:


The trampoline effect in baseball refers to the elasticity of a bat upon impact with a baseball.
When a ball hits a wood bat, it compresses to nearly half its original diameter, losing up to 75% of its initial energy to internal friction forces.
However, in a hollow bat such as an aluminum or composite bat, the bat barrel compresses somewhat like a spring. This means that the ball is not compressed as much and loses less energy to internal friction forces.
Furthermore, most of the energy temporarily stored in the bat is returned to the ball in an aluminum or composite bat. The energy which is lost in the bat compression is much smaller than that lost without compression.
So there is absolutely no doubt that the barrel flexes during contact and does create a trampoline effect. The real question is does a two-piece bat create more, less or the same barrel flex/trampoline effect than a one-piece bat made from the same material? And if so, does this increase batted-ball speed?

This is where the science gets murky because there doesn't seem to be any scientific data supporting or debunking claims that a two-piece bat produces more trampoline effect than a one-piece bat (or vice versa). Will someone please call Mythbusters!

So what I've done is try to look at this logically. My conclusion is that a two-piece bat probably increases the trampoline effect due to its hinge at the connection point. But, the increase is probably negligible and therefore won't make much of a difference. I've also look at what the top players are using to see if there is a preference. Most players on college baseball teams swinging Easton bats overwhelmingly choose the two-piece bats to their one-piece siblings. They'll usually choose the Stealth Speed over the Synergy Speed and the SV12 over the V12. They also tend to choose the stiff handle design of those bats. In the end, you're fine with either a one or two-piece bat as I believe they are extremely close in performance.

First decide what you want to spend, the material that's best for you, whether you prefer an end-loaded or balanced bat, a one or two-piece model and then the handle design.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=R._Nelson

Monday, March 22, 2010

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Batting Average - How to Increase It



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Batting Average - How to Increase It
By Bryan Ciconte

So you want to learn how to raise your batting average as a hitter. Well you came to the right article. I will keep it short, simple and to the point. I will cover a few tips and topics to raise your average 50-100 points.

Tip 1) Develop a game plan. So what do I mean by developing a game plan. I want you to develop an approach that you use every single time you step up to the plate. A good approach would consist of understanding how to count hit. By count hitting you will be able to anticipate what type of pitch you may see roughly 80% of the time.

Advantage Counts: 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, 3-0
Approach: In these counts your goal is simple, look for something you can hit hard. If the pitcher throws you a pitch in an area that is not in your hot zone, don't swing. Do not swing at off-speed pitches during these counts, look for fastballs. Reality is if the pitcher throws an off-speed pitch during these counts more often than not it's going to be a ball and put you in a greater advantage. Of course there are exceptions. The only time you may want to swing at an off-speed pitch during this count is if relates to one of your strengths or the pattern percentages anticipate one.

Neutral Counts: 1-1, 2-1, 3-2
Approach 1: In these counts neither the hitter nor pitcher has an advantage. As I talked about earlier this is where having a good game plan is going to pay off. In these counts you should be able to anticipate what you may see. So trust your percentages and instinct in these counts.

Approach 2: If you are comfortable in hitting with 2 strikes you can treat these counts as an advantage count, hitting to your strengths. Both approaches are great, but which one you choose is your personal preference.

Defensive Counts: 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, 2-2
Approach: This is where you need to develop your 2 strike approach. In these counts the pitcher has you at his mercy leaving you with about a 20% chance of getting a hit. Your goal here is to battle at the plate by putting the ball in play or working the count neutral. A good mental approach for hitting with 2 strikes is thinking about hitting a pitch which speed is between the pitchers fastball and off-speed stuff. By doing so, your reactions will take over and adjust to the movement or lack of movement of the pitch. A good physical approach would consist of shortening your swing or choking-up on the bat.

These are just a few ideas on how to hit in an advantage, neutral, or defensive count. Throughout your career as a hitter you may find something else that works for you.

Tip 2) If your a good bunter and have speed utilze it, By either showing bunt or by bunting, more often than not you will put the 3rd of 1st basemen in a position that will create more holes in the infield creating a better chance for getting a hit.

Tip 3) Hit to your strengths not your weaknesses. Understand that by doing so you will enable yourself to be more confident at the plate and be more aggressive. Leave your weaknesses at practice.

I hope the few tips helped improve your game!

Thanks and good luck Bryan @ [http://www.hittingmadesimple.com Hitting Made Simple]

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

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

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How to Prevent a Hitting Slump - Eleven Baseball Hitting Tips For Players, Parents and Coaches

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How to Prevent a Hitting Slump - Eleven Baseball Hitting Tips For Players, Parents and Coaches
By Jay Granat

Last week, I got a call from a baseball player who plays the outfield for a Triple A team connected with a major league club. The man was concerned because he has been in a hitting slump on and off for several seasons. He wants to make it to the major leagues and he feels that time is running out on him.

Yesterday, I got a call from a mother of a college player who is also stuck in a slump. This parent happened to be a psychiatrist. Like many parents who call me for help, this worried mother said, "My son has a beautiful swing. He works with a top hitting coach. He is great in the cage, but terrible once the game starts."

This concerned and worried mother had even tried medication to help her son perform better at the plate.

Baseball players frequently call me when they are stuck in a slump. Fortunately, over the years, I have
developed many techniques, strategies and tools for breaking slumps.

However, it is useful if players can learn how to start the season with a positive and effective mental approach to hitting. Here are a few tips to help you get your baseball season off to a good start:

1. Learn the strike zone very well and swing at strikes.
2. Know what kind of pitch you like to hit.
3. Be aware of the count and the game situation.
4. Train your mind to think of nothing or have just one thought at the plate.
5. Practice relaxation techniques.
6. Learn how to stay calm, focused, confident and relaxed at the plate.
7. Learn how to stay in the present and the here and now. The most important
pitch and swing are the next ones.
8. Watch the pitcher carefully from the dugout.
9. Try to hit the ball into the gaps. You will naturally pull some of these for homers.
10. Keep accurate records on all of the pitchers who you face. Record what they threw, what you did and what you learned about hitting against them in the past. This is extra work, but these data will pay big dividends for you.
11. Once your swing is mechanically sound, you need to master the mental aspects of hitting.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com

He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New York Times, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. His books include Zone Tennis and Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. He was recently featured in a documentary film on long distance running. Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for three newspapers.

His new program for baseball hitters 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and a free sport psychology book is available at http://www.stayinthezone.com/shop-stay-in-the-zone.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=21

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

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Teaching Young Hitters to Hit Like Major League Players


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Teaching Young Hitters to Hit Like Major League Players
By Jack Perconte

Just as when I played in the major leagues, there are many great major league hitters playing now. Of course, there are a few that stand out and I never turn the channel when they are up to bat. When I talk to young hitters, these are the current players I often bring up, admire and advise young players to try to emulate:

1. Derek

2. Youk

3. Ichiro

4. Albert

5. Joe (Mauer - You probably knew that but Joe is so plain I figured I would make sure)

All household names for baseball fans of course. My favorite major league hitters are probably not much different than many fan favorites. I enjoy watching these guys for all the same reasons.

First, they all have their individual style.

Second, they are all fundamentally sound.

Third, they are tough to strike out but aggressive at the same time - rarely going out of the strike zone for a pitch.

Fourth, they make adjustments from at-bat to at-bat.

Fifth, they know the game situation and hit accordingly.

Good hitters like these know what is needed depending on the game situation. When they just need to get on base, they take the walk. When an RBI is needed, they will take the single and when a long ball is needed they will look for a pitch they can drive out of the park. The result of all this is that they have quality at-bats every time.

Of course, not many youth ball players will develop the great hitting skills of these major league players but that does not mean coaches should not teach the attributes of these great stars. Good coaches should allow hitters to have their own style as long as it allows for and includes good hitting fundamentals. They should teach hitters to be aggressive and patient at the same time and they can teach them the strategies of the game so they will know what is needed at a particular time in a game. Additionally, good coaches can teach players how to analyze the opposing team pitcher so they learn what adjustments may be necessary as the game goes on. Here are a few further points that follow up on these points:

1. Good coaches know the difference between style and fundamentals. Style is unique to the individual and involves the players' initial set-up.

2. Fundamentals begin with hitter's stride which must bring them to the correct launch position and the hitter's first move of the swing.

3. Teaching kids to learn and adhere to the strike zone is a never ending process that coaches should constantly be preaching to their players.

4. Having players study the opposing teams' pitcher's tendencies is another job of the coach and one that will pay off with quality at-bats and more wins.

5. Helping kids understand game strategy and game situations is another teaching aspect of good coaches. Players will begin to anticipate game situation behavior which makes them more mentally prepared.

Finally, each ball player learns at a different pace but with constant coaching reinforcement, all players have the opportunity to become great students of the game. After all, there is more to the game than just being able to run, hit and throw.

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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Friday, March 12, 2010

When and Why a Player Should Play Travel Baseball


When and Why a Player Should Play Travel Baseball
By Jack Perconte

Whether a child should play travel baseball and at what age they should begin playing travel is often a tough call for parents. Deciding to go the travel baseball route too early in a player's career can be detrimental to their desire to continue playing baseball in subsequent years. When anyone of the key factors listed below are missing, it may lead to unhappy ball players. Whereas, not playing travel soon enough can feel like a year wasted, it is usually not so serious because a player can try out the following year for travel ball. I believe a player's talent will come through in the end whether they play travel baseball or not. But when a child seems to be bored or not challenged at the in-house recreational league, it is time to consider playing travel baseball. Every travel team and community is different, but generally, travel baseball provides a higher level and more interested player. Also, baseball players who are around good players and are challenged correctly have the opportunity to improve their skills at a quicker rate.

There are four key things that can help determine when and whether a kid should play travel baseball. The key things are listed in my order of prominence but the importance of each factor is a little different for each family, based on their particular situation.

1. Interest level - parents should talk to their child about travel ball and observe their actions when playing baseball to judge weather a child appears to have the added interest that travel ball requires. The decision to play should not be because the parent wants them to play.

2. Skill level - putting a player in a level they are not ready for is the quickest way to have them want to discontinue playing. Parents should check out travel ball player's skill level before tryouts, when possible. Asking for an outside opinion about their child's skill level from their previous season's coach may be helpful. Even having a player try out for a team - when they are obviously not ready for that level of play - can hurt a child's self-esteem and desire.

3. The coach - in my opinion, having a child play for a knowledgeable, well-respected coach is priceless. When parents hear of such a coach they should look into the possibility of their son playing for his team. Good coaches help players even beyond the playing field and serve as positive role models for kids.

4. Time commitment - meeting the demands of much more playing can be tough to balance while having kids stay involved in other activities, including non-sport related ones. It is never a good idea to have every hour of a kid's day and week scheduled, providing no free time for kids to just "hang out" with friends and family. Playing travel ball with more than one sport, when their seasons overlap, can cause this type of over-scheduling.

Of course, there are many other factors that may go into the decision to play travel baseball. Among those, a family's financial situation as well as the effect on other family members must be considered.

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, March 11, 2010

Baseball Hitting Begins With Proper Balance


Baseball Parent Guide - Helping Parents Help Their Players Improve

By Jack D. Elliott

Hitting a home run may be the single most exciting thing about Baseball Hitting. The thrill of being able to touch them all is something that all players should get to experience. One thing that can help this become a reality, is having a proper stance at the plate.

Proper weight distribution is very important in Baseball Hitting because it allows the hitter to have more control at the plate. With good balance, a hitter can consistently use all his power to hit the baseball. Also, good balance allows the hitter to recover from being fooled by an off-speed pitch and either foul off the pitch or hit it to the opposite field.

One little known technique to help Baseball Hitting is to develop your body balance by using Tai Chi principles. For those who do not know, Tai Chi is a martial arts that focuses on balance and controlling one's center of gravity. A number of major league baseball players use Tai Chi drills to improve their baseball hitting stance.

One such exercise is as follows:


Stand upright and lift your right leg off the ground where it is perpendicular to the body. (It is okay if the leg is bent).
Place you hands together in a prayer position roughly three inches from your chest.
Hold this position for 1 minute and 30 seconds by trying to stay completely upright.
Then repeat steps 1-3 with your other leg.

As you practice this technique, try to get to the point where you can hold this position for a number of minutes. To make this exercise even more of a challenge, close your eyes during this exercise and move your hands above your head. (The hands should still remain touching each other in this position). This will require you to have even greater control and more concentration. In addition, this training is also very good for improving your baseball pitching motion.

The end result of this exercise will be improved balance for your Baseball Hitting. With an improved stance, you just might be closing in on putting one in the cheap seats.

Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here: http://www.baseballtrainingtechniques.com or More Baseball Training Tips

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_D._Elliott

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - the Top 10 Worst Youth Baseball Coaching Excuses of All Time

Baseball Coaching Digest - the Top 10 Worst Youth Baseball Coaching Excuses of All Time
By: Nick Dixon

If you coach baseball, you are going to hear your share of excuses from other coaches. If you are like me and most coaches, you absolutely hate to hear anyone make an excuse for bad behavior or poor performance. But, it really make me furious when I hear a coach make an excuse. Coaches are in the job of teaching kids to be accountable and responsible. They should never try to justify a mistake or poor team performance by making an excuse.

Most coaches refuse to make excuses. They understand that behavior and actions have consequences. However, there is that small percentage of coaches that are always ready with a reason or excuse for poor team performance.

The Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal surveyed baseball coaches. One of the questions was "What was the worst excuse you ever heard from a coach?"

Here are the top 10 worst coaches excuses of all time:

#10..."I forgot how many outs there were. The umpire should have told me"

#9...."They are only kids... they don not know any better. They are not a very smart bunch."

#8...."You should give up your practice time because I scheduled a game on this field without consulting the field schedule because I helped found this league."

#7...."I Can not get my short stop to come to practice. He has not practiced in 2 weeks." (shortstop started the game and made several crucial errors)

#6...."That kid is not coachable. He knows it all at the age of 12." (When talking of a kid)

#5...."I was too busy talking to my wife to watch that play." (coach missed a great defensive play by his third baseman)

#4...."I was riding around town and I did not know what time it was." (assistant coach missed a scheduled practice)

#3...."I thought the game was canceled because of the rain." (Assistant coach arrived late for the game because he assumed that the game was rained out - it rained at his home, but not at the field.)

#2(tie)...."We do not play good in early games" (youth coach after losing a Saturday morning game)

#2(tie)...."We do not play good in late games" (youth coach after losing a Saturday late night game)

#1(tie)...."I was talking on my cell phone."(Coach of the batting team did not get into the third base coaching box until his team had two outs in the inning)

#1(tie)...."I was texting my wife" (Coach failed to shake hands with the opposing coaches after the game.)

I know that you feel like I do. I feel that many of these guys are wasting their time attempting to coach youth baseball. If their excuses are true indications of their level of commitment and dedication, they need do what is best for the team and resign.

Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

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

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

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What to Look For in a Batting Helmet


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Article Title:
What to Look For in a Batting Helmet
By Nancy Kelsey Smith

In the game of baseball, the need for a good batting helmet cannot be overstated. In Little League and pick up games among young people, errant balls are common place. Many injuries occur to young people who play without using the proper equipment. Getting hit on any part of the body is not a pleasant experience, however being struck by an object as hard as a baseball which is traveling at a significant speed can be much more than unpleasant. It can be deadly. For this reason, it is essential to find a helmet that has been designed for optimum protection.

Devastating injuries have occurred in the professional leagues that have precipitated the development of a new design in helmets. This new design features additional padding and other protective features. Not all players are thrilled with the prospect of sacrificing comfort and style in favor of wearing the more advanced designs which they feel are too big and awkward looking and feeling. The exception would be those players who have previously sustained injury. For the most part, these players are more than willing to wear the new helmets in an effort to guard against any further injury which might be career ending or even life threatening. This is smart thinking on their part because experts claim that if someone is hit on the head without protection by a ball that is traveling even 32 miles per hour (which is one third the speed of most professionally thrown balls), it will always result in a fracture.

The warnings are quite clear. If you are going to play baseball, get yourself a helmet that will offer adequate protection. Become educated on the elements of a good helmet.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com, an online retailer specializing in volleyball nets and basketball backboards.

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

Monday, March 8, 2010

Double Play Danger - Sliding at Second Base During a Double Play


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Article Title: Double Play Danger - Sliding at Second Base During a Double Play
By Mike Posey

I was recently watching a baseball game on TV between the Cardinals and Cubs. The Cardinal pitcher was running at first base with one out in the inning. A ground ball was hit to the second basemen in what looked like an easy 4-6-3 inning ending double play. But the throw from the short stop struck the runner in the hand of the pitcher as he was sliding into second base.

At first glance it looked like an inadvertent throw, but after the replay was shown several times it was evident that the pitcher extended his arm upwards with his palm out in an attempt to distract the throw. I was amazed at two things. First, that this occurred at the major league level and exposed the pitcher to injury. Second, that for some reason it was never called interference and ruled a double play by the umpires. In full speed it must have been hard to tell if the pitcher had his hand up on purpose or not.

I began to think about the hard slide at second base and how it's not taught properly at the youth level. There also is confusion about when interference occurs during the slide at second base. Youth players should be taught how to break up the double play avoiding injury or interference.

At the youth level the rule is simple. The runner must slide directly into the base. Sliding away from the base towards the infielder will result in interference and an automatic double play. Also, during the slide the runner can not interfere with the fielder throwing the ball by raising their hands or by popping up at the end of the slide. Doing this will also result in interference and the out at first is awarded regardless of the outcome of the throw.

Many coaches and umpires interpret this rule at the youth level to also mean no contact can occur. If the middle infielder turning the double play is in the middle of the bag when the slide is made there will be contact. A runner needs to slide hard directly into the base and expect the fielder to avoid the sliding runner by moving away from the bag or jumping over the runner.

At the college and professional level a little more flexibility is given in sliding away from the bag. Umpires will usually allow the runner to slide towards the fielder as long as the runner can reach the second base bag with their outstretched hand.

Youth coaches should not be afraid to teach the hard slide at second base. Teach your players to avoid raising their cleats up and to slide hard directly into the bag with their hands down.

Mike Posey "CP"
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Posey

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The Categories they have are: BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

Friday, March 5, 2010

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Little League Digest - Proper Baseball Swing Mechanics and the "Belly Button" Rule of Hip Turn


Little League Digest - Proper Baseball Swing Mechanics and the "Belly Button" Rule of Hip Turn
By Nick Dixon

Little league Digest: Baseball Batting Coaching Tips: Teaching Hip Turn Mechanics and Using the "Belly Button" Rule to Improve Baseball Swing Quality

The hips play an important part in the baseball swing process. The turn of the hips helps to generate power and bat speed. There are several important coaching points about the involvement of the hips in the swing. The "B B" rule is one good way to teach young players the degree of hip turn on various pitch locations. This article presents several coaching points and explains the "B B" rule.

Here are 10 Coaching Points related to Hip Movement Mechanics:

1. The degree of hip movement is determined by the location of the pitch.

2. The hips must turn more when hitting an inside pitch.

3. The hips will turn less when hitting a pitch away.

4. The hips should not move before the hands and bat.

5. To free the hips, the back foot must spin, rotate or turn onto the toe.

6. The hips follow the barrel. The hips should open behind the barrel, not before it.

7. Premature front side or hip movement will cause a batter to pull the head and to pull of pitches.

8. The correct hip movement is a spin. Lunging or sliding the hips forward is not acceptable.

9. The hip movement should be a thrust or fast rotation. The faster the rotation of the hips, the faster the bats speed.

10. The degree of hip rotation can be taught by teaching the "Belly Button" rule as explained below.

The "Belly Button Rule" is explained as the following:

The Belly Button should follow the barrel of the bat through the baseball swing process. The location of a pitch determines hip turn. The degree of hip turn determines where the belly button is pointing when the batter finishes the baseball swing. The belly button should always finish in a position that points toward the direction in which the baseball was hit.

For example, when a ball is hit to the opposite field, the batters "Button" should point or be directed toward the opposite field when the swing is completed. If a batter pulls an inside pitch, the belly button should follow the ball and point toward the direction in which the ball was hit.

Coaching Point: For right and left handed batters, if the ball is hit through the box, up the middle, the belly button should "shine" or point toward second base when the swing is complete. For right handed batter, is a ball is pulled, the belly button should finish pointing toward third base. If a right handed batter hits the baseball down the right field line, the button should point toward first base when the swing is completed. If a left handed batter pulls the baseball, the hips should turn completely and the button should finish pointing at first base. If a left handed batter hits the ball to left field, the hips should turn less and the belly button should finish the swing pointing the 5-6 hole or between 3rd and 2nd base.

I hope that you found this article to be informative and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read it. I wish you and your team good luck this season! Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

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

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

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Learning to Play Baseball

Learning to Play Baseball
By Connor R Sullivan

When learning to play baseball, most people begin by playing little league as a child. As you grow older, baseball because a bigger part of your life that you might play in high school and preferably in college. As you get older and get better at playing the game, there are a few pieces of equipment that you will probably use as you learn and practice. Equipment such as pitching machines, weighted baseball bats, and even baseball training aids will help you or your child get better and better at baseball at time goes on. Baseball is a very popular sport that generally gives you a lot of discipline and long term lessons, so it can be a great sport for kids of all ages.

Baseball has been a sport for a very long time and it is also very popular in small communities. If your child is interested in this sport at a very young age then you should definitely look into getting your child into the sport. This will teach your child self-discipline, lifelong sportsmanship skills, as well as exercise techniques that they will use for life. Learning to play sports like this can teach your child many lessons that they will use for life and in their high school and college careers.

If your child ends up being a very good ball player in high school and intends on continuing the sport in college, then it may be a good idea to increase their off season training and their original season routine. Increasing intensity and time spent training can make a world of difference in the technique and integrity of your game. There is a fine line between high school sports and college sports because college sports are much more intense when it comes to reputation. College sports are when scouts come to watch players from real major league teams and it gets harder and harder to impress people with your good game.

There is also a very fine line between sports for fun and sports for an income and that is what the line is between community sports and professional sports that you can watch on television from your own home. Professional ball players have to set a lot of good examples because they have a lot of kids that look up to them. There are often times too many problems in professional sports that deal with image and that is something that kids have to watch out for if they are interested with the professional sports industry.

This is a great sport and if your child is interested then they should definitely get involved. Learning to play this sport can be a fun process but if your child is very interested they will stick with it throughout high school and maybe even in their adult career. If your child will stick with this sport into high school and throughout college, they may be able to create a fun and useful career for themselves and their family over time.

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

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

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Finding the Best Baseball Equipment


Finding the Best Baseball Equipment
By Connor R Sullivan

A game as popular as baseball seems it does not require much expertise or experience. It is a game that is most commonly taught by a father to his son. However, a few general points, if not taken into consideration can cause serious health problems. Proper baseball instructions from your trainer as well as good baseball equipment can save a great deal of health risks. Below are a few points that you may find helpful when purchasing equipment for baseball.

The first and foremost need is the bat. Some might stress upon getting a wooden bat while others may prioritize an aluminum bat due to its light weight. Both kinds are easy to handle so you may opt for anyone that is comfortable to you. The factor you should consider is the bat's length and weight. The bat's weight should be according to the swing. It should not be too heavy to give you a poor swing. Secondly, the length of the bat should be such that when you place it at one end, it should come till your waist.

Next is the helmet. This should be in accordance with the size of your head. As baseball is equally liked by people of different age groups, you will find a variety of multiple sized helmets. The feature that you should keep in consideration is that the helmet should not be too big to slip and hinder your view. As for the color, it is entirely up to you what to decide.

Gloves are another need for the baseball players. Make sure the gloves are comfortable to you from both inside and outside. Again, emphasizing on the size, they should not be too tight or too loose for you to play comfortably. Go for the gloves that are fit as a fiddle!

Other equipment may include shoes, baseball tees, caps, cleats, balls etc. If you are a beginner you will have to keep a good amount of balls with you for more practice. As for other equipment, you can select anything that maintains your comfort level and is within your reach. It is always important to remember that the costlier is not the better always, neither it is necessary that the cheaper would be the better. Look at a variety of different equipment and match your demands. Internet may help you on this.

Now that you are ready with all the equipment, you should seek an instructor. A professional baseball instructor will specialize in teaching you the game and the tricks. It is important that your coach should have a coaching experience. Be a keen listener and keep practicing. If you are new to it, you will find some difficulty in the beginning but you will learn to be an expert soon. Keep in mind that an improper posture or impairment may be the areas that can spoil you completely. Make sure your instructor teaches you about them. Maintain a good health and eating habits, also do not forget to keep up with exercises. All this will surely give you a beam of light at the end of the tunnel and give you great success.

Connor R. Sullivan owns and operates a top ranking web site to help people find baseball equipment to improve their baseball skills. His site offers baseball instruction to help improve their baseball skills.

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

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