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!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Zone Hitting - Working the Pitch Count


Zone Hitting - Working the Pitch Count
By Fred Bonds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pitching and Playing Other Positions


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Pitching and Playing Other Positions

By Nate Barnett

Have you ever wondered why pitchers don't focus on hitting or play other positions once they sign a professional contract? I believe it is important when a pitcher plays through little league and high school to really have the opportunity to play a lot of positions. They get the opportunity to gain other baseball skills like fielding the ball correctly, thinking about how other players think in different game situations and so on.

Because most pitchers are tall, you will see many of them play first base, especially lefties of course; if they don't pitch that game. However there comes a time for a pitcher to be only a pitcher and it makes logical sense. I hope a lot of coaches and parents read this article and think about the ramifications of the pitcher/position player mentality in youth baseball.

Coaches need to understand that youth pitching requires a bit more attention than it has been given. Coaches must understand pitch counts at different age levels more clearly and the amount of position playing each pitcher can do in any given week if their pitch count is high.

What kills me is when coaches have their pitchers play long toss with the entire team during team warm ups, the day after the pitcher throws over 100 pitches in a game. Even if a pitcher throws a good 75 pitches they should not be throwing long toss the next day with the team. They should be in the rebuilding phase of the pitching cycle. There has to be a recuperation period and rebuilding the tendons and ligaments that support muscle fibers and connective tissues. The recuperation period varies with every pitcher and with many different game situations and scenarios.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when you coach pitchers who play other positions.

I received some of this valuable information going to a pitching camp held by Tom House in 2007; I believe it to be very accurate and wise counsel to follow. I have also lived through some of it when my coaches didn't fully understand what pitchers really go through.

1. If a pitcher starts a game he should not be allowed to play another position that day unless they don't make it past the first inning.

2. If a pitcher has a higher number of pitches in one game they should have a low number of swings. I recall experiencing a tender elbow a handful of times when I would swing the bat after I pitched a lot. If you believe your pitchers can handle that amount of work in one day try it yourself. You will feel the pain too; it is not enjoyable at all. Take care of their arms.

3. If a pitcher throws a high number of pitches they should also have very little playing time in the infield. Why the infield? Quick, awkward and often hard throws are required! I would add the outfield to that list because the long throws to home plate are difficult after pitching a full game. Then the coaches have that same pitcher play long toss the next day; my word! Double headers can be tricky to work around; use your best judgment in those cases.

Some coaches and parents think this is a little overboard and they are being too soft if they just don't play their kids a ton. I think it does more harm than good to just throw your kids out there without having some background education. A lot of the coaches do their best and they simply don't know. Ignorance in this case is not bliss; it can be costly.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

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

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

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Baseball Hitting Aids Can Fix Many Hitting Issues


Baseball Hitting Aids Can Fix Many Hitting Issues

By Joseph Harrison Jr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baseball Creativity in Your Own Backyard


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Baseball Creativity in Your Own Backyard
By Marty Schupak

The sporting goods industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and the cost of equipment can be ridiculously expensive. Every family cannot afford the latest and greatest products (and gimmicks). But the old saying that 'the best things in life are free' can also hold true in sports. Before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a deluxe glove or equipment to help your kids learn a level swing, you should look around your house and see what you can create, cheaply, that will help your kids improve their skills--and still have fun.

When I was a kid growing up, some of my best memories were throwing around the baseball with my older brother in our backyard. Using our imaginations, we used almost every tree and rock in our yard to create fantasy sports and games.

One of our favorite games was something we called 'error' One of us would throw a tennis ball on the roof of our house--within an imaginary twenty foot boundary--and the other would have to catch the ball before it hit the ground. We spent endless hours playing this game. Other then some yelling from my parents (something about too many balls being stuck in the gutter), this game still sticks in my mind as providing some of the most fun in my childhood.

Rushing forward about twenty five years, I found myself with my kids creating some similar games in our backyard (with my own gutter lurking nearby). Most combined fun with affordability. We made use of almost every part of our property.

Instead of spending over a hundred dollars on a hitting net, we put together a comparable apparatus using a 10X14 plastic tarp along with some bicycle hooks, rope and two convenient trees. And we had fun putting it up. The boys would hit balls into the tarp as I did my best impression of a big league hitting coach giving them tips.

Drills such as hitting off the batting tee and soft toss worked out great, too, with the tarp as backstop, but wacky games were also plentiful. We created a game right on the tarp, putting two squares, one inside the other made out of duct tape. This game we called 'toss ball home run derby'. Doing the soft toss drill against the tarp, a ball hit inside the small square would be a home run. A ball hit inside the large square would be a single. Everything else was an out. Three outs a team. This game combined skill building and having fun.

But I'd been inventing games for years. One of the first things I did with both my sons as soon as they were old enough to hold a bat , was to get one of those large red plastic 'whiffle ball' bats. I then bought a bottle of soap bubbles that all kids love. I would blow the bubbles and have my son hit them with the big red bat. We would run up and down the backyard as he chased the bubbles down and tried to break them. I encouraged him to keep both hands on the bat as he swung but if he didn't, so what--he was having fun.

Another game my kids loved when they got a little older was called the 'dive game'.
I would throw ground balls to either their left or right side, and they would have to dive in front of the ball and stop it. I tried teaching them that the goal was to just stop the ball--like a hockey or soccer goalie--and not necessarily catch it. But it was amazing how much effort they put into trying to catch the ball. Aside from explaining the grass stains to their mother, this game was a real hit with them and I even caught them playing it without me a few times which made me feel great.

Another favorite involved a few tennis balls, a tennis racquet and a cinder block. Laying the cinder block flat, we created a simple version of 'Home Run Derby' Standing next to one of my kids as he held the tennis racquet ready to swing it like a bat, I would bounce the ball high off the cinder block. With the ball on the way down, he would time it and hit it as far as he could. Both my kids could not get enough of this game. We were lucky that our backyard was fairly large but some of the tennis balls did travel into our neighbor's yard. The real beauty of this game is that hitting a tennis ball with a tennis racquet almost guarantees success for the fledgling ballplayer.

Families who live in the inner city can also make use of a lot of what's around them. I remember as a child going to visit my grandparents in Brooklyn, New York. My uncle would take my brothers and me to the back of the building and play numerous games off the huge concrete wall. 'Toss ball home run derby' can be played off a wall, as well as a tarp, with the two squares made out of chalk.

Another game which we played, that was made popular just after World War 2, was called 'stoop ball'. In this game we would throw a ball off the stoop (or concrete steps) and see if the other team would catch it before it bounced on the ground. One bounce would be a single, two bounces a double and so on. Inner city kids who have limited room but love sports can still find just enough to play for hours on end.
Baseball need not cost a fortune. And it doesn't have to be all boring instruction, whether it is on a practice field with twelve kids or in your own backyard with just you and your son or daughter. Keep it cheap, if you can, and keep it fun.

http://www.YouthSportsClub.com

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He 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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Monday, April 26, 2010

Baseball Tips - When Do You Know Your Son Will Make it?



Baseball Tips - When Do You Know Your Son Will Make it?

By Tom Read

When do you know your son is good enough to play baseball in high school, play in college or get paid to play? You watch him play and see all the great plays he makes or hits he has. Everybody on the team tells you he is a good player. And you wonder, and start to dream a little. Wouldn't it be great if he got to play varsity in high school his first or second year. The seed is planted. But, please, don't forget that kids change, and they can change a lot.

Parents have dreams for their children. And it is good to have dreams. It is good to plan for those dreams. But do not let those dreams become overbearing, for you or your son. Dreams that are over the top can take over your emotions or his emotions. They can make us react in a way we never thought possible. For that reason, just keep your dreams to yourself. Do not burden your son with even a hint of what you are dreaming.

My son was a very good little league baseball player. He was a hitter who could hit for power and average. He played on one of the best teams in the city and they traveled and played all over the country. By age twelve I dreamed of him playing in high school and beyond.

His freshman year in high school he led the junior varsity baseball team in all hitting categories. His coach said he would have been moved up to varsity, but there were twelve seniors on that team. The varsity coach told me he was going to build the varsity team around him the next year. That fall, in a basketball game, my son broke his arm. A nasty break. Three surgeries in three years and the arm is still not right. There was not another hit in his career. My dream had been shattered.

But my son would not let his dream end. Since the arm that was broken was not his throwing arm, he took up pitching. And today he is pitching in college. So when did I know he was good enough. Not when I was sitting in that hospital emergency room. Or the three times I was sitting in the surgery waiting room. I thought I knew when he was twelve, but I really didn't.

Yes, we never know. We can dream, we can hope, we can plan. But the future is out of our hands. Like my son, be ready to adjust.

After my many years of coaching, watching and traveling to out of town baseball games, I decided to share my baseball tips and stories that I have learned and experienced along the way. To check out more articles that I have written, please visit my website at http://baseballknowledge.info

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

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Friday, April 23, 2010

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4 Baseball Pitching Drills For Little League Players

Teaching, training and developing young baseball pitchers takes a lot of time, patience, and practice repetition. Many young pitchers need to practice pitching skills daily. To keep the interest level high, it is best to use a variety of drills on alternate days to prevent boredom. Here are 4 baseball pitching drills that can be used to train youth and beginner pitchers.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

5 Simple Hitting Drills That Will Raise Your Average Overnight!


5 Simple Hitting Drills That Will Raise Your Average Overnight!
By Janet K Hansen

The best hitters in the game use a variety of hitting drills to improve hand-eye coordination, bat speed, and power. These drills will have you or your players hitting the ball more consistently and with more power, with the ability to place shots more effectively. The result will be higher average and better run production in just a week or two of practice.

1. Ball on a Cone or Tee: Hand-eye coordination is the key to all good hitting, in any game and at every level. Improving your ability to match what your eyes are seeing with the trajectory of your swing creates the kind of contact that produces more line drives, and with time, more power. Hitting legend Ted Williams used to practice by using a cue stick to hit bottle caps. That's not a bad idea, but these drills will serve the purpose, too.


Ball on a cone: Put a traffic cone on the floor 3 feet out from a mat. Kneel, or have your players kneel, on the mat. Put balls on the cone and have the players focus on hitting a line drive. Hit 15 to 25 balls in each session, more if time allows - the more the better. The drill emphasizes contact using just the arms and upper body, which is essential to hitting the ball consistently.

T-Ball: Kids start in t-ball for a reason - they learn to make contact, plain and simple. Since solid contact is the key to all good things in hitting, contact drills never go out of style. Pro, college, and top amateur teams continue to use hitting tees to warm up and find the hitting touch, especially after layoffs. Start hitting practice with a round of tee drills to emphasize keeping an eye on the ball, with a bonus feature being an increase in confidence. When pitch speed is added, the improvement will be noticeable. When the game starts, sharper hitting will lead to more base runners and more RBI's. VARIATIONS: place the tee on the inside, middle, and outside parts of the plate to encourage hitters to go with the pitch, so they learn to drive balls to all fields. Most hitters try to pull everything, and this will help break that habit.

2. Wiffle Ball: This drill emphasizes bat speed and a compact, powerful swing. Using either a pitching machine or a live pitcher, stand 20 feet in front of the plate and use waffle balls for safety. Set the machine to about 40 mph, or gauge your pitch speed accordingly. Batters have to get the bat around in a hurry. The drill will expose swings that are too long - the kind of swings that keep pro players in the minors. On the positive side, it encourages increased bat speed to be able to get around on the pitches, and a shorter, more compact swing that is the foundation of power.

3. Wait and Explode: Many hitters develop the bad habit of starting their swing far too early. The results are all bad. For instance, the hitter will often stride into the pitch too early and then have to hold back the upper body waiting for the ball. Timing and hand-eye coordination is thrown off, plus if contact is made, it's only the upper body involved. The powerful motion of the legs is eliminated. Misses, weak grounders, and lazy fly balls are the result. Here's how this drill works. Have the batter stand in the box and coach them not to move at all until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. Keep it up until the hitter learns to be patient, reserving their energy until they can complete the swing in one powerful motion. Hitters with good contact skills but poor power will start driving the ball much harder with this drill.

Another way to encourage a "wait and explode" approach is to use tennis balls and bounce balls up to the plate. The hitter must not move a muscle until the ball bounces, 6-8 feet in front of the plate. Patience is learned, and hand-eye coordination is also improved. A short, compact, energetic swing will result.

4. The Barrier Drill: This drill will teach good mechanics. Have the players stand one back length back from a barrier, such as a net or string, and take their cut. If they hit the barrier with the bat, they are taking too long a swing, unlocking their elbows before the shoulders are fully engaged. Point out what's happening and see if they can make the correction, which will produce a compact, powerful cut.

5. Reward or Run: There's nothing like the possibility of a little physical exercise to get players to concentrate. Using a pitching machine, or reliable batting practice pitcher, feed each batter 15 pitches. On strikes only (make swinging at a bad pitch an out, no matter if they hit it or not), count well-struck balls versus misses or weak hits. If the batter has 8 or more good cuts reward them in some way. If 8 or more bad swings happen, it's time to run! As the season continues, and the players improve, bump your better hitters up to 10 or 11 quality hits to avoid running. Tailor the drill to stretch each player to achieve their best.

Each of these drills is used by many professional, college, and top amateurs teams every year. Employ them on your team and start noticing immediate results in terms of contact and power. You'll enjoy better run production from the first time through the order!

Janet Hansen is a softball coach in NC and helps others understand how to choose the right softball bat for their needs, at her Softball Batting website, http://www.SoftballBatGuide.com. You can also learn batting tips and join in the discussion along the way!

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

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baseball Tips - 3 Reasons to Video Your Son


Baseball Tips - 3 Reasons to Video Your Son
By Tom Read

People usually video their kids' games for future enjoyment. And I will admit I did the same in the beginning. It is fun on a raining day to watch our childrens' old games. But as time went on, I found three other good reasons to video them.

Reason 1 - Compare Practice To Games

If your son is taking pitching or batting lessons, ask the instructor if you may video the lesson. Most will allow it, but a few will not. If you are unable to film the whole lesson, ask if you may video your son when he is in action. If your son does not take lessons, then video him pitching or batting at practice. Then also video him pitching or batting at his next game. If you are able to video at the same angle of sight, then even better. The idea here is, after you have both videos, compare the two, See if he is using the same techniques in the game as he learned in practice. This can be a great training tool. Surprisingly, you will find kids love to do this.

Reason 2 - To Point Out What Is Really Happening

My son was in a horrible slump. The reason he was in a slump was because he was not swinging at good pitches. And he was taking a lot of called three strikes. He would tell me after the game that the pitches were not strikes. I sat behind home plate, so I clearly knew the pitches were strikes. Rather than argue with him, I decided to video his at bats. After seeing just a couple at bats where he had taken strike three, he decided he did not know the strike zone. We looked into some tips to help him recognize the strike zone, and the problem was solved. This will also work for pitching, base running and fielding.

Reason 3 - To Correct Behavior

A baseball coach hates nothing more than a player with a bad attitude. Bad attitudes and bad behavior can ruin the game for everyone. We have all seen the bat throwing or helmet throwing hitter as he comes back to the dugout. He comes in and kicks the other bats or knocks over the bucket of balls. Many coaches or umpires will remove the player from the game. But this does not happen often enough. A good learning tool is to video this behavior and show it to the player. It usually works better if it is shown to him after he has had time to cool down. If this doesn't seem to work, show it to him with the other players around. Peer pressure will help.

The next time you head out to a ball game, take along your video camera. You might find you will want to shoot some footage because of one of the three reasons above.

Old videos are great enjoyment. But videos can also be a training and learning tool. All players can use some help, and using the video as a teacher is one of the better methods. For other great baseball tips, please visit this website http://videobaseball.info

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

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Monday, April 19, 2010

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Coaching Youth Baseball - The Basic Truths of Coaching That Every Coach Should Remember

Coaching Youth Baseball - The Basic Truths of Coaching That Every Coach Should Remember

By Nick Dixon

Great Coaches are great coaches for a reason. They love the game. They love the kids. They love to instruct and teach. They love to mentor and minister to youngsters hoping that something they do will help that kid become a better person. Great coaches have an eye for detail and know how to correct players with with a positive approach. They know the game and love to talk the game. Great coaches simply love to coach.

Above all, great coaches know that there is a time and place for everything. They know and realize the impact of the words they speak. They know that what they say can have a lasting life long affect on a player.There is an old saying, If you cannot say something good, do not say anything. That would be good advice for coaches to remember and live by in certain situations. I have seen coaches go crazy when a player misses a sign, fails to get the bunt down, or does not get the job done. The coach attacks the players with little or no regard for his feelings or the impression he is making on his team or league. The feelings of the player are crushed, parents get mad, and other coaches cringe. What is wrong about this situation? There is nothing that that coach said that could not have been said in a one on one privately. Simply pull the player aside and tell him what you what he needs to know.

Here are what I consider to be the 6 basic truths and principles that every youth coach in every sport, including baseball, should always remember:

1. The people come to the games to see the kids play. People do not come to games to watch coaches coach. Coaches should not try to put on a show or theatrical performance. Say what you should say. Say what is needed. Know when to keep your mouth quiet. Knowing what to say or what not to say is crucial. Knowing how to get your message across without anger is important.

2. Everything a coach does and says is observed by players, fans, umpires, parents and fans. Kids look up to you. They will always remember your actions and the example you set for them. Be a positive force in their lives. Remember your behavior on and off the field affects the amount of respect that your players will have for you.

3. Calmness under pressure is a skill that players learn from their coach. If you lose your temper every time something goes wrong, how do you expect your players to perform under pressure and to have composure?

4. Sportsmanship starts with the coach. If you show sportsmanship, the team will show sportsmanship. You should preach sportsmanship. If you unnecessarily question every call, then you are sending the wrong message. If you question a call, make sure that your actions have merit. Show respect for the officials and do not try to make a scene.

5. Do not have discussions with coaches or parents regarding team or player issues with players or other people present. If a discussion is needed, schedule it at a proper place and proper time.

6. Do not use profanity at any time under any circumstances. The duty is a baseball coach is to teach and help young kids learn the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Good morals are reflected by what you say and how you say it. Behave professionally with high moral standards on and off the field.

I hope these basic truths are helpful to you.
Good Luck to yu and your team. Nick

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

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

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Youth Baseball - Boy Meets Cup

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Youth Baseball - Boy Meets Cup
By Robert Bulka

Does you son play in a organized youth baseball league? Does he wear a protective cup?

What is a protective cup?

A protective cup is a cushioned, hard plastic, banana shaped protector of the male genitalia. The protective cup is inserted into the pocket of a athletic supporter. An athletic supporter is an elastic waistband with leg straps that connect to the pocket. The athletic supported, also known as a jock strap, is put on before underwear, sliding or and baseball pants.

Why wear a protective cup?

As a youth baseball coach the I strongly recommend even the youngest children wearing a cup to protect the testicles. Whether your boy plays the infield, outfield, or pitcher a cup is recommend to protect him from injury should the ball hit in the groin area. A cup is absolutely mandatory if your son plays catcher - no exceptions.

Does the athletic support alone provide protection?

A parent who's son was involved in youth baseball asked me if wearing an athletic supporter provides the same protection as cup. Unfortunately the jock strap does not provide protection for the "family jewels". Worn alone, it will hold the testicles close to the body and prevent them from flopping around.

Isn't wearing a protective cup uncomfortable?

Wearing the protective cup could be uncomfortable if it's the wrong size or worn without an athletic supporter. Some cups now have brief type supporters and are much more comfortable.

So parents take this youth baseball tip to heart and protect your sons "family jewels".

Robert Bulka is a former college baseball pitcher and current coach in the New York Metropolitan area. For more great tips for teaching kids how to play baseball go to http://www.TeachKidsBaseball.com

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

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Thursday, April 15, 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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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Youth Baseball Hitting - How to Fix Your Baseball Swing


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Teaching Baseball Mental Techniques


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Teaching Baseball Mental Techniques
By Robert Bulka

Physical Vs Mental Skills

Ask any baseball fan what it takes to succeed as a baseball player and they usually talk about bat speed, arm strength, foot speed and power. You very rarely ever hear them mention the mental skills required to excel in the game. The important mental techniques include focus, concentration, confidence and composure. That is why it is important to start teaching baseball mental techniques early in a player's development.

Why is having the mental tools so important to making it in the game? All you have to do is look at the minor league farm clubs to see that the vast majority of players there have the physical skills needed to make it to the next level but don't have the cognitive skills to take them there.

How do you go about teaching baseball mental techniques?

There are some tips for developing the mental skills needed to make it to that elite level: teach visualization, use the 10 second rule and overcoming failure.


Visualization Since baseball is a game of adversity and failure is ever present, using visualization techniques help to clear the mind of negative thoughts, avoid distractions and provides a mental road map for the task at hand. Visualization is a very good baseball mental technique.
10 Second Rule Many young bright baseball stars lack the maturity to control their emotions and it takes them off their game. The 10 second rule is designed to help control the reactive emotional outburst of dissatisfaction. The tip is to count to 10 before you react or speak after a tense situation. This is a great tip when teaching baseball mental techniques.
Overcoming Failure As I stated before, baseball is a game of constant failure. If you get a hit thirty percent of the time you are considered an above average hitter. If you're a pitcher you are constantly dealing with walks, hits, home runs, past balls and errors committed by your teammates.

Conclusion

Teaching baseball mental techniques is an absolute necessity if you want to make it to the big leagues.

Robert Bulka is a former college baseball pitcher and current coach in the New York Metropolitan area. For more great tips for teaching kids how to play baseball go to http://TeachKidsBaseball.com

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

Sunday, April 11, 2010

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Top 10 Worst Baseball Parent Excuses of All Time


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By Nick Dixon

The word "excuse" is a bad word to most coaches. A parent excuse is a reason given by a parent to explain or justify their son's poor performance, tardiness, or inappropriate behavior. Coaches really would prefer that someone simply say they were wrong or give a legitimate reason rather than a ridiculous excuse.

If you coach any sport, you are going to hear your share of excuses from parents. Most parents refuse to make excuses. They understand that behavior and actions have consequences.

However, there is that small percentage of parents that are always ready with a reason or excuse for their son's behavior. Some of the worst excuses are those that parents try to use to justify getting their player to practice or a game late. It is no wonder that players use excuses when their parents do so frequently.

The Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal surveyed baseball coaches. One of the questions was "What is the worst excuse you ever heard from a parents? Here are the top 10 worst parent excuses of all time:

#10--- "I can not get my son to any games or practices because I'm pregnant."

#9---- "My son does not like playing 3rd base because he says the balls come to him too fast."

#8----"You should play the 12 year olds the entire game, they have earned that right."

#7----"I could get my son to practice his father had the kid and he did not bring him back on time."

#6----"The game started late (8:00) and it was too late for a kid to be out!

#5----"We did not know that we had a game today."

#4---"I know he did not play well, but he did not get into bed to after midnight. He was watching TV."

#3---"The reason he did not play well was because he ate 3 hotdogs before the game."

#2---"He did not hit the ball because he did not have his new bat. That old bat just does not hit as good."

#1----"I could not get him to practice Saturday, because I had to go to the casino."

Unbelievable as they may sound these excuses were used. I am sure that you have heard some excuses that are just as amazing. Thanks for reading my article. Have a great day! Nick

The Coaches Best 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, April 6, 2010

Little League Baseball Tryouts And The Draft


Little League Baseball Tryouts And The Draft
By Marty Schupak

In most youth baseball leagues, autumn is the time of year that baseball leagues have registration and also assign players to teams. Tryouts and the player draft are always one of the most interesting times of the year. Some managers try to gain an advantage during this time. There is always a scramble to secure assistant coaches. Parents who have experienced the process, know that some managers will pick an assistant not according to the assistant's ability to coach, but by the ability of his talented child. Another technique done which is highly unsportsmanlike is for the manager to discretely suggest to a player to "dog it " during the tryouts so that manager can get a player of first round ability in the later rounds of the draft.

There is very little a league can do about a manager picking an assistant to secure a spot on the team for his child. Drafting the actual teams can be done in a fair manner. A fair process is for the league managers and league director to pick each team with similar ability and throw them into a hat. For instance, a league will have eight teams consisting of twelve players. Assuming each team has a manager and coach and their two kids, all the managers and coaches will sit in a room and rate the players and assign ten players to teams one through eight. Once it is agreed that the eight teams of ten are pretty much equal, throw the teams into a hat and each manager will pick a team. The league will have more parity with this system and this will limit some of the complaints. One word of advice when using this technique is to make sure enough pitchers are part of the ten players on each team.

The success of a league begins in the autumn. There have been seasons where some teams do not win a single game. The team assignment process can make for a better year for each player individually, as a team and as a league. A league that has parity will make for a better season and in fact will help that league in All Stars with each player experiencing a competitive season with some excellent close games. It is up to the league President and league director to make every effort to make sure each team is fairly equal in ability and take away any advantage that some managers try to gain.

http://www.YouthSportsClub.com

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 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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Monday, April 5, 2010

Baseball Tips - When Do You Know Your Son Will Make it?


Baseball Tips - When Do You Know Your Son Will Make it?
By Tom Read

If you're getting pretty good at baseball, you will soon want to be able to deliver powerful hits. However, this doesn't just rely on pure force - the proper technique is needed. This article will tell you how to hit a baseball the right way.

The first thing you will want to do is to get some strength in your hand and wrists. This is more important than being all bulked up. Little guys and big guys can hit hard, but they need to have strong hands and writs. Another thing that will help you deliver a perfect hit will be to swing your body as you hit, using your hips first and hands last. You will want to have quick hands and an even faster pivot.

The next things you will want to do will be to forget all you saw on TV. Those are pros that developed their own technique over the years, so this means that they know what they are doing. However, until you develop your proper technique, you will want to finish the hit with both hands - so forget what you saw on TV!

Now that you know how to hit a baseball, you can start practicing. Practice makes perfect and turns into an individual hitting technique. But until then, baby steps are required, so you will want to be patient. Most young players want to be pros after a few hits, but this doesn't happen over night. Remember - practice, practice and practice again if you want to be a great baseball player.

There are a lot of other ways you can hit a baseball, and there's plenty of information available online. Of course, the best way to learn how to play right would be to have someone with experience watch over you and guide you trough your game.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peter_S._Smith



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