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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 30, 2011

As a Youth Sports Coach, Focus on Fun and Skill Development

As a Youth Sports Coach, Focus on Fun and Skill Development
By guest author: Adrian F Alexa

One of the most important things in coaching children is to focus on fun and skill development. Especially at very young ages, competition shouldn't be an essential issue, because kids should first of all learn to enjoy the game and have fun playing it, so they can grow to love it. How you conduct your practice sessions and manage to motivate your players can make the great difference between playing just for one season, or playing forever.

You should set your coaching philosophy based on the particular age group you're coaching, because children have both physical and emotional abilities according to their age. You cannot expect the same results from a 6-year old as from a 15 year-old player. As a youth sports coach, you will be working with children, therefore it is essential that you focus on fun and skill development.

It's normal as a coach to work towards winning as much games as possible, but when you're working with children, encouraging their best efforts is more important that winning every game. Their results will not define you as a coach, but the passion they develop for the game will. Every practice session should revolve around the kids' development, and having fun is a major factor in their progress. Concentrate on teaching skills and helping overcome difficulties, and always encourage each and every one of them. Everybody strives to win, but you must convince your players that a winner is a person who gives his best efforts, regardless of the situation.

Bare in mind that children are very impressionable, and as a coach you will also be a role model for them. If they feel that all you care about is winning, they will stop having fun and start feeling under pressure. Enjoying the game is essential for their skill development, and building their confidence is your responsibility as a coach. Give them plenty of positive feedback and make every kid feel he's an important part of the team, whether he's mastering a skill or still struggling to progress. Make the kids understand that making mistakes is part of the game, and as long as they put their best effort into it they will progress soon. As their coach you must help them learn from their mistakes, not punish them.

Last but not least, never use the scoreboard for feedback. Encourage them and give positive feedback judging on their efforts and dedication, not their wins or losses. And always remember, their best results will come when they're having fun.

Adrian is the editor of this article. He also started a new project about small plastic bottles. This is a website where you can also find out more about recycling of plastic.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Youth Baseball Drills - Developing Catchers' Skills

Youth Baseball Drills - Developing Catchers' Skills
By guest author: Kenny Buford

Catching is one of the most important positions in baseball defense. However, it is often the least coached. Because there is more to being a catcher than being able to catch the ball, these youth baseball drills were designed to help catchers develop the skills they need to succeed.

Crouching Drill

Catchers need to maintain a crouch position for at least nine innings, so it is important for their legs to be in shape. This drill will help catchers both stay in the crouch and move out of the crouch quickly.

Players should start by playing catch in while crouching. Next, have them walk around in the crouch position. Finally, have catchers work on their quickness and spring by jumping over home plate in the crouch position.

Framing Drill

This catchers' drill helps players work on framing the pitch and developing their glove work. Framing is essential in the catching position because it can determine whether or not a pitch is called a strike.

Start the drill using tennis or safety balls so that the catcher can work without a glove. Pitch the balls all over the strike zone and have the catcher practice catching using a bent elbow, holding the ball so the umpire can see where it was caught. The catcher should follow the ball from the pitcher's hand, catching it so that his thumb is pointed toward the pitcher. Eventually have the catcher run the drill with his glove, using a regular baseball.

Blocking Drill

This drill is designed to help catchers block pitches using their chest protectors. The Blocking Drill is great for young players who need to work on not being afraid of the ball and getting used to what their equipment can do.

Start the drill by bouncing balls off the catcher, having him keep his hands behind his back to get comfortable using the chest protector. Next, have the catcher work on blocking pitches in the dirt by using his glove positioned down between his legs. The catcher should practice performing the block, quickly getting to his feet, and scooping up the ball.

Pop-Up Drill

For this youth baseball drill, catchers will work on proper technique for catching pop-ups while wearing their full gear.

Hit pop-ups for the player to catch using a fungo bat. The catcher should follow these steps when catching a pop-up:

Quickly get up from the crouch
Locate the ball in the air and determine where it will land, keeping in mind that it will probably drift toward the infield
Throw the mask away, making sure it won't be underfoot
Move toward the ball and make the catch

And if you'd like to see more free baseball drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:
Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of, the web's #1 resource for baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Youth Baseball Bat Sizing: Choosing the Right Baseball Bat Size

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Youth Baseball Bat Sizing: Choosing the Right Baseball Bat Size
By guest author: Jim Bain

Youth baseball bat sizing can be confusing if you don't go into a sports store with some simple tips on choosing the right baseball bat size.

Use the tips here to help you find the right bat for your young player.

Barrel size - Simply the diameter of the largest part of the bat, most Little League bats average 2-1/4 inch in barrel size. Senior and high school bats are larger, averaging 2-5/8 inch to 2-3/4 inch. Choosing a larger barrel size means there will a larger "sweet spot," but the trade-off is a larger, heavier bat that may be difficult for younger players to swing quickly.

Bat taper - The diameter of the handle is known as the taper. Normally, this runs 31/31 of an inch. Smaller taper results in a lighter bat, making it easier for players to come around quickly and really snap their wrists when swinging. A thicker taper means less sting when a batter doesn't hit the sweet spot.

Grip - The material wrapped around the handle is known as grip. Grips can come in leather or synthetic leather and over time, these materials will develop a sticky feel, making for a better grip on the bat. Rubber grips also reduce the shock of hitting a ball.

Youth Baseball Bat Sizing

No longer do you see youth baseball players swinging heavy wood bats in practice and games. Now, lighter is better and the use of lighter metal materials in baseball bat production helps kids swing that bat harder and faster. It's also a great way of helping young players learn bat control.

The length (inches) and weight (ounces) of a bat are printed on the bat by the manufacturer. You will also see another measurement, which is the number difference between the length and weight of the bat. For example, a 30 inch bat weighing 20 ounces would include the label "-10."

For youth baseball bats, look for bats marked "-10" or more for the proper size.

Though the right baseball bat size for each child varies, the table below will help you get started in finding the correct one for your son or daughter.

Tee ball: 25 inches - 27 inches, -9 to -13
Age 7 - 8: 26 inches - 27 inches, -10 or lighter
Age 8 - 9: 27 inches to 29 inches, -10 or lighter
Age 9 - 12: 28 inches to 31 inches, -10 or lighter
Age 12 - 15: 29 inches to 33 inches, -9 or lighter

Coach Bain has more tips to help you find the right baseball bat for young players. You can also find fielding drills, a pitching guide, and more help on youth baseball coaching.

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Check out these coaching articles at the Softball Coaching Digest:
Articles from the Youth Softball Coaching Clinic Blog
Articles from the Coaching Fastpitch Softball Pitchers Blog
Articles from the Coaching Fastpitch Softball Hitters Blog
Articles from the Tips for Fastpitch Softball Coaches Blog
The Fastpitch Softball Training Equipment Blog