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Friday, September 23, 2011

Baseball Coaching Tips - Some Are Simply Not True

Baseball Coaching Tips - Some Are Simply Not True
By guest author: Larry Cicchiello

Here is a list of 7 baseball coaching tips or beliefs that are overused and were either wrong from the start or have become totally obsolete:

Come on Johnny, get your elbow up. The reference is to the height of the back elbow when hitting. You will very often hear this hollered to a young player by a coach, manager or one of his parents. Some young players raise their back elbow up by their back ear. This is not a comfortable position for most hitters. It's much more efficient to have the back elbow just below shoulder height. If a hitter wants to make an adjustment up or down, only then should the back elbow be raised or lowered.

If you're going to get beat, get beat on your best pitch. Let's say that a pitcher's best pitch is the fastball and the batter is a very good fastball hitter. Let's say that the pitcher's second best pitch is a good curve ball and that batter has had trouble with his curve ball in the past. It would make no sense for that pitcher to get beat on his best pitch, the fast ball, with the game on the line. Forget this myth.

Don't look at the ball, just run. All good base runners DO look at the ball. This is not to say that if you hit a grounder to the infield you should be looking at the grounder while running to first base. On the other hand, there are many, many times where you should be looking at the ball. Good base runners very seldom need a coach to guide them while running. They watch the ball, the fielder and watch the play unfold. The infamous quote of, "don't look at the ball, just run," should be changed to, "don't just run, look at the ball."

Come on Jimmy, level swing. Many young players hear this hollered out so often that as soon as they start their swing, they try to make sure it's level. This is one of the worst baseball coaching tips they will ever hear. The proper baseball swing is not level at all. If a hitter levels out his swing at the very beginning, he can be virtually guaranteed he will be late on every fastball because he is not being "short to the ball." The swing starts out going downward with the back of the bottom hand facing the pitcher and not facing the sky. Only at the point where you are making contact should the swing be level, with one palm facing up and the other palm facing down. Being a fraction of a second late when swinging the bat is an eternity!

Catch the ball with two hands. This is often hollered out to a younger player who is catching a pop up or a fly ball. Baseball gloves have come a long way in the last few decades.They are much bigger and better. Putting your bare hand next to your glove hand when catching pop ups or fly balls will be more trouble than it's worth. It can easily interfere with your catching the ball with these very good, modernized gloves.

Touch the bases with your right foot when running. The concern used to be that if a runner touches a base with their left foot, they may trip over the base with their right foot. That is obsolete now. It makes no sense whatsoever to "stutter step" and lose precious time when running around the bases.

The perfect count to put on the hit and run is 2-0 or 3-1. This started several decades ago is very played out. To have a batter be forced to swing at a 2-0 pitch that would be a ball and make the count 3-0 is senseless.The same holds true on the 3-1 count. To have a batter be forced to swing at a 3-1 pitch that would be ball 4 is a scary strategy.

In 95% or more of all cases, good baseball coaching tips of fifty years ago are still good today. There are a few things however, that have evolved.

Larry is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks and CD's covering 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY player, coach or parent who wants to help their child will be fully equipped! Check out some FREE baseball tips on hitting and FREE baseball pitching tips at

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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

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