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Friday, August 16, 2013

3 Things You Must Avoid When Hitting - Baseball Hitting Secrets Exposed!

Baseball Hitting Tips

By Guest Author: Justin Willman

In this article, I am going to be talking to you about the 3 most common things hitters do wrong and the 3 things you must avoid when hitting. If you avoid these things, you are definitely on your way to becoming a great hitter and smashing all your baseball hopes, dreams, and goals!

Alright, so the first thing in hitting that you must avoid at all costs is to become distracted. Distractions are common in everything you do in your day to day life, but as you probably have figured out already, they can really throw you off!

Distractions cause you to lose focus, and when you are hitting, you simply can't afford to do that. What I recommend you do to cure this is try and achieve zen and focus before you get into the batters box. Release everything else from your world. The only thing you need to focus on is the ball.

The next thing in hitting you need to avoid is getting frustrated when you fail. So many times I see kids come back to the dugout after a strikeout and throw their bat or helmet, etc. Do not let your emotions control you.

The last thing you need to avoid is not swinging at good pitches! Be ready on the first pitch, because a lot of the time that will be the best pitch you will ever see in the at-bat. The pitcher is trying to get ahead in the count, thus he will be trying to put the baseball over the plate.

I am a former pro baseball player, having helped hundreds of people to easy baseball success. I've recently developed a video training course showing you a step by step process for making your baseball training results come easier and faster. To learn how to become a better hitter without all the fluff, visit,

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Secret to Helping Your Kid Be a Better Baseball Hitter in Little League or High School Baseball

Helping Your Kid Be a Better Baseball Player

By Franklin Watts

Is your kid in Little League or high school baseball? Is he or she hitting the baseball as good as you want them to? Does it drive you crazy when you know they could be doing better up at bat, but you don't know how to show them how to hit the ball better? Do you want to know how to teach them how to connect with the baseball more often?

My first tip that will help them hit better is to show them how to keep their eye on the ball. We've all heard that before, but it is really the best thing you can do to make them focus and make contact with the baseball more often. It is easy with all the noise on the field to stop looking at the ball. Talk to them about watching the pitcher. Tell them not to be afraid of the pitcher or the ball coming at them.

The second tip that will really help your kid hit a baseball better is to make sure they center themselves over home plate. You will see kids that don't center over home plate the right way and they never get a good hit. Standing in the right place makes a big difference to every hit. Try it with your kid when you get a chance to practice with them.

Watching your kid play baseball can be painful when you want them to do better. No parent wants their kid to strike out at bat. But you can help them be a better hitter. Unless you a hire an expensive personal baseball trainer to help them out, you are the one that has to help them.

So please take the time to get to know how to help them. Maybe one day when your kid makes it to the World Series you can say that you were the one that helped them get there!

Visit Baseball Hitting Lessons [] to make your kid a better baseball hitter [] today!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Baseball Parent Guide: One Player, One Season, Three Teams - How Much Baseball Is Enough?

By Guest Author:Dr. Warren Bruhl

Youth baseball is a pastime shared by millions. In virtually every town in America on a summer evening, a baseball game is probably played. Perhaps, 10,000 or more games may be played even simultaneously and the outcomes while important to the participants ultimately have little significance in world affairs. Still, many young people and their parents devote countless hours to the preparation, practice, transportation, and games of baseball because they enjoy the game. Dreams of becoming professional ball players abound for pre-teen and teen players. However, the reality for millions of these players is few will actually realize a big-league dream.

The talent and skills necessary to become a professional player are scarce and only found in a select few. Of these players with a chance at a big league dream, the way to realize the dream requires hours of practice and playing hundreds of baseball games during a youth career. The only way to improve at the game is playing it. Repetition is the secret to becoming better at anything. Playing baseball and practicing baseball makes average players become good players and good players become great players or even exceptional players. Playing time mixed with consistent practice is often a recipe for success. In warm weather climates, players usually play longer seasons and have a stronger advantage over players in cold weather climates. In order for cold-weather climate players to improve, they have to play more games in compressed periods of time. To improve, players seek the best competition during these compressed periods of baseball worthy weather. However, some argue there may be too much baseball if five, or six or even ten games are played in a week for an 8-12 week period in the late spring and summer.

How much baseball can a young player play? Does playing five or six days a week make a player better? Is there something to the mental toughness a player develops by playing the game everyday and even for more than one team? What other intangible attributes are learned, mastered, and developed when a player plays "a lot of" baseball? Does a player become more confident, exude stronger leadership, and maybe even have more fun through more involvement with his/her friends on multiple teams?

This spring and early summer, I discovered some of the answers to these questions while coaching my son in three baseball programs simultaneously. While my son and I did not originally set out to become involved in three programs at the same time, opportunity and whispers from divine places seemed to indicate this was a path to take at this time in my son's life in the game.

Another aspect related to this decision was my son's age and the milestone leap he was moving into and leaving in the game of baseball. As a twelve year old 7th grader, he has played with boys mostly a year or more older than him. Since the age of eight, he was playing 9U baseball and continued playing with older boys through his baseball career. When boys move on to 13U baseball, as many involved in the game know the field dimensions change to Pony dimensions with longer bases, 54-foot pitching distance and deeper fences. The game takes on larger proportions. The 12U fields are approximately 10-15% smaller on average and this can have notable outcomes on the players' effectiveness and contribution in the game.

Recognizing this time as a one-year window for him to play both dimensions and perhaps have some great experience being a mentor and leader on a 12U team while playing 13U baseball also, we decided to pursue the challenge to play on two travel teams in the spring and summer. Moreover, because of the rules of our village, my son would also be required to play on a house league team during the months of April, May, and early June. Therefore, he would be on three teams simultaneously while most boys would only play for two teams.

The schedule would be rigorous from early April to late June, playing over 60 baseball games in this short 10-11 week period. The average player would play 30-35 games. There would be a number of days he would play 3 games in one day for two different teams or maybe even all three teams. Some parents and coaches would question whether this is possible to do without too many game conflicts ensuing and conflicts would usually occur if some preplanning and scheduling did not happen. In order to make this happen, we examined the usual routine of our house league and the beginning and ending seasons of the two travel teams for which he played. While there was some overlap, we recognized most of his house league games would be played on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from mid April to mid June. Therefore, his travel games with his 12U team could be scheduled for Saturday and Sundays and some Tuesdays and Thursdays. He would have games 5-7 days a week on average with some double headers on weekends with tournaments etc.

To make this program of baseball work, we had to have agreement from coaches that my son would miss some house league games to play with his 12U team in travel games and also his 12U coaches would not expect him to make every practice scheduled during the playing season. Additionally, he had to make his 13U team a priority if they had a game and miss 12U games if there was conflict with a 13U game. In total, during the months of April, May, and June, approximately 8-10 game conflicts arose and the agreement was fulfilled by my son to play where he suppose to play.

One of the most interesting challenges in coaching him and helping him navigate this process was switching between different uniform and equipment needs for the different teams. Baseball in 13U uses metal spikes and 12U still uses cleats so he needed two pairs of shoes. He had four different uniforms, one uniform for house league, one for 13U, and two for 12U (one for home games, one for away games). Many times we had to pack three uniforms and head out the door. We had to make sure he had both pairs of shoes, both batting helmets from his two travel teams, and all his gloves.

As a parent and head coach for one of teams and an assistant for the other two teams, I also had to be very organized. I laid out all my equipment daily and prepared all my line-ups in advance. Communication via email was pivotal to the success of this endeavor. Using GPS to find travel games all over our region was also a necessary component. My wife and other family members showed patience while I participated with my son in these games. Getting rides from other coaches and parents also become necessary at times because of various work conflicts, which arose.

In assessing the value of the experience for my son, my conclusion is he benefited from the intensity of the experience and the repetition of the game. He was given great responsibility to help his 12U team and afforded the opportunity to play in virtually every position on the field because of his skills. For his 13U travel team he usually plays second base only and pitches occasionally. By playing all positions in the field, he learned the game from numerous perspectives and became a smarter baseball player. He also developed his defensive acumen of the game and became a stronger field general on the infield and outfield. He came to enjoy playing catcher; a position for which he had shown little interest in before and he showed great skill when given the chance by playing 12U baseball. His hitting improved in his house league over previous seasons and his confidence at the plate improved. While his overall batting numbers did not jump off the page, his quality at the plate improved by having a better ability to foul off pitches, make contact with the ball, and find ways to get on base.

There were some small consequences of playing so much baseball in that he had little time for some of his other friends or interest during this time. He also was tired at times and perhaps felt some reservation about throwing on the uniform and playing once again. However, he always moved forward and when he got to the field, he went about his business and gave his best on the field. I believe he learned a great deal about himself in this process. He learned he is capable of doing more than he thought. He realized he could be a leader on a team and others looked to him for leadership. He had enjoyment through his interactions on and off the field with 34 other players from three teams. Some of the core intangibles his 12U coaches shared with me are how his presence on the field inspired his teammates to improve their awareness and game skills. Having him around gave them more confidence.

My hope is the experience will translate for him to more success in the game of baseball and in his life. While it is too early to know if he has significant future in baseball, the odds are not likely, I know he has a future path in life. The lessons learned on the diamond this year, I am certain will translate into leadership in some future endeavor. I always like to think that we never know how far reaching something we say or do today may have on someone or something in our lives. This past baseball season is reminder of this belief.

Dr. Warren Bruhl is a practicing pediatric chiropractor in Glencoe, IL. Dr. Bruhl has coached youth baseball for 11 seasons and spent thousands of hours developing youth baseball players. Dr. Bruhl is available for questions and comments at

Dr. Warren Bruhl

Dr. Warren Bruhl has practiced on the North Shore of Chicago for 21 years. He is board certified in chiropractic pediatrics through the ICA Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics. Dr. Bruhl has been featured on ABC News and Parenting Life. He is the author of, "The Chiropractors Exercise Manual." Dr. Bruhl practices a variety of soft chiropractic techniques that involve no cracking of the spine. He also offers his patients traditional cracking spinal methods. His practice is diverse and offers massage therapy, exercise rehab, physical therapy, clinical detoxification programs, and nutritional therapy. Dr. Bruhl is a practitioner who practices what he teaches. He is a former bodybuilder and triathlete. He loves to coach little league baseball and is highly active in the community. Dr. Bruhl is married with three children. He is available for public speaking and writing health related articles for publication. Dr. Bruhl may be reached at (847)835-4700 or contacted through his website at

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Baseball Pitching Grips: Throwing a Splitter

Learning Baseball Pitching Grips: The Splitter

By Guest Author: Dan Gazaway

Yesterday I was approached by a gentlemen at a Baseball facility in Utah. He asked me to enlighten him a bit about the splitter and if his son should be throwing it or not. His son is not in high school yet and he is concerned about his son throwing the splitter because he has heard that it can cause damage to his throwing arm. Any pitch thrown without proper mechanics will cause damage to your arm eventually. The problem with the split finger fastball is that most pitchers throw it wrong and end up twisting their wrist at release of the baseball which I explain in a few moments.

Pitching Grip: This splitter is released just like a four seam or two seam with your palm facing the catcher. The wider the fingers the slower the speed. Make sure your thumb is centered below the baseball in between your index and middle fingers.

The toughest part about this pitch is the grip. When you release the baseball, it can feel like it is slipping through your fingertips. This is a normal feeling until you get used to the release. Because this is one of the only pitches your thumb and middle finger don't split the baseball in half, it is easy to "twist" the ball at release. You need to pretend that there is an imaginary middle finger splitting the ball in half with your thumb. Pitchers who tend to "twist" the ball at release are the ones who are prone to injury with this pitch.

Timing: Once you have established your fastball (meaning the hitter has seen it) you can throw your split finger. Anytime you have a fastball count, a splitter can be thrown. Some of the best counts to throw the pitch are a 3-1, 2-1, or a 2-0 count.

This is a changeup even though it is called split-finger fastball.

Here is Nate Barnett giving us a hitter's perspective of a splitter. Many of you may not know this, but Nate is a Hall-of-Famer at George Fox University and draft pick for the Mariners in 1999. Yes, he can crush the ball; just not against me.

"I was fortunate to avoid seeing a good splitter until later in my career. The split-finger fastballs I saw in college were usually mediocre at best. Those who threw one didn't have an overpowering fastball in the first place. And, if pitchers left this pitch up in the zone, it became a nice hittable pitch for me. Those who were able to get the pitch down in the zone had good success. It came in straight but then late in its flight it would take off and break downward quickly. It's a very tough pitch to pick up early and that's what makes it effective. It's never quite as fast as a four seam or two seam fastball because of the grip, but faster than a change-up. The guys who could throw it consistently low in the zone were annoying to hit off of because they would use it a lot. To my advantage, most could never keep it down in the zone all of the time and therefore they got hit hard.

It's is a good pitch to learn if you can mix this pitch into your bag of pitches semi-infrequently to give a hitter a glimpse of something new. Younger pitchers may have a tougher time gripping the splitter correctly, but if you can develop the knack, it's a good pitch to learn at any age.

Learn how to pitch with The Pitching Academy. Dan Gazaway has been a pitching instructor for ten years now and has taught over 3,000 great students.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baseball Parent Guide: Discussion: Mike Matheny Letter to Parents of Youth Baseball

Letter to Parents of Youth Baseball

By Guest Author: Robert Thomas Brown

Mike is a man of strong character and is sharing his strong ethics with the players that he is coaching. I agree with about 80% of what he has stated in the letter to parents. I will give my opinion on a couple of issues that I think Mike might understand.

When I was in the dirt with my players, I had very few problems with any parents. The ages of the boys that I was given the responsibility of coaching were between the ages of 12-15. Before that I was on a staff of other coaches and worked mainly with my son Jeff.

I had a parents meeting with a handout and I explained the rules similar to what Mike says on the responsibility of the players and the parents. I had my parents directly involved with my program and they were part of the success. The team needed the help on fundraisers and travel arrangements. We were a baseball family and with the help of my coaches and associate coaches we were a formidable bunch. We were not a tryout team like a lot of the travel teams in St. Louis. I had all local boys and we won a lot and were always able to win or compete against the cherry picked teams.

My concern with Mike is on the issue of emotions. I can't see a player that is a competitor that is busting his rear on the diamond cannot show emotion. I would teach my players that when you make a tag, you have to sell it. I am a huge competitor and most young athletes are the same way. If there is a play at second base and the runner is definitely out, for the player to not show emotion is ridiculous! What needs to be done is for the coach to let the players show emotion but not to show up the umpire, by arguing. The players will never argue with the umpires, the player can say "I got him" and then walk away and let the coach take care of the situation. That is what the good coach is for, and he needs to approach the umpire in a firm way and say I think you missed the call. Then smile and listen to what he says and then walk back to the dugout. I think this is the perfect way to run a youth team on this subject.

This level of baseball in my opinion is strictly about player development. I told my players and parents that I was getting my players ready for high school and beyond. I was not as concerned about the umpires' calls as I was more concerned about playing the game the right way. We had a play that my third baseman dived to his left and threw from his knees over to first; the ball was in the dirt but scooped up. The umpire said the runner was safe. My coaches went nuts, I calmed them down real fast and said Ross and Brett did everything the correct way. It was real good baseball!

I can't imagine fans at a baseball game being silent and not yelling support to the players. I would not expect my parents or fans to act this way at a game. What should not be tolerated is any arguing from the stands with an umpire or verbally abusing the other team. When I was in the dirt, I always handled the umpires and always had respect from the men in blue. Head coaches you need to understand you are in charge of keeping your whole baseball family under control. I can't imagine "Come on, let's go, you can do it"adds more pressure to the player. I think this is showing support for the player and team. I can't imagine being at a baseball game and not hearing fans supporting the players.

Mike also writes about the lost of respect because the kids hear their parents complaining about the teachers or coaches. Mike goes on to say that his dad taught him that the coach is always right, even when he is wrong. I do not agree with this at all, I wouldn't want my son to be a yes person robot to not think for himself and agree with a coach that is wrong. I think we need to have more people to stand up and say what is right and what is wrong. I have to say, this is one of the reasons I started this business was to improve the coaching at all levels. I think the game of baseball should be played a lot better, and the reason it is not better, is because of poor coaching. I see so many mistakes at the major league level that should not be happening. I am talking about the little things and also basic stuff that major league players should know. I have a lot of old timers that feel the same way I do on this subject.

In conclusion we need baseball coaches that are hard working, honest, responsible, and really know how to teach the game. Mike is one of these coaches and I just disagree with him on the emotions of the game.

Mike Matheny Letter to Parents

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause. Each player will write an article 1-4 times a month. They will be writing about Teaching, MLB Life, Humor and Numerous other baseball related material. The finished article will link back to the individuals business or cause. This will be a free service to players in order to give them more exposure. We fully expect to have players from all over the country, for the benefit of our readers.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Baseball Parent Guide: Baseball Fielding Tips - Very Common Throwing Problems and How You Can Fix Them!

Baseball Tips - Correcting Common Throwing Problems

By Larry Cicchiello

Here is a list of some common throwing problems, why they are happening and some baseball fielding tips that should solve these problems:

Throws Are Overthrown and Sailing High:

There is a very good chance that you are not raising your throwing elbow to shoulder height. I've witnessed this hundreds of times over the years. Watch closely to replays on TV when infielders overthrow their first baseman and the throw sails high. In almost every case, you will see the infielder did not raise his elbow high enough when making the throw. Just remember, "elbow too low, ball high." In essence, the ball is being "pushed" and not actually thrown. Another possibility for overthrowing your target is you may be releasing the ball before your landing foot hits the ground.

Under Throwing the Ball:

The problem is usually at your release point. If you release the ball too late, your throw will almost definitely be too low. Another strong possibility is that your front shoulder is dipping down below your throwing shoulder. If your front shoulder dips, there is a good chance your throw will be low and short of your target. Whenever possible, make sure that your shoulders stay level throughout the throwing motion.

General Erratic Throwing:

There is no substitute for spending time practicing your throwing. If you throw the ball every day, your throwing will improve. It simply has to. Just remember, every time you throw a baseball you should aim for a target. It's one of the simplest yet most important baseball fielding tips for improving throwing. If having a catch with someone, aim for their left shoulder, then their right shoulder, left hip, right hip, etc. Every time you throw a baseball, aim for something! How can this possibly not help? It has to help and it will help you tremendously.

If throwing erratically, the problem could very well be in your footwork. Not getting their feet set up properly is a very common problem, especially with youngsters. Their feet are not set when they throw the ball because of their impatience to want to throw the ball too soon. Their arm is ready but their footwork is not ready yet. They have no balance or foundation. Like we mentioned above, keep your shoulders level and keep them square to your target. Make sure your front foot is pointing to your target and your back foot lined up like you are pitching and using the pitching rubber.

Once again, every time you throw a baseball, aim for a target. It's one of the easiest yet most important baseball fielding tips. There is no way on earth that this will not help you out tremendously!

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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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Simple Baseball Tip to Improve Youth Pitching Velocity

How to Improve Youth Baseball Pitching Velocity

By Guest Author: Jake Paul Johnson

Little league and youth baseball in general is an interesting phase of a child's experience. Some kids are naturals, and they adapt to the sport of baseball very quickly. Others may take a little bit longer to develop, and this is not a bad thing.

This article is going to revolve around a tip that can and should be utilized with every little leaguer aspiring to be a pitcher (at this level, who doesn't want to be a pitcher?). As parents and coaches, it is crucial to provide the child with a solid base of information on which to build upon in the future.

If you ask an experienced pitcher what the most important aspect of pitching is, more often than not they will say mechanics. Once proper mechanics are established, increased velocity will often follow.

Mechanics are the foundation of everything that a pitcher does. If mechanics are faulty, pitches won't be as consistent and efficient, and worse case scenario; injury can occur.

It is very important to instill proper mechanics in a child's mind from the very beginning. Teach them how important mechanics are and that they cannot be successful without them.

I'm going to give you a few things to focus on as a parent and as a coach when teaching mechanics to a youth baseball player:

1) Start from the ground up. The lower body is what initiates movement in the pitching motion, and it's what provides the velocity behind their pitches. Begin with the feet. Simplify their wind up by shortening their steps when positioning their feet around the rubber. Then move to the leg kick, which should bring the knee to around belly button height. Then make sure they separate their hands on time and follow through all the way.

2) Next, you want to take a look at their fastball grip. Make sure they grip with two fingers, a nice firm grip but not too tight, and either a four seam or two seam fastball grip. A solid foundation of knowledge is most important at the youth baseball level, and it is what will prepare them for the long career ahead. As the child matures, it is important to give them the proper training and mechanics analysis so they can increase their velocity and develop properly. This will give them all they need to be successful for many years to come.

I hope you found my tips useful and I wish you the best!

Visit the following link for more information on how I built my pitching velocity up from nothing. I was always being overlooked by scouts and coaches, but not anymore. I now have the confidence and training that I need to be successful. Check out for details.

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