Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

and a Happy New Year..

From Coach Bob!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

2009 Demarini Baseball Bat Reviews

By Rick Cates
Is Demarini the best Baseball Bat on the market? The 2009 line up of baseball bats may well be the best bats Demarini has ever made! Established in 1989 Demarini Bats, a sub-division of Wilson, is making a strong case to take over the baseball bat market. All of the Demarini bats have flexed tuned carbon composite handles which are lighter than alloys and will flex 2 to 4 times more providing more power at contact. Demarini makes 3 collegiate and high school approved bats, each having a different patented end cap. New for 2009 Demarini is touting their new "Pitch Black" composite technology claiming it is stronger than competing technologies.
Here is the line-up for 2009

CF3 Black (or special edition white) is a 100 % composite, two piece bat with double walls and "Pitch Black" technology. This technology touts 22% more carbon fibers than any other bat on the market with no fillers added which should give it a distinct advantage when it comes to power. This enables Demarini to double re-enforce a vertical and horizontal weave. This process provides the strongest and tightest composite weave resulting in more over-all power. The 2009 CF3 comes in collegiate or high school sizes as follows: - 31/28 - 32/29 - 33/30 - 34/31
For senior league: - 29/21 - 30/22 - 31/23 - 32/24

The 2009 Demarini Voodoo Black is made with pitch black composite handles combined with the newest SC4 Alloy. The Voodoo is a high quality bat with a proven reputation at a very reasonable price. The Voodoo is a very popular bat with a larger sweet spot that the ball really explodes off of. The line-up of 2009 Demarini Voodoos come in Collegiate and High School sizes as follows: - 31/28 - 32/29 - 33/30 - 34/31

The 2009 Voodoos come in Senior League sizes as follows: - 29/20 - 30/21 - 31/22 - 32/23 (-9's)

The Demarini Voodoos also come in minus 10 as follows: - 29/19 - 30/20 - 31/21 - 32/22
The Demarini Vendetta.

Demarinis slogan for the 2009 Vendetta is "Attack the ball with a vengeance." This bat is completely re-designed using "Rail" technology to completely re-define bat handle technology. The 2009 Vendetta comes with 4 flat composite rails with varying flexes that run through the handle and reduces vibration, increases bat speed and delivers a nice combination of handle to barrel flex. New SC4 Alloy in the barrel rounds out this bat of choice for many Division 1 Programs. The 2009 Demarini Vendetta comes in the following sizes for Collegiate and High School baseball: - 31/28 - 32/29 - 33/30 - 34/31

For Senior League the following sizes are available: - 29/20 - 30/21 - 31/22 - 32/23

Last but not least is the 2009 Demarini Vexxum. This bat comes with a 100 % composite handle and exclusive SC4 Alloy comprised with Long Barrel technology giving hitters the longest barrel in baseball providing maximum plate coverage and a larger sweet spot. Even though the Vexxum is on the low end of the range for Demarini, it is still a quality bat. The Demarini Vexxum comes in the following sizes for the Collegiate and High School player: - 31/28 - 32/29 - 33/30 - 34/31

Senior League bats are available in the following sizes: - 31/26 - 32/27 - 33/28 - 34/29

Youth and Little League are available in the following sizes: - 28/19.5 - 29/20.5 - 30/21.5 - 31/22.5 - 32/23.5 (-8's)

Youth and Little League also are available at -10 in the following sizes: - 27/17 - 28/18 - 29/19 - 30/20 - 31/21 - 32/22 (-10's)

Demarini is a player in the baseball bat industry and provides quality bats in both the high and low price range. You can't go wrong with a Demarini Bat. To see more of my Baseball Equipment reviews visit me at Rick's Bats and Gloves, ETC.

Rick Cates is the editor in chief of - At Rick's Bats and Gloves, ETC we go over what is new in the Baseball and Softball world. We will review the latest products and equipment to help you in making your purchase of new or used equipment in the Baseball and Softball world.

Article Source:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baseball Training Aids Will Help Perfect Your Skills

By Brandon Bland

With the use of baseball training aids, you should be able to make significant improvements to you or your child's fundamentals. Nowadays there are so many useful tools that every ball player should take advantage of. It is unreal how easy it is today to be able to practice many fundamentals right at home. If you're willing to invest a little bit of money, you should be able to improve your game using these baseball training aids.

The very first training aid, that every ball player should have is a batting tee. They are relatively cheap, and an absolute essential tool for every hitter. You can break down your swing and practice hitting the ball from any part of the strike zone.

Along with the tee, you are going to need some sort of soft toss net to be able to hit into. This will give you something to hit off the tee into. There are a couple different types of nets you will want to look into. The first and most recommended for individual use for your garage or backyard is called a "pop-up" net. This is self-explanatory as they just fold out and "pop-up." They are cheaper than the other style I call a "heavy-duty" net, which are more suited for team use. These are usually made out of aluminum, and feature a heavier, more durable net.

A soft toss machine is also an excellent tool for every hitter. There are styles that sit on the ground, and tripod-like machines that drop a ball out of a chute and flip the ball up into the strike zone. A soft toss machine is very useful for dissecting your swing and hitting balls from every spot in the strike zone. Use a video camera to help out even more for extra analysis. The great thing is that you may do all of this from home, by yourself.

For pitchers, there are many throwing and pitching aids to help strengthen the arm. These include strengthening bands, forearm strengthening equipment, and so on. You may want to look into these if you are trying to strengthen your throwing arm (which all ball players should be doing, not just pitchers).

In summary, good baseball training aids can mean the difference between a professional career in baseball or just being a weekend warrior. Make the investment if you can. You don't have to spend a fortune, but if you are serious about you or your child's career in this game, it should be a no brainer to get all of these tools you can. Not only get them, but USE THEM!

You can learn more about baseball training aids by checking out this page, at my website Baseball Equipment Review.

Brandon Bland is the webmaster of Baseball Equipment Review, a site devoted to informing ballplayers of the quality of today's baseball equipment so they can make informed decisions about their purchases.

Article Source:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dugout Organization - 3 Benefits to Your Baseball Or Softball Team

By Drue Carney
If you have a son or daughter playing baseball or softball then you probably have noticed the chaos that ensues in the team's dugout. Most ball field complexes consist mainly of fences and benches. The few types of dugout organizers that exist are easily damaged or just hold one equipment item such as bats. So there often is no place for the players to put their equipment. A lot of young players carry very simple bat bags to their games and hang them on the fence but once the players take their stuff out of their bags it doesn't go back in until the end of the game. In these instances, players typically just toss their gloves and hats about the dugout and they often end up on the ground where they can get stepped on. As well, bats are leaned up against the fence and regularly also end up on the ground where they get kicked and stepped on.

When a dugout is unorganized, the players spend a lot of time trying to find their things. In the absence of any type of dugout organizer equipment, a coach should take the time to teach his players how to keep their team's dugout organized. Coaches should explain to the players that they should put their gloves, hats and helmets in the same place all the time. If players do this then they will know where their things are and can then focus more on the game and the coaching and strategy being provided by the coaches.

If players are taught how to keep the dugout organized then the end result is that their equipment will be treated better. Players will respect one another's equipment if it is placed in the same spot all the time in the dugout. An organized dugout enables the players to help each other at the end of an inning by finding the player's hat and glove to bring out to him or her on the field - otherwise referred to as "picking him/her up."

The third benefit of an organized dugout is that it minimizes risk. The risk of injury is minimized by fewer things being thrown around on the ground where a player can easily trip on something like a bat. The risk of a player losing equipment is also reduced because if a team is taught how to keep their dugout organized then they are more likely to know where each other's things are located.

It is challenging to teach young boys and girls how to take care of their baseball or softball equipment. Their mindset is that they are there to play a game and have fun. Unfortunately this results in a dugout that is not organized and the wasting of a lot of time by players looking for their hat, gloves and helmets. To help make their team run smoothly, baseball and softball coaches should spend some practice time teaching their players about keeping their dugout organized.

Drue is a parent of kids playing youth baseball and softball. Like many parents, he could not stand the sight of a messy dugout, especially seeing all of the expensive gloves, helmets and bats parents had bought for their kids being stepped on and kicked around as well as kids wasting game time by not being able to find their equipment before going on to the field. In order to solve this problem, he designed The Bench Coach, a portable dugout organizer. Take a moment to see how easy it now is to have an organized dugout at
Article Source:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am blessed with a great life, wonderful family and great friends. Please remember to do something nice for those less fortunate. Donate to a local foodbank, give old clothes to the Salvation Army, donate old baseball equipment to a youth league who needs your support. Giving makes you feel alive.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. If it's warm where you are have a catch (with a baseball) at halftime!

Coach Bob

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Beginning Youth Sports? Two Questions to Consider

By Greg A. Marshall
If you are the coach of a youth team (or planning to be one), you should share these thoughts with the parents on your team. You may want to prepare a handout with your coaching philosophies and distribute them at your pre-season team meeting.

Before a parent signs a up a child to participate in a youth sports activity, the parent must answer a couple of questions about the child's role in the activity as well as his own
A. Make sure your child is ready for Youth Sports.

Obviously, this is the most fundamental element of whether you and your child enjoy the youth sports experience. Many children play sports simply because their parents want them to play. Children WANT to please their parents, so naturally they will usually do what their parents wish whether they want to or not.

Ask yourself:

1."Does my child even WANT to play an organized sport?"
2. Is he/she physically/mentally ready for an organized sport?

If the answer to either of these questions is no, it is better to wait until next year, simply because of the level of interest and safety concerns.

B. Assuming your child is ready and wants to play, what must you, as a parent do to help get them ready to play?

Long before the first practice, spend some time in preparation. Begin by making the experience a fun and learning one. The best way is to begin teaching without the child even realizing that he or she is being taught - so it doesn't become "work." For example, to get ready for the baseball season, indulge in the pure enjoyment of "having a catch" with your child. This is great fun for you and your child, and will lay the foundation for many enjoyable hours later on. In "having a catch," you are teaching the proper way to catch and throw the ball. As your child's skill level improves, you (and they) will begin making more difficult throws and catches.

In addition to "having a catch," playing "wiffle ball" is a great (and inexpensive) way to begin developing batting skills. Developing the hand/eye skills necessary for batting is vital to success and satisfaction. Take a moment at the outset to demonstrate the proper grip, batting stance and swing. Don't allow yourself to become frustrated if it takes awhile for your child to grasp the concepts you present. That is the surest way to kill the desire to learn.

Whatever you do, give lots of praise and encouragement when warranted. The surest way to speed up the learning process is to praise when your young player gives solid effort and executes a procedure well. They will work extra hard to earn more praise. If they struggle, take a break, get a treat, and come back later. Sometimes a little time off does wonders.

Greg A. Marshall is the creator of, a unique website offering excellent teaching and coaching tools for coaches and parents of very young baseball enthusiasts. The resources on the website are designed for the parent or prospective youth coach who is overwhelmed at the prospect of starting from scratch. The website and materials offered are full of practical advice to help youth coaches from the very first day of practice.
Article Source:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bring Out the Best in Your Youth Sports Team by Setting the Example

By Greg A. Marshall

Bring out the best ... in your youth sports team, in yourself, and in your team's parents. So, how do you do this? By setting the example - in the way you coach, the way you think, and the way you behave. We all hear the horror stories of coaches whose bad examples of preferential coaching treatment, poor sportsmanship, and negative attitudes seem to hold sway on youth sports.

But it doesn't have to be that way. You CAN be the coach who sets a positive example in these and other areas. What's more you can lead by example, showing the way for other coaches and parents to see your positive demeanor and honorable character as a yardstick for themselves, perhaps. Even if your behavior doesn't change another coach's style of coaching, at least you will always be able to know that you conducted yourself in an honorable and sportsmanlike manner.
Certainly, if nothing else, you can be the best possible example for your team's players, parents and "extended family." If your players see you as a coach whom they can trust - who conducts himself honorably, and treats the team fairly, they will respond to you better in the long haul. What's more, they will move on from your team and carry some of those attributes to their next team and allow them to develop their own sense of fair play and "best behavior."

This works for parents as well. Those parents who tend to behave poorly during a game will be more likely to temper their behavior if they observe that you keep yourself under control. Even if they don't change their behavior long term, they will generally be motivated to "tone it down" by the rest of the parents on your team "buying in" to your style of coaching. This encourages the parents to be more mindful of their attitude and actions than they might normally.

But the best possible result? It may cause a youngster to stop and think, "I'm going to play fair because my coach does."
And THAT is well worth the effort.

Greg A. Marshall is the creator of, a unique website offering excellent teaching and coaching tools for coaches and parents of very young baseball enthusiasts. The resources on the website are designed for the parent or prospective youth coach who is overwhelmed at the prospect of starting from scratch. The website and materials offered are full of practical advice to help youth coaches from the very first day of practice.
Article Source:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How Baseball Hitting Drills Will Improve Your Average

By Alan Bryan
Even the most established ball player uses baseball hitting drills on a daily basis to help keep their skills sharp and look for improvement. Hitting baseball, or softball for that matter, is a difficult task. Even a quarter of an inch difference in your swing can result in a weak pop up or ground out back to the mound. There are many baseball hitting drills that can help you refine your swing.

Hitting off a tee: Not just for tee ball players, even major league players hit off a tee almost daily to practice hand eye coordination and tweaking a swing to get the head of the bat through the hitting zone quickly

Short Toss: Practicing hitting off a pitcher from very short distance will help with reaction time and also help with taking out the waste in your swing. If you dance around in the batters box in short toss, the ball will be by you. This is also helps with hip and foot placement

Shorter Bat: Probably a little known baseball hitting drill is to use a bat that is shorter than what you use in a game for practice. What this will teach is getting your arms extended through the swing zone and better hand/eye coordination

Learning some basic baseball hitting drills, and doing them on a daily basis can help you become a most successful hitter on any level. Remember that there is no replacement for hard work and determination. Baseball is a game based on failure. Even the most successful hitters fail almost 70% of the time.

Doing basic baseball hitting drills may seem like a waste of time, but even the most season pro use the same basic drills every day to keep on task. For the best baseball drill videos and techniques. visit

Article Source:

Friday, November 21, 2008

How To Become A Complete Baseball Player

This is the ultimate goal for a ball player right? Developing the "five tools". It takes commitment and dedication of course, but it also takes a positive attitude towards improvement.

I read a quote yesterday from a college coach that really stuck with me...

"you will never improve a skill or ability if you start out thinking
you know everything about it."

Sounds simple enough. Some would say "keep an opened mind" says the same thing but I think there's more to it. My interpretation of this statement is... in order for a person to reach their goals they must be open to learning from others who have been down the road before them. In relationship to baseball it means listening to all advice and finding the good in it.

A baseball player will work with many coaches throughout their career. Youth players generally have different coaches every season. Some more experienced and knowledgeable than others. If you are lucky enough to play for a coach who really knows his or her stuff you will do yourself a great service by opening up, paying attention and taking in everything they want to teach you. You may not agree with everything, but take it in. Then you can balance that knowledge with what you have learned from others. This is how players improve... take the best lessons from the best coaches and put it all together. That's how you become a "complete" player.

For example, my friend's son has played for a coach the past 3 seasons who is VERY knowledgeable about hitting.. he played Div1 ball, was a powerhitter, taught him a lot. This coach also thought he knew a lot about baserunning. He knew some, but another coach this player worked with privately was a base stealing phemon who taught him things that the hitting coach had never learned. However, when the hitting coach gave him baserunning instruction he listened and took it in. Yet he practiced and used most of what the baserunning coach taught him. One day he had a game where he stole 3 bases. After the game the hitting coach said "say, great game today, you seem to have come up with a baserunning technique that really works for you, stay with it". Get the picture?

There are very few absolutes in baseball. While there are general guidelines on how to do things, every player is different. Players learn baseball skills in a way that fits them. That's why when you look at college and pro players, they all have similar elements in their swings, yet every swing is different.

Good coaches know that not all players have the same batting stance or the same load/stride technique, or the same stance when leading off 1st base. A good coach wants a player to get the most of their mental and physical ability.

The best advice to you, the player, is listen to all your coaches and take in the best parts from each. If you do this you will be well on your way to meeting your baseball goals and become a "complete player".

Coach Bob

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lightning Fast Bat Speed

By John Furia
How can I speed up my bat? I want to improve my power! For baseball players bat speed is a necessity! How do you acquire it if it does not come so naturally? The key is strength development in the lower body and trunk (core).

One of the key muscles in improving bat speed is a low back muscle called the Quadratus Lumborum. This muscle is critical in laterally flexing and rotating the spine and aids the obliques in further rotating the spine. The key word here is rotation! Once improved strength is gained in this area trunk rotation will improve drastically which then in turn develops greater bat speed.
It has most often been thought that superior bat speed is developed solely through efficient swing mechanics. I have found the trunk rotational strength component to be even more effective even with a poorly executed swing. So imagine the combination of mechanically sound swing mechanics in conjunction with superior targeted strength in the Quadratus Lumborum and surrounding trunk muscles. So how do you strengthen the Qadtratus Lumborum? One of the most effective strength exercises to improve Quadratus strength and function is the "Seated Good Morning" exercise.


Place a barbell in a squat rack. Deload the bar from a standing position. Have a bench with a height of about 24"-36" behind you depending on your height. With the bar sitting across the upper trapezius (not the top of the neck) sit on the very edge of the bench with your feet wide apart and your toes slightly pointed outward. Your grip on the barbell should be as wide as the bar will allow. From the seated position lower your trunk slowly to the floor. Head up, chest tall and with an arched low back bring your trunk as far as your body will allow forward. Range of motion will vary from individual to individual. Do not force range of motion and allow the motion to come on its own. After several exposures to the exercise range of motion and end range strength will improve enough so that you will end parallel to the floor. Rep range should be in the 6-10 range.

Try this exercise for about four to six weeks in conjunction with your lower body program. Exercises that work well with the seated good morning are barbell squats, front squats and trap bar dead lifts. With these movements you will see noticeable improvements in bat speed which will reap huge payback with gap power.

John Furia is the owner of Furia's Xceleration Strength & Conditioning located in Deer Park, New York. John is a highly sought-after Strength & Conditioning coach for healthy and injured athletes alike, he has helped athletes at all levels - from youth sports to the professional and Olympic Levels - achieve peak performance in a variety of sports.

Article Source:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hitting Tips, Batting Tips, Sports Psychology and Baseball - How to Break Out of a Hitting Slump

By Jay Granat
Every week, I get calls from parents, from coaches and from baseball players who are concerned because they or someone they are concerned about is stuck in a hitting slump.

Hitting a baseball is difficult and when you lose your confidence and your focus, it is very hard to perform well when you are batting.

A lot of the players who call me or who come to see me have excellent swings. Many of these baseball players have had private hitting coaches for years. Some have hitting coaches, fitness coaches, flexibility coaches, speed coaches and nutritionists. The athletes are hoping for baseball scholarships and some are hoping to play Division I baseball or professional ball.

So, you might ask, why to players with great strength, great balance, great technique and good timing get into slumps? And what can be done to shorten the slump and get the hitter on track once again?

In my view, many of the hitters who I counsel know very little about their own psychology. That is, they don't know how to get their mind into the right place prior to getting up to the plate. In addition, they don't know how to adjust their mental attitude in a way that will allow them to break out of their hitting slump.

Sometimes, we need to revamp their whole approach to hitting to get them to hit to their potential.

In other cases, one minor adjustment can solve the problem. I try to start with something simple first. Changing something small can sometimes free up a baseball player to feel confident and empowered at the plate.

One batter was given a confidence building slogan that he was to repeat to himself in between pitches.

Another was taught a simple way to relax when he got up to bat.

A very talented switch hitter needed a different way to focus when he got into the batter's box.
Another batter changed what he did in the on deck circle. This helped him to feel more comfortable when he came up to bat.

Many of these techniques can be found on 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis. Here is the link to get this program.

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

Article Source:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Becoming a Mound Magician

By Nate Barnett
I remember being a twelve year old pitcher and trying to strike every hitter out by throwing hard fastballs by everyone. I carried this same mentality into high school with some success. But, it wasn't until I pitched in college that it was clearly communicated to me why throwing a good change up as well as changing the speeds of my fastball was so important. At first, I was quite nervous with the prospect of throwing a slower pitch. I had a tough time with the fact that I would be taking speed off of pitches to produce positive results. Once I began to change velocities, however, pitching got much more fun.

So what makes Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, and Mariano Rivera so effective as pitchers? They change speeds, angles, and create movement on most all of their pitches. The goal of a pitcher should always be to mess with the balance and timing of a hitter by changing speeds. This doesn't mean that pitchers should be less aggressive while throwing a fastball; it simply means that all fastballs thrown should not be at 100% effort. There are a lot of pitchers who throw with great velocity. But, few have mastered the ability to change speeds like Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer have.

You don't need a blistering fastball to compete as a pitcher. You do, however, need to create the illusion of a blistering fastball by keeping hitters off balance. Learn a good change up; it will be one of the best investments of time you make as a pitcher.

Nate Barnett and his business partner, Dan Gazaway are owners of the The Pitching Academy, a pitching information website designed to improve your on the mound performance as a pitcher.

The Pitching Academy contains information, products, training, free articles, and more on pitching, pitching workouts, pitching mechanics, different baseball pitching grips, and much more.
Article Source:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why Goofy Pitchers Win

By Nate Barnett
Every team has a couple goofy pitchers, and if you watch closely it doesn't take a long time to figure out which ones. I haven't solved the mystery as to why there are more goofy pitchers compared to hitters, must have to do with all of the emotional stress pitching can cause or something. I've seen some jump over the third and first base lines every time they enter or exit the field as well as brush their teeth between every inning. But it's not just the superstitions, a lot of ball players are superstitious. It has to do with a certain amount of carefreeness combined with a dosage of competitiveness that has a way to produce success on the mound.

We always hear that pitching is such a mental sport. So why do many "goofy" pitchers have success? The reason is they simply don't think! It is not meant to be a negative in this context. Pitchers who don't allow negative results to affect how they go about their business tend to last longer, remain more in control of their emotions, and can bounce back from failures quickly.
If you haven't been blessed with the "goofy" gene, it's ok. Here are some things you other hurlers can learn from these guys.

3 Ways to Increase your "Goofiness" Factor

It's alright to take breaks while performing

Baseball is a sport that depends greatly on momentum and rhythm. There are brief periods of high focus and intensity followed by mental vacations that sometimes last quite a while. The key is to learn how to balance the two. Do you know any athletes who play on one speed, FAST? They all suffer from system failure at some point during the season and perform inconsistently. A baseball game is like a good movie, there is plot development early, build up, and then an apex. Keep your attitude right with the flow of the game and you'll find yourself mentally invested when you need to be.

Learn to fail, learn, and forget

Everyone fails in this sport. Get over it, you're not immune. Instead learn from your mistakes, work hard at changing, and then move on. I know this sounds simplistic, and it is. It's emotionally freeing to never be wrapped up in past performances.

Find your outlet

This last point is directed to those of you who have a hard time letting down after a tough performance. If you can't let go of a game an hour after the performance, this is for you. Discover what takes you out of reality for a bit. Watch a movie, play some video games, listen to music, or hang around some friends who have nothing to do with baseball. Once you find what takes your mind off of your situation and frustrations, use it as a tool to help you achieve relaxation and freshness of mind so you can perform free of baggage next time.

Nate Barnett and his business partner, Dan Gazaway are owners of the The Pitching Academy, a pitching information website designed to improve your on the mound performance as a pitcher. The Pitching Academy contains information, products, training, free articles, and more on pitching, pitching drills, pitching mechanics, cut fastball grips, and much more.

Article Source:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Winter Programs, Staying Fit In The Off Season

That sad time of year is here in the northeast. It's the time when we bid a seasonal farwell to the smell of cut grass and the baseball diamond. Time to think about how to keep baseball fit in the offseason.

Many young players fail to realize the importance of maintaining muscle memory for hitting and throwing during the offseason. It takes lots of practice to learn how to hit and throw, and lots of practice to stay in the groove. If you let 4 or 5 months go by without picking up a bat or throwing a baseball make no mistake, you're going to get rusty. If you're a more competitive player, your competition is probably working hard and will gain ground during the off season.

Here are a few recommendations...

Take some time off... especially if your a player who has played alot of games during the spring, summer and fall seasons. You should give you body a month of rest from throwing at a minimum. But during this time it's ok to swing the bat a few times a week.

Swing 4 times a week... whether it's BP at an indoor cage or hitting off a tee in your garage. It's important to swing the bat at least 4 times a week. The number of swings per session will depend on your age but at least 25 and no more than 60 per session.

Learn something new... the offseason is the time to work on those little things you felt in your swing, or to learn a new pitch. Either professional coaching or your Dad... learn new things that will help improve your game.

Strenghen your arm... after the initial month off you should throw at least once per week. if you can rent an indoor cage for 1/2 hour break it into 15 minutes of throwing and 15 minutes of hitting that's perfect.

Practice position specific... work on drills in your garage or basement that will help you play your position. do a few google searches and you will find many things you can do to help you improve.

Indoor camps and programs... in most communities you can find indoor baseball camps or programs that can help kids improve. these are great for younger kids. older players might want or need more specific programs.

Stay fit... baseball players should have a daily program of excersise which should include pushups, situps, pullups and running. Doing this 4-5 times a week will keep you spring training ready all year round.

Coach Bob

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confidence and Baseball

"Some players put pressure on themselves. I put pressure on the pitcher."
- Mark Texeria

I've got to tell you I love this philosiphy. "Tex" hits it right on the screws with this thought.

I've written before about developing confidence as a baseball player. For those player who are more serious about the game it comes from hard work and a defined program to develop skills.

It's great to play the game as a casual player too. However as kids get older the casual player must take BP on a regular basis to have continued success at the plate.

If you've done the things you need to do to be confident at plate I recommend committing Mark Texeria's words to memory and saying them before every at bat, or every pitch even. You will be one step ahead of winning the battle at the plate.

Coach Bob

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baseball Pitching - The Stride

By Martin Ellise

In Baseball Pitching, a Pitcher's Stride Length is a very important element in getting the pitch right. In this article I talk about how a baseball pitcher should stride.

A mechanical flaw in baseball pitching can lead to decreased performance and loss of power. And of course a lot of these flaws exist, which need to be identified and then, corrected proactively.

Stride Length:

The pitcher will start to stride forward after his knee is lifted to his chest. The proper technique to do it (assuming you are a right-handed pitcher) is with the side of your front foot facing the target and his toe pointing at 3rd base. This will enable you to keep your hips closed throughout the "expansion" of the lower body off the mound and to the target. A left hander should stride with his tow pointing at 1st base. It's also important to stride out with the front foot low to the ground. This keeps a pitcher's shoulders relatively level.

Hip Action:

One thing that needs to be constantly checked is the hip action during the stride phase of the pitching delivery. Most pitchers will either open their hips too early, or they don't open their hips at all. Both, of course, are mechanical faults that can cause a decrease in power.
For a proper pitching, stride out toward home plate leading with the stride foot, keep your weight on the back leg, and land toes to the target or slightly closed as opposed to open. Then, once that stride foot lands, it's the action of the "backside knee drive," thrusting forward and inward, that explosively rotates the hips, which rotates the shoulders and creates power.

Martin ElliseBaseball Pitching
Article Source:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Becoming A Better Hitter - Video

Hitting basics from Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Slow Runners Can Be Great Baserunners

By Steve Rau
Some baseball people believe that a player needs to have blazing speed to be a great baserunner. This is a total misconception among players and coaches. Baserunning is all about instincts. I love coaching those players who always know when to take the extra base or what's the opportune time to take a risk. Don't get me wrong, pure speed can be extremely valuable to your team and very disruptive to the opposition, but usually the not so fast, instinctive baserunners are the guys who can make the difference in a game.

How does a player become an instinctive baserunner? The answer is the same as to how one becomes an instinctive baseball player; study the game. Great baserunners know the situations and variables that go into, not only each game, but also each play.

Here's a list of items instinctive baserunners consider on the base paths:

Speed of the outfielders
Arm strength of all fielders
Range of the infielders
Weather conditions (wind, rain, sun, etc.)
Your own speed
Flight of the ball
Speed of the ball
Length of the grass
Grass infield vs. dirt infield
Right-handed vs. left-handed (ball fades or hooks differently)
Direction fielder is going to field the ball
Score of the game
Inning of the game
Outs in the inning
Batter on deck

I may have overlooked a few, but you get the picture. It's not all about speed; slow runners can also be great baserunners, but they'll need to study the game.

Coach Steve Rau is a long time baseball instructor and co-founder of Play Ball Academy. He has been a part of championship baseball programs as both a player and coach for over 20 years. He currently helps hundreds of coaches and young ballplayers improve their baseball knowledge through online and offline instruction.

Baseball coaches can find baseball tips, video lessons, and audio sessions at:
Article Source:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Becoming A Better Bunter - Video

Here is some excellent bunting instruction with Tony Gwynn...

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.


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

Article Source:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to Communicate to the Coach About Playing Time

By Nate Barnett
Playing time is an interesting thing in youth baseball. Somebody is never happy. Players get frustrated if they are not getting field time. Parents become agitated if they are paying money for their son to be on a team but yet he is sitting on the bench more than he is playing. However, when all is said and done, there will always be hitters who sit on the bench. It's a numbers issue since no team can run solely on nine players for an entire season.

Most coaches are fully aware of the playing time issue and do all they can at the younger levels to get all players in the game. But, what is truly frustrating to a head coach or a coaching staff is how most playing time concerns are communicated by players or parents. Because many communication problems spiral out of control and cause more damage to all parties involved, I'd like to explain a few thoughts and guidelines on the topic of communication.

There are essentially three ways to communicate to a coach. The least effective is listed first, and the most effective is listed last.

1. In writing, that is letter format, email, text messaging, instant messaging, etc.
2. Over the phone.
3. In person and face to face.

The reason why written communication is the most insufficient form of communicating emotional concerns is because it's difficult to express emotions in the correct manner. It is tough to make sure that the emotion one felt when writing is read with the same emotion in mind. If an athlete is frustrated when writing the message, it may not be read as a frustrated tone by the coach. He may have interpreted the words as challenging, or argumentative. Therefore, writing should be used (for the most part, not always) when conveying thoughts that are non-emotional.
Phone conversations are much more effective when attempting to communicate issues of emotion. The reason this is the case is because the coach on the other end can hear tones of voice and voice fluctuation. Thoughts and concerns via the phone are far less likely be interpreted incorrectly when compared to written communication.

Lastly, and most effective is face to face communication. While often the most intimidating, talking with a coach in private and without distraction is valuable for a couple reasons. First, a coach can hear tone of voice and read into the emotion being communicated. Secondly, and most important, body language can be displayed. Much of in person communication is performed through body language. Therefore, live conversation is far more effective when issues of emotion at the topic.

In my experience in working with athletes and running baseball teams, many communication problems can be averted if there is open lines of communication between everyone who has a vested interest in the success of the team. Remember, back biting, rumor spreading, and open complaining only does more damage to team chemistry.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball, a baseball instruction website. Nate's has written two ebooks on hitting mechanics as well as mental baseball drills to improve performance.

Article Source:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities

By Nate Barnett

One of the best ways to force long innings (when you are on offense of course) and to win more games is to put added pressure on the defense. There are multiple ways of doing this, a couple of which are outlined here. Understanding the concerns of a defense and exploiting those concerns are valuable techniques any good coach will insert into his baseball drills.

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

Don't skip this part because you, your son, or the team you coach has little speed. You don't need any to understand this concept. The more offensive movement is created on the base paths, the more potential there is for defensive mistakes. Create movement the following ways:

A. Bigger lead offs. Most youth baseball players don't get a proper lead off at any base. Because of this, the defense doesn't feel the perceived threat of the runner. How long is a good lead? A runner should be able to rotate and dive (body fully extended) back to the bag in time if he is watching the right movements from the pitcher. Getting aggressive leads will do two things. First, it will force the pitcher to split concentration between the runner and the hitter. This will help out the hitter as pitch location may improve with the lack of focus from the pitcher. Secondly, the more throws drawn by the runner at first base (primarily) can results in potential overthrows as well as an increased opportunity to utilize a stolen base or a hit and run play.

B. Take aggressive turns on the bases. I frequently see many younger players after hitting a baseball, jog down to first base and take a small turn around first. This puts zero pressure on the defense. The first goal on any hit to the outfield is to reach second base. The mentality that every hit is a double will help runners become more aggressive. Obviously I'm not advocating running bases wildly, I'm simply promoting adding some extra heat on the defense to provoke some mistakes.

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

It's quite common to watch hitters all the way through high school swing at pitches quite out of the zone. Most of the time this is caused from a lack of a game plan, or improper teaching during baseball drills. Each hitter should have a specific pitch plan based upon his hitting strengths. Every hitter has a special pitch, or one that is more favorable to hit than others. This needs to be the focus early in the count. No other pitches should be offered at early in the count other than the favorite pitch. The only thing that would change this scenario would be if a coach called some sort of offensive play.

A more selective approach to hitting will put pressure on defensive two different ways:

A. More pitches will be thrown by pitchers which will (hopefully) force a pitching change earlier in the game. Since more relievers in youth baseball are not as good as starters, this is a plus for the offense.

B. Getting better pitches to hit will create more baseballs in play. The more balls hit hard there are, the greater chance there is for a mistake by the defense.

Finally, there is no secret that perceived pressure causes more mistakes. If an offense can manufacture pressure and remain confident in doing so, they will enjoy watching an error filled defense play more timid and give games away.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball, a baseball instruction company based out of Washington State. A former professional baseball player, Nate has written a free downloadable ebook on mental baseball drills to overcome failure. Also, come check out a free sample of his video enhanced ebook, Hitting Mechanics 101.

Article Source:

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Favorite Baseball Movies

I'm sure this has been done by many baseball bloggers ... I thought it was time to publish my top 5 list...

#1 The Natural

This is by far one of the best directed/produced baseball movies ever made. Yes at times Redford seems a bit old for the part but this can be overlooked. Randy Newman's musics makes the film. Many lessons in this movie.

#2 Field of Dreams

This was a close 2nd for me. The ending scene "Hey Dad, Wanna have a catch?" I've seen this movie dozens of times and I still tear up everytime Ray says those words. At first I would think of my Dad.. now I think of my son. I love this movie

#3 Bull Durham

Funny, clever, holds my interest everytime I watch it. Lolly Gag scene is my favorite. Kostner plays a great beat up catcher. Not a bad swing either. Not for kids though.. teenagers maybe.

#4 The Rookie

The classic American story of a kid/guy who never gives up his dream.. and this is a true story. Dennis Quaid demonstrates a pretty good pitching motion too. Good lesson movie for kids.

#5 The Final Season

You may not have seen this one but it's a good one. About a small town high school team that goes through trials and tribuations. Based on a true story.. Rent it, you won't regret it.

Eight Men Out deserves an honorable mention, ok let's just call it #6.

Coach Bob

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In Fall Ball "F" Is For Fun

Thousands of towns around America have started their final youth baseball season, Fall Ball. Generally, Fall baseball is more laid back than it's spring and summer counterparts. The focus is generally more fun oriented. I've found that some kids prefer to only play Fall ball just for this reason. Kids who just love the game and don't want the added pressure to succeed and perform.

It's important for town leagues to offer this type of sandlot experience for kids. As manager's some of may be going from the highly competitive summer travel season to the laid back fall ball season. It takes some adjustment. Here are a few things to remember when coaching a fall ball team...

Communicate Your Intentions.. Let players and parents know that you intend to promote fun during the fall ball season.

Give Kids A Chance.. Before your first game, ask the kids what positions like to play. Tell them they may have to play others to help the team but you will do your best to give them playing time in the positions they enjoy.

Promote A Team Atmosphere.. Many people see fall ball as just a pick up league or some sort. If it is an organized league with assigned teams it is important to promote the team concept to the kids. This is part of the learning experience.

Try New Things.. Fall ball is a perfect time for players to try things like hitting lefty or playing a position the don't normally play or a new pitch. Explain to your players that they can use these season to add to their baseball skills.

Focus On Development.. Every error or mistake made on a ball field can be a positive lesson. It is important, especially with kids who only play fall ball, to help them learn from these events. Take the kid who needs help throwing aside with his dad or mom and explain a few drills that will help him. I had a dad tell me his son is a great hitter but in games he's afraid of the ball because he got hit a few times last season. I gave him a few drills to work on to help his son learn out to get out of the way of an inside pitch. He worked on this with his son and guess what... he became one of the best hitters on the team after a few weeks.

In summary, remember to keep fall ball fun. Baseball greatness starts with developing a love for the game. Fall ball is the perfect time to develop the love.

Coach Bob

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Allowing Failure In Youth Baseball Drills

By Nate Barnett
I'm sure you have heard the words, "practice makes perfect". Or, "perfect practice makes perfect". And while I enjoy the utopian view that someday I'll get to coach the perfect team, or the perfect player, it's just not going to happen. Especially not in a sport where failure is a common and frequent occurrence. It is vital that our athletes understand failure and be taught how to employ a strategy to use failure as a positive and not as a negative. It takes some rewiring in the minds of athletes, but it's well worth the time spent.

What I would like to explore here is how failure can be utilized during youth baseball drills and during practice in order to create more fundamentally solid baseball players.

For many youth today failure is terrifying. Afraid of messing up a speech in class, afraid of getting an "F" on a exam, afraid of striking out, and afraid of being rejected in this or that. Failure is everywhere and and it is an integral part of our daily lives. The problem I have with the focus on failure is that it tends to paralyze many from attempting to achieve. Let me be clear when I say that I am not trying to do away with things that cause failure, or to shelter youth from experiencing it, I'm simply stating the lens in which we view failure needs to be cleaned.
Facilitating a new angle on failure during youth baseball drills and practice time is actually quite simple. I'll provide one solid example on one aspect of the game of baseball and let you apply the principle to the rest.

A Tangible Example: Batting Practice

When working with hitters, I will watch closely how they approach batting practice. During BP, all hitters want to do well, and why not, it's their time to shine. However, it usually only takes a few missed pitches, a few ground outs, or a few fly outs before the hitter begins to be frustrated and lose focus. This just compounds the problem.

The problem is not the missed pitches or the poor results, the problem is the perceived meaning of the missed pitches. In other words, the hitter sees the missed opportunities as a sign of inferiority. This feeling compounded upon will create a belief that the athlete himself has failed.
Good hitters approach batting practice mistakes far differently. A few missed pitches, repeated ground outs or fly outs simply communicate to a quality athlete that there is something not quite right with his swing. Instead of focusing on the feeling of personal inferiority, a non-emotional response is used and the mistake is not personalized. Upon completion of batting practice, this same athlete can be found in the batting cage or off to the side working on the specific problem.
The key differences with the above examples is how each hitter dealt with failure. In the first example the hitter allowed the mistakes to be an end result. Personal inferiority. The mentally successful hitter viewed the mistake as simply a PART of his offensive game that needed some help. Two drastically different view points.

I would highly encourage during your youth baseball drills to teach and cultivate the following ideas:

1. Failure is just an indicator of something that needs to change.

2. Failure should never be allowed to be related to the person of the athlete.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at
His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.

Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.

Article Source:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Coaching Behavior For Little League Baseball Coaches!

By Stephen K Reynolds
Just today i got an e-mail from a mother that had a bad experience with her son's 8 year old team.

She had noticed that the coaches were singling our her son when he made errors in the field. The coaches have sons on the team that when they made errors nothing was said. Upon her confronting the guy about this situation he immediately launched into a profanity based tirade.
What's wrong with this picture? Listen up coaches even if we live in a so-called _P-C world this kind of behavior in my opinion was never acceptable, 5 years 10 years 30 years ago. Just like when i was growing up in the 50s we got whipped by our dads. Even though that was the norm it shouldn't have been allowed and it was not acceptable.

My point is this: this is a game that is supposed to be fun for the players and it should be for the coaches. If you can't deal with 8 year olds and for that matter older players making mistakes then you need to get out of coaching. I don't care what your excuse is there is no excuse period for this kind of behavior.

What you should do is talk to the player on the side not in front of everyone in and not demeaning tone. Explain what they should have done on the play and keep it short and sweet. Give a pat on the back and get back to the game. You definitely shouldn't be favoring your own son's and then blast other players!

This goes back to an article i wrote the other day. Do your homework in practice with the players and then on game day kick back and let the players play and have fun. Hey coaches this should be the best part of your day especially dealing with adults all day in the work place. Have fun with your players, they will play better if their relaxed and not stressing about what is going to happen if they make an error.

Lets chill out and relax a little. Like I said have fun man!

Stephen K Reynolds is publisher of the LSR Unlimted "Free" newsletter which focuses on helping newcomers & seasoned pros learn the secrets to marketing in the ever changing world of the internet! He is also a youth baseball coach in Western Montana For more information on this e-mail


Article Source:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Do You Understand the Language of Baseball?

By Steve Rau
If you've been around a baseball field for over 30 years, as I have been; you come to develop a new vocabulary that is unique to the game. Many people may be familiar with the classic baseball sayings, quotes, and monologues over the years, but few casual fans really know the chatter and language that is used in the dugouts and on the field.

I compiled a fun little list of some of the phrases and terms I have come across over my many years of playing and coaching baseball. For the purpose of protecting the ears of minors, I decided to keep out the profanities. Take a look and see if any of these phrases are part of your baseball vocabulary:

Throwing cheese- A pitcher that is throwing hard
Throwing BB's -- Pitcher who throws hard
Went deep- Hit a homerun
12 to 6- Describes a curve ball that drops straight down (references the numbers on a clock)
Big hammer- Throws a good curveball
Filthy stuff- Describes a pitcher with above average pitches and ability
Soft hands- Describes a smooth, effortless fielder
Jacked one- Hit a homerun
Throwing gas- Pitcher who throws hard
The bump- Describes the pitcher's mound
Doggin it- A player who is not playing as hard as he can.
Hands are bleeding- A hitter that was jammed on an inside pitch
In his kitchen- Getting inside on a hitter with a pitch
Has wheels- Describes a fast runner
Paints the corner or the black- Throwing a pitch right on the edge of homeplate for a strike
Fill his ear hole- Suggesting that a pitcher purposely hit a batter
Spin his cap- Encouraging a batter to hit a ball up the middle past the pitcher
Hit the bull- Something yelled from an opposing bench after the pitcher threw a wild pitch off the backstop (references Bull Durham)
Throwing seeds- Throws hard
Roll a pair- Turn a double play
Turn the page- Something yelled from an opposing bench after the pitcher makes several throws to first base, keeping the runner close.
He rakes- Describes a good hitter
Got lit up- Describes a pitcher who didn't pitch well and was hit hard.
Throwing leather- A player or players who are making great plays in the field
Has a hose or cannon- Describes a fielder who has a good arm So there you go, now you too can talk baseball.

Coach Steve Rau is a long time baseball instructor and co-founder of Play Ball Academy. He has been a part of championship baseball programs as both a player and coach for over 20 years. He currently helps hundreds of coaches and young ballplayers improve their baseball knowledge through online and offline instruction.

Baseball coaches can find baseball tips, video lessons, and audio sessions at:

Article Source:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Setting Up A Baseball League Website

Most youth sports leagues have websites. It's a great way to communicate with parents, coaches and players. Some are well constructed and thought out. Some could use a little TLC. Here are some important things to remember when designing your league's website:

Capitalize on expertise. If you don't have the expertise to design, build and run your league's website find someone in the organization who does.

Plan your website. Discuss with other league officials what your league wants to publish and how you want to use the website. Most leagues use them for publishing scores, standings, league wide messages and most of all online registration. It's important for your league to have a website plan that goes along with your league's mission.

Don't reinvent the wheel. There are a number of companies that provide turnkey tools to build websites specifically for leagues and teams. Do a google search on "league website" and you will find them. They all offer similar features but one of the most important one is online registration. This can save leagues tons of time.

Test drive before you buy. Before you decide on a website hosting company take your time to evaluate all of them Your going to spend a lot of time building this thing so you don't want to get to the end of it and find out your provider doesn't have a feature you need. Pick a company that has a web-based tool that's easy to use and allows you to post the info you need to publish.

Have a Privacy Policy. If your using your league site for registration chances are your hosting private information about the people who sign up for your league. Your league should have a published privacy policy which outlines what your league does to protect information. One of the most important things is to limit access to the website... this is done by controling who has passwords to what levels of the site. League officials should take great care in managing this.

Public vs Private Info. Learn and understand what should be made public on your site and what shouldn't. For example, never list the names or information about minors on your site. Only list information about adults if you have their permission. Once your site is up the search engines will index it and generally any information that is listed on any public page will become part of the internet, thus accessable via google and other search engines. Be careful what you put on there. Use PDFs when listing names on rosters. The most important thing to remember is to keep personal information of children off the website.

You can add cool pictures, music, videos and other great stuff to provide a great resources for your league's participants and customers.

Coach Bob

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Look at Youth Baseball Bats

by Jason Gluckman

When selecting youth baseball bats it is important to consider the bat's length, weight, barrel width, and league requirements. While wood bats are available, most people select aluminum or cutting-edge alloy bats for youth baseball.

When selecting youth baseball bats it is important to consider the bat's length, weight, barrel width, and league requirements. While wood bats are available, most people select aluminum or cutting-edge alloy bats for youth baseball. A general rule is to select the lightest bat for its length in order to maximize swing power. Lighter bats are more expensive, while heavier bats are usually thicker and made from a cheaper-grade aluminum. Longer youth baseball bats arm the player with more plate coverage, but they also weigh more. Shorter bats are faster but may force the batter to crowd the plate in order to reach the outside edge of the strike zone.

Also consider the size of the barrel. A larger barrel wields more power and has a bigger sweet spot, yet the larger barrel requires more mass, and so it is heavier. Often selecting a bat is an imperfect science because you can't really hit a ball in a store, or even really swing the bat for that matter. You might even try going out to a local baseball practice or batting cage. Then you can try many different bats, actually making contact with the ball, and get a much more accurate picture of what bat works for your son or daughter.

Little League baseball bats should not be more than 33 inches long or more than 2 1/4 inches in diameter at the barrel. Little League baseball bats should be taped around the handle and up 10 inches. Bats are measured in inches for length and ounces for weight. Minus numbers are used to show a bat's measurements. For example, if a bat is 33 inches long and has a (-10) rating, that means the bat weighs 23 ounces. So the higher the negative number than the lighter the bat is for its length.

Baseball Bats Info provides detailed information on youth, wood, college, senior league, and discount baseball bats, baseball bat reviews and more. Baseball Bats Info is the sister site of
Baseball Gloves Web.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Baseball Scoring: Keeping The Book Is A Lost Art

Here's an experiment for you. At your next practice ask your players a simple question:

"Raise your hand if you know how to "keep the book" meaning keep proper score of a baseball game?"

Depending on their age you may get a few who say yes.. but I don't think many of your players would answer in the affirmative. That's because keeping the book is a lost art.

When preparing to write this article I thought back to when and how I learned this skill. Couldn't remember.. so I called my Dad who rememeberd vividly. Apparently when I was about 9 or 10 I came home from a game one day and asked him to teach me. So he made up a sheet with boxes on it.. we turned on the TV, and he taught me how to do it while watching a Mets game. He didn't remember me saying why I wanted to learn but as I think back I can recall just about every kid who played little league baseball knew how to keep the book. I wanted to learn how to do it just like my friends.

Next time you attend a pro, minor league or college game take notice as to how many people are keeping score. Very few. Every pro and nearly every college baseball game provide program books when you enter the gate (either free or for a few dollars). These have a section in the center of the book for keeping score. Yet very few people take advantage of this.

Well it's not to late to learn. Thanks to the internet there are dozens of sites that will help you learn how to keep a proper book. Here are just a few:

Here's a list of suggestions for those who want to learn how to keep the book:

1. Go to the sporting goods store and buy a scorebook. They usually have instructions on how to keep score on the first few pages.

2. Spend some time on the sites listed above. Get familiar with the language of score keeping.

3. Keep the book while your watching games on TV. This is the best way to learn. After your 3rd or 4th game you'll be in good shape.

4. Use the internet as a resource. Even those who consider themselves accomplished score keepers run into scoring situations that are confusing and rare. You can generally find answers on the internet.

5. Once you learn, teach your children. It will keep them interested in the game and it's a skill they will pass down to their children.

6. Volunteer to score for your kids' baseball team. There are few who can do it so it's always welcome when a parent steps up to keep the book.

Let's keep the art of baseball score keeping alive... learn how to do it and pass this important skill on to others.

Coach Bob

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

7 Tips on How to Become a Better Baseball Player

By Jack D. Elliott

Baseball players everywhere want to know how they can get better. The best way to do this is to look at it your training from a comprehensive perspective. Here, are some pointers to help you up your game.

1. Read and Watch Everything Baseball. Scan books, look over hitting and pitching lessons videos, see games, ask for help from coaches and good players.

2. Practice makes perfect. Do your drills daily for at least 5 to 6 days a week. Feel free to mix up your routine; however, make sure you are developing muscle memory with enough reps of your swing and pitching motion.

3. Pick up something else when the season ends. To avoid burnout, choose another sport or physical exercise in the off-season. It is preferable to pick something you are not familiar with. This will allow you to stay fit and appease any creativity interests you have because of the novelty of the new sport. By the time the next baseball season rolls around, you will find yourself avidly looking forward to playing.

4. Strength Train Before It Is Too Late. Do not make the mistake of waiting to build strength until your junior and senior years of high school. Do yourself a favor and start working out in the summer after your 8th grade year and work out each summer thereafter. This will allow you to build a base, plateau, and then, build up to yet another plateau. In this way, by the time you are senior, you will be very physically strong and ready to have a great senior season.

5. Get Lessons. A great instructor will save you time, wasted energy, and ultimately give you better results. By learning from a great instructor from the start, you can develop the best techniques from the start and avoid bad habits. Once you learn the lessons, you can practice them and go back only occasionally when you feel a refresher course is needed.

6. Practice with a tee. The basic hitting tee has improve the swing and hitting consistency of many major league players. Learn from their example and use this tee to perfect your ability to hit to the opposite field and fine tune your swing. This along with some waffle ball toss are great for removing holes in your swing.

7. Maximize your speed and power. Plyometric exercises can help develop your speed and explosiveness. Learn from a trained instructor who can give you a regimen that you can practice several days a week. If practiced sufficiently, you will see your speed and power improve. This added boost will carry over into other parts of your game as you have a new found confidence in your baseball abilities.

All these pointers are geared towards making you a top flight athlete by your final year of high school. By using each of these pointers you can expect to maximize your potential for baseball success.

Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here: or Baseball Strategy

Article Source:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Aluminum vs Wood Baseball Bats... Evidence?

It's been the top debate in youth baseball for a few years now. Some towns and states have even changed their league rules based on the debate. Are aluminum baseball bats as safe as wooden bats (or visa versa). I have an opinion on this which I will not offer in this article. The purpose of this post is to present various pieces of evidence. This will give readers a better understanding on the issue.

Let's start with an independent, somewhat scientific test comparing metal and wood bats. This is in video form... please watch:

Interesting aye? This test found virtually no difference between the two bats. They did point out however that there is a difference sweet spot.

Next.. another video of a test done under the supervision of a professor. They are measuring energy transfer hitting frozen baseballs. Please watch...

The result was the metal bat drove the ball further. OK, how much further? Did they take a large sampling from each hitter. Not enough info in that video to make a determination.

Now here's an article by Mike Celizic of He points out that baseball is a dangerous sport (3 deaths on average per year). He maintains that banning metal baseball bats isn't the solution... Please read:

Here's a post in an LA Time's Blog by Shari Roan. This is an interesting read.. particularly the comments by readers.

As I indicated at the top of this post. I'm not going to offer an opinion on the matter. I felt I should do a little research and help readers get all angles of this one. If you want more info.. Google "aluminum vs wood bats".

I will leave you with this...

Read through the proposed law to ban metal and composite bats in New Jersey. Does it really reference scientific fact? It does point out the tragedy (in detail) that happened to that young boy (whom I have all the sympathy in the world for). But again, it's a dangerous sport. Is the document written to convince law makers that a vote against banning metal bats is a vote against decency?

How about this? Should junior golf be banned because a stray drive with a metal driver might cause a similar tragedy? You decide.

Coach Bob

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tips For Running Baseball Tournaments

I've worn a number of hats throughout my baseball volunteering career. One that was particularly interesting was organizing and managing a summer baseball tournament. This is the type of tournament where town travel or all-star teams compete in age based flights. Tournament organizers normally charge an entry fee to pay for umpires, trophies, baseballs and also to raise funds for the league or team running the tournament.

Having both run tournaments and coached teams in them I've collected a number of lessons along the way. When running a tournament, if you don't pay attention to a few key areas there is a good chance some of your customers will not have the experience they paid for.

Choose participating teams wisely. Make sure they "fit" into the group they are playing in. Yes, some coaches will actually under sell their teams ability to give them a better chance of winning the flight. You should dig around if you suspect this.

Get the schedule out early. The earlier you release your tournament schedule the fewer scheduling conflicts teams will have. This saves tons of time and aggravation.

Communicate with managers. This is one of THE most important areas. One of the first things you should do is put together a contact list of all the managers of teams participating in the tournament and email it all the managers. Keep them up to date during weather situations. Respond promptly to requests. These are paying customers, treat them that way.

Define rules clearly. Nothing is worse than having to deal with ambiguity in tournament rules. While it's nearly impossible to think of everything situation, it is important that you "spell out" the rules as clearly as possible. This will save much hassle down the road.

Allow enough time for games to be played. Again, visiting teams are paying customers. Develop your schedule to allow adequate time for games to be completed.

Appoint ambassadors and Tournament Directors. The manager's of your town's teams who are playing in the tournament should be knighted as "tournament ambassadors". If visiting coaches or parents have concerns or issues they should be able to address any of the mangers as representatives of your league. It's also a good idea to always have an appointed "Tournament Director" on duty whenever games are being played. The Tournament Directors' job is to be the "go-to" person for any issues that arise.

Give the kids a great experience. If you want parents and coaches to say "wow, that tournament was well worth the money" make sure the kids get their money's worth. Nice trophies, good umpiring crews, groomed fields, clean facilities, good snack bar, etc. These are things that build your tournament's reputation.

If you follow the above rules you will develop the reputation of running a great tournament. This will lead to managers emailing or calling you months before you open up tournament registration.

Coach Bob,

Common Youth Baseball Questions

Common Youth Baseball Questions

By Brian Schofield

Many kids develop a passion for the game of baseball at a very young age. When it happens it is a fun thing to witness. With their passion comes, excitement, competitiveness and curiosity. Young players are eager to succeed and anxiously try to absorb as much knowledge as they can about the game. This article will address some of the most common questions kids ask themselves soon after they pick up the game of baseball.

I just bought a new glove and I don't know what to do with it. My dad told me that I should oil it. My uncle told me to sleep on it. My coach told me to drive a car over it. What should I do?

I was at a Chicago Cub spring training one year and I asked one of the players about breaking in a new glove. He mentioned a few pointers that I'll share with you. He mentioned that most players have several gloves. Infielders will often have more than one that they use consistently. He said that all the old tips worked but the key was not about breaking it in immediately. It was more about how you treated the glove over a period time. Never get your glove wet. It changes the leather for the worse. Outfielders should have bigger gloves while infielders should have smaller gloves. I have played both infield and outfield and it was very handy to have two gloves. Infielders are all about the feel of the ball and getting it out of the glove quickly. If they have a deep web, it can interfere with the process. I am a fan of soft leather because it allows you to really feel the ball and the glove is light and flexible as well. Gloves can take years to mold to how you want them but they need to be treated correctly and treated to fit you and your situation. Oiling your glove is a great idea because it softens the leather and speeds up the process of it forming to your hand and style of play. If you'd like to put it under your mattress and sleep on it you certainly can but it's not a must. This will just make your glove more flexible. The more you play catch the more the glove will take shape and as that happens you'll soon get a feeling for how soft you want the leather to be and how flexible you want it.

People make fun of me and tell me I throw the ball like a girl. I don't even know what that means but I want to quit doing it. What am I doing wrong?

This is when you are doing what is called "short-arming" on each of your throws. When a player short-arms, he/she tends to release the ball too late. The elbow will be directly in front of the ball and all velocity is lost because you are not really using your shoulder anymore. To learn to throw correctly, first work on bringing the ball all the way back in an exaggerated fashion and try to release the ball earlier. It won't feel normal at first, but it will eventually start to feel natural. Try to release the ball behind your ear. The good news is that it can be corrected with proper practice. Make sure you are pointing with your front foot wherever you are throwing as "short-armers" tend to stand with their feet not moving when they throw.

I throw the ball all over the place. No matter where it seems like I'm aiming, I can never hit my target. What am I be doing wrong?

This is a very common problem for younger players. Here are some pointers I've used and coached over the years. First, always step toward your target. Players that throw incorrectly tend to throw across their body because they are not lined up correctly. Your front foot should point where you want the ball to go. Second, I coach to hold the ball across the seams when you throw it. If you throw the ball with the seams it will tend to cut or slide on you. This is how pitchers throw cut fastballs, so you probably should not do it when throwing to a base. Third, throw the ball in a consistent motion. If you are a good shooter in basketball, it is because of solid fundamentals that are practiced consistently. If you want to learn to throw a baseball correctly, you need to practice doing the same thing every time.

Brian Schofield is sr. writer for the baseball training site

Article Source:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Baseball Instruction - What Your Instructor Absolutely Must Have

Baseball Instruction - What Your Instructor Absolutely Must Have

By Jack D. Elliott

Finding good baseball instruction can be a challenge when there are hundreds of baseball instructors to choose from. This can be problematic especially when baseball instructors disagree on what is important and you are trying to find the best instructor for you or your son. To help you with this process, we have included some tips that you can use to help find the best baseball instruction for your son.

1. Coaching Experience matters. It is not essential that the baseball instructor be a major league player. Some of the best instructors and coaches are former players who could not make it at the top level. This is because they have a sincere appreciation of what is needed to be a great baseball player. This often translates into better baseball instruction for you or your son. It is better to opt for coaches that have trained high school, college and major league baseball players. You want this assortment so that you know they can filter their knowledge in a way that your son can understand it and be able to take this up to other levels if needed.

2. Be willing to pay top dollar. Top baseball instruction is usually not cheap. For this reason, expect to pay a good amount for this instruction. We recommend you have your son take lessons early in his high school career beginning in the summer before the 9th grade to ensure the proper mechanics and techniques take effect. This will save him time as he does not learn bad habits and will allow him to perform better from the very beginning. Then, periodically over the next few years, you should have him go back and get refresher lessens to continue his progress. This will give your son a chance to keep developing and improving under the baseball instructor's tutelage.

3. Good Rapport with Parents and Kids. This is important because it shows the baseball instructor really cares about the kids he is training. If the instructor has good rapport, this will make it easier for the kids to get into the lessons and end up getting better results. For this reason, look around for recommendations and see if there are any concerns. Also, when asking around, check to see if the kids' play really improved because of their training. After all, this is why the kids are there in the first place.

Stop wasting time and energy trying to research Baseball Instruction. Instead, try visiting to get some solid tips on what to look for in baseball instruction for hitting, pitching and strategy.

Article Source: