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:

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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:

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's The Kid's Baseball Experience, Not The Parents!

I receive Coach Lambin's emails a few times a week and his coaching wisdom has been very helpful. His latest note is so good I had to share it.

Visit his site for some more great info..

Coach Bob


Opinions are like a certain rear end orifice. Everyone has one but it shouldn’t be exhibited. Last year I went to a Fall league game for incoming HS freshmen. The parents in the stands were brutal. They second guessed every managerial move or nonmove. They opined about the abilities of other players on the team. The mommies were the worst.

I was recently talking to some HS coaches and they told me that parents are completely out of control, particularily mommies. One coach told me of a mommy that barged into his office and announced that in her opinion, the team wasn’t doing too well and that they needed to discuss some changes!

I guess that this is a product of kids playing 100+ games a year and the entire life of the family revolving around the kid’s baseball activities. Parents become way too invested in their son’s baseball experience. It is the kid’s baseball experience, NOT theirs!

Parents that second guess the coach and critique players are called “A CANCER”. It takes only one in the stands to infect the entire crowd. What should be a wonderful and joyous shared TEAM experience becomes a morass of backbiting and self aggrandizement. Parents need to learn to sit back and enjoy watching the TEAM play and SHUT UP. If you just can’t control yourself go down the outfield fence and mutter your rants, away from the crowd.

Coaches, you need to understand you are not just teaching 12 boys to play ball but shepherding families through the baseball experience. You must spend time teaching parents THEIR roles and how to comport themselves at the ballpark. They will enjoy themselves so much more when they are cured from being cancers. For how to do this get
COACHING PSYCHOLOGY .In my book, A PARENTS GUIDE TO BASEBALL-Surviving And Thriving Youth League To College , there is a chapter,” Loose Lips Sink Ships”. In this chapter I chronicle the potential for harm from parents unsolicited opinions at the ballpark.

In a post in a youth baseball board, a mommy laments the lack of communication skills of her son’s HS coach. Her son just couldn’t get the coach to communicate why he wasn’t playing. This reminded me of a kid that went to his college coach’s office and inquired why he wasn’t playing. The coach responded, “ if you were my 3rd baseman, I wouldn’t consider us to be a very good baseball team”. Ouch! If you ask a question, you might not like the answer you get.

Yours In Baseball
Bruce Lambin