Saturday, August 29, 2009

Getting the Most Out of Your Fastball

By Dan Gazaway
There is not a pitcher out there who doesn't want to add some velocity to his fastball. Even Major League pitchers who have been known to hit 3 digits on the radar gun wish they could throw a couple of miles an hour faster. There is no doubt that pitchers are throwing faster as time goes on. What is contributing to this? More pitchers have the ability to throw in the high nineties now and one pitcher who just got drafted from Fresno state has been clocked at over 100 several times. I think his changeup goes faster than some Major League fastballs.

If you are looking to increase velocity there are a couple of factors to look at and analyze. Are you throwing with proper pitching mechanics? That means, in a nut shell, are you utilizing your entire body to throw or relying on your arm to create velocity. Most Little League and High School level pitchers are doing just that. They are relying too much on their arm to generate the velocity they are looking for.

So how do you solve the velocity problem? The first thing you need to do is take a look at your stride. How long is your stride? If a pitcher has a short stride, less than their height, they are losing momentum. The majority of pitchers, or at least average pitchers, have average strides that are less than their height. Lengthening your stride is one of the first things I would suggest.
Another pitching tip as it relates to increased pitching velocity is balance. As a pitcher, if you don't have balance you lack control and velocity. Is your momentum all going toward home plate or are you throwing your body every which way you can? You need to make aggressive movements as a pitcher, however, if you make aggressive movement away from the general direction you are trying to throw, this generally means you will put undue pressure on your throwing arm and you could end up with a sore arm.

My advice to anyone who is seeking to throw faster is to learn the correct way to throw the ball mechanically. You will find balance and more explosive power if you do. The velocity will then naturally happen when you find the appropriate leverage in your body to throw.

The Pitching Academy is a resource for pitchers who want to learn all about pitching. We also give you the best baseball drills to do to improve your overall ability on the mound.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Youth Baseball Drills - 3 Great Ways to Improve the Youth

By KC Andrus

Youth baseball is a deep tradition, certainly in the American culture, and has always filled kids and parents live's with an amazing get away from the redundancy of normal life, as well as a way to channel children's energy (and hopefully wear them out, right parents? *wink* *wink*). But whether you're a parent, coach or player these six simple, free youth baseball drills are sure to get you and you're team going in the right direction, which is having fun, of course...and winning:
1. The first difficult transition in a baseball player's life is making the jump from tee ball to coach pitch (or machine pitch) whatever the case may be. A drill that makes this transition easier is to get a big, nerf soccer ball and have them hit that for a while just to get the feel of hitting a moving ball.

2. Baseball Ready Position Drill- this drill is great to teach kids the value of being in "ready position" when the ball is delivered to the plate. Have the infielder's line up at shortstop for ground ball practice just like normal, but BEFORE you hit them a ground ball make sure they get in a good athletic position so they can get a good jump on the ball.

3. Double Leg Kick Drill- This drill is for when the youngster's start pitching. Have the child stand in the outfield and pitch from the stretch the same as he would off the mound. But when he gets to his leg kick and his leg reaches it's highest point have him pause briefly, and then put his leg back down and leg kick again. This makes sure the pitcher is keeping his weight back and using his momentum toward the plate.

There are so many more great, free youth baseball drills. that will help your children improve and reach their true potential. It is wonderful for children to improve, and it is highly likely that the better they get the more fun they will have. It's just natural. Make sure to gather all the resources you can. The following site is one that I like a lot:

free youth baseball drills.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bunting Tips

By Eugene Rischall

Bunting is a very effective weapon in close games. This article will explain different bunts and how to use them.

A sacrifice bunt is when a batter is willing to go out in order to advance a base runner. When trying to advance a runner from 1st to 2nd try to bunt to the 1st base side. When sacrificing a runner from 2nd to 3rd try to bunt to the 3rd base side. Make every effort not to show the bunt early. The fake bunt-slash objective is to show the bunt early enough to draw the corner infielders in. Basic rules for the fake bunt-slash are the hitter fakes a commitment to the bunt just before the pitchers movement from the stretch. Heel-toe pivot is the method of squaring around. Top hand slides upward on the bat. Just before pitchers release bring the bat to the top of the strike zone. The hitter tries to hit the ball on the ground through a hole he has created. A push bunt is used to reach base safely or move a runner. right handed hitters should push bunt to the second baseman, left handed hitters to the shortstop. The drag bunt is used for getting base hits. Three rules for drag bunts are, bunt only at strikes, proper ball placement, and do not give up. A suicide bunt is all or nothing. Runner on 3rd breaks for home and the batter must make contact or the runner is going to be out.

I hope this article gives you an idea of different bunts and how to use them.
Author-Eugene Rischall, Owner, Baseball Training Emporium
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

5 Stations During Batting Practice For Little League

By John R Di Nicola

It has been stated many times that pitching and defense wins ball games. We all know that it would be real boring if that is all teams did. It has been proven time and time again you can win without hitting . However we do have to address the issue so we have to practice hitting. Listed below are 5 stations that will help get your hitters ready for the live action of a game. You will need assistant to carry out these drills. It is important you recruit help. How much help you get will determine how many of these stations you will be able have in a practice.

Hitting off 'T"
Soft Toss
Batting Practice
Hitting off the "T"

You will for sure have to have hitting of a "T". This is mandatory. You will be limited to the amount of pitches you will throw each hitter. The more swings that get hitting off the "T" the better they will be prepared for batting practices and the game. The first few times through this stations have them hit the as if it were down the middle. Make sure the "T" is no higher than the players waist. Working on the following:

important that the feet are shoulder width apart and player is balanced

when hitting the ball the top hand always on top of the ball

hit the top of the ball driving it downward

pivoting back foot raising heel as the hands follow through hitting zone

As they get comfortable you can position the "T" for the inside pitch and out side pitch. Important when working on outside pitch to position the "T" behind home plate so as to illustrate to players they have to wait on the out side pitch. Also teach them to bring their hands back so their front shoulder turns in toward home plate. This will bring front foot in so they can drive the ball. Most players will open up the front shoulder and hit the ball off the end of the bat or completely miss it.

Soft Toss

The soft station is an extra in Little League. You may want to wait till later on in the season to use this station. Basically a coach on one knee positioned beside player and tossing ball to different zones of the plate. Players swings through ball using all the proper techniques from "T" drills. Hands on top of ball driving through the ball.


This an an excellent drill to teach the Little League Player on keeping their eye's focused on the ball. Your above average hitters always work on tracking. Most of them will take pitches just to get the feel of how the pitcher is throwing. They always make the pitchers throw a lot of pitches. Teach them to follow the ball all way to the catcher mitt. This something they should do during batting practice and the game. The more they see the ball the bigger it looks. You can use a rag ball or a whiffle ball.


The art of Bunting is so important at all levels of baseball and most neglected. In this day and age of baseball the Home Run is king. It has been proven in recent world series that small ball will win more championships than the Home Runs. Have them bunt at least five balls, down first base line and third base line. Later on you can work on bunts for base hits.

Batting Practice

Because you have so much do and trying to get all the players to hit you have to limit the amount of pitches to each batter (15-20). Have players first work on making contact. You will have the seasoned Little Leaguer who knocks the cover off the ball and then you will have the ones that you really have to work with to get them to make contact. This is why if you have the luxury of having the help to run the stations it would greatly speed up the learning curve.

Most likely you will only use the "T" and Live Batting Practices. Using this model will afford you to run a practice without having a marathon practices. Do not try and do all 5 stations the first practice. As you become comfortable you can adjust your practice schedule and add stations. Most likely you will never do all five in one practice.

Practices Makes Perfect

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Double Play Danger - Sliding at Second Base During a Double Play

By Mike Posey
I was recently watching a baseball game on TV between the Cardinals and Cubs. The Cardinal pitcher was running at first base with one out in the inning. A ground ball was hit to the second basemen in what looked like an easy 4-6-3 inning ending double play. But the throw from the short stop struck the runner in the hand of the pitcher as he was sliding into second base.
At first glance it looked like an inadvertent throw, but after the replay was shown several times it was evident that the pitcher extended his arm upwards with his palm out in an attempt to distract the throw. I was amazed at two things. First, that this occurred at the major league level and exposed the pitcher to injury. Second, that for some reason it was never called interference and ruled a double play by the umpires. In full speed it must have been hard to tell if the pitcher had his hand up on purpose or not.

I began to think about the hard slide at second base and how it's not taught properly at the youth level. There also is confusion about when interference occurs during the slide at second base. Youth players should be taught how to break up the double play avoiding injury or interference.

At the youth level the rule is simple. The runner must slide directly into the base. Sliding away from the base towards the infielder will result in interference and an automatic double play. Also, during the slide the runner can not interfere with the fielder throwing the ball by raising their hands or by popping up at the end of the slide. Doing this will also result in interference and the out at first is awarded regardless of the outcome of the throw.

Many coaches and umpires interpret this rule at the youth level to also mean no contact can occur. If the middle infielder turning the double play is in the middle of the bag when the slide is made there will be contact. A runner needs to slide hard directly into the base and expect the fielder to avoid the sliding runner by moving away from the bag or jumping over the runner.
At the college and professional level a little more flexibility is given in sliding away from the bag. Umpires will usually allow the runner to slide towards the fielder as long as the runner can reach the second base bag with their outstretched hand.

Youth coaches should not be afraid to teach the hard slide at second base. Teach your players to avoid raising their cleats up and to slide hard directly into the bag with their hands down.

Mike Posey "CP"Expert Baseball Tips Baseball tips from a championship coach's perspective and experience, offering creative insights into helping others learn the game of baseball.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Tips to Choose a Youth Baseball Bat

By Mark Alter
One of the most important choices you have to make as a player is what baseball bat to choose. Check the Internet and you will come across choices ranging from inexpensive to expensive. Before deciding on a youth baseball bat, you must first compare prices.
Keep in mind that the bat you choose, should allow you to focus as much power as possible upon the baseball. This is in fact a guiding principle behind selecting a bat - as a player, you should be able to swing the heaviest bat without sacrificing on your batspeed.

So what is batspeed? Batspeed is the number one creator of power in a swing. Going by the law of physics, it would seem that you can swing a heavier bat with the same velocity as a lighter one, you will produce more power as per the law that energy equals mass times acceleration.
Check out the length, weight, and drop of the baseball bat. Keep in mind that there are three defining factors that apply to choosing the right bat. The first is length. The length of the baseball bat is measured in inches. Then there is weight, which is measured in ounces. Finally, you must calculate the drop, which is obtained by subtracting the weight of the bat from its length.
The size of the bat

To play well, it is important to determine the correct length of your player's bat first and take a look at weight and drop. Players usually prefer larger drops, which mean lighter weights. This is because the lighter the weight, the higher the batspeed. Another governing factor is how strong the player is. If you are strong enough, you would be able to handle a larger bat with ease.
Before buying a bat, it is important that you hold the bat by its handle and then stretch your arms out so that your body makes a lopsided "t" shape. If you cannot hold the bat level with your shoulder for at least a count of ten, the bat is too heavy for you and you should try another one.

If you are looking for custom baseball bats, you can visit XBATs website. The XBATs baseball bats are the finest bats chosen by the most discriminating Major Leaguer to the serious youth and amateur players.

Mark Alter, the author of this article, writes about the important issues while choosing a youth baseball bat. Want to know more about Xbats and youth baseball bat? Still lots of things remain to explore.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Four Steps to Organize Your Little League Practice

By John R Di Nicola

The only chance you have as a Little League Coach is try and get yourself organized. I have listed out the very basic steps to organize your practice. You have so so many constraints on you it very difficult to get all the practice completely covered. The amount of practice time is limited maybe to 3 days per week. Getting practice fields is a major problem in most instances. The length of practice is another. You cannot hold marathon practices three to four hour practices. Using a planned schedule will enable you to have practice that are fun for the players therefore they will learn what what you trying to teach them.

Scheduling Practice -

You have a such a short time to prepare your team usually about 3 to 4 weeks. It is important you are organized your practices so that you may over come the constraints that come with being a Little League Coach.

Getting Practice Fields

number of times you practices: weather, all players can make to all practices.

practicing to much parents complain
not practicing enough

Fielding, Defense, Pitching and Hitting




Pick off - 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and covering home
Run downs

Out field: Cut off men, short stop, 3rd base, 2nd base, 1st base, Pitcher
Throwing to bases -2nd,3rd, home

Situations - Simulate a game situation with coach hitting and player running
Hitting Stations

Hitting off of a "T"

Soft Toss

Live Hitting - 10 swings



Throwing a bull pen with catcher

You look at this say wow! You just have organize yourself. Make sure self a template (using Microsoft word) for your practice days. Plug in your dates. You can do A, B C, D and rotate them through your practice schedule. It is a must that you get parents to help. You will need at least two to help to run a practice. You will have to do two of these segments each day and possibly a third.

You will find defense is one of the most important segments you must cover everyday. You can never hit enough ground balls to your infield. So fielding must be done just about every day. You may want to have just your infield come and work on ground balls and going over where they positions themselves for cut off from outfield. You can do the same for pitchers. Bring the pitchers and catchers to practice their defense and working on their wind up and delivery.
Best thing a you can do is make sure you are organized! Stick to your schedule and make adjustments as you go. Please do not get frustrated and not follow an organized plan.
Practice Makes Prefect

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Baseball Coaching Tips - Practice Hitting Vs Game Hitting

By Joe Brockhoff

Let's understand three important principles when we talk about how to hit a baseball:

1. Mechanics, which include form and technique
2. Judgmental principles
3. Confidence

When a player is hitting off of a tee or in soft toss, this involves only mechanics. There are no judgmental or confidence factors at all involved. Whereas, in the game, judgmental principles may be even more important than mechanics. This involves reading the pitch and taking appropriate action.

Here is one of my best baseball coaching tips. The player who does only short-toss and t-hitting misses out on a major part of hitting, and that is judging the pitch in space (trajectory). When we practice with soft toss, it is "pitch - hit". But when we hit in the game, the sequence is "pitch - trajectory - hit".

And no player can perform at his best unless he has confidence. Tension forces a player to do things he would not do during practice. So how do we make the transition from practice to the game?

Hitting is a conditioned reflex. A hitter must practice to "groove" his stroke, and then trust it. In other words, 'no stinkin thinkin' at the plate. It's see-ball, hit-ball, have fun!

Toss and tee hitting only provide practice of mechanics, and the hitter needs much more. Not only does he need to see pitching from a distance, but he also needs to have some pressure put on him during his practice sessions.

In our baseball hitting tips, we can add a measure of pressure on the hitter in a batting cage by using a Power-10 series, where he works to hit 8 out of 10 pitches hard. This puts pressure on him to get a high score. He can also run a series of power-10's using out youth baseball hitting drills. This will also increase his confidence level.

There is an old saying that is so true:

Play like you practice and practice like you play. This was never more important than in the game of baseball. So here are some ideas to help accomplish this.

1. Batters should have some practice where they get some distance from the pitcher, either a machine or live pitcher.
2. Put some tension in the practice.
3. In every batting cage practice session, include a "Power-10", 7 or 8 hard hits out of 10 to increase confidence level and a good feeling of performance.
4. Use practice that simulates game situations and encourages players to feel good about their performance.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average.

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