Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pitching Basics

By John J. Castro

The game begins after the umpire yells out "Play Ball" and then the pitcher steps on the pitching rubber on the mound. When the pitcher is ready he delivers the pitch to the hitter. The goal of the pitcher is to throw the ball in to the strike zone which is a imaginary rectangle between the hitters knees to his jersey letters or the hitters armpits. You can get strikes by throwing them in the strike zone and the umpire yelling strike if the batter does not swing. You can have the batter swing and miss. Or you can have the batter hit a foul ball which is also considered a strike. If the batter has two strikes and hits a foul ball then he can not be struck out until he either misses or you throw him a strike.

The pitcher is not perfect so if he throws pitches out of the zone they will be considered a ball. If you throw four balls before you get three strikes that is called a walk and the hitter gets the chance to advance to first base. Your main goal is to get the batter out by either striking him out or having hit the ball to your teammates so that they can get the outs. Once you get three outs it is your teams turn to bat. After you get three outs then that is the end of the first inning. The best thing you can do is try and have the batter hit the ball rather then to always try and strike him out. You will eventually strike people out just by throwing strikes. The strike outs will come on their own.

John has been writing articles online for nearly 5 years, not only does this author specialize in sports, you can also check out his latest website on Tinkerbell Party Supplies which has some great tips and ideas for your next party.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_J._Castro

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How NOT to Be a Youth Baseball Coach (Part 3 of a Series)

By Frank Thompson

Welcome back to Part 3 of my series on How NOT To Be A Youth Baseball Coach.

In this article, I want to give you four specific things that a youth baseball coach does not do that he indeed should do in order to be a more effective leader, provide prompt and courteous communication to the parents of his players, and ready his team for live game situations.
The first specific coaching failure is something I always watched in the pregame warmups to see if my team, that was always built around speed, could excel and exploit during the game. A good coach watches every aspect of pregame warmups to find those weaknesses in his opponent. Its not time to finalize your lineup or be warming up your pitcher while the other team is taking infield. You, and your team for that matter, should be glued to the field to see just who it is you are facing.

One thing I always look for is just how good is the arm on my opponents catcher. Does he have a gun? Is he lucky to get it there on one or two hops? Is he on target? Or does he stray miserably throw after throw?

I never quite got the coach that puts together an articulate pregame warmup. Why? Because it always game me a peek at what I can exploit. If you show me in three throws to second base in pregame that your catcher is not consistent at all, then guess what? I am running on you the whole game! Go ahead, tip your hand!

Point here is: don't be one of those coaches that fails to give your catchers enough throws to second base during practice. I never saw a coach do this growing up. You have got to get your catcher to instinctively make that throw perfect every time.

Don't they say "practice makes perfect"?

Then practice it.

Secondly, no one practices base running anymore. And, more specifically, sliding into a base. You should always practice sliding at every practice and pregame warmup for the first two-thirds of the season.


To prevent injury, most importantly. I see youngsters all of the time that have never been taught the proper technique of sliding and they either twist or break an ankle, or jam their knees unecessarliy. It's also an important part of the game that just might win a few for you because the opposing coach has done a poor job of teaching his players of applying the tag, which I see all too often as well.

Teach them the proper technique of sliding consistently for most of the season.
Moving to administrative tasks that aren't done effectively by most youth baseball coaches, my first complaint is that most don't hold a parent meeting from the start where you explain all policies on position assignments, batting order, playing time, and so on. Do this up front so you can refer to this meeting the several hundred times during the season that parents want to approach and complain that their player is not getting enough playing time in the position they want them in or in the batting spot they think they should be in. Do it!

Lastly in this part of my series, I don't know of any coach that uses statistics to assign positions and make up batting orders and pitching rotations. Most I know can't even keep a book for that matter. It is crucial for the success of your team to be able to statistically quantify performance in order to teach and grow your team.

It's also a life lesson for them to see you dedicating so much time and work into their success, showing them the fruits of hard work is success.

Please don't fail to do these things as you begin your journey into coaching youth baseball.
Come back for more in my series on How NOT To Be A Youth Baseball Coach.

Come back for more in my series on How NOT To Be A Youth Baseball Coach.

Frank Thompson has been writing articles online for over two years now. Not only does this author specialize in coaching and youth sports, but you can also check out his latest website Erie Auto Insurance which reviews and compares Erie Auto Insurance to other auto insurers.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Frank_Thompson

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How NOT to Be a Youth Baseball Coach - Part 2 of a Series

By Frank Thompson

One of the most rewarding things that an individual who loves the sport of baseball can do is give back to the game by teaching it to young players. In part 1 of this series, we looked at probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to coaching youth baseball - running a terrible practice.
In this part of the series, I want to focus on a few drills and exercises that many coaches do or don't do that are far more detrimental to a child's development in the game than many realize.
A really big "no no" when it comes to coaching youth baseball is actually rotating all of your players through each defensive position, both in practice and in games.

I know that there are good intentions, and that this is done to "expose" each player to each position, but that is not a very good assessment of why it is done. It is done because most coaches do not have the guts to tell any of the players' parents that their child is not good enough to play a certain position, so the politically thing that they do is just play them everywhere.
Well, ask the band director if your child, who plays the trombone, should be "exposed" to the percussion section at their next recital. That would not go over too well.
So why should it go over on the baseball field?

When a coach that doesn't have the guts to tell a player or their parents that they have not developed enough skill to play a certain position rotates players through those defensive positions, they show an utter lack of respect for the game.

Truthfully, not one baseball defensive is that easy to learn on its own, let alone ALL of them.
So the next time you coach a youth baseball team, teach a life lesson and be honest with the players and their parents.

Or if you are on the other end of the discussion, be strong and accept that your child needs to get better in order to get the playing time in that position.

It is a life lesson well learned at that age. For both the adults and the youth involved.

Keep following my series on How NOT To Be A Youth Baseball Coach... Frank Thompson has been writing articles online for over two years now. Not only does this author specialize in coaching and youth sports, but you can also check out his latest website Erie Auto Insurance which reviews and compares Erie Auto Insurance to other auto insurers.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Frank_Thompson

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How to NOT Be a Youth Baseball Coach (Part 1 of a Series)

By Frank Thompson

The one thing I will always cherish as I get older is the years I spent coaching my sons in the sport that I dearly love... baseball. Now, I am not one of those dads that get involved just to live their shortchanged childhood through their childrens' eyes. I played baseball for years and studied the game. I also, while progressing through the different age levels with my boys, understood the need to adjust and adapt to the respective age level.

Through trial and error, I did experience both good and bad things while coaching my teams. I want to share with you what NOT to do in this series to help make you a better coach.

What is number one on my list?

The top mistake coaches in youth baseball make when the coach, mentor and teach their team is that they run their practices in a manner where they do not most utilize all of their time by keeping the players active during those down times.

What do I mean?

They have the entire team go "shag" balls in the field while they pitch to them one at a time for batting practice.

Practices normally range from one to three hours for youth sports, and utilizing this method for a twelve player team can take up to two hours.

Certainly not the most effective means of practice!

I learned through the years that even though you are the coach of the team, there are generally two or three other parents who would love the opportunity to get out there and be active with their player by being involved. Simply ask them if they would like to help out in practice!
Why do you need the help?

When I ran practice, I always ran "stations" where I had every player active the entire time of practice. Some of my most effective practices in youth baseball lasted only 90 minutes because I had them so well organized.

Here's how I would structure my stations:

Station 1 - Ground ball practice on the infield with three players, one receiving the ground ball, one playing the position of first base for drill purposes and receiving the throw from across the field, and one catching the return throw at home plate for you.

Station 2 - Hand/eye batting coordination with two players in the outfield. This drill is done with a sawed off wooden broomstick and golf wiffle balls. I put the kids on their knees to hit these little balls with the little stick. The object is not how far, but how many they could hit. One player would hit, the other would shag loose balls for you.

Station 3 - Soft toss into a fence with wiffle balls with two players. Use wiffle balls to prevent injury from a ball bouncing back on the player and also to prevent damage from the ball being constantly hit into the fence and rolling up the bottom of the fence. One player hits, while the other shags.

Station 4 - Hitting live baseballs in the batting cage. Self explanatory. Use two players, one actively hitting, the other "on deck" to speed up the process.

Station 5 - Base running techniques. The remaining three would be taught and worked on perfecting stealing, leading off and sliding techniques, as the age level allows.
Coaches would need to coordinate rotations to prevent backing up of one station.
If planned out well, you will have a very productive practice.

Truth be told, the players like being more active as well, and the time flies by. As I said, some of my more productive practices lasted only 90 minutes.
Now get planning!

We will continue to discuss what NOT to do as a youth baseball coach in Part 2 of this series.
Frank Thompson has been writing articles online for over two years now. Not only does this author specialize in coaching and youth sports, but you can also check out his latest website Erie Auto Insurance which reviews and compares Erie Auto Insurance to other auto insurers.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Frank_Thompson

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baseball Skill and Fun Development

By Lionel Cruz
As you go through your season, you need to set you mind on making sure that your kids are learning a variety of skills although having fun in doing so as well. You know when you are doing your job when the kids are meeting your expectations and at the same time when they are on the field they always have smiles on their face the entire time while on the baseball field.
Winning and losing plays a major part of youth baseball because young kids always want to win which is fine. Although you'll need to explain to them how there are times where you will win and lose in baseball and even in everything you do and not just sports like when you take a test , when you are trying to get a job and so on.

The whole thing is not giving up at any point if you do want to succeed. One of your main jobs as a coach is believe it or not, to help them get prepared for life off of the field. Focus on teaching them the skills before even getting into winning and losing. Even if they cannot score a run throughout the entire game don't lose your cool and always cheer them on and make sure they never give up or lose their cool.

If they make errors tell them not to worry about it or shake it off and to get ready for the next one. Praise them for everything they do good on the field. Try to not let the scoreboard play a big factor in the game whether you are winning or losing. If your kids see that you are not that in to the score then they won't be into it as well. This should make the game go a lot smoother if you are losing.

Lionel has been writing articles online for nearly 3 years, not only does this author specialize in cooking, religion, and sports, you can also check out his latest website on Tinkerbell Party Supplies which has some great tips and ideas for your next party.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lionel_Cruz

Monday, September 14, 2009

Teaching Good Sportsmanship

By John J. Castro

Sportsmanship is one of the main things that needs to be taught to your players throughout your practices and your games. You should even be a bit more strict on teaching sportsmanship rather than teaching them how to catch a fly ball or even a ground ball. The reason is because no these days on the television sometimes if not most of the time in sports you will see more poor sportsmanship than good sportsmanship and kids tend to copy things they see from professional athletes or better yet role models. So things that they see them do they will want to do or think that it is the right thing to do because they are doing it.

You need to teach them what is right and what is wrong.You should be the first person to endure good sportsmanship. the kids will see how you act on the field and they will do what you do as well. If they see you screaming at other players or other coaches then you yourself are showing poor sportsmanship. Therefore how can you teach some one good sportsmanship if you are not doing it and you are the coach. You need to lead by example then your team will follow. Try and talk about sportsmanship all the time so that your kids never forget how important it is . Always teach your team that when the game is over whether your team won or lost that you always go out to shake the other team's hand.

John has been writing articles online for nearly 6 years, not only does this author specialize in cooking, religion, and sports, you can also check out his latest website on Blues Clues Supplies which has some great tips and ideas for your next party.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_J._Castro

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things to Know Before You Start Coaching Baseball

By Lionel Cruz
There might be a chance that you have thought about volunteering to coach in this season because either you like baseball and would like to teach young kids to play baseball or you would like to spend more time with your own child. You want to be there while he learns the great game of baseball and who better to learn from than his own parent. Maybe the actual baseball league is in the slums right now looking for good coaches to help teach young kids how this game is really played. Normally you would become a coach because you yourself loves the game of baseball, if not because your child has asked you to coach. Maybe you just love working with kids to see them improve. Whatever it may be, this is a good productive way to spend your extra time.

The biggest thing on your mind might be how would you relate to your players, how to get them to like you and how to teach them the skills that you need to play this game. Before you do anything you will need to get to know the parents of the children because the parents do not want to leave their son with a total stranger plus at the same time this will build a better relationship between you and the player as well. You always need to be professional even though it is a baseball game to have fun or no one will ever take you seriously.

Lionel has been writing articles online for nearly 3 years, not only does this author specialize in cooking, religion, and sports, you can also check out his latest website on Batman Party Supplies which has some great tips and ideas for your next party.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lionel_Cruz

Thursday, September 10, 2009

3 Absolutes to Develop Arm Strength and Accuracy For Baseball

By Jack Perconte

Throwing a baseball with accuracy and speed is obviously a necessity for ballplayers to continue to move up the baseball ladder. It is almost incomprehensible that kids who are fourteen years old and in high school are expected to play at the same distances that major league baseball players do, but that is the case. High school dimensions are the same ninety feet between the bases and sixty feet between home and the pitcher's mound. Those are formidable distances for players, especially for those who have not had their growth spurt yet. The good news is that players can improve their arm strength and accuracy with good mechanics and practice. Players who want to improve their throwing should adhere to the following fundamentals and practice until perfecting them. It is also necessary to throw (correctly) for anywhere between six and nine months out of the year. Generally, as kids get closer to high school, more throwing is advised with at least a couple of days a week of quality throwing. Getting the proper amount of rest between throwing sessions is also important.

3 Absolutes of Throwing for Speed and Accuracy

1. Direction - most kids know how to stand at home plate so having them go to their hitting position before throwing should come easy. This complete turn of the body will point the front shoulder directly at the target with feet parallel to each other. Without this correct set-up position, the thrower's ability to reach maximum speed and accuracy are already compromised. A noted with hitting position, a complete ninety degree turn of the thrower's foot of the same side as his throwing arm is necessary to get to correct starting position.

2. Direction 2 - Players must step directly at the target. Without this direct step the thrower's hips will not function correctly causing a lack of accuracy and power. The length of the step will be determined by the distance of the throw and will come naturally, with the key being the direction. Drawing a direct line from the lead foot towards the target or setting down a couple of objects for the player to step in between are good practice drills to reinforce the correct step. An indirect step is the most common area of break down in a player's throwing fundamentals.

3. Follow through - it is necessary that throwers allow their arm to travel the complete path so the body can alleviate some of the stress of the arm action on the shoulder and to prevent aiming the ball. This is done by the players throwing arm finishing at his opposite side hip, thigh or knee and by having his rear leg come up and forward as they throw. Like hitting, this weight transfer puts power into the throw.

Sounds simple enough but like anything, "The difference between doing something totally correct and almost correct, is the difference between success and failure." (Author of quote is unknown.) Long distance throwing can also develop arm strength but the 3 above fundamentals must be followed for "long toss" to be beneficial.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseballJack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Best Tips For Breaking in a Baseball Glove

By Peter V. John
Ah, the smell and feel of a new leather baseball glove. There is nothing like the promise of a new glove. With proper care, you can expect your new glove to feel like your own hand. The two most important things to do is to soften the leather and form a pocket in the palm of the glove to catch balls. To do this, you need to break it in properly. Here are some tips for bringing your glove up to speed.

Use it! - The best way to form the "pocket" in any new glove is to use it. An average of 100 catches per day, for two weeks, can do wonders to a new glove. If you don't have someone to play catch with, a batting cage pitching machine is a good substitute.

Oil it - But not too much. Neat's-foot oil is the premier oil to use on a baseball glove, although there are any number of other oils out there to use. Whatever oil, cream or foam you choose, apply it sparingly with a cloth and rub it in well. Let the glove sit for 24 hours before wiping it off and do not reapply anything for two weeks afterward.

Do not bake it - Some old wives' tales suggested oiling gloves and then baking them in a conventional or microwave oven. All this will do is harden and eventually crack the leather. So don't do it!

Do not soak it - in water or even in oil. Soaking the glove in water will only lead to cracking and hardening. Likewise, soaking it in oil will do nothing but waste the oil and could shorten the life of the glove.

Help that pocket along - Shove a ball into the glove, then wrap the glove tightly with a rubber band or belt each night. This helps form a pocket in the palm of the glove to trap a ball better.
Give it time - Don't expect your glove to soften up overnight. Especially if your glove is made of full-grain, instead of top-grain, leather, it will feel stiff for awhile. Be patient and use these tips and your glove will be good to go well before that first game.

Vinci has manufactured high-quality baseball gloves and equipment since 1997. Find first baseman mitts, catcher's mitts and more. Vinci softball and baseball gloves are the highest in quality, durability, style and performance. They are made from only the best US steer hide and kip leathers. When you wear a Vinci, you are part of our family.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pitching and Playing Other Positions on the Field

By Dan Gazaway
It is important through little league that pitchers play other positions aside from just merely pitching. This allows them to obtain other skills other than throwing. They will get the opportunity to work on fielding and developing good hand eye coordination. It is important however to consider the obstacles that can effect a pitchers arm if coaches, parents are not carefully monitoring their pitchers when they play other positions.

After Little League, a pitcher should stay more focused on just pitching because it requires a great deal of dedication and focus to become an above average pitcher. Most coaches in the collegiate level and above will not use pitchers for other positions for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons being too many opportunities for arm injuries out on the field due to overthrowing.
One of the growing concerns many people have when youth pitchers play other positions is the increased throwing pitchers participate in during the week. I know it is not healthy for a pitcher to throw 6 innings in one game and play shortstop the next game of a double header. This is too much throwing. If a pitcher has pitched a lot they should have a low number of swings and a low number of throws on the field that same day.

It is also dangerous for coaches to have their pitchers play long toss with the team the day after they have pitched in a game; particularly when that same pitcher started the game. This happens too frequently in youth Baseball and is a contributor to increased arm injuries with our youth.

Another concern that I have is youth pitchers pitching for several teams at one time. One team will start them on Tuesday and another team may use that same pitcher on Thursday on that very same week. This is too much throwing for anyone, let alone a youth pitcher who is still developing his arm. Although Baseball is highly competitive and coaches want to win, it is important that health comes before winning; or at least it should.

Learn more effective baseball drills at The Pitching Academy. It is imperative that a pitcher learns pitching mechanics and the correct drills to support those movements.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Dan_Gazaway

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Youth Baseball Drills - Start the Kids on the Road to Success Early

By KC Andrus

Why Youth Baseball Drills?

Ahh, the joys of youth baseball. What a wonderful sight to behold, the children out there giving it there all, wearing their emotions on their sleeves and the parents in the stands biting their fingernails, overcome with nervousness. The sights and sounds of a little league game are one of the fondest memories of many children's childhoods and also becomes ingrained in the minds of their parents. Whether you are a parent, coach or player, however, it takes steady practice doing the RIGHT youth baseball drills to make your team a winner.

What Youth Baseball Drills are Effective?

Everyone knows that the most glamorous asset for a baseball player's inventory is his hitting skills, it is also his most valuable. So here are some common problems facing young hitters and some drills to help you improve.

Keep Your Eye on the Ball!

It's the first thing you learn as a baseball player and one of the most important. A good drill to improve this is to have someone stand on a mound and throw a ball and have the player track the ball all the way into the catcher's glove. Very simple and effective.

Hit Line Drives

If you're popping the ball up a lot or hitting way too many choppers, it is always one of two things: your timing is off or your swing is off and your bat path isn't straight to the ball. A good drill to make sure your bat path takes you straight to the ball is to practice hitting sharp line drives off of a tee.

My Timing Is Off

If you're struggling with timing and rhythm within your swing one of the best drills you can do to correct that problem would be soft toss. Have someone kneel on one knee out to the side and softly toss the ball up to you while you focus on timing and hitting the ball up the middle squarely.

What Other Measures Should I Take?

There are various other resources that can help you come up with Youth Baseball Drills and provide fantastic coaching tips. In order to get the best information, you have to sift through all of the misinformation on the internet. This is where I found the best information for me, it provides solid tips and even lets you in on some secrets to maximize hitting potential:

Youth Baseball Drills

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=KC_Andrus