Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rotational Hitting Mechanics - The Best Hitting Mechanics You Can Teach Your Players

By George Montoya

What are the best batting mechanics you can teach your players?

As a baseball coach, that's a question that I get all the time. If you look around you'll notice well meaning coaches doing the same stale drills, but never really improving their player's mechanics. In fact, these baseball coaches, most of the time, are enforcing poor hitting mechanics.

So what can you do?

The fact is that 95% of all Hall of Fame hitters are using rotational hitting mechanics. That's right; the Major League swing is rotational hitting.

I learned how to teach rotational hitting, and so can you.

Here are some key things to keep in mind about rotational hitting.

It all starts with the grip - The knocking knuckles of the hand have to be lined up; this makes for a more accurate swing. Why do you think an axe handle is oval? It automatically lines up your knuckles for a reason - accuracy!
The stance - You don't want to be too wide or to narrow. A good start is feet shoulder width apart, or about the length of their bat wide.
Load - As the pitcher begins their motion, the batter turns their lead shoulder and front knee toward the plate slightly, always keeping both eyes on the pitchers release point.
Stride and weight transfer - The batter shifts their weight from the back foot to the front foot on a tilted axis, NOT a straight up and down axis. You might even note that their back foot becomes light, sometimes even coming completely off of the ground a couple of inches.
The Hips - Once the batter is going to take their swing, their front heel drops locking out the front leg, and the hips begin to rotate. The rotation of the hips is what pulls the hands around. This is when the batter turns around a fixed axis, their front leg.

Important! The key rotational hitting points above are what most Major League baseball players do during their swing. You CAN learn to teach the mechanics of the Major League swing.

Don't ignore these steps. Quit doing the same stale drills ever other coach out there is teaching. Do your players justice... YOU CAN!

Learn the rotational hitting drills that will show you how to improve your player's mechanics, and make you look like baseball genius.

At you can get all the information you need to succeed.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Gain Velocity on Your Fastball

By Dan Ramos Dominko

One of the most asked questions when it comes to pitching or baseball in general is how to get more velocity. There are countless number of ways to get that velo up but one of the quickest ways to see a jump is by getting more extension.

Throwing harder is all about generating torque, the more you have the harder you will throw. To increase your torque you need to create separation between your arms and your legs. It's very similar to hitting when the batter steps forward and loads his hands back to create more power.

There are two parts to getting extension, with your lower and upper body. When you get more extension with your legs you increase your stride with your front leg while keeping your weight on your back leg as long as possible. By extending your stride you automatically create more torque and separation between your upper and lower halves. Once you land on your front foot you need to extend with your throwing arm as far as possible. Every extra inch you can extend you are generating more force and backspin into the ball, not to mention movement as well.

Towel Drill

To work on your increasing your stride you can use the good ol' towel drill. For those of you not familiar with this drill all you need to do is grab a hand towel and wrap it around your middle finger. Start from the stretch and go through your motion as if you are throwing a ball. Once your front foot lands walk five steps (heal to toe) from that spot. You can place a chair here or even better grab a teammate and have him hold his glove thigh high. Go back to where you started in the stretch and go through your motion trying to hit the glove with your towel. I would recommend doing this drill 3-5 times a week roughly 20-40 repetitions.

Towel Drill Tips

* IMPORTANT, when doing this drill you should have a ball in your hand. Just using the towel is too light and can injure you by hyper-extending your shoulder or elbow.

* If you find that 5 feet is too long or too short for you then move your target accordingly. Your goal is to have the target as far away from you as possible, but still close enough to where you can hit it a majority of the time.

* Don't cheat! A lot of pitchers want to place the target much further than they can reach. When you do this most of the time you will end up jumping and not striding. You want to extend to your target, not jump.

More great pitching and baseball articles can be viewed at

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Friday, November 26, 2010

5 Reasons to Become a Knuckleball Pitcher

By Robert D Reese

The Knuckleball

Everyone that follows baseball knows this pitch as the erratic "dancing" pitch. It is thrown with the least amount of spin possible so that air can interact with the laces on the ball and push, pull and manipulate the flight of the ball to home plate. This is why major league hitters look absolutely foolish while trying to swing at a knuckler.

What not that many people know is that practically anyone can learn to throw a knuckleball, it just takes patience, dedication and a little bit of a wild side.

5 reasons why YOU should learn to throw a Knuckleball

1. Don't need a Power Arm
Probably the main reason knuckleballers strive to perfect the most difficult pitch to throw. A knuckleball pitcher doesn't try and throw 90+MPH, they rely on the inconsistency of the knuckleballs flight path. They want the pitch to be thrown from anywhere in the 70-80 MPH range. This lets the knuckleball "dance" in the air, so a batter will have to guess what the ball will do, causing plenty of awkward swings, and plenty of laughs.

2. Can have a Long Career
Knuckleballers can have a longer than average career in the Major Leagues. The reason is that they do not have to put as much strain on the ball throwing hard, so the arm does not wear down as easily. Most knuckleballers can pitch well into their 40′s and still be effective. Take Tim Wakefield for example. He is currently 44 years old and still pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He was also named to the American League All Star team in 2009. Not bad for someone over 40 years old.

3. Very Difficult to Hit
A knuckleball is called many things, the dancer, the butterfly, the floater and many more. The reason is because no one knows where the knuckleball will end up, not even the pitcher. Now think about it, you are trying to hit a pitch that is floating and dancing in front of you with a stick that is about 4 inches in width. Not an easy thing to do. That is why pitchers are able to use it as their feature pitch, but it is also a curse because they do not know where the ball will land.

4. Not Everyone Throws One
As a knuckleball pitcher, you are apart of a fraternity of knuckleball pitchers as not many people are able to throw and less are able to master it. Even being able to throw a knuckleball makes you special. Now many people can throw a ball 60-70mph with no spin. Tom Candiotti, one of the great knuckleball pitchers was taken under the great Phil Nekro's wings and taught how to master the pitch. After Candiotti retired, he counseled Tim Wakefield early in his career. R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets is the newest knuckleball pitcher in the majors, and Wakefield help him out so as you can see, you are in a small brotherhood of knuckleballers.

5. Anyone can throw a knuckleball!
The best part of dedicating yourself as a knuckleball pitcher is that ANYONE CAN THROW ONE. Just ask Eri Yoshida, the first female pitcher to play professional baseball.

Take a look at her video here:

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kids Baseball Drills - 3 Drills That Make Practice Fun

By Kenny Buford

Fun Drills for Kids

Coaching kids baseball can be hard: you have to combat hot summer days, short attention spans, and varying ability levels. The key to kids baseball drills is to keep them fun so the kids don't realize they're learning -- they think they're just playing around! These drills for kids are designed to teach them the basics of baseball while keeping them excited about practicing the game.

Hubba Bubba Ball

For this kids baseball drill, the coach needs an oversized plastic bat and balls -- they can be found at most toy stores. The coach divides the team into defense and offense and acts as full-time pitcher.

The kids play the game as they normally would, only because of the plastic ball the defense doesn't need gloves. The batters should focus on clean hits and correct tossing of the bat -- the coach might want to set up markers on either side of home plate so the kids can see where they bat should go once they get a hit. The defense should focus on catching and throwing with soft hands.

Beat the Heat

This baseball drill for kids teaches them about passing and hitting using water balloons. The coach will need to bring plenty of water balloons to practice -- about 100.

First the kids will practice passing by lining up in two relay lines with a big bucket at the end. The two lines compete to see how many unbroken balloons they can get into the buckets in the fastest time by passing from one player to the next. How far apart the kids are spaced when passing the balloons should be based on their age and ability level -- or how hot it is outside!

Now the kids can practice hitting with the remaining balloons. The kids take turns at bat with the coach pitching them water balloons. This drill is great for kids who have trouble keeping their eye on the ball and are hesitant to follow through with their swing because they don't want to miss seeing the balloon burst.


For this kids baseball drill, divide the team up into groups of four and have them form a square with each player spaced 10 paces apart. The drill begins with the first player rolling the ball to the player on his right, who will catch the ball, pivot, and roll it to the player on his right, who will in turn catch, pivot, and roll, continuing around the square.

The coach will then add another ball into the mix. The players will continue rolling, catching, and pivoting, but this time with two balls going around simultaneously. The players should start calling out the name of the person they are passing to. The coach continues adding balls until there are four going at the same time. The players can then advance to soft-tossing the ball.

To learn more about coaching kids baseball and some fun drills to try, visit my site to watch a free video:

Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of, the web's #1 resource for kids baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pitching: Throwing Correct in Bullpens

By Nate Barnett

I'd like to write briefly the importance of making your bullpens a valuable use of your time. So many pitchers don't understand how valuable each pitch is when they are throwing in the bullpen. Some merely throw the ball thinking about throwing hard strikes anywhere in the zone. When it crosses the plate for a strike they are content with that. That may work for now if you are in Little League but things change when you're a bit older. You can't get away with just throwing strikes, you have to work the corners and ensure the ball has movement.

When you are throwing between starts it is imperative that you work on a few things like pitch location, getting a feel for each pitch and keeping track of how many strikes you are throwing compared to balls.

Don't just throw strikes and think that is sufficient. Talk and think about different game scenarios with your catcher. Who's up at the plate? How are you going to approach this batter? What are the hitters weaknesses? What pitches would you throw this batter and in what sequence will you throw them?

Practice perfect strikes on the corners with each pitch; make a real game out of it. Whatever you pitch, throw with a purpose! I can't say enough about that.

Also, get in the habit of taking a journal to the bullpen with you. Some of the best pitchers I work with have this habit and it works! Not only should your goals be in this journal so you can look at them daily, but you should keep track of each pitch you throw; much like a weight lifter knows how much they are lifting and how many repetitions they do for each exercise.

Take the time to monitor your progress in the bullpen and really do some worthwhile throwing. Make sure you write down any thoughts that come to mind when or after each bullpen session. This will help you approach each bullpen with a better attitude and work ethic.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. You can find The Pitching Academy's videos, blog, and more articles when you visit the website.

The Pitching Academy's pitching mechanics DVD.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to Run a Youth Baseball Practice

By Mickey B

If you are new to coaching youth baseball or have been coaching for awhile but struggle with it, here are some do's and don'ts for running a youth baseball practice session. It is not really that complicated. In fact, after reading these you will probably say, "Well that's just common sense." However, it has been my experience that more than 80% of youth baseball coaches do not use any of these suggestions.

1. Don't try to "wing" it!

Do show up with a game plan. You are dealing with kids. Remember these two things: they want to have fun, and they get bored very easily. With a good plan of action, you will be keeping them busy, they will be learning, and all of you can have some fun.

2. Don't forget about the parents.

Do ask some of the dads to help with practice sessions. Most youth baseball leagues allow you to have an assistant or two during games. That does not mean you can't have four or five during practice. Some of the dads may have played ball in high school or college. Where I live there is a good chance that they played professionally. Their help is vital to running a successful practice.

3. Don't talk down to the kids.

Do establish good communications with them. They already know that you are in charge, but they don't know what your guidelines are. Before they ever step onto the field for the first practice, establish the ground rules. Greet each of them by name, look them in the eye, shake their hand, and tell them you are happy to have them on the team. Then let them know what you expect. This should include things like showing respect for everyone else, paying attention to the coaches, and maintaining a good attitude.

4. Don't allow the activity to focus on one or two players while everybody else stands around.

Do have several different drill stations set up. Each station should have one of your assistant coaches or volunteer dads running it. Be sure that the coaches and volunteers know exactly what you want taught and that no single player is getting all of their attention. Split your players up evenly and have each group start at a different station. It is usually a good idea to separate siblings and best friends. That way they are more likely to pay attention to the coach and less likely to goof around. Allow fifteen to twenty minutes at each station and then rotate the groups to the next work area. It is also wise to have your helpers teach at different stations from one practice to another. This will give them experience at teaching the methods that you want. You will be visiting each station to check on the progress of the players, give praise to those who are working hard, and interject tips that might help a player improve.

5. Don't let a practice session run too long.

Do limit the time from one hour to ninety minutes. This time should include water breaks and progress breaks. Progress breaks are short periods when you call everyone together, have them take a knee, and tell them about the good things that you noticed them doing in their drills. You can also address any issues that you might have seen, but be careful not to single anybody out. That should be done on a one to one basis.

6. Don't embarrass a player in front of his friends.Do not yell at him nor demean him in any way.

Do have a talk with a player who misbehaves. Calmly let him know that you are disappointed in his behavior, but that you are confident that he is able to do better. I am talking strictly about misbehavior here. If a player merely makes a mistake there is nothing for you to be disappointed about. You just have to give him a little more time to develop his skills. Always provide encouragement to a player, even if you think he will never improve. I have seen amazing things happen to kids after they have gone through puberty.

7. Don't end practice on a sour note.

Do ask your players what they liked about practice and what they did not like. Ask them if they had fun. If they didn't, find out why. Remember, youth baseball is a game. The kids just want to have fun. You should also remember to thank the players for showing up on time, paying attention, and putting forth their best efforts.

As I said earlier, this is pretty easy when you think about it. After a few seasons it will seem natural to you. Just establish a plan of action, line up your volunteers, and go do it. Have fun!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Teaching Mechanics in Youth Baseball - Is It Important?

By Mickey B

Next to having fun, teaching mechanics is the most important thing a coach can do for his youth baseball players. Some of you dads who are coaching only because nobody else volunteered, might be wondering just what in the world does mechanics have to do with baseball. The answer is...Everything! Mechanics simply means the correct form and movements required to properly hit, throw, or field a baseball. It also applies to running the bases. Watching Major League ballplayers can give you the impression that there is no one way that is considered proper. Every batter seems to set up differently and go through all kinds of unusual gyrations, each pitcher has his own style of wind up, and infielders throw from every conceivable angle. Remember, they are professionals who are perfectly grounded in the fundamentals, and at the point of attack their bodies are in the proper position. The only exception to this is when an infielder has to perform some miraculous feat of athleticism in order to make a play. Also, bear in mind that they get paid a lot of money to do this. That being said, here are some reasons for teaching mechanics in youth baseball.

1. You want to avoid injuries, especially when you are working with kids. Sore arms, particularly elbows, are one of the most frequent problems in baseball. This is usually caused by the player starting the throw with his body before his arm is in the right position. Consequently, he has to drop his elbow in order for the arm to catch up with the body, resulting in his hand getting under the ball and putting a twisting motion on the elbow. If this is done repeatedly, the player will be complaining about a sore arm by the middle of the season. Hitters develop problems with their wrists from an improper grip. They can also hurt their backs with a crazy swing and lack of balance. I mentioned running the bases earlier. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen broken legs or sprained ankles caused by hitting the base wrong or sliding improperly. Most of these injuries can be avoided through the use of good mechanics.

2. Everybody likes to be a winner. Kids are no exception. Yet, I never coach winning or losing. I don't have to. My teams win more than they lose because I concentrate on mechanics. By learning proper skills, my players make more accurate throws, get more hits, and commit fewer errors from mishandling the ball. Don't get me wrong, they are definitely not perfect. They are still growing and can be quite uncoordinated, but they are learning how things should be done. One thing that helps is lots of praise from the coach when they show improvement. I should probably point out that your players will not be as devastated by a loss as you and their parents will be. Remember, they are there to have fun. However, they also want to learn how to get better, and they will improve if you teach them proper mechanics.

3. As a youth coach, one of your major responsibilities is to get your players ready to compete at the next level, like moving from Little League to Babe Ruth. We lose a lot of young ballplayers at this stage every year for a variety of reasons. Some haven't gone through puberty yet and cannot handle the larger field. Others discover girls or different activities that stimulate their interests more than baseball. But sadly, a large percentage leave the game because they can no longer compete with the other players. They were never taught proper mechanics. The throws are longer so they have to throw harder and, as a result, get a sore arm. The pitchers are faster and they can't get the bat around fast enough to hit the ball. They get discouraged, and they quit. You can help prevent that by teaching them the appropriate skills now. I have seen Little League all-stars fade into oblivion on the bigger field because nobody gave them the correct coaching. They made the all-star team on natural skills that weren't enough for the tougher competition that they faced at the next level.

As you can see, these are some very important reasons to teach mechanics in youth baseball. some side benefits for your players are that, without mentioning it to them, you have shown them that success can come with proper execution. They are also learning that hard work has its benefits. This goes for you too, coach. Are you prepared to work hard, also? Do you know what the proper mechanics are for baseball? Don't worry, there are many websites devoted to teaching mechanics. Look for sites that talk about the power triangle, and avoid sites that emphasize pushing off the rubber with the back foot. This is something that a pitcher does, but it should not be taught that way, especially to still developing children. Now, go have fun with your kids!

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Misconceptions About How to Hit a Baseball - Stay Back

By Joe Brockoff

I have had many hitters who take a batting stroke and keep their entire weight on their back leg as they swing. This is NOT what staying back is meant to be.


Knocking-knuckles pointed forward
Improper grip produces a sweeping action.
Back elbow at 90 degrees...changes the grip

If the hitter is staying on his backside throughout his stroke, he needs to adjust out of this immediately!

In observing all better professional hitters, we can see that when they are in contact with the ball, their front side is firm, with their weight against the front heel. They are on their back toe, with the back leg making an "L." They are not on the ball of the back foot. The body's center mass is in a stacked position. The weight is not back on contact, rather, it is being transferred through the ball.

Body is stacked on contact. The hands are in front of the body, not over the plate.

The proper term here is not to stay back, but to "start back". We collect our weight on the stride. We should distribute 30-40% of our weight. Then, when we pivot, the weight is transferred from the back side to the front side. This transfer is controlled by the hips, as they come square to the pitch. This method allows the hitter to transfer his weight through the ball.

What really stay back are the hands!

Using the following steps, the weight transfer will be smooth and powerful:

1. Load (or coil). The weight goes back as the hips rotate slightly inward, lifting the front heel off the ground.

2. Stride. 30-40 % weight on the stride. When the front heel goes down, the next step occurs.

Hands are back in the stride. Throughout all of this time, the hands stay back.

This is what "stay back" really means.

When the front heel, comes down, the hips come square in the pivot and the weight transfer occurs from back to front. The hands have the option at this point to launch or not to launch.

Hands in Launch Position

The hands go last.

When a coach sees a hitter commit his hands first, perhaps that is when we hear him say, "Stay back."

This must not be interpreted as keeping the weight back throughout the stroke. A better way of saying this would be "Keep the hands back." A hitter must train his hips to take him to the ball and discipline his hands to wait for the right moment to start the stroke.

Hi. I'm Coach Joe Brockoff, a Division I Head Baseball Coach for Tulane University for more than 19 years, and former minor league player for the New York Yankees. Over the years, I've taught thousands of baseball players how to increase batting speed and improve their overall performance on the field. In fact, my proven training system has sent 45 baseball players to the pros.

As a coach committed to continuous improvement, I share my baseball drills, tips, and techniques here so that you will, in turn, inspire and motivate young players to improve their game. I hope you'll visit my web site, the Super 8 Baseball Hitting System at to watch some of my free instructional videos.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Youth Baseball Digest: The 3 Absolutes of Coaching Youth Baseball

By Nick Dixon

Baseball is one of the most demanding sports to coach. The purpose and function of youth baseball is to provide a quality sports team experience that builds baseball skills, teaches team-first attitudes, builds a respect for authority and regulations, and develops an appreciation for the value and consequences of hard work.

To be a successful baseball coach, you must have an understanding how the game is taught, played and practiced. There are three absolutes that every youth baseball coach should remember when they plan, organize, and prepare their "game plan" for the coming season! This article outlines those three absolutes.

The three absolutes of baseball are:

Youth baseball is a game for youngsters, not adults.
Baseball must be taught and practiced for success to be achieved.
Discipline must be a part of every team's preparation and execution.

Now I will briefly explain what I mean by each of these absolutes.

Youth baseball is a game for youngsters, not adults.

When I say "Youth Baseball is for Youths" what I mean is that we have youth baseball for the youngsters that are playing it, not for the coaches that are coaching.You will find that kids can accept responsibility, become accountable, work hard, and learn from their team successes and failures, but at the same time they have to see purpose, see progress, and enjoy their participation. They must have fun.

For kids to love and appreciate the game they must be motivated, challenged, and enjoy the majority of their team time whether it be a practice, a workout, or a game. There is no law that says coaches should not laugh, smile, joke and have "Light" moments with the team. I consider myself a pretty good baseball coach. My team discipline is strict. But, my players know exactly when they can goof off, joke around, crack on each other, or generally be "loose" as a team. They also know exactly when they have to be focused, attentive, and acting "by the book". The point I am trying to make here is that coaches have to understand that players need to learn to relax and as much as they need to learn to work and focus. It is a coach's job to teach them to enjoy themselves without guilt so long as their enjoyment comes from wholesome and proper behavior that is acceptable.

Baseball must be taught and practiced for success to be achieved.

Baseball is a sport that required a high level of commitment and dedication. It is important that players develop good work habits as early in their careers as possible.It is impossible to fake work or fake good practice when it comes to baseball. Those coaches, teams and programs that work extremely smart, work exceptionally hard, and that always work with a higher level of purpose and commitment are the baseball programs at the top of the "food chain". So, if you plan to coach, get prepared to practice. In fact, if you need to make sure that you have

Discipline must be a part of every team's preparation and execution.

I am a firm believer that teaching team and self-discipline are two of the most important roles of every coach in all sports. To be successful a player must learn to discipline himself to stay out of trouble. To be build a championship atmosphere and environment, a coach must establish control of his players and staff. With discipline also comes respect. Without discipline, there can never be respect. Without respect your team will never achieve to its highest attention.

Players not only expect and appreciate a coach's discipline, but they also have a strong desire for it. Kids want to be controlled, instructed, and taught. It makes them feel like they are respected, appreciated, and a part of something worth spending their effort and time in. When a coach displays no backbone, no will to control, and no will to handle adversity with a firm and strong demeanor, the players will not put their full and complete trust in him. Coaches should set team rules. The coach should display a willingness to plan, prepare, organize and execute both practice and game plans. This shows a high level of self-discipline on the coach's part. Teams emulate a coach's attitude, actions, and habits.

Instilling and maintaining a firm discipline builds a strong foundation upon which to build a championship season. I hope that you found this article to be informative. Please visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, Baseball Digest Blog, and the Baseball Parent Guide for free baseball coaching articles, drills, and tips. Good Luck to you and your team in the coming season. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest: Teaching Baseball Pitchers the Correct and Proper Stride Leg Mechanics

By Nick Dixon

One of the most common pitching flaws seen in baseball has to do with the motion and action of the pitcher's front leg or stride leg and foot. This article discusses three common baseball pitching flaws associated with the stride leg and foot.

Stride leg movement and landing foot action is an extremely important part of proper pitching mechanics. Here are three common mistakes made by pitchers that can make them suffer the embarrassment of a poor performance on the mound.

"Improper Leg Action from Balance Point to Stride"

The proper, correct and desired motion of the stride leg depends on the game situation and the presence and location of base runners. If there is no one on base the pitcher should go to the balance position, then separate, and then take the leg and foot downward in a "down and Out" or "Landing Plane Motion". This path allows the hands to separate and the throwing arm to get to the desire point with the front foot don and planted before the throwing RM COMES FORWARD.

If there is a runner or multiple runners on base, the pitcher should throw from the stretch and use the glide step to deliver the ball to the plate quicker to deter base runners from stealing.

"Improper Front Foot Landing"

The simplest way to describe a bad front landing is to say that the pitcher is landing the front foot on his heel. The front foot should land flat or on the ball of the foot. Landing on the heel makes the pitcher's delivery inconsistent and his control will suffer.

"Improper Front Leg Mechanics"

A young pitcher should be taught to stride toward home plate. The pitcher's front foot should land with the toes pointed in the vicinity of the plate. When striding toward home plate the pitcher should not land on a stiff rigid leg with their knee locked. This can cause a "pole vaulting" action and a whip like action that is a dangerous pitching flaw that can injure a player's arm over time. Pitchers have to learn to land with their front knee slightly bent, but to firm the bent leg up during the pitching motion. When the stride foot lands the knee should be bent. The lead leg must stiffen up as the pitcher's weight comes forward. This stiffening action gives the pitcher leverage or resistance to work against in creating arm whip and velocity.

I hope that you found this article to be informative and useful. Please visit the Youth Baseball Digest Blog, Baseball Coaching Digest Blog, and the Baseball Coaching Digest for more free baseball articles, baseball tips, and free baseball drills. Good luck to you and your team. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baseball Drills - Hitting Drills to Strengthen Players

By Kenny Buford

Drills are routine practice elements used to build strong foundations in players. Hitting drills are effective for solving problems players face at the bat. Once a coach has identified what problem the player has, he can utilize the appropriate drill to strengthen that element of the hitter's technique.

One-knee, One-hand

This hitting drill involves the coach, acting as pitcher, and player both on one knee. The player extends the front leg, keeps his bottom hand on the bat handle and hits soft tosses from the pitcher, keeping his wrist flat and palm down. The player should use a short swing, keep his hand inside the ball and avoid rolling the wrist.

This drill isolates the player's movements to focus on hand position and technique, building strength in the wrists and forearms. The coach should be able to see if the player is employing improper technique, like rolling his wrists or swinging too long. To take the drill further, the player can use a smaller bat and swing with only one hand, alternating between the top and bottom hand.

Front Inside Soft-Toss

This baseball drill also emphasizes shortening the swing and maintaining flat wrists to build strength and increase quickness. In this drill, the coach feeds inside pitches from behind a screen.

The hitter stands, with both hands on the bat, and tries to hit the inside half of the ball. This positioning requires the player to use quick hands, because slow hands that drag the barrel of the bat will cause the pitch to jam him. In addition to using quick hands, the player also needs to maintain flat wrists to ensure that the fat part of the bat makes contact with the ball.

The feeder should watch the player's technique to make sure he is not rolling his wrists or using a long swing. The coach may want to hold the ball on some pitches to better observe the balance and stance of the hitter.

Stride and Freeze Tee

This drill addresses the stance and balance of the hitter. If a hitter gets out on his front foot and struggles to keep his weight back, he is not able to generate enough power to be an effective hitter. By using a tee, the hitter and coach can both focus on positioning and stance without the added element of watching for the pitch.

To begin this drill, set up the tee without the ball. The player then prepares to hit the imaginary ball by taking his stride and releasing his hands back. The hitter then freezes and allows the coach to check positioning, making sure his hands and weight are back and in proper balance.

At this point, the coach then puts the ball on the tee and allows the player to hit from that position, watching to ensure proper follow-through and balance. After repeating this drill 10-15 times, the hitter can then swing with the ball on the tee from the beginning.

And if you'd like to see more free baseball drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:

Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of, the web's #1 resource for baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Uncommon Baseball Hitting Drills

By Jeffery A Wise

Baseball hitting drills are a necessary part of practice. Players run these drills to improve their skills and get them ready for batting practice and games. There are some common hitting drills, but we're going to talk about one that is not so common. Nonetheless, it is important and should be practiced more often.

The modified broomstick drill is very helpful. You need a broom handle that is cut down to the length of a bat. It will help to sand the end and add batter's tape on the end for grip. Then, ask someone to pitch plastic golf balls to you. These balls can be purchased at any sporting goods store.

The distance between you and the pitcher doesn't matter as long as they can toss you the balls easily. Start with underhand pitches. Then switch to overhand pitches so there is some appropriate velocity on the pitch which simulates a real pitch.

You can work on many different hitting mechanics for improvement, but now let's just focus on your upper body. Relax your shoulders, neck and face. If you are too tense at the plate it is much harder to have a quick, fluid swing. That's what this baseball hitting drill is for.

Also, make sure your front shoulder is lined up to the pitcher and have it closed. Sometimes ball players have an issue with leaving their shoulder open and that makes them open up and start their swing too early. This causes players to pull the ball in the form of a ground out or fly out.

During this baseball hitting drill, keep the shoulder closed and wait for the plastic golf ball to arrive in the hitting zone before taking a smooth, fluid swing. Take turns hitting 25 balls and then rotate. This drill is a lot like playing wiffle ball so have fun with it.

The purpose of this drill is to improve hand-eye coordination and mechanics. You may also want to use this drill to practice hitting harder. Whatever you do, always strive to have fun!

Jeffery A Wise invites you to learn more about baseball hitting drills so that you can hit a baseball better. Start learning today at by reading our information, watching our videos and participating in our blog.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to Create a Baseball Practice Plan

By Jack Perconte

There are basically two things to consider when talking about how to create a baseball practice plan. The first is the pre-season practice plan and the second is the in-season plan. Of course, for teams that may play or stay together year round, there may be an off-season practice plan, too.

First, let's consider the pre-season plan. Coaches should decide how many practices a week they are going to have, which is usually based on the age of players and the philosophy of the level the team is playing. For example, travel baseball teams should practice more often than recreational teams, especially before the season. It may become more difficult for travel teams to practice as much once the season begins because of the greater number of games. With that in mind, travel teams must take advantage of their preseason practices more.

Additionally, coaches will base how in-depth strategic instruction they are expected to provide based on the level of play. For instance, recreational coaches should devote more time into the basic fundamentals, where as travel coaches should go into advanced detail on the finer points of the game, like pick-off plays, etc...

Following are suggestions that coaches should consider when drawing up their pre-season practices:
1. Write down every phase of the game including the fundamental skills of hitting, throwing, fielding, pitching and base running.
2. Write down every strategic game situation elements of the game like cutoffs and relays, run downs, pick-off plays, bunt plays and double steal situations, etc.
3. Decide on the length of practices and then begin to plug in the amount of time that will be devoted to a) fundamentals, b) strategic elements. After allowing a 15-minute warm-up period at each practice, below is some examples based on two-hour practices.

****** Fundamental Skills - Strategy, Game Situation
Practice 1 - 45 minutes --- 1 hour strategic
Practice 2 - 50 minutes -- 55 minutes
Practice 3- 55 minutes -- 50 minutes
Practice 4 - 1 hour -------- 45 minutes
Practice 5 - 1 Hour -------- 45 - Simulated Game
Practice 6 - 45 minutes--- 1 Hr - Simulated Game
Practice 7- 45 minutes -- 1 Hr - Intra -squad
Practice 8 - 45 minutes --- 1 Hr - Intra squad

Of course, this is just a basic model that coaches can go by with the goal of dividing practice time between the fundamental skill work and the strategic game work. Initially, less skill work is recommended until players get their arms and bats in shape, before devoting more time to this skill work. Coaches can adjust and vary their plan to meet their teams needs.

Other points to consider:
1. Homework on skill work should be given at the end of each practice.
2. As practices progress, coaches should gear more time towards the areas of baseball that are needed most. For example, extra base running work for teams that show bad base running skills.
3. Simulated games are when coaches set up certain game situations with regular pitcher, hitter and fielders, etc...
4. Attention to detail during warm-ups should not be neglected.
5. Keeping kids as busy as possible with small group stations and rotations is good when coaching help is available for the various stations.
6. The advantage of simulated games is that certain situations can be worked on over and over again. Reenacting plays that are done incorrectly until players do it correctly is crucial to improvement.

In season practice plan:
1. As games begin, periodic reviews of all strategic game situations should be done.
2. Coaches should use their pre-game time wisely to stay on top of skill work.
3. Practices can now be geared towards the areas of the game that teams need the most based on their recent game deficiencies.
4. Coaches are responsible for protecting pitchers arms at practice, especially as the season progresses.
5. Skill work should not be taken for granted as the season progresses. It is common for hitters to get off to a good start after working on hitting drills in the off- season only to have their hitting deteriorate when they neglect the hitting drills as the season progresses.
6. Cutting down on the length of practices may sometimes be necessary during the hot summer months so players do not get run down physically.
7. Coaches should take notes during games as to what their team should concentrate their next practice on.

Of course, being organized and prepared for every practice is important for successful baseball practices. Finally, a major sign of a good coach is that their team is better at the end of the season than at the beginning. This may not always show up in the win column, but definitely in how teams execute the strategic aspects of the game.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at

Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - The 5 Keys to Obtaining and Maintaining Power Pitcher Status

By Nick Dixon

A "Power Pitcher" is a pitcher that dominates with an overpowering fastball. There are five conditions that I think add to the likelihood that a pitcher will be overpowering to the opposition. Those keys are average arm and body strength, above average conditioning and flexibility, good and proper mechanics, an understanding of the importance of proper warm-up, and dedicated commitment to proper post-game arm care. This article gives insight in how important each of these keys are and how each can be improved.

Strength: If a player is below average in body strength and arm strength, his fastball will be below average. All Power pitchers have strong arms. This arm strength more than likely comes from a regular routine of "long toss" and weight workouts. If a pitcher is going to maintain dominance, he must develop three kings of strength; arm strength, lower body strength and torso power. These strengths should be improved with regular weight workout beginning around the age of 12.

Conditioning & Flexibility- Endurance, stamina, and resilience, all come from a well planned and organized conditioning and flexibility programs. Flexibility in the hips, torso, and upper body is a must for pitching success. A well planned and executed program should include workouts with long and explosive running activities, explosive abdominal conditioning, and serious flexibility activities.

Proper Mechanics - Without proper mechanics a pitcher will never reach a level of dominance and maintain it. There are some pitchers that dominate at one stage of their career but fade aware due to injury and arm problems because their mechanics had flaws that lead to injuries. Receiving proper instruction and coaching early is an important element of baseball pitching success. When it comes to learning proper pitching mechanics, the sooner a young pitcher learn them, the better. Proper mechanics include proper arm angle, smooth separation, consistent arm slot and release point, correct front leg track and movement, and the ability to rotate the torso late in the stride.

Warm-up - There are a lot of arm injuries that come from a pitcher not warming up long enough or thorough enough before throwing full speed. A proper warm-up session should involve stretching, light jogging, and throwing at a range of distances. The steps should stretch, jog, throw close, and extend the throwing distances. Pitchers should develop their own pitching pre-game warm agenda if their coach or team does not have one. Failure to warm-up is inexcusable. A pitcher must do what he knows is best for his arm. If he does not feel loose, he should continue the warm-up procedure to he feels loose.

Post-Game Care - The absolute best post-game activity to recuperate one's arm is running. Pitchers should always run at least two foul polls for every inning pitched. Running serves to get the blood flowing and to flush the lactic acid from the arm, particularly the elbow region. Many people ice their arm after every mound appearance. I prefer my players not to ice unless they have soreness and a history of injury. I think two things rehabilitate the arm completely. Those two things are a regiment of running and rest.

In closing, I think that body build is also a huge factor in pitching dominance. There is a serious correlation is body size and height and how dominate a pitcher is. The taller a player is, the more likely he will become a serious pitching prospect that dominates opposing teams with his fastball. There are exceptions sometimes. You occasionally see a power pitcher with a small body frame. But these guys have problems sustaining dominance and often have shortening careers due to injury.

I hope that you found this article to be informative. Visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, or Baseball Parent Guide for more free baseball articles. Thanks for reading this article. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Youth Baseball Gloves

By Nicole Roberts

When it comes to browsing through youth baseball gloves, there are some things that you should consider. Not all gloves are created equally. For the player to do his best, he should have a glove that will work well for him while he is out on the field. With a glove being a necessary piece of equipment for baseball, it is important that you choose one that will leave the player well protected and ready to catch the ball in his position.

There are a few different materials with which youth gloves can be made. Leather is by far the most durable material for a baseball glove. Within the realm of leather, there are three choices. These depend on the grain of the material, and are known as premium steer hide, top grain, and full grain. Top grain youth baseball gloves are the top pick for most players. This is because they are easier to soften and quicker to break in before use.

Another consideration you should make is the position you play while using the glove. Various positions on the baseball field can call for different gloves. For example, a catcher uses a special mitt. Having an outfielder's glove would not provide the catcher with the proper protection in order to catch the fast pitches coming his way. Be sure that you are aware of your position before selecting the appropriate glove.

Youth baseball gloves come in sizes, and these can be important to determine which glove will best fit the player's hand. You will want to make sure that you choose a youth size, as adult sizes run larger. The exception to this rule would be if you have extremely large hands for your age. Most youth can properly use gloves ranging in sizes from 9 to 11.5

Your budget should also be considered when purchasing youth gloves. Gloves can range from $20 to over $200, so it is important to know what you can spend before you start shopping. The differences in prices will have to do with the brand, material, and customization of the glove. A standard glove will the cheapest, and can be found in most sporting goods stores.

Custom-made gloves are another option, but are more often chosen by adults. This is because the young player's hand is likely to not be finished growing. This will mean an upgrade within one or two years. An adult glove, on the other hand, will tend to get more use, as their hands are already full-grown. It is also important to note that the price will be higher with a custom baseball glove, but the fit of the glove is likely to be much better.

Selecting from the all the youth baseball gloves on the market can be a difficult decision. However, there are some things you can decide on before beginning your shopping to make the choice easier. Consider the material, size, position, and your budget in order to choose the right glove.

Nicole Roberts
Welcome to where we sell a variety of youth baseball gloves to meet the needs of novice as well as the serious player.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You Stink! We're Leaving the Team

By Nate Barnett

My son is on a soccer team. Most of us are reasonable and committed parents who want the best for our 9-11 year old kids - i.e. to develop and learn the sport. That is except for the whinny couple parents who troll the sidelines spewing their discontent into any ear that will open up. The team has been getting crushed for the most part in tournaments (aside from a few games). But, the good news is that their coach is great. He knows the game, likes the kids, and is patient enough to help them with their skills.

So what more to the whinny trolls want? TO WIN! There is nothing more important than winning they say. Once I entered the danger zone and got too close to one of them on the sidelines and overheard one say their son could be winning more if he was on a rec. team.

Who cares I say. Winning will come, but learning the right skills and mind set to play a game is so important at young ages.

I know you're not one of these complaining parents who leaves good developmental teams if you're not winning... but you know some who have. My encouragement to you is to find a program that will teach your son the correct fundamentals he needs to succeed in baseball first. Winning is a bonus. I say this because when your boy is at an age where winning is more important, he better have the skill set and mental framework to compete.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

You can find The Pitching Academy's articles, blog, and videos on baseball pitching grips when you visit the website.

The Pitching Academy's pitching mechanics DVD.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - Want to Be a Great Hitter? Learn to Be Patient

By Nick Dixon

One of the worst hitting flaws in baseball is "lack of patience" at the plate. This article discusses importance of being a patience batter and the reasons being a patient hitter puts the odds in the hitters favor. It also discusses one common baseball practice procedure that causes batters to not be patience at the plate

To be a great hitter, you must learn to defeat the pitcher. The pitcher's job is to get you out. The easiest way to get a batter out is to throw bad or unhittable pitches that "bait" the impatience batter into getting himself out. Having good patience at the plate allows the batter to have three traits that put the odds in his favor.

1) He does not chase or swing at bad pitches or unhittable pitches, so he does not get himself out.

2) He knows the strike zone and is content with taking a base on balls if he does not get a good pitch to hit.

3) His patience allows him to stay back, trust his hand speed, and hit the ball to all fields.

This flaw means that a batter attacks the pitch incorrectly or too soon. Being a great hitter requires skill, bat speed, and patience. Batters must know the strike zone like they know the inside of the bill of their cap! They must know what a strike is and when a pitch is out of the strike zone. Impatience hitters often fall victim to good pitching because they swing at bad pitches and get themselves out.

"Patience at the Plate"

Teach your hitters to be patience. They must learn to attack the inside pitch early, to attack the strike over the plate behind the front foot, and to attack the off-speed or fastball away late, just inside the back foot. Patience hitters hit to all fields. They never get fooled. They always seem to hit the ball on the "sweet spot" of the bat and frequently hit line drives.

"Practice for Patience"

One way to teach hitters to be patience is to not allow them to swing at everything during batting practice. I know that you have heard a coach say, "Swing the Bat"; to a kid that takes a pitch during batting practice. The coach becomes impatience with the player because the coach wants every batting practice throw hit. That tactic can often confuse young batters as to what pitches they should or should not hit in a game. You as a coach should remember, this one statement from this article, "If you want them to only swing at hit good pitches in a game, then make then take bad pitches during batting practice."

I advocate allowing all batters to take or let bad pitches go by during every drill and during batting practice. Often times, the only way you can hit a bad pitch is to take a bad swing. You do not want your players practicing bad swing because that leads to bad habits. What I suggest is to allow then to track bad pitches from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt or until the ball hits the back stop screen, without swinging the bat. They are seeing the ball, and they are learning the strike zone. If you want to work on swinging at every pitch, have a "hit and run" batting practice session in which they must swing the bat at everything. Then they must concentrate, stay inside the ball, and make every possible effort to hit the ball to the desired location.

I hope that you found this article to be informative. If you want to read more of my articles or to read more articles on every aspect of coaching baseball, go to the Baseball Coaching Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest, and the Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal. Thanks for reading this article. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3 Ways to Increase Bat Speed

By Jarrod B.

Despite what you may think, bat speed is the single most important factor when it comes to how far you can hit a baseball. Increasing your swing speed by only 5mph can add up 25 feet of distance when you hit a baseball. Most people have the ability to increase bat speed by using a few simple methods.

1. Use the lower half of your swing more efficiently: Most players primarily swing with their upper body. As far as hitting is concerned the upper body is the weakest part of the swing. Power in the upper body is generated from the lower half. Watch your swing on video in slow motion. If the upper body starts first and your lower half follows then you know that you are losing a lot of power. Practice initiating the swing with your lower half and you should instantly be able to increase bat speed.

2. Use Overload/Underload Training: Even though it may sound complicated all this means is you should train using different weight bats. Rotate between a bat that is heavier than normal, one that is lighter than normal, and your regular bat weight. Take around 150 dry swings per day and make sure that you swing correctly each time. You don't need to go too heavy or too light, only around 3-4oz difference each time should do. Swinging wooden bats of different size and weight is a great option for overload/underload training to increase bat speed.

3. Increase Core Rotational Strength Hitting is predominately a rotational movement and power is generated by the torque created between the upper and lower body. Good hitters have a strong, stable core and are able to make powerful rotational movements. Work on core strength by doing exercises with medicine balls, stability balls, and resistance bands.

If you can increase bat speed you will become a much better hitter and hit for more power.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Catching Tips: Throwing Down To Second Base

Here is a great video that shows Yankees catching prospect Austin Romine throwing down to second base. It shows it in slow motion as well. For you young catchers pay close attention to his footwork on the third throwdown. Notice how he get in balanced receiving position so he is ready to pop and throw. His footwork looks great as he gains ground towards the base through the throw. Watch...

Coach Bob

4 Simple Tips to Protecting a Young Pitcher's Arm

By Daniel Warwick

Last year I played my first year of baseball at Orange Coast College, and I pitched through the whole year with two torn tendons in my shoulder. Why am I telling you this? I was never aware of the different things you can do for a healthy arm. I pitched since I was little, and that is where the initial wear and tear starts. I just recently had surgery and I want to help young pitchers avoid ever having to deal with arm injuries. These are very simple, very basic tips that a lot of people know about, but don't apply them. By doing these everyday, I was able to still pitch while already having these injuries, I just wish I had known them before the injury occurred.

Tip #1: If something hurts, don't ignore it.

This is probably the most basic, yet most important point I want to get across. If something doesn't feel right, and it doesn't go away, don't just act like it will. This is what I've done my whole life, and even when I was going to my doctor, he kept insisting that it was only tendonitis. I had to finally insist an MRI from my doctor, and he still didn't think it would be anything. My coaches, teammates, and my doctor, all thought it was nothing but tendonitis. Well the results came and two tears in my shoulder, and an O ring tear. Now I'm sitting here writing this with still 6 to 9 months of recovery time ahead of me. Bottom line, go with your gut, get it checked out. If it's nothing, at least you know. Trust me, it's not worth taking the chance.

Tip #2: Ice Ice Ice and More Ice

Like no duh, you throw a lot of pitches, you ice, everyone knows that. What I learned is that you can't underestimate the power of icing your arm. And it's not just something you have to do when you pitch a lot, if at all possible, after every time you throw. Trust me, you won't notice, and you won't know to thank me for it, but do it young. The sooner you ice after throwing, the better as well. People don't realize how much wear it takes for you arm to throw a ball as hard as you do, over and over. Sure it might not hurt, but that wear and tear adds up every year you continue to do it. Icing thins the blood to help more blood take more nutrients throughout your arm to start repairing all and any damage. Secondly, when you do it right after you throw, it slows all of your cells down right away, and prevents all that wear you just performed. If it were possible, I would ice immediately once I know I'm done throwing every time. Trust me, your arm will feel golden. And there is also nothing wrong with icing more than once a day, especially if it's sore.

Tip #3: Don't just play catch to warm up

If you're a pitcher, you do different things than other players. Throwing downhill puts more stress on your arm, you throw more than all the other players, and you throw different pitches, "the curve ball." You want to be really warm before you throw. Run to get some blood flow, stretch out, and either use bands, or light 3 or 5 lb weights. Just do different things, keep your arms straight by your side and lift up in front of you, at a 45 degree angle, and on the side of you. Then over your head with your arm bent at a 90 degree angle straight up, and slowly bend it forward, and then back up. When I do these, I do three sets of ten reps each every time before I throw, whether it's a bullpen, coming in for relief in the middle of the game, or even just to play catch. Now I know that these may be hard to know exactly what to do, but you can just experiment and figure out what works. The important thing is to make sure that all of your small muscles are really warmed up and stretched before you throw.

Tip #4: Run and build your legs

I'm not going to waste a lot of time on this one, it's pretty simple, but important. Run a lot, and build your legs. Running increases blood flow to help heal your arm, while at the same time helps your stamina and endurance on the mound. And the stronger your legs are, means the less your arm has to work. You'd be surprised how important your legs on for pitching, for velocity, and to protect your arm.

Hi, my name is Daniel Warwick. Now there was one tip I left out, and that is to build your forearm strength. This takes stress off your elbow and your shoulder. The thing about this one though is that it is great for baseball performance all around, pitching and hitting. Just check out my blog to see the link at Also, if you are looking for a really big edge in whatever you're doing, there is a site is going to be launching a new workout and diet program from top pro trainers. Just check it out at my site

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Youth Baseball Hitting Tips - Drills

By Jeffery A Wise

It's important that youth first learn the basic fundamentals when they begin their baseball playing careers. In a previous article we touched on a lot of these basics, including keeping your head down and eyes on the ball, how to stand in the batter's box and how to have a smooth, consistent swing. We also talked about the importance of hustling and having fun.

In order to learn the sport and become better players, youth should not just know these fundamentals; they also need to practice them in drills. Here is a list of drills that can be used for most age groups during practice.

Hitting off a tee. This basic but essential hitting drill is used by all age groups. Even Major League Baseball players hit off a tee. Besides using a tee and a ball, you will need protective netting or a solid chain link fence to hit the ball into. Practice hitting off of a tee as often as you like but for each session strive to hit at least 25 balls. Advanced players can move the tee around to mimic different locations of the pitch. This helps for practicing hitting the ball to the opposite field, up the middle or your pull side.
Soft toss. This fun drill was a favorite of mine during my 14 years of baseball. Again, you will either need protective netting or a solid chain link fence. It's better to hit into the protective netting because no balls will bounce back. Have someone kneel in the front and side of the hitter. He will underhand toss the balls to the hitter who will then hit the balls into the netting. The ball can be tossed to the hitter at different locations to make him adjust, wait for the ball and hit it to the appropriate area of the netting. This is a safe drill but if another player is doing the tossing make sure he wears a batting helmet for safety.
Modified broomstick hitting drill. This is also fun because it takes you back to when you simulated games in the backyard with a brother or friend and drilled wiffle balls over the fence. Those were fun times! Find a wooden broomstick and saw it, making it the same length as the bat you use in games. You might want to tape the handle just like you would a normal bat. Then find some plastic golf balls and pitch them to the hitter. This is an excellent drill for hand-eye coordination.
Live batting practice. Live pitches to the batter is a great finishing drill during practice. If at all possible, make sure the pitcher stands behind a protective "L" screen. Each player should get at least 20-25 hittable pitches. If you're taking batting practice alone with just you and your dad, coach or friend then 50 hittable pitches is better. Either way, divide up the pitches and hit some to the opposite field, up the middle and to your pull side as well. Don't forget to lay down a few bunts too.

Drills during practice are essential to improving young players. If time is an issue, try separating the players into groups that move from station to station. Practicing such drills and knowing the basic youth baseball hitting tips will ensure that your team will be the best it can be.

Jeffery A Wise invites you to learn the proven system of youth baseball hitting tips so that you can learn how to hit a baseball better. Start learning today at by reading our information, watching our videos and participating in our blog.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Correctly Complete a Baseball Warmup

If you're like most athletes, you don't pay enough attention to the warmup that you complete before you train, or before you compete on the field. This is particularly true for baseball players, who often think that with the pace of the game they can just warmup as they are out there, or as a play comes in their direction. However, the right baseball warmup can improve your performance and keep you healthy at the same time, while incorrect warmups can do more harm than good.

There are two problems that most players have with baseball warmups. The first problem is that they simply don't warm up at all, thinking that it's not necessary or it won't do anything for them. The second problem is actually completing a warmup, but doing the exact opposite kinds of things that you're supposed to do. These incorrect warmups can actually lead to more injuries and decreased performance, instead of helping you out in any way.

It might surprise a lot of people, but static stretching before exercise is actually an incorrect warmup strategy. Studies have proven that with static stretching, you aren't doing anything to increase your performance, and are leaving your body tight and cool, despite the "loose" feeling you might get from bending down and reaching for your toes, or holding your arms over your head.

These static stretching moves are what most of us consider to be warming up. However, they should be completed after exercise. When done at that time, they absolutely do help your body and can prevent injury and discomfort. However, before a game or before a practice, you want to be dynamically moving and warming up your body.

A dynamic warmup is basically anything that actually gets you moving about, whereas static moves are holds and stretches. Dynamic warmups offer the advantage of actually getting your heart beating faster, and helping you to work up a sweat. With the right moves, you'll loosen all of your muscles that you need, allowing you to be faster, stronger and more explosive. Because your muscles will be properly loosened and ready for action, you'll also be greatly decreasing your risk of injury.

There are all sorts of dynamic warmups that you can complete as a baseball player, and they start with moves that are as simple as jumping jacks. Other simple moves like knee-hug lunges, backward lunges, side steps with arm crosses and more can be effective for dynamic warmups.

However, you can get much more specific and fine-tuned with your approach. For example, using bodyweight rotational exercises will help open up your torso, hips and core, so that you can really explode with your swing, and make all of the moves in the field that you need.

A great example of this kind of exercise is the simple trunk rotation. Stand with your feet in a wide base and your arms extended straight out from your body. Twist to one side, and as you do bend down in that direction. Reverse the motion and repeat on the other side, completing 10 rotations per side. This is just one of many great rotational exercises that will vastly increase your performance while keeping you and your body feeling at its best at all times.

You also want to target certain kinds of warmup exercises that can help compensate for imbalances in your strength and flexibility. You might not be able to twist as far to one side as the other, or jump as far or high off one foot as the other. With the right kinds of dynamic warmups, you can help to overcome this, and this will go a long way towards preventing injuries, which often occur due to these kinds of imbalances. With dynamic moves, you'll prevent the common injuries ranging from hamstring pulls to chronic pain from tendonitis and much more.

As mentioned, your performance will improve, you'll feel better in all aspects of your game and your health, and you will prevent injuries before they ever flare up. So it's time to make sure that you warmup before practice and before games, and it's time that you drop those static holds. Save those for your post-game routine, and focus on dynamic moves that get your blood flowing for your pre-game and pre-workout routine.

Find out more about baseball warmup

Jon Doyle, MA, CSCS
Baseball training secrets

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Be a Smart, Aggressive Hitter

By Jack Perconte

Since the book, "Moneyball," there is much debate whether it is best to have hitters take a lot of pitches or better to have them go up swinging early in the count. That is one of those debates that there is no definite solution for, but there is probably a middle ground that can be reached.

Of course, youth baseball is different than the game that college and professional players play. In youth baseball I believe it is best to have hitters expect, and be ready, to swing from the first pitch on. At the lower levels of baseball getting a good pitch to hit can be few and far between so hitters should be ready to swing at all times. Having the "yes (my pitch when ball leaves the pitcher's hand), yes (when the ball is half way to home), yes (swing)" or "yes, yes, no (don't swing)" is the best approach to teach kids.

Having said that, there are few approaches that I believe can help all hitters at every level to be smart and aggressive hitters. Most people think of aggressive hitters as those who go up swinging at the first pitch that looks good. That is an aggressive approach, of course, but not necessarily a smart approach. Good hitters combine the two of being aggressive and, at the same time, smart. They do this by being ready to swing at pitches that they are confident they can handle and get the sweet spot of the bat on the ball, while not swinging at just any strike or ball that looks good.

Of course, some of the points written below are for advanced players but all are strategies that coaches can begin to teach at every level of baseball.

To be smart and aggressive, hitters should:

1. Pay more attention to pitchers when in the dugout, and especially in the on- deck circle, so that hitters are "in tune" with a pitcher's speed and tendencies.

2. Know if the pitcher is considered a strike out pitcher - hitters should be more aggressive early in the count when facing a strikeout pitcher.

3. Be more aggressive with men in scoring position, especially with runner on third and less than two outs.

4. "Know thyself" - good hitters should understand which pitches they hit best and which they have trouble with. Early in the count, hitters should only swing at pitches that are in the zone that they hit best.

5. Learn to visualize - hitters who can visualize taking good swings at good pitches, hitting the ball hard and taking non-strike pitches is valuable to being smart, aggressive hitters.

6. Learn to cut down on their swing a little with two strikes and be willing to take a walk, especially when the game situation dictates that a long ball is not necessary.

7. Be observant of how the pitcher is pitching other hitters in the line-up. For example, knowing if there is there a common first pitch, strikeout pitch? Etc... is very valuable to being smart and aggressive.

8. "Be thyself" - all hitters have their own "hitting personality" where they are normally aggressive or more patient. It is important that hitters stay with their own personality most of the time. Trying to adopt a different personality can lead to extended slumps. Of course, the individual "hitters personality" should not be extreme, where it inhibits good hitting chances by allowing the pitcher to exploit the hitter's approach.

9. Practice pitches that they struggle with as much as possible - minimizing weaknesses can help immensely. Simply being able to foul off tough pitches can keep the at-bat alive and lead to hits.

10. Have short memories where they can treat each at-bat separate from the ones before, especially when in a hitting slump. Becoming very tentative when struggling is a common occurrence for hitters, which inhibits them from staying aggressive.

11. Remain hungry and never become satisfied, no matter how well they are hitting. Success often leads to complacency, which is often followed by a prolonged hitting slump.

Finally, having an aggressive approach is good for awhile, but having an aggressive and smart approach leads to prolonged success

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Does a Baseball Player Get Out of a Slump?

Avoiding the dreaded batting slump is something every baseball player wants to do. When the hits stop falling in it can bring a lot of frustration. Take it from someone that had plenty of slumps himself. I have had my share and have tried my best to help counsel plenty of other players out of their woes.

First, let us take a look at some of the causes of slumps. Second, we will turn to some slump buster remedies that may bring us out of the slump.

How Did I Get In a Slump? I was Hitting So Good Last Week.

Rac Slider, my former minor league manager I played for with the Boston Red Sox used to say, Holty, It is a round ball and a round bat. Rac meant that two round objects are trying to meet up square, which is not a very easy thing to do. Slumps are going to happen because hitting the ball square is hard to do in the first place.

We will analyze four slump causing scenarios leaving out the one that I fall under which is I probably was not that good of a hitter.

1. Over-thinking: Carl Yastrzemski, the HOF star of the Boston Red Sox said that when he was hitting his best his mind was unaware of any consciousness of his body. In other words, your mind is free of any physical parts of your body. You are not thinking of where your feet are stepping, or what your hands are doing. Nothing, just complete mind freedom. The baseball pitch looks like a big huge softball coming in so clearly.

During slumps though your mind can be cluttered with all kinds of garbage. Garbage in-garbage out. While you waiting for the pitch you start thinking stuff like, where is my elbow? Are my knees bent? Don't forget to squish the bug. And wham, you now have so much on your mind that the pitch coming at you looks like a teeny little pea that gets on you so quick you thought a bullet was going by.

That is why professional baseball coaches do very little if any coaching when a hitter is in the box. They know the more you coach-the more mind clutter you give the hitter. Youth coaches and spectators are usually just the opposite. They barrage the hitter before the pitch and after the pitch with several mind cluttering suggestions and reprimands. Their helpful intentions turn out to be quite harmful to the batters mind now swimming in coaching instructions.

2. Are You A Maybe Guy? Professional hitters know they have to meet the ball out in front of the plate. To meet it out in front they have to be aggressive. Yes, they have to have a good eye, too. But, they have to have a mindset that they are going to swing at every pitch. If you let doubt creep in your mind and think, well maybe I will swing-let me take a look at the pitch first. Then if looks good I will decide to swing.

This maybe thinking likely makes your swing too late. Preventing you from meeting the ball in front of the plate. You will hit a lot of lazy, routine grounders and fly balls or foul balls. And if you unlucky these type hits will be mostly easy outs.

3. Law of Averages: Baseball has a way of averaging out over the course of a season. Sometimes slumps are just a natural baseball progression that you can blame on statistical averages. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Say a batter gets ten hits in a stretch of twenty at bats. His average is.500 in this 20 at bat stretch. But he is a.300 average career hitter. Then somewhere over the season he will have to go through a stretch of at bats to balance out the average to get back to down to.300. So, his next 20 at bats he may only get three or four hits for maybe a.150 average.

4. Flying Open: Most hitters like to pull the ball. That is where most players display their most power. But, constantly pulling the ball can lead to the front shoulder flying open too soon. If you facing mediocre pitchers you can probably continue pulling the ball with success. But when you face the better pitchers they will exploit your holes in your swing.

When the front shoulder flies open too soon you give a good pitcher too many openings to get you out. This can cause hitters to slump. That is why power hitters are sometimes low average hitters. They can hit the inside pitch but have many holes on the outside half of the plate.

Hitting Slump Busters

There is no one size fits all slump busting remedy. Every player's situation is unique. Here are some common busters that fit the majority of scenarios.

1. Try to keep the mind clear. The problem is everyone is going to want to help. Dad will give his two cents when you get home after the game. Maybe mom, too. Grandpa Bob who used to play a little back in his day gives you his thoughts. You go to the batting cages and the batting instructor adds his prescriptions. You are down at the barbershop on Saturday morning and the barber gives you his fix.

Now the problem is compounded. Your head is spinning. You start pressing, worrying, thinking of every tip, and the slump likely gets worse before it gets better. Too much mind clutter. All the helpers without knowing it end up being part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Bottom Line: You cannot think and hit at the same time. You have to do whatever it takes to keep the mind free of clutter. Kindly thank all your advisors. Now file all the advice away before your get in the batters box. Erase the chalkboard and begin each at bat with a clear clutter-free mind.

2. Be Aggressive: Anticipate swinging the bat at every pitch. Hit the ball out in front of the plate. Swing It! Look to swing at the pitch before you see it. Let it Fly! Do not let that maybe I will swing thought creep into your little mind. He who hesitates loses.

3. Hard Through the Middle: One of the greatest hitters of all time, Ted Williams gave some great advice to our minor league ballplayers in spring training every year. Ted, who probably never suffered through many prolonged slumps, would advise when facing any adversity to think in your mind...Hard through the Middle. Whenever the back ground was tough, weather was bad, opposing pitcher was really good, count not in your favor, umpire with a big zone, lights are bad, or were slumping...think hit the ball hard through the middle.

Why? Because this would likely help keep your shoulder form flying open too soon. You can usually cover more of the strike zone. You probably will keep your head and eyes on the ball longer. And, most importantly, your mind is clear of any other garbage thoughts that clutter it up.

4. Best Swing You Have: One of my former coaches and later on e of my coaching colleagues, Doug Camilli, who played several seasons in the Major Leagues, told us some great advice to help keep the mind free during your at bat. Douger would tell you to only take your best swing that you have that day up to the plate with you and go with it. In other words, do not try to over analyze your swing. Do your swing fixing and tinkering during batting practice. When you get in the game just try to put your best swing you have on the pitches.

These are suggested remedies for getting out of slumps. Remember, there will be peaks and valleys as a ballplayer. Stay humble always because hits come easy at times and the game will seem so easy. But, get to cocky and it will be harder to get though the down times. That is why the professionals say to play baseball at and Even Keel. Not too high, not too low...even keel.

Dave spent 19 years in professional baseball as a catcher and field manager. Signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1979 he went on to play 5 years in the minors. Managed for the Sox from 1984 to 1994. spent 3 years managing Independent Ball. Formed the Salinas Packers Baseball Club in 2000 as a member of the California Coastal Collegiate League, a summer wood bat league for college eligible players. Coached varsity baseball at Mt. Whitney HS in Visalia, Ca from 2005-2008. Grew up in a coaches family. Dad is Bert Holt, member of the California Community College Baseball HOF. Played collegiately for Bob Bennett at Fresno State. Named Coach of the Year four times. Awarded the 25 year Coaching Award by the ABCA this past convention in Dallas. Now lives in Charleston, SC with wife Sheila. Operates his website to teach the much needed professional baseball developmental style coaching to the win-at-all-cost youth baseball environment. Has a B.A in physical education from Fresno State 1981, and Masters in Education from National University in 2008. Has a SC teaching credential in Physical Education.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Teaching Baseball Rules and Skills to Your Child

By Joseph Pressley

Baseball games are sports events that you would love to watch. How the game is played gives you unexplained excitement and thrill. The object of baseball is to score more runs than the opposition and the strategy lies in the continuous struggle between the offense and the defense. If you want to teach your child how to play baseball and enjoy quality time with him through sports then you can do it with the help of the information on the basic skills of this game.

Basically, in throwing, the ball is usually gripped with the thumb on one side and the index and middle fingers on the opposite side. The pressure of the fingers on the ball must be relatively equal to the amount of force of the throw. There are three types of throw, overhead throw, side throw and underarm throw. They vary based on the distance of the person throwing the ball and the person who will catch it. Not only is distance important in using tazer stun gun but it is also critical in this kind of game.

To catch a low throw, you must teach your child to reach with the glove on the ground opposite his body. If your kid for instance wants to be an outfielder, you must instill in his mind to learn how to judge the flight of the ball and get under it fast. The ball must be kept in front at all times. When an outfielder is running back to catch a long fly, his head should be turned once or twice to spot the ball and the fingers are pointed upwards. As a catcher, you must have a good view of your target which is the flying ball just like when you need to have an eye of your assailant when you need to discharge the probes of your tazer gun.

Moreover, pitching involves the windup, the delivery, and the follow-through to ensure control. The purpose of the windup is to produce a smooth and natural delivery of the pitch. After delivery, as a pitcher, he should face the plate squarely in order to be in good position to field any ball hit. You must teach your child also about the strike zone which is directly above the plate, between the batter's armpits and his knees.

Lastly, you must teach your kid about how to hit the ball. A good batting requires that the entire body be poised with utmost ease and effect. You can be the pitcher and let your son hold the baseball equipment which is the bat. While waiting for the pitch, you must teach your child to place his body weight on the balls of the feet, with hips, shoulders and eyes level and bat high. Upon the pitch, let your kid whip the ball with loose arm action and snap of wrists and the two hands firmly holding the bat the entire swing.

The successful process of learning and developing the skills involved in baseball will depend on constant participation and proper attitude. You can develop the interest of your child in this kind of play by proper motivation and slowly teaching him the basic skills and baseball rules.

Joseph Pressley is a certified TASER instructor and the founder of which provides non-lethal self defense products such as stun guns, Taser and pepper sprays. Discover how stun guns and TASERs can save your life. Receive a free report on "Top 10 Self Defense Secrets Everyone Needs To Know". Limited amount available. Visit us and get your own copy now

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Learning the Proper Receiving Position For a Baseball Catcher

So many times, the catcher is often the most abused position on the play field. I can't begin to tell you the number of coaches I've met that don't really understand what's required for a good catcher. They simply take the fat kid on the team who they don't know what to do with and stick him behind the plate. Then, after he's given up the 10th run of the game because he's let ball after ball get by him, he hangs his head in shame and frustration. This is no way to run a ball club or treat your players.

Proper catching starts with a fundamental concept called receiving. Believe it or not, catcher's don't catch, they receive. I like to use this term instead because it enforces the fact that catching the ball is only part of the process. They have to catch the ball, make the ball look like a strike (although not deceptively), present the ball to the umpire for inspection and always be ready to make the next out.

Proper receiving technique starts at the feet. The feet should be shoulder width apart with toes turned towards 1st and 3rd base. Once the feet are properly placed, the catcher should squat directly down pushing the knees out in front of them. If done properly, the entire base of the foot will remain in contact with the ground (or, at the very least, the complete insteps). I always explain to my catchers that you don't hit on the balls of your feet so why do you catch on the balls of your feet.

Once the catcher is in a full squat, the glove side arm should be fully extended and brought back just a bit so there is the tiniest bend in the elbow. The glove side thumb should be pointed to the three o'clock position and the fingers towards the sky. The whole hand should be held at about the knees of the batter and the catcher should be far enough away from the batter so they can't touch them with their glove. If they can, they need to move further back in the catcher's box.

Proper receiving mechanics will give your new catchers a great foundation on which to build their form. Once they (and the coach) understand this, their catching game will start to improve tremendously.

Steve has been writing articles for 4 years now on a variety of subjects. You can visit Steve's latest website at to find some great information on the Garmin Nuvi 360.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Baseball Tips - Unruly Parents - Here is a Solution

By Tom Read

You Know This Parent

My wife was a self described bad sport. She had been thrown out of games, argued with the other teams' parents, yelled at the umpires, and embarrassed my son and I. I would talk with her before and after games, reminding her to not get out of control, but it did not help. Someone from the other team would say something, or the umpire would make a questionable call, and she would start in. What was I going to do?

It Can Start At the Beginning

When I was coaching tee ball, I once had to break up a verbal fight between my first base coach and the other team's coach. Another time, I noticed that a dad, who had been to every practice and game, started missing the games. I asked him at a practice if his work was keeping him from the games. He told me no, Johnny was feeling too much pressure with him at the game. This is still tee ball. I guess it was good that the dad at least realized where the pressure was coming from. Most of the time parents do not realize that the things they say can put undue pressure on their kids.

Travel Teams Are the Worst

It seems travel teams have the most vocal parents, good and bad. I have always assumed the reasons for this are either one, they have spent a lot of time and money involved with this team and are expecting a big return, or two, they are on the road and friends and family are not around. But, on the other hand, I've seen travels teams stay home to play and behave just as badly. And I have seen bad behavior at recreational games. So it can happen anywhere.

Solution - Put My Wife in Time Out

Back to my wife; a few hours after the game would be over she would feel bad about her behavior. I thought about asking her to stay away from the games, but she really did enjoy watching our son play. Finally it came to me. I needed to remove her from the home plate area, get her away from the other teams' parents and away from our son when he was batting. We moved down the outfield line; pass the dugouts and about half way towards the outfield fence. Out there we didn't hear the other team, the home plate umpire couldn't hear us, and the game became real enjoyable. Our view wasn't as good, but that was a small trade off. We were having fun again.

It Is Easy to Involve Others

Other parents were asking us why we were sitting so far down the line. My wife did not hesitate to answer that she was in "time out". Like a child, she couldn't be trusted to behave properly when located near a potential bad situation. Soon, others that had the same problem were joining us. A few games into this idea, and half the parents were down the line with us. It became an enjoyable social event. Maybe it even helped a few marriages.

Start Your Own Cheap Seats Section

There are certain situations where adults will act like little children. If you have these types on your team, ask them to take a stroll down the line with you. Everyone, especially their sons, will thank you.

Preaching to the Choir

I know most of the people reading this are not the problem. Parents with bad behavior usually do not seek out advise. But in the right way you can make a difference. To see other baseball tips and stories I have written please visit my website at

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