Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tips to Practice Good Baseball Pitching and Avoiding Injuries

By Connor R Sullivan

Baseball is one game played by every other child as soon as he steps into school. Even better enthusiasm is seen in high school children. However, it is a dire need that one should have a good knowledge about proper baseball training aids and pitching techniques. Many people encounter serious pitching injuries because of limited knowledge about it. Pitching machines are hence a wise idea to select to avoid them.

Because pitching requires a great deal of wear and tear, it is better if you ensure that your body is in a proper shape before you even think about pitching. Arm injuries are one of the commonest of injuries faced by the players. It is also important that you should only start throwing pitches when you reach the maturing age. Bodies that are in their growing phase tend to easily get caught up by wear and tear. There are standard numbers of pitches thrown per day according to your age group and ability. Overuse will cause stress to build up in your tendons and ligaments and may even lead to ruptures in serious conditions.

Next area is of the legs. You should have strong and active legs if you have to start pitching. Training mechanics are usually seen to work out your legs at the primary stage. A tired leg will increase the stress on your arm as you will now happen to drag it once you get tired. This may lead to many leg injuries. Wear comfortable, running shoes to facilitate you while running fast.

Another trivial point is the warm up exercise. Players tend to be a victim of a lot of wear and tear if they fail to warm their body up before starting the game. A relaxed body is more likely to experience injuries. A small warm up exercise for about 5-8 minutes will minimize this problem.

Throw harder! Often baseball trainers deny this as this would cause an added strain on your arm, but this is how you will get used to it. Throwing harder is the only way how you will learn to be perfect at this game. However, you must not throw harder the very first time when you start. Begin with throwing with a little strain and gradually learn to throw harder and harder.

You should learn to stay healthy and eat a well balanced diet. Eat well but do not eat too much. Drink a large amount of water at least six to eight glasses per day to avoid dehydration of your body but do not drink too much water just before the game. Consult your coach or training mechanic to learn more about batting tees, handheld trainers, hitting machines, and soft toss machines. Health is the basic requirement for every game, so make sure you stay healthy and take full assistance from your coach. Discuss about your lacking areas and he will help you for sure. Work on these little areas and who knows, you might become the star player of tomorrow. Good luck!

Connor R. Sullivan owns and operates a top ranking web site to help people find pitching machines to improve their baseball skills. He offers a variety of baseball training aids for youth baseball coaches.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Prevent Strike Outs - Baseball Hitting Advice From a Former Major Leaguer

By Jack Perconte

Nothing is more frustrating for young baseball players and their parents than strike outs, especially if it is a recurring event. Strike outs may lead to very depressed ballplayers and to upset coaches and parents. Obviously, continual strike outs lead to athletes losing confidence, self-esteem and usually their desire to play the game altogether. What to do?

First, explain to ballplayers that hitting a baseball is one of the toughest things to do in sports and good fundamentals, practice and patience are necessary. Further explain that there are very few kids that have natural swings and the necessary hand-eye coordination to automatically be able to hit a ball. This explanation is important so players do not get too frustrated and depressed and to give them the message that they have control over the situation if they are willing to put in the work.

Next, the results of the hitter's at-bats must be analyzed. Sometimes, it is just a matter of the hitter becoming a little more aggressive when batting so they are not always behind in the count. Unaggressive hitters find themselves hitting with two strikes too often. If that is not the problem, check the results of the player's swings and misses. Are they under the ball (most common), over the ball, early or late? This will lead to what needs to be done.

Following are possible solutions for each of these situations:

1. When hitters are continually swinging late at the pitch - challenge them with higher velocity that approximate game speeds. Many hitters will make the necessary adjustments on their own when they begin to see faster speeds and get their eyes used to seeing the faster pitching.

2. Similar advice - when hitters are continually early they need to face much slower pitching so they learn to wait on the ball.

3. When hitters are under the ball they need to shorten the swing. This means keeping their swing path more direct by keeping the barrel of the bat above the ball on the approach to the ball. This can be done in a number of ways including the following drills.

Hitting Drill - With the use of two batting tees set the tees a bout a foot apart and in line with each other. Place a ball on both tees with the ball closer to the catcher about a balls width lower than the ball out front. Hitters should work on hitting the ball closest to the pitcher while missing the back ball.

Hitting Drill - Along the same lines as the previous drill, set the height of the batting tee a little above the back hip and place the tee under the hitter's hands in their stance. Pitch balls to the hitter and have them swing over the tee on the way to contact. This will help hitters develop a more direct swing path and should lead to more consistent contact.

4. When hitters are over the ball they should work on knee high pitches until they can begin to hit line drives on this pitch location. This will help them get use to driving their hands to the back of the ball while using their hips and legs in the correct way.

It is important to note that habits are tough to change and that there are times when I use "opposite drills" to change a players habits. These drills are extremely different then what the player is doing and often are not the fundamentally sound swing either, but they are the only way the hitter can break their initial bad habit. The hitting drills under point number 3 above could be considered opposite drills compared to what happens in reality with a great swing. The goal is to eventually meet in the middle with the correct swing and this is a way of doing that.

Finally, a great way to prevent strikeouts and promote more consistent contact is with front arm work. The hitters lead arm (hand) is the one that takes the bat to the ball so swinging the bat with just the lead arm will help contact. This drill will force the hitter to use the lead arm and get stronger with the front side, which is often the hitter's weaker arm.

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, March 28, 2010

Finding the Best Baseball Equipment

By Connor R Sullivan

A game as popular as baseball seems it does not require much expertise or experience. It is a game that is most commonly taught by a father to his son. However, a few general points, if not taken into consideration can cause serious health problems. Proper baseball instructions from your trainer as well as good baseball equipment can save a great deal of health risks. Below are a few points that you may find helpful when purchasing equipment for baseball.

The first and foremost need is the bat. Some might stress upon getting a wooden bat while others may prioritize an aluminum bat due to its light weight. Both kinds are easy to handle so you may opt for anyone that is comfortable to you. The factor you should consider is the bat's length and weight. The bat's weight should be according to the swing. It should not be too heavy to give you a poor swing. Secondly, the length of the bat should be such that when you place it at one end, it should come till your waist.

Next is the helmet. This should be in accordance with the size of your head. As baseball is equally liked by people of different age groups, you will find a variety of multiple sized helmets. The feature that you should keep in consideration is that the helmet should not be too big to slip and hinder your view. As for the color, it is entirely up to you what to decide.

Gloves are another need for the baseball players. Make sure the gloves are comfortable to you from both inside and outside. Again, emphasizing on the size, they should not be too tight or too loose for you to play comfortably. Go for the gloves that are fit as a fiddle!

Other equipment may include shoes, baseball tees, caps, cleats, balls etc. If you are a beginner you will have to keep a good amount of balls with you for more practice. As for other equipment, you can select anything that maintains your comfort level and is within your reach. It is always important to remember that the costlier is not the better always, neither it is necessary that the cheaper would be the better. Look at a variety of different equipment and match your demands. Internet may help you on this.

Now that you are ready with all the equipment, you should seek an instructor. A professional baseball instructor will specialize in teaching you the game and the tricks. It is important that your coach should have a coaching experience. Be a keen listener and keep practicing. If you are new to it, you will find some difficulty in the beginning but you will learn to be an expert soon. Keep in mind that an improper posture or impairment may be the areas that can spoil you completely. Make sure your instructor teaches you about them. Maintain a good health and eating habits, also do not forget to keep up with exercises. All this will surely give you a beam of light at the end of the tunnel and give you great success.

Connor R. Sullivan owns and operates a top ranking web site to help people find baseball equipment to improve their baseball skills. His site offers baseball instruction to help improve their baseball skills.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good Hitters Hit, Great Hitters Hit More

By Mike Posey

Recently, I was talking to a friend that works in Major League Baseball. We were having a discussion about hitting and agreed many instructors say things to hitters that do not actually happen. Here are a few examples:

1. Stay Back - The hitter does not have their weight all the way back when swinging the bat. What should be said is stay centered. Do not let your weight come forward too soon.
2. Line Up Your Knocking Knuckles - The knuckles are usually off centered with the knocking knuckles on one hand and the big knuckles on the other hand lining up.
3. Rotate on Your Back Foot - On hitting contact the back foot is usually toe down and in some cases off the ground.
4. Hit It Out Front - If the pitch is away, you will actually hit it farther back on the plate. Out front would be for a pitch on the inside half of the plate.
5. Extend Your Arms - Extension only occurs after contact has been made with the ball.
6. Roll Your Wrist Over - On contact the top hand is under the bat. Wrist roll happens after contact.

With all the instruction being given today, one has to wonder why some of the same mechanical flaws still occur over and over in youth players. Too many expect paid lessons to be the answer to develop their players hitting abilities.

It might be better to let a hitter develop naturally and not put a lot of extra ideas in their heads to confuse them. Good hitters will hit alot and develop a feel for their swing as they grow. Proper instruction can help a good hitter become better. Many have an expectation that paying for a lesson will somehow cause magic to occur and the good swing appears, "poof", before the next game. Without hours of hitting practice on their own (outside of instruction) a good swing will never be developed.

Hitting is rhythm and timing, this can only be developed through live swings. Good hitters hit, Great hitters hit more.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Choose a Baseball Glove

By Dennis Winn

Deciding how to choose a baseball glove can be tough! There a ton of options available to you and each one has it's strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your primary position there are a few guidelines to follow that can ensure you choose the perfect glove.

Infield Gloves

Infield positions are the most dynamic on the field and the gloves must have the best playability. This means that the glove you choose should have a shallow pocket and you should be able to maneuver it with ease. Here are some general guidelines when choosing the right size glove for infield positions (in inches):

* Short Stop: 11 1/2 up to 11 3/4 (Would not recommend anything larger than 11 1/2)

* Second Base: 11 up to 11 1/2

* Third Base: 11 1/2 up to 12

With these sizes you can't go wrong and can ensure that you have the right glove for the position.

Outfield Gloves

When playing in the outfield you need a glove with a deep and wide pocket. There are a few different ways to place your hand in an outfield glove and this makes a difference as well. Most outfield gloves run anywhere from 12 1/4in to 12 3/4in. Some models even reach 13in but it isn't necessary to get anything larger than 12 3/4in

Pitchers Gloves

For the most part, a pitchers glove is a matter of preference. There are not many demands from that position when it comes to fielding, so it is important to buy something you are comfortable with. Most pitchers use a 12in glove. The most important part is that the glove most have a closed web. This enables a pitcher to hide his pitches when he is gripping it. With other designs such as the H web it is hard to hide the ball.

Catcher and First Base Mitts

The usual standard for a catchers mitts is 32 1/2in. Again this is a matter of preference because the size doesn't differ much at all. All gloves have a different feel so you must try on a few to decide what feels right for you.

First base mitts range from 12in to 13in. The most popular size is 12 1/2in and there are many great models in the size. Again you must try on different gloves and decide what fits you best as a player.

All gloves have different types of leather, laces, and thickness. This makes them all feel and play differently, and can make it tough to make a decision. Focus on your strengths in the field and pick the glove that enhances those strength. is the ultimate source for information on baseball gloves, visit to find the leather that's right for you!

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Baseball Hitting Tips - The Coil Drill

By Hunter Sendefer

When teaching young ball players the art of hitting, it is very important to start at the beginning. This is because you can confuse these young players very easily if you give them too much to think about too quickly, so taking an extremely cautious approach is the best way to go. The coil is a drill that can give these players a very good base to learn from, which will help them develop other hitting skills in the future.

The basic purpose of this drill is to help these players develop a routine when they first step into the batter's box. Without this routine, players might start getting fidgety and forgetting important parts of their hitting technique, so keeping a routine is a vital part of developing consistency at the plate.

This drill starts with each player gripping the bat properly and stepping into the batter's box. Each player should then take his or her normal batting stance while the coach simulates throwing a pitch. The hitter will then work on his or her coil and then freeze when the process has been completed. The coach, in turn, will have a few things to watch for throughout this process, which will help determine whether or not the player has gone through this process properly.

The first thing that that coach needs to watch for is the player's grip, as an improper grip can not only force the player to have an awkward swing, but it can also cause an injury in some cases. The player should also be completely relaxed, as more relaxed players are generally less likely to swing at bad pitched. The weight shift is another important part of this process, as too much of a weight shift can leave the player off balance, while too little can force the player to pop the ball up.

Other things to watch for include where the players' hands end up and whether or not they are hindering their own line of vision. There are many players out there who will turn their shoulders to the point where they can no longer see the ball. When the player freezes after the coil, the coach should check to make sure that both eyes can still be seen because this player will never be able to hit the ball if he or she cannot see it.

Older players should practice getting a sign from the third base coach before stepping into the batter's box, just to make this part of the routine. Once the players have gotten the hang of the drill, the coach can begin using them situations before setting foot in the batter's box and have them inform you on what their approach will be in this situation. In a game situation, the players will have to consider all of these things before setting foot in the batter's box, so make sure that they know what to do in every situation and make all of this part of the routine.

Hunter Sendefer is a former player and current youth baseball coach who consistently coaches his teams to the winners column including an active 26 game winning streak. He frequently contributes to where you can sign up for free baseball batting videos and hitting tips or learn about the revolutionary new Insider Bat batting trainer.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

When and Why a Player Should Play Travel Baseball

By Jack Perconte

Whether a child should play travel baseball and at what age they should begin playing travel is often a tough call for parents. Deciding to go the travel baseball route too early in a player's career can be detrimental to their desire to continue playing baseball in subsequent years. When anyone of the key factors listed below are missing, it may lead to unhappy ball players. Whereas, not playing travel soon enough can feel like a year wasted, it is usually not so serious because a player can try out the following year for travel ball. I believe a player's talent will come through in the end whether they play travel baseball or not. But when a child seems to be bored or not challenged at the in-house recreational league, it is time to consider playing travel baseball. Every travel team and community is different, but generally, travel baseball provides a higher level and more interested player. Also, baseball players who are around good players and are challenged correctly have the opportunity to improve their skills at a quicker rate.

There are four key things that can help determine when and whether a kid should play travel baseball. The key things are listed in my order of prominence but the importance of each factor is a little different for each family, based on their particular situation.

1. Interest level - parents should talk to their child about travel ball and observe their actions when playing baseball to judge weather a child appears to have the added interest that travel ball requires. The decision to play should not be because the parent wants them to play.

2. Skill level - putting a player in a level they are not ready for is the quickest way to have them want to discontinue playing. Parents should check out travel ball player's skill level before tryouts, when possible. Asking for an outside opinion about their child's skill level from their previous season's coach may be helpful. Even having a player try out for a team - when they are obviously not ready for that level of play - can hurt a child's self-esteem and desire.

3. The coach - in my opinion, having a child play for a knowledgeable, well-respected coach is priceless. When parents hear of such a coach they should look into the possibility of their son playing for his team. Good coaches help players even beyond the playing field and serve as positive role models for kids.

4. Time commitment - meeting the demands of much more playing can be tough to balance while having kids stay involved in other activities, including non-sport related ones. It is never a good idea to have every hour of a kid's day and week scheduled, providing no free time for kids to just "hang out" with friends and family. Playing travel ball with more than one sport, when their seasons overlap, can cause this type of over-scheduling.

Of course, there are many other factors that may go into the decision to play travel baseball. Among those, a family's financial situation as well as the effect on other family members must be considered.

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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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How to Choose the Best Baseball Equipment

By Jim Burns

With baseball just around the corner, most cities across the USA have youth leagues like Little League. Baseball teams for kids range from age 4 for tee-ball to high school before these kids enter college or even go pro. Youth players have more baseball equipment choices than ever before. From composite bats to custom gloves, you can find baseball gear that will fit just about any budget or need.

Baseball Gloves - A proper fitting glove is essential to every baseball player. Gloves come from many different manufacturers and with many different price points and features. Some of the most popular youth gloves are the Rawlings Primo Baseball Glove, Nokona Bloodline Baseball Glove or the Louisville Slugger Pro Flare. Other top baseball manufacturers include Rawlings Baseball Gloves, Akadema Baseball Gloves and Easton.

Baseball Bats - You can't hit the ball without a bat. Bats come in many different sizes and materials. Most of your youth baseball teams will use an Aluminum Baseball Bat. The better the actual aluminum alloy the better the bat and the more "pop" you will receive when you hit the ball. "Pop" refers to the distance the ball with travel when the bat strikes the baseball. In addition, you can purchase composite and composite/aluminum mix bats which give even better performance. Some of the best Youth Baseball Bats include the Easton Stealth bat, Louisville Slugger baseball bat, and the Rawlings EXOGRID baseball bat. Other manufacturers also include Worth Bats, DeMarini Youth Bats, and Miken bats.

Baseball Equipment - There are alot of training exercises teams should use when preparing for the upcoming season. Training videos and training aids will help develop young baseball players quickly and add enjoyment to the experience. Pitching Machines including base ball and combo pitching machines are available from the most popular manufacturers in the business. Choose from top of the line ATEC, JUGS and Zooka machines all for great prices.

About the baseballs - Baseballs are measured in circumference in inches and weight in ounces. They have either leather or synthetic covers that are glued to the windings and stitched together. Leather covers are the traditional choice because they offer the best grip, performance, durability, and shape maintenance. Usually, the more expensive the ball, the higher the grade of the leather, and the better the cover and the process used to bond the cover to the windings.

Synthetic covers are usually vinyl and less expensive than leather covers. Synthetic covers vary in texture and grip depending on the quality. The high quality synthetic covers have a grip and feel that is close to leather. Synthetic covers resist dirt, maintain color well, and do not absorb water.

Hit! Run! Score! for sporting goods including baseball equipment, baseball bats, baseball gloves and more

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to Throw a Curveball

By Kyle Cross

Being a pitcher in baseball is one of the most stressful, important positions in sport. Everything the pitcher does is analyzed over and over, from the windup to the delivery to the control of the pitches to the fielding stance after the ball has been delivered. A pitcher needs to have repertoire of multiple pitches in order to surprise the opponent, the batter. An imperative pitch in the repertoire is the curveball. This pitch is one that when thrown properly will fool even the best of hitters. The "curve" is slower than the fastball and has a distinct path to the plate in which the ball "breaks" downward. Like all things in sport, the pitch needs to be practiced a great deal to become more and more effective, but learning the pitch can be broken down into seven steps.

1. Hold the ball in front of you so the seams of the ball look like an upside-down "U."

2. Grip the ball with your index and ring finger together on the outside of the ball, but on the inside of the seam.

3. Continue to grip the ball in this was throughout your routine windup.

4. As your arm comes forward, make sure your delivery is identical every time so the batter will not notice a change and expect the different pitch.

5. When you have reached the release point, quickly snap your wrist outwards, putting a good deal of rotation on the ball.

6. Follow through with your release, fully rotating your wrist outward.

7. Releasing the pitch, proceed to position yourself into a good fielding position as most curveballs, if hit at all, will be hit into the ground.

Young pitchers should refrain from throwing this pitch. The release puts a large amount of torque and strain on forearm muscles and elbow ligaments. The arm of a child is not fully developed and thus the strain of consistently throwing this pitch will result in severe injury. When your body is ready, this pitch can be devastating. All of the great pitchers in the history of professional baseball had a dominant breaking pitch or a solid curve to go with a power fastball. The best hitters in the world can hit a pitch going over 100 MPH if the ball is moving straight. The movement of the pitch is what makes it so difficult to make contact with, so repeating the motion is crucial to success.

Kyle Cross is a sophomore at Nichols College studying in the Sport Management program. He strives to work in professional baseball upon graduation.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Blitz - Strength Training For Baseball

By Brandon Richey

Strength training exercises for baseball must focus in on the overall development of speed, power, and quickness! As a baseball player you can only be as competitive as the best athlete, so you should focus on training to be the best athlete you can be, right? This makes sense to me, but even as a strength and conditioning professional I am shocked at how many baseball players don't share this same sentiment.

Kettlebell Jerks: Strength Training For Baseball

If you are looking to implement a strength training program in order to get yourself ready for the upcoming baseball season then you can't afford to mess around. If you are wanting to develop a truly functional body for the purpose of playing the sport of baseball then you have got to engage in kettlebell jerks! Read on if I have your attention.

The kettlebell is an ancient strength and conditioning device that has been around for over three centuries and has been used by the world's most gifted athletes. We've established that you should be striving to be a better athlete, right? So this is where you need to start. If this has worked for the world's greatest for over three centuries then it will work for you too!

One great lift for you to engage in with the kettlebell is the push press or jerk. This is done by you first clean lifting the bell to your chest to start out. Make sure that your stance is slightly wider than shoulder width distance apart in length. Next, you will want to execute a "hip pop" by quickly and partially flexing and then extending at both your hips and knees to create momentum to vertically drive the bell up above your head. Once you get the kettlebell pressed above your head make sure to secure it by keeping your shoulder sucked into the socket. This will stabilize the weight and protect your shoulder with the load overhead.

The kettlebell jerk is great for developing the stability of your shoulder, core strength, hip power, and total body control. These are all essential characteristics for your performance in the game of baseball. If you haven't already started to implement the use of kettlebell jerks into your baseball strength and conditioning program then you are missing out. Remember that most any athlete can train hard, but only the champions train smart my friend! Give it a try.

To learn more about Kettlebells, Fitness, and achieving Total Mind-Blowing Strength come and visit me at

To be one of my members and to receive more tips on INSANE BODY CONSTRUCTION please visit me at:

I'm Brandon Richey the Strength and Conditioning Pro!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Youth Baseball Digest - 11 Simple Batting Terms Every Tee Ball and Little League Coach Should Know

By Nick Dixon

1. Grip - The first thing every young player must be taught is how to properly grip the bat. The bat is gripped with the "knocking knuckles" on the top and bottom hands aligned perfectly in a straight line with each other. The purpose of this grip is to place the bat handle in the fingers away from the palms of the hands. This grip allows the hands to be move quicker and to have maximum control of the bat. Tension is a batters worst enemy when it comes having a quality swing. Gripping the bat improperly often causes tension throughout the body. A relaxed grip on the bat allows the batter to react with better bat speed and hand quickness. Feeling relaxed at the plate is a key to a batters confidence.

2. Stance - A batters stance is how a batter initially stands in the batter's box to look out at the pitcher. A batter's stance is the position of the hands and feet prior to the start of the swing. The feet should be shoulder width apart with toes pointing toward the plate. The feet should be square to the plate. Square to the plate means that they are an equal distance from the plate. The stance also refers to the position of the hands and the angle of the bat. The hands should be no more that several inches from the shoulder. The stance should comfortable and should allow the batter to look at the pitcher with ease.

3. Stride - The term refers to the batters weight shift or step prior to the swing. The stride should be short and only about three to four inches if the front foot moves. Many batters simply pick the front foot up and replace it without moving it forward. If a step is taken, it should be a little step forward with the toes pointing toward the pitcher. It is important to teach young players that they must stride to get ready to hit. They do not stride to hit, but rather, they should stride to get ready to hit. The batters stride foot should be set before the pitchers front foot lands.

4. Hip Turn - Hip turn refers to the process of a batter generating power by driving the hips through a power rotation. Only pitches over the middle and inside 3rds of the plate allow a batter to get full hip turn. The closer the pitch is to the batter, the more hip turn is needed to properly hit the ball. Pitches on the outer part of the plate require little hip turn to hit. The hitter will rotate his hips open farther on an inside pitch than an outside pitch. The batter should rotate the hips on a level plane. Player should not lean forward over the plate or lean back away from the plate. The batter's back foot must pivot in order to have good hip rotation.

5. Balance - A batter must have good balance to be successful. Balance refers to proper weight distribution prior, during the swing, and at the finish of the swing. Good balance allows the hitter to have more control at the plate. Good balance begins with even weight distribution with a proper stance. The batters ability to control the body during the stride is the key to good balance.

6. Bat Speed - The speed of the bat during a swing. The bat the batter used must be the correct length and weight for a batter to generate optimum bat speed.

7. Squash the Bug - This term refers to the pivot the back foot during the baseball swing. This foot action allows the hips to open up or turn.

8. Shoe Laces to Pitcher - The best back foot action is not a squashing action with downward pressure. The best motion is to turn the back foot with the shoelaces toward the pitcher. This turn should be performed with a "light-weight" pivoting motion with little downward pressure. The batter pushes off from the ball of his rear foot to shift weight to the front side. Putting downward pressure on the ball of the back foot as it pivots and the hips rotate tends to constrict the quickness and power swing.

9. Trigger - Load - Both have the same meaning. Batters must learn to trigger or load to get ready to hit. The loading or triggering process is a batter's final movement of the body and hands to the optimum bat launching position to get ready for the swing. Different batters use different movement as a triggering mechanism. Many batters turn the front knee and should slightly inward. Other batters simply take the hands slightly up and back to what they call their launch position. The loading or triggering action should be a very slight movement.

10. A, B, C Baseball Swing - The "A, B, to C baseball swing" means a baseball swing that is not fundamentally correct. The term describes a swing that is not compact and not direct to the ball. The batter sweeps the bat in a slow long arch.

11. A to C Swing - Used to refer to a sort compact swing that take the bat from the "A" launch position directed to the "C" or contact position. The perfect baseball swing is a short compact "A to C" Swing.

For more articles on coaching baseball visit the Youth Baseball Digest, Little League Digest and the Baseball Coaching Digest.

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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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baseball Youth Digest - 6 Things You Should Know Before You Buy New Baseball Cleats Or Shoes

By Nick Dixon

Baseball Youth Digest: Before you purchase a new pair of baseball cleats, there are certain things that you should know about the baseball shoes. These things are related to how the cleats are made and how to size your new game shoes. This article lists and explains 6 important things that every baseball player, coach, and parent should know about baseball cleats.

Before you buy a new pair of baseball shoes, make sure to read and know the following facts about baseball shoes:

1. You should know the rules that you must comply with as they regard cleat length and kinds of cleats allowed. Some leagues do not allow players to wear metal cleats. The length of your cleats or studs must comply with league and association safety rules. Most leagues have a 1/2 inch length rule. Younger kids should have shorter studs to add stability and prevent turning of the ankles.

2. Molded baseball cleats have studs that are molded of plastic, rubber, or other urethane material. These studs or "cleats" are attached permanently to the sole of the baseball shoe. These molded cleats are usually made to last one season. Rubber molded cleats are recommended for use on hard surfaces. Molded baseball cleats are cheaper than detachable cleats.

3. Detachable baseball cleats have studs that can be removed and replaced with other stud designs. Replacement cleats have considerably less durability than permanent cleats. It is important to frequently check the detachable cleats because a gap between the sole and the stud does exist. Detachable cleats can be used for longer periods of times because the studs can be changed and replaced.

4. Combination baseball cleats use both metal and plastic cleats, as well as cleats of different shapes and lengths. Combination baseball cleats are used in wet and extremely muddy conditions. Combination baseball cleats provide excellent traction and control in slippery turf conditions.

5. Baseball players with speed often size their baseball cleats a 1/2 size smaller than their normal shoe size. Under or tight sizing your baseball shoes 1/2 size keeps the foot snug in the shoe. This snug fit prevents a sliding or slipping motion of the players socked feet inside the shoe when the runner accelerates to steal a base.

6. Make sure to lace your shoe tightly to insure a snug fit. As said before, a snug shoe reacts better to the movement of the foot inside the shoe. Many players are buying shoe designs with Velcro rather than shoe laces. They feel that Velcro can be use to get a tighter "lace up". Velcro also does not come untied like regular shoe strings or laces.

For more great articles on coaching and playing baseball visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, Baseball Parent Guide, and the Little League Digest. 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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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sports Psychology and Baseball Hitting Tips - How and Why to Relax at the Plate

By Jay Granat

The baseball season is about to begin and I already getting calls from parents, players and coaches who are concerned about hitting slumps.

Anyone who has played baseball for any length of time has experienced the frustration of an extended hitting slump. And there are many causes of these performance valleys.

Some of the causes are physical. A breakdown in mechanics, poor balance, poor technique, a moving head, a tight grip on the bat or an injury can contribute to poor performance by baseball players.

Some of the causes of hitting slumps are mental. A batter who has been hit by a pitch can be scared in the batter's box. A player who has been hitting poorly can lose his confidence. A batter who is worried about impressing his coach, his parents or a scout can become quite anxious. A player who is conflict with teammates may find it hard to hit to his potential. Similarly, a player with stress related to his or her life off the field can have difficulty concentrating when he or she steps up to the plate.

Also, it is important to understand that there are many relationships between the mind and the body where hitting a baseball is concerned. For instance, a nervous player is apt to grip the baseball bat too tightly. Likewise, a tense player is apt have difficulty turning on a pitch.

Interestingly, some people believe that our vision gets worse when we are tense and that it improves when we are relaxed.

There are many ways to relax one's mind and one's body before you get up to bat.

Players can learn relaxation techniques, meditation, visualization or self-hypnosis. Some players benefit from listening to music in the dugout or before a game. Others do some aerobics before they take the field as they find that this helps them to relax when they get up to bat.

Tension will work against you at the plate, so it is important that baseball players learn how to get very comfortable when they face the opposing pitcher.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of He is also the author of 101 Ways To Break A Hitting Slump With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis.

Dr. Granat can be reached at 888 580-ZONE.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is There Such a Thing As Baseball Etiquette?

By Nancy Kelsey Smith

Some people feel that the term "baseball etiquette" is an oxymoron. These are the people who have witnessed some extremely rude and obnoxious behavior on the part of teammates and sometimes even by the coaches. Unfortunately this experience has not been limited to a small number of people, but rather has been evidenced by a great many individuals, myself included.

At a baseball game (or any other type of sporting event for that matter) people can get excited and tend to be a bit more vocal than they would normally be. This, in and of itself, does not have to be a negative. Cheering and encouraging are always a welcome contribution to the game efforts. Even harmless chatter and good natured "ribbing" have their place on the field. What does not have a place in the game is boorish, demeaning and tasteless behavior. Yet all too often this is the type of behavior that is exhibited by players toward members of the opposite team. Unfortunately, this behavior often starts at a young age and escalates over time. Coaches should accept a certain amount of responsibility for the behavior of their teams. In a perfect world each player (no matter their age) would be able to control themselves without the need for outside supervision or correction. We do not live in a perfect world, however, and many young people are growing up without role models and without a proper understanding of correct behavior.

That is when it becomes necessary for the coach of a team to take charge and make certain that his players understand some etiquette.

It is just as unseemly (if not more so) to see adults on a team exhibit behavior that would be more likely to be seen in a street brawl. It becomes offensive to players and spectators alike when abusive language or gestures are permitted without any consequence. The truth is, it takes a lot of the enjoyment out of a game to have to be subjected to such behavior. It shows such a complete lack of respect. Doesn't everyone desire (and deserve) respect. How about the game itself. Shouldn't there be some respect for a game that has been around for hundreds of years and has even long been considered the "great American pastime"?

One would like to think that as we anticipate the arrival of spring and with it, the wonderful season of baseball, we might see an improvement in the behavior of those who participate and those who view the upcoming games.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of, an online retailer specializing in volleyball nets and basketball backboards.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Baseball Hitting Drills - Teaching Plate Discipline

By Hunter Sendefer

Hitting drills are very important for young players and one of the best hitting drills that a coach can utilize teach plate discipline. It is very important that a hitter learns to have an approach at the plate, rather than simply swinging away at every pitch, so this drill is vital to the hitter's overall makeup.

This drill starts with the screen close enough to the plate that the batting coach pitcher can have excellent control. Each hitter then gets up to ten pitches, although only three strikes will be permitted. Before the hitter steps up to the plate, he or she will be told how many strikes he or she currently has, as this will directly influence how the hitter handles the pitches.

If the hitter is stepping up to the plate with a fresh count, he or she will begin by showing the pitching coach where he or she likes the ball. If the pitch is in the hitter's hitting zone and he or she takes a swing, the pitch count is reduced by one. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone, but the player still swings, the hitter not only loses that pitch, but one additional pitch. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone and the player does not swing, the pitch does not count at all. If the pitch is outside of the strike zone altogether and the player swings, however, he or she will lose half of his or her swings remaining.

If there is one strike, the penalty for swinging at a pitch outside the strike zone is less strict, as the player will only lose that pitch plus one more. This is because when there is one strike, pitchers will tend to come after the hitter a little more, which makes these pitches a little harder to lay off.

Finally, when there are two strikes, the hitter's goal is to be as tough an out as possible. If the player swings at a pitch that is in the strike zone, he or she only loses that pitch plus one more. If a pitch that is around the strike zone is taken, it is an additional pitch penalty because umpires tend to call borderline pitches strikes when there are already two strikes. If an obvious strike is taken, that player is done completely because it is never a good idea to take a third strike.

The goal of each hitter turning this drill is to make sure that he or she gets through all ten pitches without striking out. Also make sure that your players know that each strike that you call will be a judgment call, which is exactly how an umpire will make the call. By teaching your players to have an approach at the plate based on the strike count, you can turn them into smarter hitters. You will also be giving them a better idea of where the strike zone is, so they will know which pitches to take and when to take a cut.

Hunter Sendefer is a former player and current youth baseball coach who consistently coaches his teams to the winners column including an active 26 game winning streak. He frequently contributes to where you can sign up for free baseball batting videos and hitting tips or learn about the revolutionary new Insider Bat batting trainer.

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