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.

Article Source:

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.

Article Source:

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

Article Source:

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.

Article Source:

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.

Article Source:

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.

Article Source:

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.

Article Source: