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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