Monday, April 18, 2011

Being a Team Player in Baseball

By Dan Gazaway

I remember a decade ago I was lacing up for our afternoon workout prior the 7pm home game. The director of scouting for the minor leagues would be observing our workout for the next couple days. He'd be working in as one of the coaches but was also there to get a better sense of who among our minor league team could potentially fill the future role on the Big League roster.

I remember clearly our hitting coach said that the ability to place your teammates above your own needs/stats was highly attractive to the organization. He told us that the win/loss of the team reflected more on our unification as a team which said a lot about us as individual players.

How important is a team first mentality in baseball? Think of it this way. There are 162 games in the regular season; throw in about 30 spring training games and dozens of travel days and these guys are around each other most of each day for roughly 60% of the calender year. That is a ton of time. Team dynamics are extremely valuable. It's not the only factor in winning, but it ranks up there as highly important.

Michael Young of the Texas Rangers is one of these hard-working team first guys. Because of his enjoyment of playing for the Rangers, he has no qualms about being shifted around the infield each year. This may not seam like such a big deal, but it's difficult to play at the elite level in many different positions. It takes a certain type of work habit and personality to build new skill sets each year.

I always love to read stories about the good guys in baseball who play the game hard. Michael Young is one of them.

Dan Gazaway is owner and founder of The Pitching Academy in Utah. Dan teaches pitchers how to throw a baseball.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

The Changeup - The Deadliest Pitch In Baseball

By Dan Gazaway

love it when a pitcher has a great changeup. The Circle Change just happens to be one of the deadliest changeups out there. The reason: It not only slows down it has wicked movement.

The Circle Change has a screwball type movement and it breaks down and away. It appears to look like a fastball and is very deceiving to a batters eyes.

To throw this pitch pronate your wrist and forearm slightly inwards. Your arm slot and arms speed is the same as your fastball. Place your fingers in the same position as you do with your fastball (thumb and middle finger split the baseball in half). Next, make a circle with your thumb and index finger. The tighter the circle the more drop you will have. However, your wrist and forearm angle is more important than the grip with this pitch. The most difficult part of this pitch is the forearm angle.

Gripping The Circle Change

The smaller the circle, the more downward movement you will have on the pitch. The slight wrist and forearm pronation is important when throwing the circle change. I recommend starting to throw this pitch making a C-shape instead of a circle when you first try this pitch. You will not find success with this pitch unless you throw the circle (or okay sign) toward home plate; that is what truly slows the pitch down. Most pitcher's think they are throwing a circle or a c-change just by gripping the pitch correctly. The C or Circle is thrown at the cather. Again, Keep your arm speed the same so that the pitch will be deceivingly slow to the hitter.

Arguably the most challenging pitch to learn is the circle change because of how the pitch is released. While the pitch can be tricky to learn, do not alter your body movement or motion in any way while attempting to throw it. Instead, work hard on the wrist and forearm angle.

I recommend just playing catch with it practicing the release.

Releasing The Pitch:

Throw the circle change early in the count and try to get a ground ball out of it. Remember, it is best to throw fewer pitches in an inning than to try and strike everyone out. The best change-up counts are the same as the split-finger fastball counts 3-1, 2-1, and 2-0. Also, whenever a fastball is in order a changeup can be thrown in its place. Becoming a successful pitcher simply means you mess with and throw off a hitter's timing. When you are successful at doing that you will get any hitter out.

Here is what Nate Barnett from The Pitching Academy has to say about this nasty pitch.

Besides the slider, a good change-up is terribly frustrating for most hitters. Because of its resemblance to a fastball initially, it can be particularly deceiving in fastball counts. I'm not sure why I don't see more good change-ups in youth baseball today, but it's a very much underutilized pitch.

Hitters hate facing pitchers who change speeds well, it's tough to get good timing on anything. For a great example of this, you have to look no further than Jamie Moyer, who at age 45, helped his Phillies win a World Series championship in 2008. His signature pitch throughout his entire career has been his outstanding change-up. With a fastball that rarely ever reached 85 mph, Moyer's ability to keep hitters off balance has paid off big time.

Circle change-ups with movement are deceiving and I would argue are nearly unhittable if thrown in the right location and in the right count. Being a pitcher also throughout my collegiate career, I relied on the change-up a lot to keep hitters off balance. Early in my pitching career I was leery of developing it because the thought of throwing a pitch slower to hitters seemed backwards. Wow, was I mistaken as it became my best pitch!

Dan Gazaway is owner of The Pitching Academy in Utah. He teaches pitchers how to throw different baseball pitches.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Little League Coaching - Dealing With Parents

By Jim Bain

When deciding to coach a little league baseball team it's quite natural to have all thoughts on formulating practice schedules and drills, equipment, coaches, just a whole marinade of tasks which need addressing.

It's quite understandable, but a terrible mistake, to not think of how you're going to handle the parents of your players. Most parents are fantastic and understanding people, who if the team stays together over the years, will become friends. However, as with any activity in life, there are people who seem intent on making everyone around them miserable.

Let's be pro-active and try to head off any trouble or unfortunate experiences before it starts.
It should be, but isn't a requirement that every coach have a team meeting with the players and their parents as soon as the teams are put together and definitely before the first practice.

Set up a time and place to meet. I would not suggest your home, as it is your personal domain and any disagreement becomes a personal attack on you. You may not agree with this, but it's a natural human response which can't be completely controlled. Instead, reserve a room at a church, school gym or any other public place for a couple of hours.

Sit down and formalize a list of items you want to address and write them down. The worse thing that can come out of a meeting is forgetting to cover an important subject. No matter how good your memory, write it down.

A few suggestions to cover during the meeting:

* Your philosophy and intentions of how you plan to run the team. This is possibly the most important subject of the meeting as it's the number cause of problems during the season.

Don't be bashful about informing people what you intend to do, be honest and up front. If you're the type of person who could care less if you won a game all season as long as the kids have fun and learned something, say so. A parent who wants his son to be taught baseball with a strict adherence to hard practice and a desire to win, should immediately try and get their kid onto another team. It's better for them, it's better for you.

On the other hand if you think learning how to play the game and formulating the beginnings of being competitive, which means winning, are very important, the parents who don't want little Johnny subjected to the stress can bail out now.

* Give everyone a copy of anticipated practice dates and locations.
* If established, a schedule of games, times, locations and field number.
* If you're in a traveling league, maps of how to get to all the different ball parks
* A "treats" or "concession stand duty" schedule.
* Any organization events and dates, such as team pictures, picnics or monthly meetings

These are just beginning suggestions, add as many topics as you feel necessary, but be careful of holding too long of a meeting. Short and sweet is better.

Jim Bain - Social Right Activist for the UAW, former minor league baseball player dedicated to teaching Baseball to youth. Visit his action & value packed website today.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

7 Ways To Become a Better Baseball Player

By Justin Willman

There are many secrets to becoming a better baseball player, however; these are the top seven secrets that will get you to where you want to go!

1. Make sure you work hard. No matter how good of a skill level you have, remember that anyone can work hard and improve their game.

2. Be a good leader. Coaches and scouts look for people who are leaders and know how to motivate and encourage their teammates. Be that guy they are looking for!

3. Train hard in the off season. This is a crucial step in becoming a better athlete and a better baseball player. Not very man players practice in the off season. What does this mean for you? This means that you can rise above your competition when they aren't working and come back next season to have your best year ever!

4. Make the routine plays. Lots of players try and make the outstanding play and show off with the tough plays, but if you always make the routine play and let your athleticism take over on the tougher plays, you will be a much better player. Remember, extraordinary players do extraordinary things, but that word also has ordinary in it. Make the routine plays!

5. Watch the game. One of the only ways you can get better is by watching baseball and learning from the people who are pros!

6. Find out what your mistakes or flaws are and fix them! Try and video tape yourself and then slow the footage down. See what you are doing correctly and what you need work on!

7. Constantly strive to surpass yourself. Don't try and beat anybody but you!

Click Here To learn how to seriously hit like a pro! Visit to watch my 2 hour video training course!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

3 Most Common Mistakes Players Make With Baseball

By Justin Willman

In this article, I am going to tell you the 3 most common mistakes players make with baseball and how you can avoid them! Whenever you try a new thing, you want to be good at it, right? Well you might be a pretty good hitter, but if you are reading this, obviously you are looking for ways to get better!

I was in your shoes a few years ago. I did hours and hours of research and I finally have figured out the secrets to baseball hitting. Today I'm going to share with you the most common mistakes, so here we go!

The first common mistake players make with baseball is not working hard enough! Some of you may be thinking, well yeah duh! Obviously you need to work hard. But seriously, go in the bathroom and look at the man in the mirror. Ask yourself, are you really putting all the effort you can into achieving your goals? Did you do something to make yourself better today?

The next common mistake players make is not watching the game of baseball. If you are really interested in becoming a better baseball player, there is no better way to do that then to sit down and watch a game. No matter what league you are in or no matter what your age, watching the game can help you!

The final common mistake players make with baseball is not having fun! Remember when you were a kid and the only reason you played baseball was to have fun? Try and go back to those times and enjoy the game and the people you are playing with!

I am a former pro baseball player, having helped hundreds of people to easy baseball success. I've recently developed a video training course showing you a step by step process for making your baseball training results come easier and faster. To learn how to become a better hitter without all the fluff, visit,

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

5 Surefire Ways To Become A Better Hitter

By Justin Willman

In this article, I am going to introduce to you 5 surefire ways to become a better hitter! These methods have been working for years, and you can copy them today, right here and right now!

Alright so the first surefire way to become a better hitter is you need to develop the right mindset for success. If you have ever read the book, The Secret, or have learned about the law of attraction, you understand how powerful your mind actually is. You see, when you just go through the motions in life or baseball, you are pretty much just walking aimlessly. What you need to do is create some goals, stick to them, and use your brain to your advantage!

The next way to become a better hitter is to work hard and work often. I'm sure you have heard the saying, practice makes perfect, but I don't believe this is true. I believe perfect practice makes perfect.

Next, you need to watch the game of baseball! Not many players actually watch the game. I believe if you watch and learn from people who have been successful before, you will be a great hitter!

The fourth surefire way to becoming a better hitter is learning from your mistakes. Video tape your swing and watch it. See what you are doing wrong!

The final way to become a better baseball player and hitter is to constantly work on your swing and strive to make yourself better. Remember, every day you have a choice to get better or worse. Which choice will you make?

I am a former pro baseball player, having helped hundreds of people to easy baseball success. I've recently developed a video training course showing you a step by step process for making your baseball training results come easier and faster. To learn how to become a better hitter without all the fluff, visit,

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Friday, April 1, 2011

How To Become A Baseball Hitting Machine

By Justin Willman

In this article, I am going to tell you exactly how to become a baseball hitting machine. If you are looking for a way to start producing better numbers and start absolutely crushing your competition, then this is the best article for you to read!

The first thing I want to tell you about how to become a baseball hitting machine is to overcome failure fast and easily without letting it affect your game! Lots of times players will strike out or hit a pop fly and come back to the dug out screaming or throwing their bat or glove. This is not necessary and will just lead to more failures.

Instead, you should keep your head up, think about your mistakes for a minute or two, and then move on. If you know what you did wrong but you move on, you will see much greater success very fast.

The next thing you need to do in order to turn yourself into a machine is to get a groove going. Find a swing that fits your style and your body and go with it! Don't try and re-invent the wheel. Look at pro baseball players' swings and see what they are doing. Model your swing after what you see them doing.

The last thing you need to do is produce. I know this kind of sounds like a no brainer, but in order to be a machine, you need to be automatic, right? Focus on the little things, don't get distracted, and you will be on your way to becoming a baseball hitting machine.

I am a former pro baseball player, having helped hundreds of people to easy baseball success. I've recently developed a video training course showing you a step by step process for making your baseball training results come easier and faster. To learn how to become a better hitter without all the fluff, visit,

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