Sunday, December 30, 2012

Better Wood Makes Better Bats


If you're looking to get your first wooden baseball bat, the most important aspect of the bat is the quality of wood used to build it. If you watch much baseball on tv, you will undoubtedly notice that most players use Louisville Sluggers or Marucci bats. That may lead you to believe that those two companies make the best bats available, but that is not necessarily the case.

Not to sell Louisville Slugger and Marucci short, but the fact that their bats are so prevalent is a testament to their marketing teams. There is no doubt that they make great bats, but they're no different than any other bats you can buy. All bat companies make the same models e.g. the 271, and offer essentially the same color and stain options. They also using the same species of wood for the bats (wood is graded by quality, we'll touch on that later). Virtually, the only difference in the bats that you see the Major Leaguers using is the label.

As previously mentioned, the wood used to make bats is graded by a number of criteria such as the number of grains, straightness of grains, slope of grain, etc. The highest grade wood is reserved for Major League hitters, the next best is used in the Minor Leagues, and they work their way down from there. The everyday consumer is at the bottom of the rung, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting bad lumber, it's just not the best they have to offer. Generally the lower quality of the wood, the more susceptible the bat is to break. So if you want to use the bat you see Josh Hamilton swinging, you will not be getting the same quality of wood that he does, and you'll be paying a premium for the label.

The biggest factor in making a great wood bat is the quality of wood used to make it. It is of my opinion that buying bats from the biggest companies may not be the best idea, because their best wood is reserved for professional players. The better route is to purchase a brand that has comparative pricing to the large companies but isn't in the Major Leagues yet. This would indicate that they are getting high quality wood, but since they don't have professional clients or aren't MLB certified, the average customer will be getting the good wood. In our online store, we offer several companies that fit this profile.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

3 Steps for Proper Pitching Mechanics


How many of you have heard pitching coaches yell out "find your balance point, just throw strikes, finish off square to the plate, rare back and fire, throw hard now", etc... ? I had coaches like that too growing up and guess what... They don't know what they are talking about.

Throwing, just like any other complex movement, requires many moving parts to flow in the correct sequence. When executed correctly, it should create a single effortless motion. Just throwing the ball is too general; we must be able to throw the ball on a downward plane with the most velocity as possible while putting the least amount of stress on the weaker links (UCL/Rotor-cuff) within the kinetic chain which is throwing.

First, let's split the human body up into 3 main components of power generation. Starting from the ground up, first we have the lower body composed of feet, ankle joints, lower legs (tibia, fibula), knee joint, and upper-leg (femur) all connecting at the pelvis (hip joint.) Second, is where the majority of power is generated and that is the core. The bone supporting the core is the lumbar spine, where the range of motion is the greatest giving the core the ability to create torque. Third, there is the upper torso and arms. This portion of the human machine is the most complex and the majority of throwing injuries occurs in the shoulder or elbow due to the immense stress these joints have to withstand with each throw. The Brain Controls everything! Now to see how we can use each component to the highest mechanical advantage our anatomy allows.

Lower Body

The lower body must be separated into two subdivision, legs and pelvis (hips). The sole purpose of the legs is to create as much speed (distance/time) going towards the target, then stopping as abruptly as possible, which will in turn, speed up the upper-body rotation, maximizing the power output at the point of release. Think of this reaction in terms of a car crash. If a car with a stack of books on the passenger seat drives at 100mph and hits an immobile wall, the cars velocity will drop to zero but the books will continue to fly through the windshield at the original 100mph. The Pelvis (hips) also has major part in the throwing process. Its job is to simply load up (rotate away from target) in the beginning of the motion and to unwind in sync with the landing foot as the legs propel the thrower towards the target.

The Core

The best way to visualize the core is as a very thick coil attaching the upper and lower components. Although the majority of the power generated in the proper throwing motion is produced by the core, it is the simplest process in this kinetic chain. To use the core to its maximum potential the thrower must simply load the upper and lower components simultaneously in the beginning of the delivery and keep the upper body loaded (closed) as much as possible till the front foot plants. At this point, the more separation there is between pelvic and upper torso lines, the more torque the core can produce. This is the true meaning of commonly misused term "staying closed". The separation of the Pelvic and Shoulder lines creates the most range of motion for the already stretched core to explosively rotate; this rotation will be the main source of velocity for the thrower.

Upper Torso

The last but not least of the three components is the upper torso. The main goal of the upper torso is to achieve maximum Scapula load, and to maintain the greatest amount of separation from the Pelvic line till the front foot plants. This will all lead to maximum external rotation of the throwing arm which will directly increase velocity. The most efficient way to load ones Scapula is to do so as naturally and effortlessly as possible. The arms actually have tracks, just like trains do. If the train falls off the track, it doesn't run. This track differs for each individual. To figure out where your track is, stand up with good posture and let your arms hang down to your sides and swing your arms forward and backwards. You will see your arms will naturally want to stay close to the body and swing on a Chest-Back plane. This Chest-Back plane does not ever change, no matter what. As the arms travel on the natural track, the elbows will fire towards each other squeezing the shoulder blades together while the chest expands. This is called scapula load. This Scapula load will occur right as the front foot strikes the ground and plants. This is when the loaded shoulders explosively rotate driving the throwing shoulder up and over towards the target line. The actual release of the baseball is done so by the extension, pronation, internal rotation and wrist flexion of the throwing arm. After the ball is released, the shoulder rotation will come to a stop to do structural limitations, but the now accelerated throwing arm will keep going until it hits the rib cage and comes to a stop. This method of deceleration is the most natural and puts the least amount of stress on the decelerator muscles. As a result of the fast upper torso rotation, the back leg will fly up off the ground and come to a soft landing.
Shingo Mitsumori Bio:

Shingo Mitsumori is owner of Torque Athletic Performance located in Deer Park, NY and the only instructor in the World that is teaching the Torque method of pitching. Shingo was an accomplished Minor League and Japanese professional pitcher. Feel free to Google Shingo's stat's from his professional career. Shingo currently throws over 90 MPH himself which more than qualifies him to teach the very same techniques used by many of the current MLB pitchers today. Shingo is a firm believer in video analysis and compares all videos of his students with current MLB pitchers. Please feel free to contact Shingo for additional information or for more detailed information.

Special Offer Worth $60

Anyone interested in receiving a complimentary video analysis of their current mechanics, I will personally review and critique your current pitching mechinics. Please upload your video clip to youtube and send me a file share link to: Typically I charge $60.00 for video analysis and you can have access to this for the first time at NO COST TO YOU.

For more detailed information please visit me on Facebook at or you can email any questions to Shingo Mitsumori at or feel free to call me at 631-392-0944.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Handling Pre-Game Stress


I was reading an article in a sports blog discussing the issue of young athletes, specifically baseball players in this article, freezing up when faced with pressure situations of the game.

I must admit I was somewhat surprised at some of the comments, quote "professional" unquote, coaches and sports advisors offered in order to deal with the emotional stress of performing in the "Big Game."

Some blamed private tutorage from teachers and sports trainers who were excellent at teaching repetitive drills, but lacked the experience of handling the ill-affects produced by pre-game raging emotions, therefore ignoring the subject.

This was an interesting comment and I'm not disputing the validity of the claim, but the author offered no alternative solution. I've found in my years of coaching, anyone who trashes a coaching action, but offers no other option, normally is lost at what to do to solve the problem. I wish the writer would have expanded on his comment.

Some sang the praise of practicing visualization as a method of handling the ill affects of pre-game jitters and anxiousness. I've had my fair share of teaching visualization and it's extremely important, but tell me how a youngster can visualize something they've never experienced.

Ever hear somebody say they didn't like watching so and so sport on television, big screen or not, but would go to games because the atmosphere and action were so much different. I'm a huge fan of visualization, but it has it's limits and I personally feel this is definitely one of those examples.
I'm in no way trying to discredit or argue with the "professionals" who addressed this blog question, but I'd like to offer a few suggestions and comments of my own on the subject.

Human emotions are designed to help us survive in life, such as the "fight or flight" instinct, and should be harnessed as a God given talent no different than an athlete's foot speed. Having the fastest player on the field is useless if he/she is allowed to run with reckless abandonment with no purpose. The intense energy high emotions provide, properly controlled and applied, will have a positive effect on the athlete and should not be suppressed, only channeled.

(1.) Preparation is the key to stress control and that responsibility falls squarely on the coach's shoulders. It's his job to develop a plan to push his team to the next level through intense repetitive practice, from which the players themselves will realize their skills have improved. This instills confidence, and confidence breeds a calmness of knowing you're up to the task.

(2.) I mentioned I'm a big fan of visualization and here is where I'd apply it. I loved the movie Hoosiers, when Gene Hackman, the basketball coach, took his team to the tournament arena and with a tape measurer, and showed the team the court was identical in size to their school gym.
A baseball coach can apply the same visualization technique with his team by measuring the distance between bases, pitching rubber and etc. etc. Explain to the team as you walk through this exercise that yeah, the stadium will be larger, but that's for the spectators. Their field of battle is exactly the same, in fact probably easier to play on because it's more professionally groomed.

(3.) Lastly, the pre-game instructions, which again falls to the coach. This shouldn't be a rah rah speech, but rather a quiet recap of how they've done everything possible and are prepared for the game. They've proven they are winners by simply achieving being in this game and nobody can ever take that away from them. It's a once in a lifetime experience, go play hard and enjoy it.

1. Preparation...
2. Visualization...
3. Mental Focus.

Remember pre-game stress and jitters can destroy a player's focus and the ability to attain peak performance, a matter which requires addressing.
Jim Bain is a former Minor league player, Coach and author of the baseball coaching site
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

4 Qualities of Great Hitters


Great hitters are far and few between in baseball as well as in softball.

The reason for this is that hitting is one of the most challenging skills in sports to master. If you have played ball long enough, you know that there was maybe one or two hitters on all the teams you have ever played on or against, that can really hit.

The definition of a great hitter is someone who can hit for high average and for power while putting up good slugging numbers at the same time. There are a lot of hitters that do well at one or the other, but the great ones can do both, simultaneously.

For travel ball players, hitting near .500 and slugging over .500 is superior. High School hitters who hit over .400 and can slug over .500 are hitters that would fall in this category, and professional hitters who can hit over .320 and slug over .500 are top level hitters also. Hitters who can put up these types of numbers consistently at each of the levels have the qualities of a great hitter. Great hitters such as Ted Williams, set the bar for all others who want to become great in baseball or softball. In order to succeed, a hitter must possess 4 qualities.

The truth is that not all the qualities are attainable to most hitters, but most of them can be learned. One of the qualities that cannot be learned is the natural ability that it takes to be successful.

1 Born to Hit

Some people are just born with a naturally correct swing. For these people, swinging a bat is like an instinct. It is the strongest of these qualities that a great hitter can possess. Others watch the great hitter and proclaim that he or she has been blessed by the baseball Gods, born with a bat in hand or is a natural.

2 Strong and Quick

This person is a natural athlete and the ball bounces off their bat differently than it does for average hitters. The good news is, there are programs for players that can help with strength and speed. Improving strength and speed goes a long way to improving instincts and reflexes. Some people possess natural abilities that are not evident until awakened with the help of proper training.

3 Good Swing Mechanics

The bio-mechanics of the swing taught to hitters must be very good in order for a hitter to become great at hitting. Some hitters have flaws in their swings, but have enough desire and ability to overcome them in order to be successful. Many good hitters have become great by working tirelessly on the bio-mechanics of the swing.

Unfortunately, there have been many talented hitters who have had their natural ability stripped away by allowing misinformed coaches to mess with their swing. The great players worry less about their swing than most and this gives them the ability to focus more on results. So when learning the mechanics of the swing, it would behoove a hitter to find the right information. It is the right information that helps give a hitter more power and increases their chances for more hits at the same time. The mechanics must be simple and accurate, allowing the hitter to quickly perfect his or her swing so they can focus on results.

4 Super Confident

A great player typically has a confidence level so high that they rarely get in a slump, or if they do they can get out of a slump, they get out of it quicker than most other hitters. Great batters are totally focused and in the zone most of the time. Their level of mental toughness is so strong that negativity cannot penetrate their thoughts. Great hitters are so used to success that hitting is like breathing; done without thinking.

The key to making a good hitter into a great hitter is building confidence. With the use of confidence building tools, a good hitter will build momentum and the self confidence levels needed to become great. It usually takes a lot of mental work to keep putting positive thoughts in while kicking negative thoughts out. A strong mental game is paramount to getting in a zone. Many good hitters have become great because they realized their weakness was confidence and dedicated the time and effort necessary to overcome it.

On the other hand, many careers have ended because players have lost their confidence and fell so low and experienced too much difficulty that it caused him or her to give up. Sometimes, a lack of confidence results in a career-ending injury.

If you are wondering what it takes to be a great hitter, look deep within yourself and make sure it is what you want. Becoming a great hitter takes hard work and endless dedication. Results will not happen overnight. Starting on the road to achieving your goals now, means you can achieve them. You don't have to have all 4 qualities at the start but working towards these qualities and being aware of the pitfalls will put you in a better position than most.
Learn more about the right swing mechanics, building confidence and the qualities of great hitters at Coach Hubie offers a complete training package that includes his popular confidence training course at
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guide to Pitching Grips


Every single pitcher must fully understand pitching grips if you wish to experience exceptional growth. Being successful at the high competitive levels calls for each and every pitcher to have a thorough feel for baseball pitching grips. A fastball, curve ball, as well as changeup are the most common baseball pitching grips among highschool pitchers.

Most of these high-school baseball pitchers will only be capable of proficiently throwing one to two pitches. Undoubtedly one of the major things that sets apart college or university from high-school pitchers, is the fact university players are able to locate several different pitches. A highly effective high-school pitch grips regime preferably should consist of learning methods college or university players use their grips.

College or university players can easily normally throw 3 pitches frequently for strikes. This ability will keep hitters thinking, and therefore leads to an exceedingly frustrating experience for the competitors. One can find typically a rise in strikeouts, flyouts, as well as groundballs because of this skill.

It's necessary to be aware of while very young, that the fastball is the most effective pitching grip in all of baseball. Concentration will have to be placed on improving the fastball before moving forward onto future pitches. Centering on the fastball is critical for increasing arm strength.

For youth pitchers, put emphasis on the fastball, and eventually learn to spend time practicing a good quality changeup.

The two-seam, cutter, and 4 seam are types of the fastball. The cutter is griped almost like a slider, except you would only put pressure with your fingers to help it to move. For a right-handed baseball pitcher, this grip is going to cut away from right-handed batters, and in addition cut into a left-handed batter.

Cutters and two seamers are near opposites. A two seam is gripped with the index as well as middle fingers over the seams. Throw the 2 seam by applying force with the middle finger, and fastball arm speed. This should compel the ball to tail into a right-handed batter.

Start concentrating on your changeup when you have perfected the fastball. The best way to approach this pitching grip is through throwing it on a frequent schedule. One additional method would be to throw long toss with the changeup as it will allow you to get fastball arm acceleration while you throw it.

There are various approaches to grip the changeup including the straight change, vulcan change, circle change, in addition to a palmball. Building efficiency with your fastball as well as changeup is crucial before progressing onto breaking pitches such as curveballs or perhaps sliders.

Each of these pitches can be used as an out pitch, but nevertheless should also be utilized to pitch strikes. The best pitchers in the major leagues can constantly throwing at the least three types of different pitching grips. Whenever deciding upon a curveball or even slider, you must make your choice dependent on your arm slot.

A curveball might be more suitable for a higher arm slot pitcher, while a slider might be more appropriate for a 3/4 pitcher.

Pitching grips aren't challenging when you finally fully understand every one.
Looking for more pitching grips tutorials? Visit:
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dynamic Stretching For Baseball Players

By Benno Huch

A proper warm-up loosens muscles and tendons to increase range of motion of joints, and, of course, to literally, warm up the body by increasing body heat and blood flow. This is because warm muscles and enlarged i.e. dilated blood vessels use oxygen from the blood and burn fuel stored in the muscles more efficiently.

A proper warm-up should have two components: light jogging exercise and dynamic stretching exercise. Jogging should start at a very easy pace (about 40% of maximum heart rate), increasing to 60%, followed by a 5-minute recovery period. This first portion of the warm-up should neither be performed too early, as warming up and then sitting next the baseball stadium for 30 minutes may leave the player stiffer than they were before, nor too intensely.

If the aerobic exercise is too vigorous, the player will end up too tired. The second part of a warm-up regimen for baseball players, to be performed immediately after the aerobic warm-up and as soon as possible before a practice or match, involves dynamic stretching of muscles while moving.

Get rid of the old stretching routine since research has shown that the kind of stretching routine most of us have been doing since we were school-goers (holding a stretch for 20 or 30 seconds, supposedly to prepare muscles for exercise, or static stretching) not only fails to do what it is supposed to do but may actually weaken muscles and be harmful. Bring in the new stretching routine since research has shown that the new way of dynamic stretching increases power, flexibility and range of motion, and may reduce traumatic injuries.

In order to get a sense of a typical dynamic warm-up for baseball playing, it might be helpful to have an example workout that can be used for your own players of this traditional game. The 8-step workout, listed below, has been implemented in baseball camps at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California.

For setup purposes place cones at starting line and at ten yards. Players line up five across per line at the starting line and perform each exercise down to the ten yard mark unless otherwise noted.

1. Jog forward (down) highlighting pocket-chest arm movement with a good knee punch; backpedal (back) with the same emphasis, then repeat.
2. Walk forward pulling knee to armpit every other stride.
3. Walk forward reaching down, placing heel on ground and grabbing toes pulling back every third stride.
4. Walk forward lunging with square shoulders placing elbow to ground planting opposite hand.
5. Side to side stretch with two infielder shuffles in between; again everyone down, everyone back.
6. Run forward highlighting knee lift, pocket chest arm movement, and forward lean.
7. Run forward highlighting putting feet up and down as fast as possible.
8. Run forward from crossover start highlighting staying low, stride length, and chewing up ground.

Studies have found that static stretching weakened muscle strength by as much as 30% and that stretching the leg muscles in one leg reduced strength in the other leg for up to 30 minutes after stretching. While a baseball player may think that static stretching increases flexibility, what is actually happening is that the stretching has simply increased the athlete's mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch, while the muscle itself is actually weaker! So, to soar your stadium performances go in for baseball-specific dynamic stretching as fast and as soon as possible.
If you want to find out eve more dynamic stretching exercises to further improve your Baseball games performance then feel free to visit my Webpage that reveals tons of different techniques, videos and articles. Visit by clicking the link below:
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ethics in Sports - When Being the Best Isn't Enough


Sports, whether it be baseball, football, soccer or tidily winks, the type sport in actually means nothing, it's the competition, the us against them or me against you which drives us. Perhaps this basic instinct derives from our ancestors, where if you didn't win the competition for food... you didn't survive.

We all have this basic instinct inside us, although some exemplify it more readily than others, if placed in the right situation of "fight or flight" even the most timid of individuals become raging bulls. It's just being human, a God given survival instinct, which we, as civilized people, have adapted to our sports in lieu of hunting parties.

It's when this drive to compete, to be the best at what we do, collides head on with another basic human instinct, a conflict of integrity arises. This other basic instinct? Ethics, which is more commonly referred to as Fair Play. You may ask "how in the world could two driving forces of being the "Best" and doing it "Fairly" possibly create a conflict?"

I'll use the game of baseball as an example, but only as an example, because All sports are played by humans, and circumstances created by humans create the conflict, not the sport itself.

Whether it be little league baseball, played in small rural towns, or professional ball, played in the limelight of New York city, there are inherent benefits to being the champions, the best of the best.
Obviously, personal pride of achievement and praise of your peers is the first undeniable benefit resulting from being the best. Championship Little league teams will suddenly be inundated with sponsors offering to buy uniforms and equipment, some being the same which flatly refused to consider financial help when approached at the beginning of the season.

Every human being on earth relishes being honored or complimented, positive strokes the mental health people classify it, but few would do something bad or wrong in order to obtain the praise, because deep inside they know it's not genuine, not in terms of actually accomplishing something of value through hard work. However, when the perks begin to become monstrous in terms of money, travel, fame and whatever else one considers dear to their heart, hair line cracks in integrity may begin to appear in otherwise honest people's character.

Somewhere in the recent past, society as a whole, as become derailed by greed, the never ending quest to be the best, not for the sake of being the best, but for the greed of obtaining more than our neighbors, whether it be money, a bigger house, a yacht or a country club membership. This moral decay has not ignored sports.

Cherished and honored records are shattered by athletes using performance enhancing drugs or other methods, which has left sports in shambles. Do you deny the new record because there is strong evidence of cheating, acknowledge the new record but place an X by it?

In any event the record and the 1st player to reach it, has been tarnished.

The game of who dies with the most toys - wins has inflicted our society like a cancer which shows no signs of receding, destroying financial empires, governments and leaving us without a moral compass.

Isn't this getting a little too involved, too deep for sports? I mean, what could sports possibly change in a world gone ethically awry? Possibly everything.

Our youth, hopefully our way out of this chaos, are exposed to the seriousness of sports before anything else in their life. Think about it. Kids play, or at least play at, baseball, football, soccer, marbles, kickball and etc. long before they take educational school serious. They emulate the players they see on television, not their teachers, and that's not to belittle a teacher's importance, it's just fact.
Fortunately, Kids are too young to comprehend the evils committed on Wall Street, ponzi schemes, foreclosures, corrupt politicians, performance enhancing drugs, or spying on a team's practice, but they are old enough and smart enough to learn how to play a game "Fair."

This is where we begin anew. Coaches and parents must put being the champions, through whatever means deemed necessary, in it's proper place...unacceptable. We must teach striving to become the best in everything we do, at least giving our very best, must be done through hard work and dedication. No shortcuts, no drugs, no cheating.

We must reinstitute the moral fiber of it's better to have lost honestly, than to have won by cheating. To fight the good fight, with integrity and high standards, which will re-instill a character of high moral values.

With religions vying for followers, higher education becoming more and more out of reach of the normal person, while public schools continue to get hammered by budget cuts, sports my be the last hope for changing the futures of our youth.

It may be unfair to heave this responsibility on our current and future coaches, but life tends to be unfair. Ethics, high morals and honesty must be taught in our sports programs. After all, our sports are a microcosm of society as a whole and perhaps the best place to begin changing it.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on fielding baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Three Drills for Improving Baseball Performance on a Budget


Baseball remains the great American pastime. From young to old, baseball brings joy to millions. Though few make it to the show, anyone can take steps to improve their game.
Here are some tips to strengthen your baseball skills or your team's skills:

1. Take an old wooden broom stick and cut off the broom end. Next, use electrical tape to wrap one end of the stick. You need to collect bottle caps to hit in place of baseballs. Bars are a great place to collect some. Then you are ready for your drill. Then go to a empty ball field with a dirt infield. Toss caps into the air and try to hit them as far as possible using your home made bat. This drill will definitely improve your hand-eye coordination.

2. For your next drill you will need some tennis balls, a regular baseball bat, and a partner to throw you some batting practice. Take a black marker and number each ball. Start with number one and write on all four sides of the tennis ball. Continue this until you have balls 1-5. Then take some batting practice asking the batter to identify each ball as to what number he sees. Learning to focus on each numbered ball will sharpen your batting eye.

3. The last drill will strengthen the players grip. Take a five gallon plastic bucket and fill it with rice. Then stick your hand into the rice bucket about halfway, flexing your hand open and closed. You should alternate hands flexing the right hand then the left. You can also do both at the same time. You should complete three sets of ten to strengthen your grip, which will carry over and improve your game.

These tricks and drills are really good for teaching youth how to play well. Truth be told anyone can be a better ball player it just takes three things practice, practice and more practice. Fancy equipment can help make it more fun and enjoyable when working out and practicing however, becoming good at something like baseball takes determination and effort. When teaching youth how to play the game the most important thing is to have fun and to not take the game too seriously. As someone who loves the game baseball I enjoy seeing players give their maximum strength and effort in playing the game. Take some of the suggestions in this article and see if it helps improve your skills or your teams.
Jim Kelly is the owner of and is a baseball nut. His passion is baseball and loves helping people learn to play the game. He knows the importance of picking the right baseball training gear to help improve performance. He is happy to answer any questions you may have about baseball or any other sport.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Mental Game Of Baseball - Making The Decision To Hit


What does the Green Beret, an elite trained branch of the United States Special Forces, and members of the World Register of Intellectual Elite, the greatest scientists on earth, have in common? They both strongly proclaim the "mind" is the most powerful tool on earth.

I'm rather lazy and since the smartest and toughest men in the world agree the mind is the ultimate weapon, I see no need to try and reinvent the wheel. So let's take a look at how the most powerful weapon in the world, can be used to help us improve our skills on how to hit a baseball.

The initial issue to address is our belief we can accomplish the task of hitting, our self confidence if you will. This begins with visualization, the ability for the mind to see the actual physical accomplishment of hitting the ball. This may at one time been considered hocus pocus, but it has been scientifically proven visualization of a particular task solidifies two distinct issues....

1. It convinces the mind, body and subconscious that it is totally capable of achieving the desired goal.

2. It initiates muscle memory, which is required to walk the mind and muscle through the sequence of tasks which will result in accomplishment.
Bottom line is we train ourselves to have self-confidence in our talents.
Another, and possibly the second most important mental issue, is approaching the task of hitting as an "Offensive Attack," meaning we have full intention of swinging at every pitch. We know of course, that will not be the case, as a hundred other factors enter into the equation of to swing or not to swing, but it's essential to never go to the batters box hoping for a walk.

There's a coaching philosophy, which I whole heartily agree with, which states "It's easier to stop a swing, than start one." We all have seen major league baseball players attempt to stop their swing, a check swing, where the base umpire calls him out as a swinging strike. This vision, which will be caught on television at least once every game, would tend to render my philosophy as incorrect or at least suspect.

However, how many times a game do you see a batter punched out on a called third strike? There will be the argument the hitter was fooled, or he was looking for a fastball and got a curveball, but the fact remains when you have a 2 strike count, you become a defensive hitter ready to swing at any pitch which may be considered a strike. The hitter wasn't ready to swing, or else he would have, even if it resulted in a feeble attempt.

It's probably impossible to accurately classify how many "called" 3 strikes occur during a game by not being prepare to swing, but giving way to a 50-50 split, there are far more strike outs from not swinging than attempting a check swing.

Visualize you successfully swinging and making solid contact with the ball, then go to the batters box with the intention of swinging at every pitch. Obviously there is much more involved in the mental game of hitting, but this will give you 2 basic starting blocks on which to build.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Four Factors to Consider When Selecting a Baseball Bat


Baseball is not only America's Pastime but has become a sport played in all continents. With the emergence of the World Baseball Classic which puts the very best players from countries around the globe on the same field competing against each other, baseball is growing on the global stage. While professionals have unmeasurable resources at hand to determine what works best for them, often times parent with players starting out in little league struggle to get good information on what works best for them due to either not knowing or realizing what to look for or getting bad direction from a well-meaning coach.

To be the best at any age, players need to select the proper baseball bat to ensure their maximum potential is reached. There are specific factors to consider when choosing a bat:

Barrel Size

  • The measurement of the diameter around the thickest part of the bat.
  • Typically, the longer the barrel, the larger the "sweet spot" on the barrel is for making more solid contact.
  • Generally, the smaller barrel diameter bats lightens the weight of the bat and provide more swing speed.
  • Barrel size regulations will vary by league.


  • Longer bats with big barrells are heavier than smaller bats. Younger players should be careful not to select too heavy of a bat. Generally for players under the age of 14, a 32 inch bat should be the maximum.

  • Be careful of "fungo bats" which are designed for coaches to hit fly balls to players during practice. These bats are very long with skinny barrells


  • Grip on the handle is important for maintaining control of the bat while it is being swung and handled in the batters box
  • Grip also helps to absorb shock and vibration when the ball is hit off the handle or the end of the barrel of the bat.
  • The grip is usually made out of rubber, leather, foam or synthetic covering and is used on the handle of the bat.
  • Rubber grips tend to absorb more of the shock and vibration when the ball hits of the handle or the end of the barrel.

Selecting the Correct Bat Weight

Usually players at the college and professional level will select the lightest bat at the given length they are using. This is done to allow for better generation of bat speed which is critical to hitting the ball with authority. Selecting the correct bat weight depends on a players size and strength and comfortability in using a bat at a certin weight and length.
Brice G. Harrison operates the website reviews baseball bats, pitching machines and provides online coaching.
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

How to Know Good From Bad Baseball Instruction


It can be difficult to sort good information from bad information when it comes to baseball instruction. That is the battle everyone faces. But i have a few markers that may make it easier to sort through all of the information that is out there.

I was recently asked about how to know good from bad baseball instruction. I thought it was a good question and decided to share my thoughts on the issue.

1. Level of experience. First, I believe that it helps if someone has experienced professional level baseball. I believe this is the purest form of baseball. The players are too good for trickery and gimmicky plays, unlike high school and college baseball. Since the competition is so evenly matched the players that separate themselves from the pack, have to learn how to play the game mentally by getting any edge they can. The players are so much better that the little things count so much more. Studying and knowing the game helps for quick instinctive plays in the field. But that leads me up to my second marker.

2. Approach to Learning. Second, I believe that some of your best players are not the best coaches. Some players were just born to be all star's. They separate themselves on pure talent and often times don't need to learn the things that most players need to learn. They haven't spent the time really studying the game. If you look at some of the best big league managers, most were not the best players in their era, but they grinded and they really watched and studied the game.

3. Catchers. Catchers need to know almost every facet of baseball (pitching, hitting, strategy, etc.) since they are in the middle of every play. From their defensive position they can see all, and they are constantly learning. For this reason many catchers can make really good managers and coaches.

4. Flexibility and Insightfulness. Baseball is a unique game where there is not always one way to do something. I believe that it is important for a coach to be flexible in certain areas that are unique to the player but also have enough knowledge to identify the things every good player must do. For example my little league coach would always tell me and others to keep my back elbow up. Why? There is no reason. There are good hitters who hit with their elbow up and some with their elbow down. It is more important to understand how you are getting to the contact point and what every player does at contact, rather than if your elbow is up or down before the ball is even pitched.
It may be of some concern if a coach is trying to mold all hitters, pitchers, etc. to all do things the same way. Everyone is a little different and some of your best coaches work with each player to use what they do best and make that work, rather than molding them into the only way the coach knows.
Doug Bernier, founder of, had his Major League debut with the Colorado Rockies in 2008. Currently, Doug has resigned with the New York Yankees. He will attend training with the Major League club and is expected to break with the triple A team for the regular season.
Visit where professional baseball players offer quality, FREE baseball instruction articles and video, guides for baseball products, an insider blog, baseball lessons, and more.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Youth Baseball Parent-Player Meeting


This meeting may be the first opportunity for you to meet the parents and players who are anxious to learn what your knowledge base is, your coaching experience, and what style you use. Stating your objectives for the team and what it is you want to accomplish will put the parents and players at ease.
From my experience based upon youth feedback, youth baseball players want to experience success and have fun. As the coach you need to keep in that in mind, and so do the parents. But keep in mind that the reality is some parents view winning at all costs is the only thing that matters is their little superstar.

Explaining your coaching philosophy, rules for playing time, will it be equal playing time or based on performance, this will most likely depend on the age level you're coaching, and player positions, how will you determine who plays where.

Parental involvement is sometimes glossed over. Since most kids state fun as their main priority, a close second is to be engaged with their parents. I stress the need with running practices, pre-game warm ups, and base coaches. Kids see this as an opportunity spend quality time with their parent. It is important that parents view it the same way.

You may want to comment for the benefit of the parents unwilling to participate on the field their assistance will be needed in other areas. In youth athletics there are numerous opportunities for parents to get involved by volunteering to coordinate any fund raising events, securing hotel rooms if your team is traveling out of town, will there be money that needs to be collected, what about the concession stand, so helping the team run smoothly is not limited to just the field.

Don't over look the communication. Email is a great way for the Coach to disseminate information quickly, and for parents and players to keep the coach informed. As the coach you should informed the parents they can discuss anything with you, except playing time or positions. I have found this will eliminate the majority of your headaches if you state it like that.

Player expectation's also needs to be expressed. Part of the learning process is how to take responsibility for themselves. Each player needs to be accountable for himself.

Baseball players need to think on their feet, react, adapt, overcome, by letting them know they, not their mother are responsible for insuring all their equipment is ready to go, is a great way to start teaching accountability. They further need to know there are consequences to not being accountable or improper behavior

Remember your job is to be the teacher, and at times a mentor. I would suggest that you start a list of items that need to be addressed at your parent/player meeting and add to it throughout the year as things come up. This will help you in future years to avoid any pit falls along the way.
Tom, learn more great tips on running your own youth baseball team and useful training tips also check out to get the high quality baseball glove for the next season.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baseball Goals for Coaches


Now that I have retired from the active ranks of baseball coaching, I can express my opinions without appearing smug or confrontational, or whatever other emotion I may provoke from others' toes I may or may not inadvertently step on.

You may question my credentials and why I think it gives me the right to offer my opinion. Simply put, over 45 years of coaching, playing, dealing with players of all ages and their parents' personalities and inner demons which they feel must be vented at someone, which is usually the coach.

Youth Baseball coaches, for the most part, are the salt of the earth. They are not paid a dime and always end up taking a large chunk of change out of their own pocket for treats, equipment, tournament fees, loss of overtime income at work because they had a ball game that night, and a dozen other normal expenses.

They devote every spare moment of their time throughout the season to the Team and live and die with the win and loss column, not for their own ego, but for the kids and their pride and sense of accomplishment. My hat is off to every baseball coach out there, winner or loser, because in my opinion they're all winners.

The very first issue a Rookie coach must resolve is "What kind of coach am I going to be?" I must admit I cringe when I hear a coach say "As long as the kids have fun." That's a cop out and a mask to hide the coach's inability to teach the game of baseball.

1. Winning is fun. I'm not talking the type of coaching attitude which create raging monsters who scream at kids for losing or making a mistake, but I do think coaches have an obligation to teach kids they can be successful through hard work, which is not only a baseball value but a life enriching value players will carry with them their entire lives.

Coaches are instilled with the responsibility of teaching kids how to achieve goals in life through hard work, persistence, high morals and teamwork. Your chances of winning the lottery are much greater than the chance any ball player you coach reaching the Major Leagues. However, with the grace of God, all of your players will reach adulthood and you will have an input into what kind of adult they become.

2. A coach must either know the game of baseball, or be willing to surround themselves with people who do. Most people, unlike you, don't have the guts it takes to raise their hand and say "I'll be responsible for this team." However, there are many who will volunteer their time and skills as long as they have that inner peace they're not obligated to be at practice or a league meeting.

A coach must be willing to capitalize on these situations and take whatever help they can, when they can, from people more knowledgeable than themselves. Why would a coach do this? Why share the glory with someone who is rarely there to help with the work? Because you have a responsibility to teach the kids, by whatever means necessary, how to properly play baseball.

These are but two goals of a baseball coach, but they are the very foundation from which a good coach becomes a great coach. He must realize there is a fine line between being obsessed with winning, and the goal of teaching kids winning is the ultimate goal of hard work and effort.
A coach must consider he's not only teaching, or not teaching, the game to the kids for this season, but instead for the players' entire future. A marginal player, who loses a year of learning required baseball skills, may Never catch up to their peers.

It's a heavy yoke for a coach to carry, but anything worth achieving is worth the risk, and I can't think of anything more worthwhile than helping kids develop into fine adults.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Are The First Base Coach's Duties?


When it comes to name recognition, especially in the MLB, the manager, pitching and the third base coach are the headline grabbers. If it weren't for the television camera panning to the runner at first base who's expected to steal, people would probably forget there is a first base coach. However, there is a first base coach and his duties are important.

1. He is a cheerleader, keeping the runner on first and the batter focused. I could have substituted "mental alertness specialist" or "personnel awareness specialist" or any other important sounding title for "cheerleader," but in essence he helps maintain focus of the players on the field. No small task coaching 7 year olds.

2. The coach plays an important role in relaying signals, indicating plays the manager has called from the bench to the players or other coaches. Most people assume the third base coach is responsible for receiving and giving the signals to players, and in most cases this is accurate. However, a wily manager may use the first base coach to relay his signal to the third base coach, or act as a decoy, flashing signs which are meaningless.

3. The first base coach serves as a traffic cop directing the actions of the hitter. As the hitter, especially a younger player, who is now a runner charging towards first base, will lose sight of the baseball. The player is taught, instead of searching for the ball's location, which slows the runner, he is to look at his coach, who is in his direct line of sight, for instructions.

The coach must know where the ball is located, will it be fielded and if it is, by who and what is the arm strength of that player. This must be relayed to the runner a.s.a.p. in order for him to know whether to run through the base, attempt to advance to second base or round the base waiting to see how the defense handles the ball.

4. It's not uncommon for a MLB first base coach to have been a prolific base stealer, as knowing the split second to initiate your move against the pitcher is, in itself an art form.

He has the sole responsible in advising the runner on how to take his initial lead, then secondary lead, then either exploding towards second base or quickly retreating back to first base on a pick off attempt. This entire identical coaching scenario plays out in the MLB same as little league.

5. He is constantly verbally coaching with a runner on first base.

"Be careful not to get doubled up on a line drive,"...
"There's 2 outs... you run on anything,"...
"Watch the bunt."
These are but a few of the constant reminders being told the runner, forever coaching, teaching and talking. The first base coach has more responsibilities than these listed, but this should give you the foundation to realize being the first base coach is a very important job.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Organizing Youth Baseball Practice


For the coach youth baseball practice actually begins before you get to the field. You need to plan out what you want to work on and what drills you will use to accomplish your objective. It is advisable to utilize parents and volunteers to help you. If possible you want to be the facilitator who walks around insuring everyone is doing what they need to do.

Youth baseball teams typically are assigned a practice field on certain days for a given time period, so depending on your teams needs and areas they need to work on will determine what your practice plan will consist of. Make sure to write it down and stick to the time allotted.

It is advisable to have the players warm up as a group. I ask two players to volunteer to be the captains for the day. They will lead the stretching and warm up. Once that is done we will move into our throwing routine. The warm up, stretching and throwing routine is consistent before every practice and game. The player's become familiar with it and develops a routine they are comfortable with.

After warming up the following would an example of a normal practice.

  • Rundown - Half the players will be on 1st base the other half on 2nd, and a runner in the middle, the runners run with their gloves so as to keep the drill moving. The goal is to keep the drill moving and teach one throw and get the runner out.

  • Cutoff & Relay - Break your team into groups, if you have 12 players use three groups of four players. Make sure the players are moving their feet to the ball with their glove side to the target. I use the phrase, step-catch-throw to emphasize quick release of the ball. This is a good opportunity to make a competition between the teams and adds fun to practice as well.

  • Individual skills - keeping the same groups as cutoff & relay one group will go to shortstop, another group to second base and a final group to center field. The infield works on ground balls, the outfield works on fly balls. You could have one of the infield groups working on charging slower grounders while the other group fields and makes a strong throw to 1st.

  • Group skills - This is where you may work on 1st & 3rd defense, bunt defense, turning double plays, pop fly's, pitchers fielding practice.

  • Hitting - Like the above we will utilize groups. Most youth baseball fields don't have a cage so to perform live hitting a coach(s) will need to throw on the field.

I have found that putting a screen on home plate and the hitters close to the back stop not only prevents lots of foul balls from leaving the field, but I can have two coaches throwing to two hitters simultaneously. This allows the other two players in the group to be working on the side with soft toss and/or tee drills.

I have one group shagging in the outfield, and one group fielding ground balls hit by helpers in the infield.

Another option you could do is have one group throwing a bullpen during this time.

This method of taking BP makes hitting practice efficient and productive, and the kids aren't bored.
I finish practice with a base running drill. It may be step-by-step instruction or it may be a drill they like and have done before.

This type practice will typically last two hours. It encompasses a lot of instruction and repetitions. I look at practice as my time and games as the players time to show the world what they have learned.
The biggest thing for the coach is too organized. Save your practice plan as you may want to use it or a similar version later in the season.
Tom has been coaching youth baseball for the past 20 years. is a site designed to offer quality baseball gloves. Tom's blog is dedicated to offer coaching idea's for the volunteer baseball coach.
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Coach Youth Catchers


From what I've witnessed through my years of coaching, is in the initial years of baseball, the catcher is chosen because he's the scrappiest player on the team, or by him volunteering.

For all practical purposes, at that age, those are as good a measuring stick as any other, because there are no other developed skills on which to base a decision, except desire. Catching is probably the most skill difficult, physically strenuous and mental demanding position on the field, therefore get it out of mind if you think you can train another Molina in a year or two.

Coaching a youth catcher Must be limited to the very basic skills required to be a catcher without getting injured. We'll begin with the protective equipment.

1. Sizing a catcher's protective equipment. Unfortunately catching equipment is somewhat expensive, even at the younger ages and sizes, but that's the nature of the beast. If you're very lucky the "Wanna be catcher" will have his own equipment, or the league provided gear will fit.

A. Beginning with the skull cap or helmet, insure it fits adequately snug as you can't have it moving around on the player's head through normal action. This is not only very annoying for the player, but a recipe for disaster because it's not properly protecting the head for which it's designed.

B. The Face Mask, which is adjustable, must be tightly strapped to the helmet or skull cap, insuring it doesn't slide around on its own obstructing the player's vision. Be sure the protective bars of the mask are not in the line of sight of the player, either move the mask up or down or acquire a different type of mask.

C. The chest protector comes in many different styles, designs and material and as with most things in life, the more expensive the better quality. Your task as a coach is to insure the chest protector is properly fitted and is in good shape with no broken straps or missing padding.

D. Shin guards, similar to chest protectors come in many different styles. Insure the shin guards properly fit, bends in joints where they're suppose to, no broken straps or missing ringlets, and be sure to teach the proper method of putting the guards on, hooks to the outside of the legs to avoid them from hooking to one another.

2. Now that your player is reasonably protected gear wise, let's teach him how to catch safely.

A. Catchers should always be taught to squat on their haunches when catching, as some youngsters will drop to their knees, exposing their thighs to injury, when they become fatigued. The coach must monitor and correct this as bad habits quickly develop, but are hard to correct.

B. A catcher must be taught to always protect his bare hand. Two distinct methods of teaching this are, always hold the bare hand Behind the catcher's mitt, or tuck their thumb into their shoe while creating a fist. Either method will keep the bare hand (throwing hand) out of immediate danger.

C. Teach the proper distance a catcher should maintain between he and the batter and the tendency to stand up or raise while too close or when the batter may be swinging, either in play or practice.
Teaching a player wanting to be a catcher, the basic safety principles of catching is the coach's first job. Besides wanting our players injury free, one bad experience could wreck a potentially great catcher's career behind he plate, either physically, but more than likely mentally.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Training in the Off Season

It is easy to keep fit and active during the summer months, but how are we supposed to keep that level of activity during the winter months when there are a few feet of snow on the ground and freezing rain predicted for the morning? Here are a few tip to help you keep advancing and refining your skills during the winter months.

Find a local, indoor batting cage business. Even if you have your own baseball pitching machines, you can’t exactly use them in your living room. Indoor batting cages are a great option all year round, but they are even better in the winter when open air batting cages are out of commission.

Look for a treadmill on craigslist. You may be able to find an amazing deal on a lightly used treadmill that was bought as a part of a failed new year’s resolution. I have seen some very expensive models for almost nothing and some good models for free. That’s a lot cheaper than a gym membership and keeps one more car off the roads.

Add some yoga to your week. Yoga alone is amazing for improving and maintaining athleticism. It is also great for the joints that take a real beating during the season. For many, the off season is a time for resting the joints and letting them recover, but that’s actually worse than keeping them moving and increasing the flexibility of the ligaments muscles and tendons. Have you ever had the feeling that your joints are stiff on that first day of practice? You can prevent that and improve your game considerably with just a little yoga. One of the nice things about yoga is that it doesn’t require any expensive materials or equipment. Yoga mats are cheap. This along with the craigslist treadmill saves you more money to save up for a new bat you have had your eye on. Maybe you’ll be able to save enough by one of those nice baseball pitching machines and the materials to build your own batting cage.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why There Is No 'I' In Team

In my opinion, although a being catchy phrase, "Why there is no I in team" is one of the most overused and possibly most misunderstood phrase of today's culture, especially in the world of sports.

We see it everywhere, posted at the work place, plastered on signs hung from overhead steel girders inside the conglomerate stores, sports facilities and etc; apparently anywhere someone or some organization deems a "Team" atmosphere will be valuable.

In order to develop a "Team" atmosphere, we must first decide what we consider a "Team" to be, and although at first glance this may appear to be a moronic question, is it?

One such definition may be " a person belonging to a group or team, who performs whatever action, physical or mental, which enhances the chances of the team achieving its goal, regardless of the effects on the individual."

Possibly a perfect definition, as I'm sure everyone has heard an excited fan yell " Take one for the team," from the stands. Intentionally taking an 90 mph fastball in the ribs in order to reach base in a 0-0 late inning game, would be considered self sacrifice in the name of "Team."

However, depending on your point of argument, "communism" can also fit nicely into this definition. Every individual gives up all identity and personal goals, in order to benefit the group or team, and sacrifices to make the team successful regardless of personal consequences.

Suddenly we have a dilemma of explaining what actually constitutes a "Team" much alone explain why there is or isn't an I in it.

I don't mean to be argumentative or confrontational, blame it on my coaching style, but I always stressed to my players... Think. Know why you're doing something, like turning right instead of left on the line drive, or else you'll never master it, because you're really not sure what you're attempting to master.

I, for one, do not agree with the term "there is no I in team," but rather believe "there is an i in TEAM." The team is comprised of a number of little i's who come together to pool their resources, talents, characters, desires and focused energy to achieve a common goal.

An individual pitcher, must train and practice for hours upon hours in order to achieve maximum control over his curveball. His effort may be enhanced by the coaching staff demonstrating and constantly tweaking his grip, arm motion or delivery and the bullpen catcher may spend hours catching pitching practice, in order the make the teammate a better pitcher, for the benefit of the team.

However, without the drive and persistence of the individual pitcher, the little i enduring hours of frustration, fatigue and soreness, there would be no improvement in the pitching staff and ultimately the team.

Where the I has no place in team is after the pitcher has succeeded in obtaining maximum performance of the curveball, could care less about it contributing to the team.

One such example would be the pitcher throwing an excellent curveball, which the batter luckily makes contact with, hitting a weak squib ground ball to the second baseman, who instead of turning it into an easy out, let's the ball go through his legs. The pitcher becomes totally irate at the fielder for the error, making no attempt to mask his anger, and any subsequent hit or run after the error would be considered the second baseman's fault. That is an I and is totally unacceptable.

The little i takes a deep breath, tells his fielder to shake it off and focuses on getting the next batter out, thus "picking up his teammate."

You may not agree with my position and that is perfectly fine, in fact it's great. What I urge coaches to do is analyze everything you teach your players. Don't become one of the herd mentality and go along with the program because it's the current popular thing to do. Your players depend on you to lead them in the right direction. Good luck accomplishing that.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Using Kinetic Bands To Workout


Body strength is naturally associated with being an athlete, from the 98lb. high school wrestler to the 390 lb. offensive lineman, strength is key to success. The question of what method to use to workout, because strength can only be increased by building muscle, without becoming injured, is often hotly debated.

There is no one method to build strength, because the term strength itself is ambiguous. A well built gymnast, an incredibly strength dependent sport, will pale in size and muscle development of a professional body builder, a sprinter will be leaner than a football fullback, although they both run for a living.

One method of exercise which has increased in recent years is the usage of kinetic or resistance bands, as a way to maximize workout results. This is not a new concept as isometrics, basically the same thing as far providing resistance, has been used for years. Springs and large elastic bands have been incorporated into workout routines since the 1900s or earlier.

However, with today's increased technology and the wide variety of synthetic materials available, the kinetic bands which can be utilized have been greatly increased to accommodate nearly every sport we play, baseball included.

The main advantage these bands provide is the ability to provide the benefits of resistance training, while performing the actual physical performance motions you are trying to improve. This serves to not only strengthen the targeted muscles, but re-enforces muscle and neurological memory, which further decreases reaction time, thus increasing performance.

Technique and strength training drills, utilizing kinetic bands, can be incorporated into a training regiment which will increase your speed. For this drill you would need resistance bands connected in such a way as to give resistance when you raise your knees towards your chest.

Sample Drill Procedure: Concentrate more on technique than speed of your sprints. Your upper body should be erect, straight over your hips, do not lean forward. Lift your knees as high as you can towards your chest as you run.

Increasing Range: The first step is always critical in attaining maximum speed as quickly as possible, thus increasing your chances of reaching balls hit deep in the hole or behind the base. The speed and the explosive power of that first step can be enhanced by performing drills while bands are attached to your affected body part.

Sample Drill Procedure: Attach the bands to each ankle providing resistance while you attempt to open your legs wider. Standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, shuffle sideways extending your left leg sideways then bringing your right leg to meet it. When finished repeat using the opposite leg going the opposite direction.

This exercise will increase hip flexor strength, a major muscle for increasing lower body quickness, and when resistance is removed, the legs will react quicker, which will also affect the cross over step as it will become explosive allowing more ground to be covered in less time.

Strengthen Legs for Hitting & Pitching:

Sample Drill Procedure: Attach bands to both legs. Perform a normal wind up and delivery as well as a stretch and delivery. Hold at every stage for several seconds (example: leg lift, leg plant) building strength in every muscle required to perform each portion of the windup and delivery, enhancing performance.

Sample Drill Procedure: Attach bands to both ankles. Perform your normal hitting techniques, Starting Mechanism, Stride Forward, Open Hips and follow through with your swing. For maximum performance hit balls off a Tee while performing this drill.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player and member of "Baseball Coaches of America" shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Importance of Baseball Drills


Baseball drills are very essential when you are training for baseball. It is of utmost importance that you work on your drills regularly. This is to guarantee that your playing style improves over time and any issues that you may have with your baseball training can be addressed right away. In addition to this, these exercises can not only improve the playing skills of the players, but can likewise teach them self-discipline and concentration.

In training for baseball, determining the areas where you may be needing some improvements won't always be a breeze. This can only be done accurately through breaking down your games into several sections and incorporate drills on each of them. Baseball drills can really help show you what your strengths and weaknesses are, and will help you improve on these areas. No matter what your age is, or whether you are an expert or a beginner in baseball, baseball drills exercises will truly make a big difference on your playing skills.

Moreover, most professional baseball coaches have a variety of drills prepared for their teams. A good baseball coach focuses not merely on winning every game, but also knowing where his players are good and where they are not. This way, he can make a better game plan because he knows exactly what each members of his team can do.

It is very crucial for the team's coach to have a well-planned and organized set of drills. This can save the whole team a lot of time in trying to determine the exercises that can either improve, or pinpoint a player's weak point. Most coaches do have a book for baseball drills, while some have already mastered these exercises by heart through several years of experiences. Because they know the importance of baseball drills, they usually are on the look out for new drills from other coaches for them to use on their own teams.

If you happen to be a coach or a player who wishes to learn more baseball drills, the internet is a great place to start looking for some. There are actually hundreds of websites out there that can give you some ideas about drills, as well as teach you some very effective playing techniques. Most of these websites use illustrations so you could easily follow the drills, or better yet, you can look for those that have video illustrations of the drills. You may also get some nice drills from other players or coaches as you can get several different styles from a number of people.

While you may often see the same old baseball drills in these websites, you might want to check them every now and then for new updates. It should be a constant learning process because as we all know, one can never learn everything all at once. And lastly, performing these skills correctly is just as important as learning new techniques. Thus, make sure that you perform the baseball drills properly to ensure optimum results.
As a former baseball player, I have had an opportunity to try out many different products. As a former catcher, I have wrote articles on Catchers Mitts, and gear such as Easton Catchers Gear.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scholarships by Sport: Baseball and Basketball


For the thousands of potential collegiate baseball players considering the possible financial opportunities for themselves, there are partial athletic scholarships available, although not guaranteed.

The Myth: Despite what some boasting ballplayers say, college baseball programs don't hand out full athletic scholarships to recruits. In very special situations coaches may package together a combination of athletic and academic money. This too is very rare.

The Facts: The reason no baseball players receive full scholarships is because there are few to give out. NCAA Division I programs are permitted to disperse only 11.76 scholarships per year, and many lower level Division I programs have less because they cannot fund the full allowed amount. Division II schools are allotted even less scholarships, possessing a total of 9. For Division III baseball programs, they are not permitted to grant any athletic scholarships. But, they do offer a good deal of academic money for those players who are eligible.

The Scholarship Breakdown:

There are 287 division I and 246 division 2 colleges that offer NCAA baseball scholarships. That is a total of 5,594 scholarships in the NCAA alone. Scholarship athletes may receive no less than a 25% athletic scholarship

Overall: To receive a scholarship in such a highly competitive sport such as baseball it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. A high school ballplayer may be able to use his talents to partially pay for college. Parents would appreciate this. But, college coaches have the power to divide scholarships however they please.

Other Scholarships: The American Legion awards over 50-$1,000 scholarships to outstanding athletes on their baseball team rosters.


If you are aware of the challenges and hard work that it takes to receiving a scholarship offer, you will have a firm foundation to move forward and be rewarded for you hard work (Please refer to our scholarship article).

The Facts: Basketball is a "Head-Count" sport, this means that sport has a number of scholarships, and they are all full which typically covers the cost of tuition, room and board, course fees and provisions for books. The only two Head-Count men sports are Basketball and Football.
The Scholarship Breakdown-The NCAA allows each Division I Men's Basketball program 13 scholarships and offers only 10 available for Division II.

-For Women's basketball 15 Scholarships are offered in Division 1 and 10 in Division 2.
-There are 329 division 1 and 290 division 2 colleges that offer men's basketball scholarships.
-There are also 328 division 1 colleges and 291 division 2 colleges that offer women's scholarships.
-There are a total of 7,177 men's basketball scholarships available in the NCAA alone. For women's basketball there are a total of 9,285 in the NCAA


To receive a scholarship in such a highly competitive sport such as basketball, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. A high school ballplayer may be able to use his talents to partially pay for college. Parents would appreciate this. But, college coaches have the power to divide scholarships however they please.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pre-Game Evaluation


You're on the bus traveling to a brand new opponent's ball park, of course you have the normal pre-game jitters, your stomach is queasy and you can't stop tapping your foot. Taking a deep breath to calm the nerves, you mentally go through your first task upon arriving, which if you think is analyzing the opposing team, you'd be wrong.

As soon as you step off the bus and walk to the dugout your senses of sight, and hearing should become acutely aware, familiarizing yourself with the environment. Familiarity, subconsciously, breeds comfort and you want to quickly become acclimated to the environment so you can focus on playing baseball.

1. Prior to beginning your warm-up tosses, slowly and carefully take a wide scan around the entire field, foul pole to foul pole, making a mental note of anything which could come into play that could affect the ball. Ask yourself a few questions as you look.

B. The most important thing to inspect is the playing field, especially the texture and make up of the playing field. Nearly all amateur ball parks have a dirt infield, but every now and then you'll run across a grass infield with sliding pits around the bases. Most importantly look at the outfield grass, is it thick or tall, as this will definitely have an impact on ground balls through the infield, such as you'll have to automatically charge a ball if the grass is high, or you may be able to stretch a hit into a double.

C. Observe the field layout including foul territories and corners. There may be a slight dip or ditch 25' outside the left field foul line, which would most likely be out of play, but if you're running full speed chasing a foul ball fly in that area, you'll need that subconscious note to pull up before falling or tripping in the ditch.
Or you may notice a weird angle at the right field foul pole area created by an awkward connection of fencing of the field and the parking lot, where a ball could get trapped in that area if it bounced a certain way.

Now that you have a mental picture of the playing field and any quirks which may cause a problem, analyze the natural conditions.

A. Wind or no wind today and if there is, which direction is it blowing? A Strong wind to a particular field, or blowing straight out from behind the plate, could cause a high fly ball to travel 10 feet or more further than it normally would, but in the case of a strong wind blowing in towards the plate, it'll hold the ball up longer and decrease distance of travel.

B. Is there a sun problem? Where's the Sun located, which of course will change during the game, but you need to know what affects, if any, the sun plays in the first inning. Is it a High Sky, where I'll need to wear sunglasses or cloudy and overcast.

*** Remember... there's a Huge Difference between Looking and Observing. ***
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player and member of "Baseball Coaches of America" shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Three Baseball Coaching Mistakes And How To Avoid Them


People who decide to coach a little league youth team, whether it be baseball or softball, are a unique breed of person, forfeiting their time, money and relaxation time. It's a shame many such well meaning people fail so miserably.

Although 90% of coaching failures are simply lack of knowledge of either the sport or people, some are complete idiots which need weeding out a.s.a.p. However, in my opinion, being an elder statesman, today's baseball/softball coach must contend with distractions which weren't present when I coached. Ipods, cell phones, computer games and satellite television all vie for a kid's attention, we only had Popeye and Mighty Mouse cartoons to contend with.

Worse yet is the Speed everything happens today, reducing the word patience to literally an unknown quality. This is where baseball is beginning to lose it's edge against other forms of sports. Kids demand action, their parents demand action and a poorly run baseball practice can't contend with the action soccer, football, lacrosse and etc. provide.

So let's talk about a few coaching mistakes, made with good intentions in mind, but slows the practice to a snail's pace, and see how to avoid them.

Mistake Number One: This first issue is a catch 22. Having your son or daughter on the team opens up a whole array of problems which must be dealt with, however, if you don't have a personal experience of what kid's like or respond to today, you'll have trouble reaching them. It's best to have your own kid on the team.

Coaches who believe they can reach their players by joking with them, being their friend and never challenging them, because you're here to have Fun, will make a lousy coach.

Kids expect to be challenged and by being so they can achieve recognition for effort, hard practicing, a good feeling of getting better, thriving on competition and learning the feeling of being a teammate. Challenge your team with these obstacles while teaching them the proper method of achieving success and you'll positively influence their lives forever.

Mistake Number Two: People learn in different ways, but I'd venture to say if asked whether the person wanted the skill explained to them, or shown them, 98% would say "Show me."
I once observed a coach yelling at his players every time they made a mistake, but not once did he go out and demonstrate how to properly perform the skill. You can tell me I'm wrong all day long, but until you show me the correct way, I doubt anything is going to change.

Slowly and repetitively demonstrate the actions required to perform the skill. Talk and explain what and why you're doing something. If you're old like me and are teaching the shortstop how to jump over a sliding runner, walk him through it and state "Here's when you jump," but if you're teaching how to put down a tag, put that glove on the ground in front of the base showing how it's done.

Mistake Number Three: Some coaches seem to think they're playing professional ball and everything is a secret which must be hidden. If you have parents interested enough to ask your advise on what they can do to help their kid improve, tell them.

However, do it at the proper time, after practice, not during. Talk in positive terms. Don't say "Your kid's a lousy fielder" rather say "He's got the basics down pat, but if you could work with helping him get in front of the ball it'd be great." Believe it or not I've heard horror stories of coaching being so blunt with parents.

Coaching a little league team is a labor of love and those who do it have my greatest respect. So if there's any little bit of information I may give to help, it's free of charge.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player and member of "Baseball Coaches of America" shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to Build a Pitching Mound in Your Backyard


There are a few basic issues about backyard pitching mounds which must be initially considered. The first being, buying a pre-made portable pitching mound is expense, $700 to $1500 + depending on quality and accessories, secondly, to actually build a dirt pitching mound is an enormous amount of work, cost and should probably be undertaken only by a skilled professional due to the slope requirement.

Great, all I wanted was a pitching mound in my back yard which I could practice throwing off and you're telling me I need a ton of money to do it. Oh contraire my friend. If you have moderate building skills, I'm going to show you how to build a perfect practice pitching mound for a mere $200 or less if you have spare lumber around the house.

Finished Size 4' wide - 8' long with 2' top and 6' downward slope.

Required Material:

1. 5 - 2" x 10" x 8'
2. 1 - 2" x 4" x 8'
3. 1 sheet - 4' x 8' Plywood ** There are two factors to consider when buying the plywood, ¾" plywood is much stronger and stiffer than ½" plywood, negating any softness in the platform, but it's also much heavier and more costly.
4. 1 - 4' x 8' piece of Astroturf and contact cement.

Step 1
Place your tape measure on the end of one 2" x 10" x 8' and measure down 2' and make a pencil mark.

Beginning at this 2' mark, which is the edge of your platform base, (top of the pitching mound) begin your marking for your down slope by measuring down 1' - then measure down 1", another foot and measure 2" down, another foot and 3" down until reaching the end of the board.

Step 2
Using a chalk line, hold it at the 2' mark and extend to the bottom, snap a line and it'll mark the downward slope of the pitching mound, which is 1" drop for every foot of slope. Using a power saw, carefully cut along this line, which will give you a template to produce 4 identical 2" x 10" pieces.

Step 3

Lay the 4 stringers out equally spaced apart. Attach a 2" x 10" x 4' to the back of each stringer. Attach a 2" x 4" x 4' to the front of the stringers. I'd advise cutting 2" x 4" or 2" x 10" pieces and attach them in between the stringers at the beginning of the mound's downward slope. You'll have extra wood from the bracing.

Step 4

Cut a 2' x 4' piece of plywood and attach it to the mound's flat area. Use the remaining plywood to cover the slope. Use at least ½" screws placed every 4" apart to secure the plywood to the framing, you don't want any wobbling.

Step 5
Cover top area with contact cement and attach 2'x4' piece of Astroturf. Repeat for the slope using remaining Astroturf and contact cement.

*** You can try to attach Astroturf as one piece, but it's quite difficult to transcend the flat to slope without cutting it.
*** The finished pitching mound will be very heavy, it's suggested you place it where you want it before attaching the plywood.
*** You can install a pitching rubber or a piece of wood simulating a pitching rubber for better accuracy of foot placement, with screws.
This mound, although possibly crude looking in comparison to a $1500 pre-made mound, fulfills every requirement needed to practice throwing off a pitching mound, which is totally different from throwing on a flat surface, and for a possible ZERO cost.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on baseball coaching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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