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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