Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tips for the First Time Baseball Coach


Dads and moms who've just volunteered for their child's baseball team may be a little lost in the beginning. It's important to have a game plan. As a first time coach you may be a little nervous; but if you are prepared, you will feel more comfortable. You'll need to know the rules of the game, the basic fundamentals and how to teach them to your players. You must decide how to schedule your practices with drills and skills your team needs to know. You will also want to hold strategy meetings on how you want your team to play the game of baseball.
The first thing you should do is explore all avenues of information. The internet is a valuable resource. You can find whatever information you need on almost any subject. The library is another great resource for your informational needs. Most librarians are very knowledgeable and willing to help you find the perfect materials to assist you. Also, it doesn't hurt to get advice from other coaches. What greater resource can you get than someone who has done it before.
Remember, be prepared and have your own game plan. The more you know the game and rules the better you can teach your players. Make it easy to understand how to play. Begin with the basics and work from there. Discuss the rules and how important they are to the game. Make your expectations of the players clear.
Teach the basic baseball fundamentals first. That is where it all starts. Have specific drills that will develop your players catching, throwing, and hitting. While doing drills, you can analyze your players abilities and put them in the best positions for the team.
Plan your week of practices. Set up your practices ahead of time. Be sure to check the calendar. Take into consideration holidays and other events that may conflict with scheduled practices. Plan your practices with specific drills you want your players to get better at. As a coach, your job is to help each player advance their skills.
Don't forget to teach sportsmanship. Learning to win and lose with good sportsmanship is important. Having fun is one of the essentials in developing your players. If they are having fun at what they are doing, the interest will remain high. Playing as a team should also be taught. Learning these lessons will prepare them for the game of baseball and of life as well.
These are some basic baseball tips to get you started. You need to be as prepared as you would want your team to be. You are the coach. Your players look up to you for guidance, instructions, and structure. They all want to win, along with you. Your coaching confidence will grow stronger if you have a game plan.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Baseball Positions: Right Fielder Is The Best


Right field is the best position on the baseball field. The right fielder has one of the strongest arms on the team. That strong arm combined with smart play can stop rallies. Right fielders also tend to hit for power, which gives them another way to affect a game. One aspect to right fielders that is often overlooked is their responsibilities for backing up throws.
A right fielder needs a strong arm. Some of the longest throws are from the right field corner to third base and from the right-center field wall to home plate. Having a reputation for a strong arm will keep runners from taking an extra base.
A right fielder that has a strong arm and is good at getting to the ball can stop rallies before they begin. Getting to the ball quickly will prevent a runner from going first to third on a base hit. If the runner does go, a strong throw will get him out at third. In one case, there are runners at first and second and the double play is still possible. In the other case, there is one more out and just a runner at second. Without a good right fielder, there are probably runners at second and third.
Right fielders also tend to hit for power. They hit home runs and drive in a lot of runs. This takes pressure off of the pitchers and the defense.
Another very important job for the right fielder is backing up throws. Any throw from in front of the pitcher to the first baseman is backed up by the right fielder. Also, any throw from third base or shortstop to second base is backed up by the right fielder. If any of these throws gets by the fielder, the right fielder gets to it and prevents the runners from taking extra bases.
So there you have it. Right field is the best position to play. Right fielders put an end to the opponent's rallies and produce rallies for their own team. They also back up certain throws and limit the damage of errant throws.
If you are a right fielder, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Roger Maris, Roberto Clemente, Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Ichiro Suzuki, Cory Hart, and Justin Upton. There are four right fielders in the top 13 all time home run leaders. It was a right fielder that held the single season home run mark from 1919 until 1998. An impressive feat, indeed!
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths. It is my hope that coaches can use this series to help inspire a love for the game of baseball.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baseball Positions: Center Fielder Is The Best


Center field is the best position on the baseball field. They cover the most ground. To do that, the center fielder needs a lot of speed. This speed translates very well to offense. The center fielder is also the captain of the outfielders.
Center fielders cover a lot of ground. They must patrol center field and both the left-center field and right-center field gaps. They need to get a good jump on the ball off the bat in order to cover that much ground. Good ones will turn singles into outs and extra-base hits into singles.
A center fielder's speed is crucial. It can mean the difference between a great play and a ball in the gap. They don't just use their speed on defense either. On offense, speed can help beat out a ground ball, take an extra base, or steal a base. All of these things lead to more runs scoring.
On top of their speed and quickness, a center fielder needs a good throwing arm. They will often be making throws from the gaps to home plate. These are some of the longer throws on the field. Because of the combination of speed and strong arm, young center fielders tend to be among the best athletes on their team.
Center fielders also need to be smart. They are the captains of the outfield. They help position the other outfielders and communicate with them to avoid collisions. On a fly ball, if they call for it, it is their ball. Everybody else yields to the center fielder.
So there you have it. Center field is the best position to play. Center fielders get to cover the most ground, using their speed and strong arms to shut down opposing offenses. They also have speed on the base paths that can create rallies by taking extra bases or stealing a base. And they are the captains of the outfield.
If you are a center fielder, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Ty Cobb (the all-time batting average king and fourth on the all-time stolen base list), Joe DiMaggio (56 game hitting streak), Hack Wilson (single season record 191 RBIs), Mickey Mantle (20 time all-star and triple crown winner), Willie Mays (24 time all-star), and Robin Yount (most hits in the 1980s). More recently, center field has been Jim Edmonds, Torii Hunger, Andrew McCutchen, and Mike Trout.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths. It is my hope that coaches can use this series to help inspire a love for the game of baseball.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Baseball Positions: Catcher Is the Best


Catcher is the best position on the baseball field. Catchers are in command of the defense. They are the ones that work with the pitchers. Catchers keep runners from taking extra bases. They also have a keen understanding of the game.
Catchers are in command of the defense. They are the only players that have a view of the entire field in front of them. They can see all of the runners, all of the defenders, and the ball. This view helps the catcher direct where to throw the ball.
Catchers work with the pitchers. They are the ones that call the pitches. They decide what pitches have been working, which ones will work against this hitter, and what location the pitcher should aim for. Catchers keep the pitchers in the zone. When the pitcher needs a breather, the catcher goes out to the mound to talk to the pitcher. A good catcher can bring out the best in a pitcher.
Catchers keep runners from taking extra bases. They do this in many ways. First of all, on a base hit, the catcher calls for the fielder to throw to certain bases in order to keep runners from advancing. Once a runner is on, the catcher blocks bad pitches and keeps the ball in front of them, thus keeping the runner from taking another base. And finally, the catcher throws out runners attempting to steal bases. All of these things make it harder for the opponent to score.
Catchers have a very good understanding of the game. They know the different game situations and how to handle them. They know where the defense should play against different hitters in different situations. Catchers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their pitchers, their defense, and the other team's hitters. They use this understanding to create opportunities for their team. Because of this understanding, many catchers make good managers after their career is over.
So there you have it. Catcher is the best position to play. They are the captain of the defense. Catchers work with the pitchers to bring out the best in them. They keep runners from taking extra bases, which makes it harder for the other team to score. And they use their knowledge of the game to help their team win ball games.
If you are a catcher, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Ted Simmons, Gary Carter, Tony Peña, Ivan Rodriguez, the Molina brothers (Bengie, Jose, and Yadier), Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, and Joe Mauer.
Here are some former catchers who managed in the Major Leagues: Bruce Bochy, Bob Boone, Yogi Berra, Ned Yost, Joe Girardi, Mike Scioscia, Joe Torre, Mike Matheny, Joe Madden, and Jim Leyland. All four of the managers of the 2012 Championship series (Bochy, Girardi, Leyland, Matheny) were catchers.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baseball Positions: First Baseman Is the Best


First Base is the best position on the baseball field. First basemen are involved in nearly all of the ground ball outs. They need the ability to catch or block bad throws from the other infielders. On deep fly balls where a runner could score, they act as the cutoff man to home. And for left handers, first base is a great position for you.
A first baseman's primary job is to receive throws from infielders on ground balls, thus completing an out. Most ground outs end with the first baseman catching the ball. A very important skill of first basemen is the ability to catch or block bad throws for the other infielders. A good first baseman helps create outs and prevents runners from advancing.
On a hit to the outfield where a runner might score, the first baseman acts as a cutoff man to home. This means that the first baseman will line themselves up between the outfielder and the catcher and either make sure the ball gets to the catcher or reroutes the ball to another base to get an out.
Left handers enjoy an advantage at first base. If there is a need to throw to another base, a left handed first baseman does not need to reposition in order to throw the ball. Also, when receiving a throw from one of the other infielders, they do not need to turn their back to the infield.
So there you have it. First base is the best position to play. First basemen are involved on most of the ground balls that are hit. They block bad throws from the other infielders, keeping runners from taking extra bases. And left handed first basemen enjoy an advantage over right handers.
If you are a first baseman, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Lou Gehrig, Frank Chance, Orlando Cepeda, Jimmie Foxx, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Eddie Murray, Keith Hernandez, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Don Mattingly.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths. It is my hope that coaches can use this series to help inspire a love for the game of baseball.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Baseball Positions: Second Baseman Is the Best


Second Base is the best position on the baseball field. Second basemen need to have a good range. They also need to have quick hands and quick feet. Second basemen are vital in turning double plays. Often, when a runner is stealing second, the second baseman covers the bag. And they also act as the cutoff man for balls hit to right field or right-center field.
A second baseman needs to have a good range. They cover between second base and the first baseman. Most first baseman have a smaller range, mainly because they need to stay close to first base. Therefore, the second baseman needs to cover just a little more ground. It helps to have quick reflexes in order to cover that ground.
Second basemen need quick hands and quick feet. The quick feet allow them to get to more balls. The quick hands get the ball out of the glove fast which allows the second baseman to get the throw off quickly. The combination of quick hands and quick feet allows the second baseman to get to more ground balls and make more plays.
Those quick hands and feet also help on a double play. A second baseman needs to be able to catch a ball, pivot, throw to first, and avoid the runner. Being able to do that prevents runs and gives the team a better chance to win. After all, the double play is a pitcher's best friend.
Second basemen often cover second base on a stolen base attempt. This is another example of quick hands and feet coming in very handy for a second baseman. Getting to second base quickly on a stolen base attempt is important because it gives the catcher a better target to throw to. The quick hands allow the second baseman to catch the throw and apply the tag quickly.
Second basemen are crucial to the cutoff throw. When a ball is hit to right or right-center field, the second baseman gets between the outfielder and the base they are throwing to. The idea is to create a shorter throw for the outfielder. And once again, quick hands and quick feet come in to play. When the second baseman receives this throw, they need to pivot, transfer the ball from the glove to the throwing hand, and throw an accurate ball to a base in an attempt to get the runner out.
So there you have it. Second base is the best position to play. Second basemen have a good range. They also have quick hands and quick feet. They are vital in turning double plays. They cover second base on stolen base attempts, and they act as the cutoff man for balls hit to right and right-center field.
If you are a second baseman, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Roberto Alomar, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Bill Mazeroski, Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg, Jim Gantner, Craig Biggio, Dustin Pedroia, and Rickie Weeks.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Baseball Positions: Shortstop Is the Best


Shortstop is the best position on the baseball field. Shortstops are the captains of the infield. They make some of the more spectacular plays. Shortstops have a large range and a strong arm. They are also involved in double plays.
Shortstops are the captain of the infield. They make sure the other infielders are aware of the situation. Shortstops communicate with the second baseman about who is going to cover the base on a stolen base or a double play started by the pitcher. And on an infield pop fly, it is the shortstop that makes sure there is not a collision between infielders trying to catch the ball.
Shortstops often make spectacular plays. On a play to their right, they have to get to the ball and turn around to throw all the way across the field. Also, with all of the ground that they cover, there are many plays in which they run and/or dive, then have to throw quickly for a close play at first base.
Shortstops have very strong arms. Because they are positioned on the left side of the infield and they play further from the hitter than the third baseman, they have less time to get the throw off to first base. On balls hit to their right, they have to throw in the opposite direction of their momentum. Since they can't use their body on these throws, it is done mainly with arm strength.
Shortstops are involved in many double plays. Their quickness and arm strength are crucial in turning the double play. Good shortstops will kill many rallies by turning a double play, giving their team a better chance of winning.
So there you have it. Shortstop is the best position to play. They are the captain of the infield. Shortstops have a large range and use their strong arms to make some spectacular plays. And they are critical in turning the double play.
If you are a shortstop, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Honus Wagner, Dave Concepción, Ozzie Smith, Robin Yount, Cal Ripken Jr., Alex Rodriquez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Jose Reyes.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baseball Positions: Third Baseman Is the Best


Third base is the best position on the baseball field. Third basemen are key to a defense because most hitters are right handed. They are often the closest infielder to the batter. Third basemen need a strong arm and good reflexes. They also need to be able to field bunts.
Third base is also known as the Hot Corner. The reason for this is that most hitters are right handed and good hitters tend to pull the ball. This means that the third baseman is going to be getting a lot of hard ground balls hit their way. A good third baseman will take a hard hit ball and turn it in to an out.
Another reason for that nickname is that the third baseman is normally the closest infielder to the hitter. Because of that, the they have a shorter amount of time to react to the ball. This makes every pitch exciting with the possibility of a quick play coming their way.
Third basemen need a strong arm and good reflexes. Most of their throws go all the way across the infield to first base. A third baseman's reflexes are essential, as they are relatively close to the hitter and they are reacting to hard hit balls.
A third baseman's ability to field bunts is very important. They need to get to the ball quickly and make the throw to get the out. Bunting is a strategic tool for the offense, and if the third baseman is good at fielding them, the offense is much less likely to use it. This is a subtle way that a third baseman can affect a game.
So there you have it. Third base is the best position to play. Third basemen are key to a strong defense because right handed hitters outnumber left handers. They have a lot of exciting plays because they are closer to the hitter than the other infielders. They use a combination of a strong arm and quick reflexes in order to make those plays. And finally, third basemen are responsible for fielding bunts.
If you are a third baseman, you are in company with baseball greats such as: Ron Santo, Eddie Mathews, Graig Nettles, Brooks Robinson, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Wade Boggs, Matt Williams, Scott Rolen, and David Wright.
This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

What Should An 8 Year Old Practice To Play Catcher In Little League?


Coaches and parents alike can sometimes feel overwhelmed teaching young catchers to play their position. But there are some simple basic steps you can take with them to establish good conditioning early on. A young catcher should really be focusing on four main things to begin with. Firstly, the catcher should practice the squat. Then, they need to get used to moving in their equipment. Finally, they need to practice catching when a batter is swinging the bat and blocking balls in the dirt.
The first thing the child needs to learn is the squat. The feet should be about shoulder width apart. Their weight should be equally distributed between each foot and they should be up on their toes. When a catcher is in their squat, their center of gravity should be low, providing stability. A catcher needs to become comfortable in this position. When squatting behind the plate, the glove should be out in front the catcher, giving the pitcher a big target. The other hand should be behind the back.
Next, the catcher will need to become familiar with the catcher's equipment. It is important to be able to get the gear on and off quickly. The shin guards are the most complex. The lower straps should cross in the back, with the lower strap connecting to the middle D-ring and the middle strap connecting to the lower D-Ring. The straps should cross above the calf, which will keep the shin guard in place. The top strap (or straps) do not cross.
The chest protector is relatively simple. Usually, everything except the waist strap is left connected. This way, it can be easily put on by putting one arm in and lifting it over the head. Then the waist strap is connected. At this age, the helmet and face mask should be one piece. The fit should be snug but not tight. The catcher needs to be able to get the mask off quickly without causing pain. The shin guards should stay on unless the catcher is batting, because they take the longest to put on. Also, the catcher should get used to walking and running with the shin guards on.
Now that the catcher can squat and is getting comfortable with the equipment it is time to get used to having somebody swing a bat while they catch the ball. This can be difficult to get used to. It is very intimidating trying to catch a ball while somebody is swinging a bat right above your head. It is helpful to start with a coach swinging the bat, trying not to hit the ball. Then, when the catcher is used to that, have an actual batter try to hit the ball. Be aware, this may produce some bumps and bruises if the batter foul tips the ball.
Finally, it is very important to learn how to block a pitch in the dirt. Start with a pitch that is over the plate that bounces before it gets to the catcher. The proper way to block this is for the catcher to go down on their knees, with their knees spread, and put the glove and the other hand down between the legs, and lean forward slightly. The goal is to keep the ball from bouncing away from the catcher. If the catcher is in the proper position, the ball will bounce off the ground, hit the catcher, and end up in front of the catcher.
And there you have it. These are the things that young catchers should learn and practice. First, of course, is the squat. Everything that a catcher does starts with the squat. Then a catcher should get used to the equipment that is needed. Once the catcher is used to the equipment, they should catch while a batter is swinging the bat. The last thing I usually teach at this age is blocking balls in the dirt. A catcher that learns these four things early will have very solid fundamentals with which to build upon as they get older.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

The Best Pitches for Beginning Pitchers


Many beginning pitchers believe that they need to be able to throw a lot of pitches, or at least a curve ball, in order to be effective. That is simply not the case. It is possible to be very effective with just knowing 2 or 3 pitches, even without a curve ball. In fact, throwing a curve ball at a young age can be damaging to the arm. All you need to throw are fastballs (2-seam and/or 4-seam) and a change-up. The key is to change speeds and locations. If a pitcher can keep the hitter off balance, that pitcher will be successful.
The first pitch that should be learned is a fastball. There are two common types of fastballs: a 2-seam fastball and a 4-seam fastball. The 4-seam fastball is usually taught first because it has a straight trajectory. The pitcher holds the ball with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb. The index finger and middle finger are perpendicular to the seams where the seams are the closest. This causes both of the fingers to touch two of the seams, so there are four places where the fingers connect with the seams. That is why it is called a 4-seam fastball. It is thrown hard and straight.
Once the pitcher can throw the 4-seamer, it is time to learn the 2-seamer. It is held in a similar fashion, except that the fingers are parallel to the seams. This means that one finger is on one seam and the other is on another seam. Therefore, there are two contact lines, giving it the name 2-seam fastball. This gives the ball a different spin which causes it to move a little bit from left to right. It does not have very much motion compared to a curve ball, but it is different than the 4-seam fastball. That difference is something that the batter has to consider when swinging.
The third pitch is a change-up. This pitch is thrown with the same arm movement and arm speed, but the ball speed is significantly slower. This disrupts the hitter's timing, causing them to swing early. There are many ways to hold the ball to get this effect. The most effective way for a young pitcher or one with small hands is to use three fingers instead of two. A good change-up will look like a fastball coming out of the pitcher's hand, only to arrive at the plate a split second later than expected.
You may be asking, "Why not a curve ball?" Well, at this point, it is more important for a pitcher to learn how to pitch and how to throw strikes. They will need to improve their mechanics and build their strength and velocity. Also, for younger pitchers, it can wreak havoc on their arms, causing injuries that could otherwise be avoided and may even be permanent. Once a pitcher has mastered the fastball and change-up, curve balls can be added. But for now, these three pitches should be sufficient.
The pitcher will need to be able to throw all three of these pitches where they want to. Being able to pitch inside, outside, high, and low at any time will keep the hitter guessing. Mixing all three pitches without becoming predictable will also make it hard for the hitter. The secret of pitching is not letting the batter know where the ball will be next or how fast it is coming. These three pitches, along with practice, will help any pitcher be successful.
DJ Weller has been a student of baseball for over 30 years. He enjoys passing on his knowledge to all those who are interested.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Coach Youth Pitchers


The subject of coaching youth pitchers is an important one. Pitchers should learn proper mechanics. Young pitchers' arms are still growing and are susceptible to injury, both now and in the future. Young pitchers will need to limit the amount of pitches they throw. They should also refrain from throwing curve balls. Of course, some will teach younger pitchers a curve ball, so you will need to teach your pitchers how to be competitive with them. You do this by teaching them how to change speeds and how to locate their pitches.
One of the most important things for a pitcher to learn is proper mechanics. Pitching is extremely hard on a pitcher's arm and shoulder. Proper mechanics limits the wear and tear to a certain extent. Good pitching form starts with good footwork. The pitching foot (the same side as the pitching arm) should be parallel to the rubber, with the outside of the foot up against it. This gives a good surface to push off of. This leg push generates much of the power for a pitcher. Once they push with their leg, they should lead with their chest. When their other foot hits the ground, the arm should finish the throwing motion, complete with a follow through.
It is recommended that a pitcher that is 16 years old or younger limit their pitches to 90 in a day. For a less experienced pitcher, I would recommend even fewer pitches. If a pitcher is laboring and is not able to pitch with proper mechanics, it is time to put another pitcher in. Another use for pitch counts is making sure the pitcher has enough rest between appearances. For each 20 pitches that a pitcher throws in a day, that pitcher should have one full day of rest before pitching again.
Now that they are pitching properly and they have a pitch count to help protect their arms, it is time to learn some pitches. The fastball and the change-up are the first pitches that should be learned. These need to be mastered before moving on to other pitches. For pitchers under 16 years old, throwing curve balls is discouraged. Curve balls are very hard on the arms. Even if there is not an apparent injury, by the time they are pitching in high school, they can develop a loss in velocity. Later in life, shoulder and elbow problems can start to appear. In this writer's opinion, it is just better to not throw curve balls at a young age.
A young pitcher can be very effective without a curve ball. Even with just a fastball, if the pitcher can move the ball around the plate and up and down, they will have success. Then once you start mixing it up with a change-up the batter has a lot to think about. Is the ball going to be inside or outside? Is it going to be high or low? Is it going to be fast or slow? That is all on top of figuring out if it is a strike and whether or not to swing! That is a lot for a young hitter to go up against.
A young pitcher needs to start with the fundamentals of good mechanics. Then make sure to put reasonable limits on their pitch count. Teach them a fastball or two and a change-up. Forget about the curve ball for now, that can be learned later. For now, teach them how to command their fastball and change-up. They will be successful as long as they change speed and location. Then, when a pitcher is older (at least 16) and has good command of the fastball and change-up, a curve ball can be added.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Problem Solving In Baseball


There are many scientific and highly detailed methods of problem solving available in book form in a brick and mortar library or on the internet. I've examined some of these systems and must admit I've walked away with a stress headache.
I understand there are very complicated and mysterious problems which exist in our world, but I think sometimes we definitely over-think and over-analyze matters, especially in the world of baseball.
I was disappointed the other day when I saw a coach, who I thought was playing on his tablet (I think that's what it was) while ball practice was going on, and boldly, although delicately, confronted him about it.
I quickly discovered I was the fool, as he was plotting numbers and symbols and whatever else intellects perform on these devises, in order to simulate various scenarios and different players for the computer to tell him which player is best suited for what position.
I'm not going to compound my ignorance by trying to forward the explanation he offered, except to say I didn't understand any of it. I walked off asking myself "what happened to good old fashion trial and error" experimenting. Actually seeing how much ground a player can cover by hitting a baseball at him.
I realize the age of information swept by me before I noticed, but looking for the complicated answer, whether on a computer or a spread sheet, should be the last thing a baseball coach should do.
I'll give you an example. In the early days of space exploration NASA quickly realized an ink pen would not function in the zero gravity atmosphere astronauts were working in. Frustrated and unable to solve this severe problem NASA hired Anderson Consulting to find an solution.
Anderson Consulting was paid $12 million dollars and took 10 years to offer the solution and it was a great solution. They developed an ink pen which not only wrote in a zero gravity atmosphere, but wrote under water, functioned in temperatures -32 to 300 degree Celsius, and would write on any substance including crystal or glass. They had indeed developed the supreme ink pen, which for only 12 million dollars solved NASA's problem of how to write in space.
Know what the Russians did to solve their problem of being able to write in a zero gravity environment? They used a Pencil.
Now I'm not mocking NASA nor praising the Russians, but what I am trying to demonstrate is sometimes the old, tried and true methods are better than trying to re-invent the wheel.
Instead of feeding information into a computer, open your eyes and use your brain and instinct. If a kid throws 90 mph there's a pretty good chance he just may make a good pitcher, or right fielder, or he may not. But you don't need a computer to tell you where you should start.
To all coaches, experienced or not, rely on your knowledge of the game, the instinct and gut feelings you developed as a player. Computers are fine and I know about the movie and writings about using numbers to play the game, but one thing a computer can not factor into the equation is the Heart. How much heart does the kid have? Being willing to run into the outfield fence at full speed tells me a whole lot more than the outfielder's arm span.
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, April 24, 2013

Tips To Becoming A Solid Catcher Behind The Plate


Over the years I have personally taught and watched 1000's of baseball catchers execute catching drills and it never ceases to amaze me the grit and toughness these players demonstrate on a daily basis, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
I've seen catchers who have a rifle for an arm and a rocket launcher for a bat, all the tools for making the team, who were told to pack their bags. Why? Simply stated... they couldn't handle a pitching staff. Here's a few tips on becoming a solid and valuable catcher behind the plate.
Building Trust, whether in a two pitcher or seventeen pitcher staff, is the single most important issue a catcher must master. Normally, just being on the same team, All-Star teams for example, is enough to build camaraderie between players, but a catcher, by nature of the position, has to be more than a team mate, he has to be a Trusted partner.
There's only one way to gain that Respect and Trust from your pitchers, it must be earned by performance, such as:
(1.) The catcher must sacrifice himself not letting any pitch get by him, although the pitcher may seem intent on bouncing every other ball off your shins or trying to hit the back stop with high throws;
(2.) The catcher must establish his reputation of always doing his homework which allows him to call the right pitch against any hitter's weakness;
(3.) The catcher demonstrates the ability to throw the runner, the pitcher just walked on 4 pitches, out at second trying to steal or behind him at first base if he wanders a bit too far off base.
This trust and confidence building comes through shared experiences and history together, and can not be rushed, but by being ahead of the game you can quicken the process, which is imperative. You can't wait till mid season to develop a relationship with your pitching staff, it'll be too late, for you and the team.
Simply put... Building your skills is a never ending process.
You can not expect your pitching staff to respect and trust you if you don't respect and trust your own skills, and there's a huge difference between arrogance and confidence. Arrogance has to proclaim itself... Confidence Silently excels by performing.
Unfortunately there's no magical pill or spell, the only method to build confidence is hard practice. Practice to the point you can't go on, then practice some more. Two Tips to help:
(1.) Always be available and eager for bullpen work. There is no better place to learn your trade and the individual abilities of your pitching staff than by catching them while in the bullpen. You learn the pitcher, he learns you and familiarity is built. Familiarity breeds trust, which breeds confidence.
The more reps you take as a catcher the better you become with the catcher's mitt, the better you learn to shift your weight to the ball without having to think, the more the protective equipment becomes a second skin.
(2.) If there are no pitchers to catch, or if it's an off day, go to the batting cage and catch the pitching machines. So they're called batting cages, does that mean you can only hit the balls, you can't catch them as well.
Always wear your entire compliment of protective gear, not only for safety but to acquire the feeling of the equipment being natural and unrestrictive. I may keep repeating that, but a catcher uncomfortable in his equipment can not perform. Period.
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, April 21, 2013

How To Be A Good Coach


My email box is crammed every morning with mail from all sorts of sports forums, which I scan, then normally quickly delete, but every now and then a topic catches my eye.
One such topic which caught my attention this morning was the question posed of "How to be a good coach," and I found some of the comments to be quite interesting, while others left me scratching my head.
Comments such as;
" The coach must have passion for the athletes... "
" The coach should never stop trying to learn... "
" A coach should be pro-active... "
" The coach should leave no stone unturned in training... "
I suppose I agree with these comments, assuming what I think they meant is in fact what they were trying to convey. I'm not a real good "read-between- the-lines" person, so allow me the opportunity to boldly state some of the qualities I believe it takes to be a good coach.
1. I'm not reluctant at all to say a passion for the game, whatever the game may be, is a first prerequisite. Coaching, which I prefer to equate to Teaching, is an extremely difficult and time consuming job. Without a burning passion to give others the opportunity to learn the skills you were taught, the excitement of doing something new and different will quickly extinguish and you'll just be going through the motions at best.
2. A coach must exemplify skill, courage and high moral character. Young players must see their coach physically demonstrate how a skill is performed, not just talk it to death. Players are people and people are visual. They must see the coach suck it up on a bad call against his team without throwing a temper tantrum or instantly running to the aid of an opposition's injured player showing compassion.
3. A coach must be able to communicate with his players without consciously trying. Coaching 9 year old kids and 16 year old ones is a totally different game when it comes to communication. You can tell a 16 year old pitcher to never throw a strike on an 0-2 count, but a 9 year old is consumed with throwing strikes, don't confuse the issue. A good coach automatically adapts to the level of his team, maintaining a slightly higher status which clearly defines player and coach.
4. Fairness is a most important element. Professional athletes have varying degrees of abilities, obviously your players will be no different. It's important all players play and all players sit, which is the corner stone of building a team.
It's the coach's job to figure out how to rotate his players and still maintain a reasonable chance of winning.
5. Honesty, which may surprise you as even being included, is important. I knew a traveling team coach who convinced a player to abandon his original team and join his although he knew he'd never play the kid, but he weakened his opponent by stealing the player.
Although I was not the offended coach, I must embarrassingly admit this is the only team I ever, in thousands of games, ran the score up on. Guess grown men can act childish too.
Obviously there are many other factors which go into the equation of making a good coach, but if I had to reduce it to one simple statement...
"Passionately talk the talk and walk the walk," as you are a role model for America's future.
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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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is Character Caught Or Taught?


Is a bad person the result of a bad environment or bad genes (heredity)? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Classic "catch 22" questions, which so-called educated people have debated for eons without reaching a consensus.
Why would any of this be of a concern to a youth baseball or any other coach for that matter? Simply put... a coach's job requires much more than teaching the physical skills required to play the game, as it must also include teaching the fortitude and character required to play the game.
If you tell your parents you are going to work on improving their youngsters physical fitness, you'll be applauded as a visionary and well educated coach.
Tell your parents you're going to work on improving their kid's character and they'll either want to fight, taking it as a negative comment on their parenting skills, or will scream bloody murder you're some kind of nut case.
Although the repercussions of declaring our intentions is reason enough to not declare them, in reality you can not teach character in a few simple drills or exercises. It's a long term process which hopefully will come naturally to the coach, but if not, the coach must not only make a conscious effort to display good character, but work on improving his own attitude.
I'm one of those "down the middle of the road" guys, as I believe character is caught and taught. I'd venture to say 99.9% of my past players had good character when they showed up for the first day of practice, but they also had good physical skills.
There was never a question the entire season would be spent on improving their physical skills, why exclude everything else? Players don't learn physical skills or strategy through osmosis, they must be exposed or taught it through demonstration. Why would we expect learning character or morals any different?
There's no better time to think about how you, as the coach, will address the issue of character building of your players. I'm not a fool and realize planning practices, scheduling games, fund raising and a 100 other things will take precedent over a conscious effort to think about character building. Simply mentally note you will address it when the situation dictates and go on about your business, the brain has filed it for instant recall.
So what are some examples of character building? Believe it or not, that's not always an easy or immediate question to answer.
You have a player who can not hide his disgust when something goes wrong on the field. First instinct may be to consider the kid a spoiled brat and sore loser who needs a healthy helping of discipline. However, upon closer evaluation you see the player encourages and consoles team mates who mess up. It's only his mistakes which result in the tantrums.
Lack of character is not this player's problem. A misguided intense feeling of not wanting to ever let his team mates down by not being a 100% perfect is his issue. The coach's job is to convey to the player nobody is perfect nor are they suppose to be as that's how we learn. Redirecting the enthusiasm and drive for excellence in a positive form will serve this player well his entire life.
Every team at one time or the other endures a good butt kicking by an opponent, and although it happens to everyone it's still not enjoyable when it happens. This is when it's important for the coach to acknowledge the other team was better, but only on that day. The coach should take some degree of responsibility for not properly preparing the team, which makes him part of the team, not a leader outside the circle. He too shares in the defeat and will be part of the "never say die" work ethic which will lead to improvement, both physically and mentally.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating a coach take the responsibility of a parent. What I am advocating is the awareness a coach must have in supplementing a parent's goal of building good character in our youth.
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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Friday, April 5, 2013

Youth Baseball Mental Training


The game of baseball cannot begin without the action of one position.

In basketball there is a lot of focus on the point guard. In football there is a lot of focus on the quarterback.

These are important positions, but there is no position that is more important than a pitcher in baseball.

There is so much responsibility that involves a pitcher. From throwing different pitches, knowing the various hitters, fielding their position, pickoff moves, to controlling the running game, to dealing with adversity, mental focus, and dealing with fatigue, a pitcher has a lot to deal with.

If one of these important parts of pitching is missing, you do not have a complete pitcher. Missing one of these components negatively affects all of the other components.

Most pitchers are not advanced to be good in all of these areas, however, when you realize what areas a pitcher is weak in you can begin to attack it and improve.

The mental game in pitching is so important, oftentimes more important than the physical part.
Andy Pettitte, great guy who I hung out with in the Dominican

You must teach your pitchers to think one pitch at a time. It is very easy to think about the past or future, and this inhibits your ability to be best the possible in the present
Cues such as get to the top of the baseball, or take a deep breath and focus on executing the pitch, create movement at release are great for creating the right type of focus.

Attempting to throw harder in times of struggle or getting mad at infielders or the umpire are typical things that make a pitchers struggle even worse.

Teach your pitchers how to coach themselves and watch them develop right under your eyes.
P.S. One pitch at a time, one pitch at a time. Oftentimes a mound visit is very effective in calming a pitcher down. Tell him to step off the mound and focus on dominating the things he can control.

What can he control?

1. His focus
2. Executing each pitch
3. Attacking the strike zone
4. Taking deep breaths
5. His body language
Things he can't control?
1. Where the ball is hit
2. What the umpire calls
3. If his fielders catch the ball
4. The mound conditions
5. Bad luck

Get your pitchers to focus on the controllables and they will deal with failure and adverse conditions much better.

Coach it up,
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Becoming A Great Catcher


In order to transform from a Good Catcher to a Great Catcher, a player must have the internal fire inside to drive him to practice 8+ hours a day, day after day. He must have the realization that he'll never know it all and he'll never stop learning. With that in mind, let's look at some catcher skill drills.

The prerequisite for these drills is the ability, or the coaches' ability to development practical usage of racquetball skills, because the use of that little blue ball and small racquet will be one of your greatest teaching tools.

(1.) The ball is relatively soft reducing chances of player injury...

(2.) The velocity of the ball can be regulated from slow to extremely fast...

(3.) The ball reaches heights unattainable by throwing or tossing.

In order for a Catcher to develop Soft Hands, which are critical for holding onto foul tips and quick ball transfer for throwing, it's best to begin at the beginning... with the Bare Hands.

For this Bare Handed catching drill, the Catcher will assume his position behind the plate, preferably wearing his mask, but using no catcher mitt, while the Coach positions himself @ 30' to 40' in front of the catcher, in line between the plate and pitching rubber.

The Coach then hits line drives, simulating pitches, to the catcher who will catch them bare handed, using one or two hands and a hitting glove if desired. For real time action, have the catcher assume his normal receiving position, throwing hand behind his back or tucked into his shoe, then catch the ball with 2 hands.

The Coach can vary speeds as he desires, starting slow and working up to very fast. (It's a good idea to perform this drill inside or with the aid of a backstop, as Coaches have a tendency to skyrocket a ball every now and then.)

The second variation of this drill, which uses the identical tools, is the foul pop up drill.

(1.) It's important the catcher be in his catching stance in order to become accustomed to coming out of it backwards...

(2.) The catcher must use his face mask as he must learn to remove and discard it properly.

The catcher, assumes his position, the coach while standing to the side and slightly forward of the plate, within the line of sight of the catcher, will hit pop flies straight up into the air.

The catcher will have to locate the fly ball, orientate himself correctly in order to make the catch, which is bare handed, then discard his mask in the proper direction.

By using the racquet ball the coach can hit much higher fly balls than attempting to throw them. I'd also recommend using all of my catchers while performing this drill to curb fatigue.

There's always something to learn, a skill to refine, if there wasn't there wouldn't be catching coaches for major league catchers. They'd already know everything there was to learn.
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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Monday, March 25, 2013

33 Cues to a Great Hitter


1. Hold the bat so loosely if the wind blows it should move your bat.

2. How you do you jump? You bend your knees, which is how you get athletic. Hitters need to be athletic to hit, so they need to bend their knees.

3. How does a boxer throw a punch? He loads back and punches. He does not punch without loading, because momentum equals force created. Hitters must load to be successful.

4. Get all your energy flowing in a straight line.

5. Take the effort out.

6. Take a slow, long breath before stepping into the box. The muscles need oxygen to function properly.

7. Focus on the task at hand, which is getting your best look at each pitch.

8. Focus on each pitch independently of each other. The best hitters eliminate the past and the future to focus in on the present.

9. You are good enough; don't play for anyone else but yourself, because it is not your job as a hitter to please everyone.

10. See the ball, and be easy.

11. Loose muscles are quick twitch muscles.

12. Drive the back knee to the pitcher.

13. Be aggressive with the lower half, loose with the upper half.

14. Have flex in the back knee when the stride foot lands.

15. The knob must be pointing towards the back foot when the stride foot lands.

16. Develop a plan for seeing the ball (ex.-early: whole body, one windup starts move to bill of hat, late: shift eyes to release point).

17. Tension causes poor decisions and loss of seeing the ball well.

18. Eliminate tension by visualizing what you want to happen.

19. Eliminate tension by taking long, slow deep breaths, which allows your muscles to breathe.
20. Good hitters get jammed, bad hitters are always early.

21. Great players love hit by pitches and walks, because they know they are helping the team, on base percentage is huge.

22. Great hitters make their living off hitting fastballs.

23. Eliminate offspeed pitches unless you have 2 strikes.

24. If a pitcher proves he can throw offspeed for a strike, then live by the motto, "if it's high let it fly, if it's low let it go."

25. Figure out the umpires strike zone in the first 20 pitches of the game and adjust our approach.
26. Look for pitches you can drive early in the count.

27. With 2 strikes shorten your swing and put the ball in play.

28. Stay on balance throughout entire swing, ensures a good jump to 1b.

29. Goal should be to hit the ball on the barrel everytime; if a pitch won't allow you to do that, take it.
30. Learn about the pitcher and umpire from paying attention to teammates at-bats.

31. Handle adversity well, realizing baseball isn't fair (but better than losing a job), but you move on to focus on the next play.

32. The pressure is on the pitcher with the bases loaded; be patient and don't try to do too much.
33. Great hitters are constantly working on their craft.

USE the cues to keep things simple for your hitters, and you will notice the improvement. A certain cue can have a profound effect on a hitters swing.

Coach it up,
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

33 Cues to a Great Baserunner


1.You must be on balance when you finish your swing. This allows you to run your best time from home to 1st.

2. After hitting the ball and not being sure if the ball will get through the infield you should peek on the 3rd of 4th step to see if you should take a turn around 1st or run straight through the bag.

3. Never expect a single, always expect to take the extra base. In youth baseball you must run hard around 1st to even have a chance to take the extra base.

4. Always be aware of the pitcher when he has the ball in his hand. You must take a lead with your eyes on the pitcher.

5. Always run through 1st base. After running full speed through the base break down in an athletic position and look to the right for an overthrow.

6. In youth baseball always be aware of the opposing team when on base. You never know when you have an opportunity to take advantage of them not paying attention.

7. Have the mentality of a thief while on base. You must look to take anything they give you.

8. Anticipating the pitch thrown in the dirt, looking to advance to the next base. It is very hard for a youth baseball catcher to block the ball in front of him, stand up, pick the ball up, and make a great throw.

9. Understands the pitchers pickoff move and looks for differences between when he goes to the plate and when he picks.

10. Understands that if the pitcher slides steps he should not steal.

11. Knows that a headfirst slide in youth baseball allows you to get there slightly quicker, but doesn't allow you to get up as fast in case of an overthrow, and is much more dangerous.

12. Knows that a feet first slide allows you to get up faster in case of an overthrow.

13. Knows that you should not make the 1st or 3rd out a 3rd base.

14. After rounding first and thinking about going to third the baserunner should look at his third base coach.

15. Constantly reminding himself how many outs there, and what he should do in each situation.

16. Knows to try to tag in youth baseball with 0 outs, and try to get off the base as far as possible with 1 out.

17. Understands that with 2 strikes and 2 outs to be moving on a swing.

18. Knows to freeze on infield line drives with less than 2 outs.

19. While on 2nd base in youth baseball he must hold if the ball is hit in front of him (3B or 6 hole), and advance when hit behind him.

20. Understands that if he is in a rundown he must stay in it as long as possible to allow the back baserunner to advance.

21. Pick up the coach for the sign as soon as he returns to the base.

22. At 3B takes a lead in foul territory and returns in fair territory.

23. Sees a bunt down before advancing to the next base.

24. Runs hard on the bases at all times.

25. Must peek in to home on a hit and run to see where the ball is hit in youth baseball.

26. Knows how to use a popup slide to recover quickly and advance to the next base.

27. Never slide headfirst into home plate.

28. Aware of the 1st to 3rd move while on 1st base.

29. Knows outfielders arms and when to be aggressive and when not to.

30. Understands pickoff moves to 2B and how to get back to the base.

31. Knows what a walking lead is and how to use it to steal in youth baseball.

32. Understand how to get deeper on a lead at 2B with 2 outs to get a better angle to score on a single

33. Must tag on any ball hit in the air while on 3B with less than 2 outs

Any player or team can have a huge advantage over the opposition by running the bases intelligently and aggressively.

Baserunning must be worked on and emphasized, because it can be the edge that wins your team the game!

Coach it up,
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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Prepubescent Delusion Rule: Let Them Have Fun! (repost)

Usually each spring I repost this article that  I wrote back in the spring of 2008 when I started this blog.   I hope over the years the posts here have helped you be a better youth baseball coach or parent....

We’re all guilty of it. That moment when your prepubescent child makes a fabulous defensive play or hits a clutch ground rule double (just like Jeter) and the thought enters your mind… “Hey, Maybe This Kid Has Something”.

It’s so easy to be lead down this path. We’re parents. We want our kids to be happy, smart, successful, handsome, athletic, etc, etc. So when our 10 year shortstop dives and makes the defensive grab of the game we can’t help but have proud parental thoughts.

Now most of us keep these parental thoughts to ourselves which IMHO is the correct thing to do. However, some of us might elbow the dad next to us and say something like “WOW! Did you see that play. When he was 7 I knew the kid had something”. This is the parent that needs to WAKE UP!!...QUICKLY!

A friend of mine who coaches one of the best high school teams in our state gave me the greatest advice I could have ever received when I first started coaching my sons… He said “Any parent or coach who thinks they know what a kid is capable of before he or she goes through puberty is completely delusional”. I have used this as guiding words since I first heard them. When I watch the 11 year hold who can hardly reach 1st from 3rd base I say to myself… “wait until puberty”. When I see the small 10 year old who can hardly swing the -13 bat I say to myself… “wait until puberty”. Conversely when I witness the 12 year old who overpowers his peers with his 50’ fast ball I say to myself… well you know the mantra by now.

A few years back I decided to manage my son’s 9 year old travel team. It was a great group of kids. We won our share of games and actually managed to finish 2nd in a pretty large local tournament. The kids had a great time and learn a lot about the game…. anyway I digress… I remember while we were warming up the kids prior to our first game that season a dad I had asked to coach said to me in all sincerity “Coach, These are the boys we’ll be watching play high school baseball someday”. Luckily this was after my high school coach friend had enlightened me about the prepubescent delusion rule. I remember thinking “We have no idea what genetic cards have been dealt to these kids.” However, I simply replied “time will tell”.

Now it’s 5 years later and only 7 of the 12 are still playing baseball at 14 years old. Lacrosse stole away 3 of the kids and 2 others sadly decided not to play baseball. Of the 7 remaining, only 3 were fortunate enough to make the 8th grade baseball team. This is a real life example of why coaches and parents cannot and should not try to determine the athletic future of a 9 year old kid.

Now take the 10 year old all-star player, pitcher, shortstop, powerhitter, speedster. He’s 4 inches taller than his peers, knocking the ball out of the park every three games. This kid is destined to be a high school/college star right? Not necessarily. How about after his teammates go through puberty and catch up or even pass him in size, strength and coordination? This happens… all the time.

So.. what’s the lesson? While there are some attributes a child may show at a young age which might lend themselves to a particular sport.. all bets are off until the kid goes through puberty. Parents and Coaches who understand and adopt this philosophy will be more comfortable with providing a loose and fun baseball environment for their young player.

Coach Bob

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baseball Psychology - 5 Things To Improve Your Mental Approach


In the game of baseball, you need to understand the psychology that is involved in order to take your game to the next level. Here are 5 things that will assist you and help prepare you to rise above the competition.

Pre-game routine- have you ever wondered how to prepare for a baseball game besides just taking batting practice and infield? If you really want to take it to the next level, you need to have a pre-game routine. It all starts hours before you even show up to the ballpark. When I played in the major leagues, my routine started at home after getting up for the day. And as the day progressed, I slowly started to slip into my mental preparation or pre-game routine. The closer it got to going to the ballpark, the more I concentrated and visualized who I would be facing. You should have an idea of what you are going to be dealing with and you slowly prepare for it as the day goes on.

Understanding the opposition- This goes along with the pre-game routine. As you are concentrating more and more, you are focusing on the opposition. Are they throwing a hard throwing pitcher that day? Or is the pitcher someone who likes to throw a lot of off-speed pitches?
This means you need to be focusing on taking the ball the other way. This would start in your pre-game routine of visualizing, then carry onto the field when you start taking batting practice. Understanding the opponent will help you immensely in your preparation.

Mental preparation, putting it all together. You woke up today and you know that you are facing a hard throwing opponent. You are focusing your attention on what you need to do to be successful against him. You start visualizing being short to the ball (short swing) and you start visualizing how you are going to practice before the game. You see yourself being a little quicker to the ball and shorter to the ball. In other words, you are mentally preparing for the game the right way!

Visualization- one of the key elements to baseball psychology and success. I cannot say enough about visualizing your success. Have you ever seen yourself being successful at something? How did it feel? Have you ever heard of someone describing a big hit they had? You will often hear them say it was like they already saw it happening as it was happening. This is visualization. You see yourself hitting someone in a key situation before it happens and you are instilling success! Learn to visualize. All the great players use visualization to see the end result.

Understand the "whys". What I mean is you need to comprehend what is happening when you are playing. I will give you an example. You take a swing at a pitch that was right down the middle and you foul it straight back to the backstop. The crowd is yelling load at the mighty swing. You are excited and you think to yourself that I just missed that pitch. You know what? Here is the difference between a 350 hitter and a 250 hitter. The 350 hitter will understand the why. The great hitters after just fouling off the pitch, will step out of the batters box and figure out why they missed it and make the correction right on the spot. They will visualize themselves hitting that same pitch again only not missing it this time. They will take a practice swing with the right mindset this time, step back in the batters box and absolutely rip the next pitch if they throw it again. Did you see the difference and what happened? They understand the whys involved. And so can you.

These are five good examples of how you can improve your game immensely and take it to the next level. Baseball psychology plays a big role in your development on the field but is one the least things addressed. If you apply these five examples you will undoubtedly improve your game and prepare yourself for success.
Bill Bathe - former major league ballplayer who played for the Oakland A's and S.F. Giants and played in the 1989 world series. To learn more about baseball psychology, visit Baseball Psychology or to learn more about the mental approach, visit The Mental Approach
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Baseball Coach for Kids: 5 Smart Tips That Will Help You Get the Best Out of Them


One of the major demands of parenthood is responsibility. When you bring a life into the world, it is your responsibility to sustain and nurture that life, from an infant to a teen. Do not forget to give yourself a pat on the back when the child reaches adulthood. During the course of our parenting life, there are many deals that are thrown in our direction. One of them might just be playing coach to a bunch of baseball crazy children. It does not really matter if you have never played the game. But it does help if you know what doing and get to become the cool coach. Looking forward to coaching baseball to kids? Here are 5 smart tips that will help you get the best out of them.

Never Show Up in a Shirt and Tie

Never turn up in a shirt and tie. What this implies, is that you would rather be somewhere else and not really 100% committed to the cause. Shirts and ties belong to work. When it is time to play with the kids, turn up in jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap. Come down to their level and be part of the gang or you will never get the best out of them.

Make it Fun

You are not gunning for the World Series. So it is really about bonding and having fun with the kids. Ask for suggestions about what name should be given to the team and any ideas they might have about the mascot. Let them work together and realize the importance of group activity and team building. When your coaching skills resemble a military drill, kids tune off and would rather be found doing something else. Expect most of the kids to defect.

Forget the Mumbo Jumbo

Teach them the basics of baseball in a way they would enjoy and understand. Use everyday things to explain how to play baseball. Kids learn faster in between the giggles and the laughs. And will easily pick tips and strategies, if you use things they are familiar with. Do not use gaudy grammar or weighty words. Make it look to serious and its school all over again, maybe even worse.

Do Not Embarrass Publicly

Children do not have thick skin. So despite things not going as planned, never verbally bash a child in public or in private for that matter. If a child has an attitude problem or is not exactly playing his position, call him aside and tell him what he's doing wrong or how a change in approach can make everything much better for the team and everyone else.

Man of the People

Do not set your sights on the kids alone. Also try to parley with their parents. Encourage them to come and watch their children play baseball. Be friendly with the kids. But you can play boss with the parents, by knowing when their kids are coming for practice or when they will be going home. If there are any issues, meet in person, never talk over the phone. It could compound whatever situations that might arise.
As a former baseball players & coach, some of my other hobbies include creating websites on the sports. One of my newest websites is this website dedicated to the best bbcor baseball bats available. Come take a look!
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Parents, Cherish Every Baseball Moment

I knew this time would come but I didn't expect it to arrive so quickly. My son is coming to the end of his high school baseball career.   There are basically 35 scrimmages and games left.  He's likely to go on to play club baseball in college but you never know and if he does I'm not sure I will be able to travel to see him play.

Coaching him and watching him play over the past decade has been an honor and pleasure.  I can tell you this. I'm going to cherish every pitch of every inning remaining. He's dedicated himself to the game over the years and has become an excellent player. He loves the game and understands it better than I could have ever hoped. I'm very proud of him.

He's learned many things that will translate off the field as well. His sense of fair play is rivaled by no one. His work ethic is one to be admired. His love and respect for his fellow players an coaches is greater than I could have hoped for.

I'm thankful to those who helped him along the why. Those that have shown him both what to do and not to do. My only wish is that I could have slowed down time somehow.   But we know that's impossible.

So to those parents who have kids playing at the youth level my advice to you is to cherish every moment.  Realize that before you know it you'll be watching the last season.  And remember that the important things are sometimes different then they seem while they're young.   If the game can help a kid grow into a young adult with a positive attitude/frame of mind, then the game has accompished it's goal.. and you've accomplished your goal as a parent.

Coach Bob