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Welcome to the Baseball Coaching Digest daily article feature page. This page features a new coaching articles posted each morning. The articles cover baseball coaching, baseball practice planning, baseball drills, and all aspects of coaching a baseball team.

Hitting Ground Balls? - Turn Them Into Line Drives


By Jack Perconte

Putting the ball in play on the ground is not always a bad thing, but turning ground balls into line drives will definitely help the hitter's batting average and chances of playing baseball at the higher levels. Hitters with good speed can prosper by hitting the ball on the ground, especially in youth baseball, but at some point the ability to drive the ball into the outfield is necessary. Of course, hitting ground balls is better than hitting pop-ups but hitting the ball consistently on the ground is a sign of a faulty fundamental swing.

People generally think that hitting the top of the ball, which results in ground balls, is caused by hitting down on the ball or chopping at it. In my 21 years of coaching baseball, rarely would I come across hitters who actually chopped at the ball. I observed that most ground balls hit were caused by the hitters hands were on an upward path on the initial portion of the swing, usually caused by the lead elbow coming up at the beginning of the swing. This incorrect action is generally known as a chicken-wing, which does not allow hitters to bring their hands to the correct palm-up, palm-down hitting position at contact.

With this in mind, here are the drills which will generally turn ground balls into line drives.

Drill # 1 - To rid the player of the chicken wing problem, have them place their fielder's glove under their lead armpit and take numerous swings this way, allowing the glove to fall out on the follow through.

Drill # 2 - Have the hitter stand belly button away from a net and take swings with the end of the bat just scraping the net as it comes through the hitting zone. This will prevent the hitter from casting the bat out and over the ball which can cause ground ball hitting. This drill and the next on will help players develop the correct hands to the ball and hand position necessary to hit the ball in the air.

Drill # 3 - Place a tee at knee high level and have hitters work on hitting balls at this height until they begin to hit line drives or solid fly balls. Hitters with incorrect swings will continually hit ground balls at this pitch level. Hitters will have to develop the correct hip turn and swing in order to hit solid line drives on the knee high pitch, as stated.

* Hitters can combine these drills and perform all three at the same time. This becomes more difficult but can accelerate the process of developing the correct baseball swing.

For hitters who consistently hit solid ground balls, as opposed to weak or chopped ground balls, a slight adjustment in their stance or hand position may lower the bat position on the ball just enough to hit the lower back portion of the ball instead of the top of the ball. Hitters who widen their stance and bend their knees slightly may see the necessary line drives. Also worth a try is lowering the height of the hitter's hands a couple of inches in their initial set-up position. This may allow the hitter to get to the back of the ball more consistently. Following these few guidelines should turn those ground balls into solid line drives. For photo illustrations of these drills please refer to my book, The Making of a Hitter: A Proven & Practical Step-by-Step Baseball Guide.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His books and baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Baseball Youth Digest - Bunting Made Simple - Teaching Bunting Skills to Beginners

Bunting is a skill that must be taught and practiced just like throwing hitting, and fielding. It is wise for t-ball or Little League coaches of coach pitch teams to introduce every young player to the basics of bunting. This article outlines 10 recommended coaching points for teaching and introducing bunting to beginners.

Baseball Coaching Digest - What Baseball Coaches and Umpires Expect From Each Other
Baseball coaches and umpires often have a love/hate relationship. Coaches often make the job of an umpire more difficult. Umpires sometimes hurt the feelings of a coach with a crucial call. Coaches expect a high level of professionalism from the umpires in the crew working a game. Umpires expect a high level of professionalism from the coaches of both teams. Here I outline 5 things coaches expect of umpires and 5 things umpires expect of coaches:


Little League Digest - The KISS Rule of Teaching Youth Baseball Players a Proper Swing
Coaching baseball is not rocket science. I believe in the KISS rule of coaching young baseball batters. The KISS or "Keep it Super Simple" rule means that the coach will present the batting instruction in a way that it is easy for young baseball players to understand, visualize and perform. This article explains the 6 simple steps in teaching youth baseball batters using the "KISS" method.

Youth Baseball Digest - Good Pitcher Sometimes Can Not Throw a Strike - 10 Things to Check First

If you have a young baseball pitcher that at times looks like a Josh Beckett or Randy Smith and other times he struggles to throw two strikes in a row, what can cause of his control problems? There are 10 key elements of his delivery that should always be checked first. Those key elements are outlined in this article.

Coaching Baseball - The Importance of Teaching Batters to Hit the Ball Where it is Pitched

Great hitters at all levels share one common skill. They know when and how to attack every pitch location. Great hitters read and react to every possible pitch location. If you watched the 2008 Baseball College World Series, you quickly realized that great college hitters can catch up to any fastball regardless of the velocity. You saw batters over and over, on the ESPN TV Coverage of the CWS in Omaha, hit mid-90s to upper-90s fastballs with amazing power and bat speed. You also saw college baseball batters that apply and execute one of the most important and basic skills of hitting a baseball, the skill of "hitting the ball where it is pitched". The philosophy of most pitching staffs today is that the job of the pitcher is to allow the batter to get himself out. Pitching coaches teach and coach the pitcher to keep moving the ball in or out, up or down, and to never leave it over the plate. A batter often does not get the same pitch in an at-bat and may not see the same pitch in several at-bats.

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Baseball Coaching Tips - Teaching Players to Have a Good Two Strike Approach at the Plate


Baseball Coaching Tips - Teaching Players to Have a Good Two Strike Approach at the Plate

Good Morning,
I hope the season is going great for you and your team! "Two Strike" hits
are a big part of every team's success. Team that score runs with 2 outs and that get hits consistently with 2 strikes on the batter are the teams that post winning records and win championships. Here are 5 points that I teach to make sure that every player on our team has the same proper "two strike approach":

1. The batter should assume a more balanced stance and take most of the weight off the back foot.
2. The batter will be prepared to swing at "anything close". My saying is that "if it is close enough for the ump to call a strike, it is close enough to hit".
3. The batter should get 3 inches closer to the plate than normal and choke up at least one inch on the bat. This is done regardless of the batter's ability or position in the batting order.
4. I would rather that the batter be late on the pitch than early. What this means is that the batter must keep the hands back and have trust in his or her hand speed.
5. Expect anything! Do not guess pitches. The even stance and "shorter bat" should allow the batter to hit or fight off any pitch location.
6. The batter should fight to saty alive. He or she should battle their butt off to get a hit or stay alive. The batter must win the battle by fouling off pitches, eveining the count, and fighting until the pitcher makes a mistake and throws a pitch that the batter can handle to get a basehit.

Good luck til next time.
Have a great day,
Coach Nick

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Baseball Coaching Digest - The 4 Key Elements That Help a Batter Hit a Baseball With More Power


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Every baseball player loves to hit the ball hard and far. The power required to hit the baseball deep comes from the generation of maximum bat speed. The generation of bat speed is created by the correct use of the lower body, hips and hands. Four key elements are required to make the batting swing more powerful.


This article outlines and explains those key elements.Those key elements are:


1) The Batter Uses the Front Leg as Leverage to Generate Maximum Bat Speed. - What is leverage in the baseball swing? Why is leverage important? How is leverage generated? Leverage in a baseball swing is a resistance point or stationary object that stops forward movement. The front foot acts as the lever and provides leverage to the swing. For this leverage to occur the batter must allow the ball pass front foot. The front foot should be closed with the toes pointed toward the plate to supply maximum leverage to the swing. This leverage is the force against which the batter rotates the hips against. The front leg must be strait and planted to allow the hips to turn.


2) The Batter Generates Maximum Rotational "Torque of the Hips". - I use the term "Hip Torque" to describe the power the hips add to the swing. Batters must rotate the hips to achieve maximum bat speed. To get the maximum hip turn the front foot should be kept in a closed position. If the front foot is allowed to rotate or is in an open position at any point during the swing, there will be a loss of hip energy and a reduction of power in the swing.


The back foot is often lifted or turned up onto the toe. Many coaches describe the action of the back foot as a turn of the "shoe laces to the pitcher". The back foot action is not nearly as important as the front foot. The one thing that must be monitored is that the back foot does not travel forward. The back foot should stay where it was at the beginning of the swing, but the heel should lift and the foot turn to free the back side and to allow for maximum hip and torso rotation.


3) The Batter Keeps of the Hands Close to the Body. The Batter Keeps the Hands on the Shortest Power Path to the Ball. - The power track for the hands is a path that starts above the ball and close to the body. The "power track" is a short compact swing that is directly to the ball. To generate great bat speed the batter must drive the knob and bury it at the power contact position. Keeping the hands closer to the body also keeps the hands inside the ball.


4) The Batter Achieves Maximum Extension Through the Ball. - The batter that keeps the bat on the ball plane as long as possible is able to generate the maximum amount of power possible. The track or path of the bat should be downward until it gets to the balls plane. When the bat gets on an even plane with the ball, the batter should then drive the hands forward through the ball. This power extension has the top hand in a palm down position and the bottom hand in a palm up position. This forward extension or drive through the baseball is a key element of generating power.


I hope that this article was informative and helpful to you. I appreciate you taking the time to read. Have a great day, Nick.


How to Effectively Use Pitching Machines For Batting Practice


How to Effectively Use Pitching Machines For Batting Practice
By Jack Perconte

I owned a baseball academy for many years which used pitching machines where batters could work on hitting without the fear of getting hit by the ball. The pitching machines consistently threw strikes and hitters often built confidence by using them. Confidence is always good but I am embarrassed to say that the consistency of the machines may have been detrimental to helping hitters. "Why was that?" you ask. Pitchers are not consistent for the most part, with every pitch being thrown with a different speed and location. The problem is that pitching machines are often very consistent, which is not game like. Hitting the same speed pitches with nearly the same location each time may negatively affect a hitter when they play in games, Rarely are two pitches ever the exact same in a real game.

I have seen many hitters' swings and/or timing become "screwed up" because of hitting pitching machines. Hitting a ball continually with the same speed and pitch location for 10 minutes or more can groove a hitter's swing incorrectly and create timing only for that speed pitch. As mentioned, when hitters then go to games and face pitchers who throw nowhere near the same pitch as they hit in the batting cages, this can turn their batting cage use into a negative practice. Does this mean that I do not recommend that players practice by going to the local batting cages? Of course not, but with the possible detrimental issues brought up above, there are certain things that players should do when taking batting practice with pitching machines. Following these guidelines will help hitters most effectively use their time at the batting cages.

1. If there is a faster-slower adjustment on the controls then they should be used often. Likewise, if a coach can change the speeds relatively easily, they should do so often.

2. Hitters should always begin with a no-stride approach so they avoid jumping at the ball. This will help players get used to the speed without lunging, because it is difficult to get a rhythm without the arm action of a real pitcher.

3. Likewise, as long as hitters know correct bunting technique, they should begin with a few bunts to get a gauge on the consistency and speed of the machine.

4. Hitters should move themselves around in the batters box often (even for every pitch).

a. To work on low pitches they may have to get deeper in the batter's box or move up closer to the machine to receive higher pitches.

b. Along the same lines, hitters should move closer to home to work on inside pitches and back away from home to have balls on the outside part of home plate. As with taking any batting practice, it is recommended that hitters always attempt to hit the ball in the direction of where the ball is pitched.

5. It is further recommended that the speed the hitter faces be changed each time they go to the cages; remembering to work on slow pitches when they are having trouble waiting for the ball in games and to face faster speeds when they are continually late in games.

6. It is always recommended to end with slow speeds because it is generally easier to "speed ones bat up" in a game then it is to wait for balls when a hitter's timing is too early on the pitched ball.

Of course, all of this is based on facing pitching machines that are consistent. Inconsistent machines may be more game-like and helpful but caution of being hit by the ball must be observed with inconsistent machines. Finally, hitters should be careful of using their game bat in the cages too often, as wear and tear can damage aluminum bats.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball.

Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Preparing Your Baseball Team Mentally For the Big Game


By Bob Hines

An all star or travel team's mental state is a major contributing factor of whether or not they reach their goals. Whether the opponent is weak or strong if your team believes they can win they will be up for the game. Coaches sometimes mistakenly try to pump their team up for a big game. I believe players (and coaches) should treat each game the same. Provided that you prepared them physically through solid practice... If they believe they are good enough to be successful that is all the game prep they need.

When coaches tell players that they have to "play the best game they can in order to win" that's when teams usually get into trouble. When players try to push it past what they are able to do... that's when you start to see the mistakes. Good teams lose because most players don't react well to pressure from parents and coaches. Kids will "check out" when you put it in their minds that they have to perform flawlessly to succeed... that they have to play the best game possible.

So what to do? Keep it light but focused. Reinforce that they are a good team. Tell that player who's struggling at the plate that "you know he's trying hard... relax, have fun and the hits will come". If you've practiced and prepared your team for the big game then they are ready. After that the two "C's" are the most important factors to success.. Concentration & Confidence. So before the big game lighten things up with a fun team activity and think of creative ways to bring out the two "C's". Then rest assured you are giving them the best prep you can.

Coach Bob

Visit Coach Bob's Youth Baseball Blog @ http://youthbaseballblog.blogspot.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bob_Hines


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Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities


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Article Title:
Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities
By Nate Barnett

One of the best ways to force long innings (when you are on offense of course) and to win more games is to put added pressure on the defense. There are multiple ways of doing this, a couple of which are outlined here. Understanding the concerns of a defense and exploiting those concerns are valuable techniques any good coach will insert into his baseball drills.

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

Don't skip this part because you, your son, or the team you coach has little speed. You don't need any to understand this concept. The more offensive movement is created on the base paths, the more potential there is for defensive mistakes. Create movement the following ways:

A. Bigger lead offs. Most youth baseball players don't get a proper lead off at any base. Because of this, the defense doesn't feel the perceived threat of the runner. How long is a good lead? A runner should be able to rotate and dive (body fully extended) back to the bag in time if he is watching the right movements from the pitcher. Getting aggressive leads will do two things. First, it will force the pitcher to split concentration between the runner and the hitter. This will help out the hitter as pitch location may improve with the lack of focus from the pitcher. Secondly, the more throws drawn by the runner at first base (primarily) can results in potential overthrows as well as an increased opportunity to utilize a stolen base or a hit and run play.

B. Take aggressive turns on the bases. I frequently see many younger players after hitting a baseball, jog down to first base and take a small turn around first. This puts zero pressure on the defense. The first goal on any hit to the outfield is to reach second base. The mentality that every hit is a double will help runners become more aggressive. Obviously I'm not advocating running bases wildly, I'm simply promoting adding some extra heat on the defense to provoke some mistakes.

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

It's quite common to watch hitters all the way through high school swing at pitches quite out of the zone. Most of the time this is caused from a lack of a game plan, or improper teaching during baseball drills. Each hitter should have a specific pitch plan based upon his hitting strengths. Every hitter has a special pitch, or one that is more favorable to hit than others. This needs to be the focus early in the count. No other pitches should be offered at early in the count other than the favorite pitch. The only thing that would change this scenario would be if a coach called some sort of offensive play.

A more selective approach to hitting will put pressure on defensive two different ways:

A. More pitches will be thrown by pitchers which will (hopefully) force a pitching change earlier in the game. Since more relievers in youth baseball are not as good as starters, this is a plus for the offense.

B. Getting better pitches to hit will create more baseballs in play. The more balls hit hard there are, the greater chance there is for a mistake by the defense.

Finally, there is no secret that perceived pressure causes more mistakes. If an offense can manufacture pressure and remain confident in doing so, they will enjoy watching an error filled defense play more timid and give games away.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett


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The Proper Baseball Swing - Swinging on the Pitch Plane


The Proper Baseball Swing - Swinging on the Pitch Plane
By Todd Thomas

What should players, baseball and fastpitch alike, be focusing on improving going into a new season? I say it should be on the key element to the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing which is to match their swing plane with the plane of the pitch. Swing LEVEL...to the ball. The BALL, not to the ground. You know, like the best players in the game do?

If you swing down on the ball, then you are "intersecting" the path of the ball giving yourself a small window of timing for contact. A more productive swing would be to attempt to match the plane of your swing to the plane of the pitch. Having the bat on the same plane as the ball as long as possible opens up your window of timing for making contact. Why would any hitter consistently give themselves the smaller window of contact? It simply makes sense to swing on the pitch plane.

Swinging on plane IS the proper baseball swing. Albert Pujols, one of the games great hitters, has shown he is on plane on many of his swings for up to 5 and 1/2 feet. That's awesome. Being on plane that long gives Albert or any hitter a much larger window to make good contact with the incoming pitch.

Can you be on plane perfectly every time you try? No. That's why you see various types of hits. But attempting to swing level to the ball increases your line drive rate which in turn raises your batting average. Line drives equal a high batting average.

How do you teach players to swing on the pitch plane? You have to understand and show them how to put the bat on the pitch plane. Take a rope and secure one end. Stretch it out and teach players to put the bat on it in their swing and swing along the rope. You should hold the loose end slightly lower than the secured end in order to more closely simulate the high to low path of the ball. Take a 3 to 4 foot piece of PVC pipe and hold it where players can put their bat on it and swing along it. If you are holding the pipe, I don't recommend letting them swing at full speed.:-) It should be a slow practice swing. Get creative and teach your players the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing by teaching them to swing on the plane of the pitch.

Play Ball!

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is http://www.HitItHere.net. Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses http://PlayMyBestBaseball.com as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Todd_Thomas

----------------------------
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How to Prevent a Hitting Slump - Eleven Baseball Hitting Tips For Players, Parents and Coaches

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How to Prevent a Hitting Slump - Eleven Baseball Hitting Tips For Players, Parents and Coaches
By Jay Granat

Last week, I got a call from a baseball player who plays the outfield for a Triple A team connected with a major league club. The man was concerned because he has been in a hitting slump on and off for several seasons. He wants to make it to the major leagues and he feels that time is running out on him.

Yesterday, I got a call from a mother of a college player who is also stuck in a slump. This parent happened to be a psychiatrist. Like many parents who call me for help, this worried mother said, "My son has a beautiful swing. He works with a top hitting coach. He is great in the cage, but terrible once the game starts."

This concerned and worried mother had even tried medication to help her son perform better at the plate.

Baseball players frequently call me when they are stuck in a slump. Fortunately, over the years, I have
developed many techniques, strategies and tools for breaking slumps.

However, it is useful if players can learn how to start the season with a positive and effective mental approach to hitting. Here are a few tips to help you get your baseball season off to a good start:

1. Learn the strike zone very well and swing at strikes.
2. Know what kind of pitch you like to hit.
3. Be aware of the count and the game situation.
4. Train your mind to think of nothing or have just one thought at the plate.
5. Practice relaxation techniques.
6. Learn how to stay calm, focused, confident and relaxed at the plate.
7. Learn how to stay in the present and the here and now. The most important
pitch and swing are the next ones.
8. Watch the pitcher carefully from the dugout.
9. Try to hit the ball into the gaps. You will naturally pull some of these for homers.
10. Keep accurate records on all of the pitchers who you face. Record what they threw, what you did and what you learned about hitting against them in the past. This is extra work, but these data will pay big dividends for you.
11. Once your swing is mechanically sound, you need to master the mental aspects of hitting.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com

He has written several books and developed several programs to help people perform to their fullest potential at sports, at work and at school. Dr. Granat, a former university professor, has appeared in The New York Times, Good Morning America, AP, ESPN, Golf Digest, The BBC and The CBC. His books include Zone Tennis and Get Into The Zone In Just One Minute. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, How To Lower Your Golf Score With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis, 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and Bed Time Stories For Young Athletes. Golf Digest named Dr. Granat one of America's Top Ten Mental Gurus. He was recently featured in a documentary film on long distance running. Dr. Granat writes a weekly column for three newspapers.

His new program for baseball hitters 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump and a free sport psychology book is available at http://www.stayinthezone.com/shop-stay-in-the-zone.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=21

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3 Absolutes to Develop Arm Strength and Accuracy For Baseball

By Jack Perconte

Throwing a baseball with accuracy and speed is obviously a necessity for ballplayers to continue to move up the baseball ladder. It is almost incomprehensible that kids who are fourteen years old and in high school are expected to play at the same distances that major league baseball players do, but that is the case. High school dimensions are the same ninety feet between the bases and sixty feet between home and the pitcher's mound. Those are formidable distances for players, especially for those who have not had their growth spurt yet. The good news is that players can improve their arm strength and accuracy with good mechanics and practice. Players who want to improve their throwing should adhere to the following fundamentals and practice until perfecting them. It is also necessary to throw (correctly) for anywhere between six and nine months out of the year. Generally, as kids get closer to high school, more throwing is advised with at least a couple of days a week of quality throwing. Getting the proper amount of rest between throwing sessions is also important.

3 Absolutes of Throwing for Speed and Accuracy

1. Direction - most kids know how to stand at home plate so having them go to their hitting position before throwing should come easy. This complete turn of the body will point the front shoulder directly at the target with feet parallel to each other. Without this correct set-up position, the thrower's ability to reach maximum speed and accuracy are already compromised. A noted with hitting position, a complete ninety degree turn of the thrower's foot of the same side as his throwing arm is necessary to get to correct starting position.

2. Direction 2 - Players must step directly at the target. Without this direct step the thrower's hips will not function correctly causing a lack of accuracy and power. The length of the step will be determined by the distance of the throw and will come naturally, with the key being the direction. Drawing a direct line from the lead foot towards the target or setting down a couple of objects for the player to step in between are good practice drills to reinforce the correct step. An indirect step is the most common area of break down in a player's throwing fundamentals.

3. Follow through - it is necessary that throwers allow their arm to travel the complete path so the body can alleviate some of the stress of the arm action on the shoulder and to prevent aiming the ball. This is done by the players throwing arm finishing at his opposite side hip, thigh or knee and by having his rear leg come up and forward as they throw. Like hitting, this weight transfer puts power into the throw.

Sounds simple enough but like anything, "The difference between doing something totally correct and almost correct, is the difference between success and failure." (Author of quote is unknown.) Long distance throwing can also develop arm strength but the 3 above fundamentals must be followed for "long toss" to be beneficial.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

Hitting a Baseball - Using the Gaps


By Nate Barnett

How do you tell if a hitter is creating the correct energy and movement at bat? One simple way (there are obviously more technical ways) is to observe where most of the balls are traveling while hitting a baseball. If a hitter is directing balls into the gaps (regardless if they are ground balls or fly balls) he's on the right track. On the flip side, if a lot of balls are being sliced down the opposite field line or hooked to the pull side, some mechanical alterations are necessary. Two common causes are found here:

1. The most common root cause of hooking or slicing while hitting a baseball is improper control of the front side of the body. A good baseball swing begins with the movement of the back part of the body (specifically the back knee and hip). During this brief period of time the front side of the body (basically all joints on the front side) need to remain relatively unmoved. The purpose of this is so that the back side of the body moves towards the play. If the front side moves at the same time as the back side of the body, momentum is being taken away from the pitch. It is then more difficult for the athlete to keep his bat moving through the zone. Instead, the bat cuts across the zone and creates a lot of side spin on the baseball as well.

2. Another cause of hooked or sliced balls is how the hands enter and pass through the strike zone. The path any hitter needs to take with the hands is a direct and straight path into the hitting zone. Unfortunately, the problem of a weak front side (described in #1) tends to drag the hands away from the body. The end result is hands that progress through the zone in a sweeping fashion. This type of problem only increases the likelihood that side spin will occur while hitting a baseball.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving your baseball psychology

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett


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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

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Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities


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Article Title:
Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities
By Nate Barnett

One of the best ways to force long innings (when you are on offense of course) and to win more games is to put added pressure on the defense. There are multiple ways of doing this, a couple of which are outlined here. Understanding the concerns of a defense and exploiting those concerns are valuable techniques any good coach will insert into his baseball drills.

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

Don't skip this part because you, your son, or the team you coach has little speed. You don't need any to understand this concept. The more offensive movement is created on the base paths, the more potential there is for defensive mistakes. Create movement the following ways:

A. Bigger lead offs. Most youth baseball players don't get a proper lead off at any base. Because of this, the defense doesn't feel the perceived threat of the runner. How long is a good lead? A runner should be able to rotate and dive (body fully extended) back to the bag in time if he is watching the right movements from the pitcher. Getting aggressive leads will do two things. First, it will force the pitcher to split concentration between the runner and the hitter. This will help out the hitter as pitch location may improve with the lack of focus from the pitcher. Secondly, the more throws drawn by the runner at first base (primarily) can results in potential overthrows as well as an increased opportunity to utilize a stolen base or a hit and run play.

B. Take aggressive turns on the bases. I frequently see many younger players after hitting a baseball, jog down to first base and take a small turn around first. This puts zero pressure on the defense. The first goal on any hit to the outfield is to reach second base. The mentality that every hit is a double will help runners become more aggressive. Obviously I'm not advocating running bases wildly, I'm simply promoting adding some extra heat on the defense to provoke some mistakes.

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

It's quite common to watch hitters all the way through high school swing at pitches quite out of the zone. Most of the time this is caused from a lack of a game plan, or improper teaching during baseball drills. Each hitter should have a specific pitch plan based upon his hitting strengths. Every hitter has a special pitch, or one that is more favorable to hit than others. This needs to be the focus early in the count. No other pitches should be offered at early in the count other than the favorite pitch. The only thing that would change this scenario would be if a coach called some sort of offensive play.

A more selective approach to hitting will put pressure on defensive two different ways:

A. More pitches will be thrown by pitchers which will (hopefully) force a pitching change earlier in the game. Since more relievers in youth baseball are not as good as starters, this is a plus for the offense.

B. Getting better pitches to hit will create more baseballs in play. The more balls hit hard there are, the greater chance there is for a mistake by the defense.

Finally, there is no secret that perceived pressure causes more mistakes. If an offense can manufacture pressure and remain confident in doing so, they will enjoy watching an error filled defense play more timid and give games away.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett


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Tips For a Great Batting Practice


Batting Practice Training Bats

Article Title: Tips For a Great Batting Practice
By Mike Posey

Batting practice is an important ingredient to every practice, but it can also be a time waster. Many players at a young age accomplish little during an ineffective BP session. Here are a few tips to help every coach run a quick paced, exciting, BP session.

Batting Practices that Rock!


Stay in Small Groups. Divide your team into groups of 4 or 5. One group can hit BP, one can be in the field shagging balls, and one group can be with another coach in the batting cages working on tee drills or toss drills.
Good Batting Practice Pitchers Throw Strikes. A good BP pitcher must throw a lot of strikes and keep the pace moving. We also use a hack-attack pitching machine twice a week to supplement our pitching. Use coaches to throw BP when possible and let the players throw in scrimmages.
Take Quick Short Rounds Hit in quick short rounds of no more than eight (8) swings. Keep the hitters moving in and out. Usually hit 3-5 rounds.
Have a Goal for Each Round Each round must have a purpose. First round can be to the opposite field, second round can be hit and run, third round can be moving runners over from second, etc.
Use a Lightning Round at the End. Lightning rounds can be fun as the last round. The concept of a lightning round is every hitter gets one pitch, if he hits a line drive then he gets a second pitch. Every line drive will result in another chance. If they miss, then the next player jumps in. Keep them moving in and out.
Use a Roll On Batting Tunnel A portable roll on tunnel will help BP move much faster. Every league should invest in a good roll on to use every day at practice.
Hustle make sure everyone is busy and hustles when changing groups. Group in the field can rotate to the cages, the cage group rotates to the field BP, and the BP hitters go to the field. Use a stop watch or field timer if needed (you can even use an air horn when its time to change groups, train them to hustle)
Running the Bases If you have enough players for a fourth group, then add a base running group. If not, you can have groups of four or five, with two base runners while the others hit. But plan to practice base running at times during BP.
Take Ground Balls If possible, have fielders rotate into short and second. A coach (or volunteer) can hit fungo ground balls in between BP pitches.
Situational Hitting Some BP sessions can include a round of situational hitting. The coach calls out the situation for the hitter to execute (if you have runners on base, put them in a situation). For example, runners on third with no outs. (hit a ground ball in the infield or outfield fly ball) Runner at second base with no outs (hit behind the runner to move him up to third base)

Batting practice should be fun. Keep them moving and throw strikes.

Mike Posey "CP"
Expert Baseball Tips
Baseball tips from a championship coach's perspective and experience, offering creative insights into helping others learn the game of baseball.

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The Categories they have are: BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

How to Throw a Curveball


HandsBackHitter by Swing Buster

Article Title: How to Throw a Curveball
By Kyle Cross

Being a pitcher in baseball is one of the most stressful, important positions in sport. Everything the pitcher does is analyzed over and over, from the windup to the delivery to the control of the pitches to the fielding stance after the ball has been delivered. A pitcher needs to have repertoire of multiple pitches in order to surprise the opponent, the batter. An imperative pitch in the repertoire is the curveball. This pitch is one that when thrown properly will fool even the best of hitters. The "curve" is slower than the fastball and has a distinct path to the plate in which the ball "breaks" downward. Like all things in sport, the pitch needs to be practiced a great deal to become more and more effective, but learning the pitch can be broken down into seven steps.

1. Hold the ball in front of you so the seams of the ball look like an upside-down "U."

2. Grip the ball with your index and ring finger together on the outside of the ball, but on the inside of the seam.

3. Continue to grip the ball in this was throughout your routine windup.

4. As your arm comes forward, make sure your delivery is identical every time so the batter will not notice a change and expect the different pitch.

5. When you have reached the release point, quickly snap your wrist outwards, putting a good deal of rotation on the ball.

6. Follow through with your release, fully rotating your wrist outward.

7. Releasing the pitch, proceed to position yourself into a good fielding position as most curveballs, if hit at all, will be hit into the ground.

Young pitchers should refrain from throwing this pitch. The release puts a large amount of torque and strain on forearm muscles and elbow ligaments. The arm of a child is not fully developed and thus the strain of consistently throwing this pitch will result in severe injury. When your body is ready, this pitch can be devastating. All of the great pitchers in the history of professional baseball had a dominant breaking pitch or a solid curve to go with a power fastball. The best hitters in the world can hit a pitch going over 100 MPH if the ball is moving straight. The movement of the pitch is what makes it so difficult to make contact with, so repeating the motion is crucial to success.

Kyle Cross is a sophomore at Nichols College studying in the Sport Management program. He strives to work in professional baseball upon graduation.

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5 Ways to Add Power to Baseball Swing and Improve Arm Strength


Quick Swing Trainer Baseball Batting Trainer

Article Title: 5 Ways to Add Power to Baseball Swing and Improve Arm Strength
By Jack Perconte

If there is one thing I would have done differently in my major league career it would have been to consistently use a strength building program during the season. Understand that for most of my early career lifting weights was frowned upon for baseball players. Why that was I am not sure. Probably because people assumed that lifting weights would make players build muscle that would inhibit the long fluid actions ballplayers need. Anyway, gaining and maintaining strength for ball players is essential and can keep a baseball player physically and mentally strong throughout the season. The great number of games during the season often zaps a player's strength which may lead to mental fatigue as well.

Of course, the best way to develop strength and power is to swing the bat and throw the ball more. Performing repetitions of the actual skills of swinging and throwing will lead to strength. For players who want to be their best, there is no substitute for swinging and throwing more than your competition. From experience I have noticed baseball players who throw and swing more months (up to nine), are the players who increase their power and arm speed the most. It is a good idea to give the body and mind a two or three month break from the skill training, but the conditioning and strength work can continue year round.

However, it has been proven over the years that bigger, stronger, faster can be improved through a weight training program. With that in mind, following are some basic tips that players of all ages can use to develop power and arm strength without having to hire a personal trainer or buy expensive exercise equipment:

1. Much of the bat speed, control of the bat and throwing speed comes from the forearms, hands, wrists and fingers. Players can work on these areas by squeezing things. There are many useful items on the market designed to help, but squeezing a tennis ball or water out of a towel will work just as well. Doing this a few minutes a day will develop the strength that will make a difference with how to get the ball to "jump off the bat" and have a "livelier" fastball.

2. The next set of muscles to develop is the core muscles of the midsection. Doing fast hip turns while holding a weighted object are good. Gradual increases in the amount of weight held will develop this core strength. Old fashioned sit ups or any variation of those are beneficial too.

3. Most of the time we think of running exercises only for running speed. However, working on fast crossover steps and explosive first moves of the lower body are just as important for hitting power and throwing speed. Much power is generated by the muscles around the thighs and rear end. Using these muscles with explosive movements will help. Working on explosive crossover steps will develop fast hip rotation for both the hitter and pitcher.

4. Old-fashioned pushups are still great strengthening tools that are good for any and all ages. They will help develop the bigger muscles around the chest and shoulders. Performing different variations like hands wide, hands together and finger tip push ups will work on different muscles.

5. Finally, doing lunges and knee bends will help develop the leg and rear end muscles, which are a major source of power for both a hitter and pitcher.

After a few weeks of this conditioning and continued work on the fundamentals, players will notice the difference with increased bat and arm speed. Working to be bigger, stronger, faster and fundamentally sound will allow players to reach their full potential, without future regret of what they might have done differently.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Coaching Baseball; Recommended Baseball Articles for Coaches


www.QuickSwingTrainer.com

Have a Great Weekend! Good luck to you and your team if you are playing. Here are some recommended baseball coaching articles for baseball coaches. Nick Dixon
Coaching Little League Baseball - Bad Habits Make For Bad Coaching

Article discusses 10 bad habits of bad Little League Coaches. These bad habits make it impossible for a coach to be an effective coach and role model.


Coaching Youth Baseball - Coaching Your First Baseman

Here are important points and skills that you must teach your First Baseman. Tips cover teaching the proper way to get to the bag, set up to receive the throw and how to stretch.


Baseball Coaching Digest - Stop and See - 1st & 3rd Double Steal Base Running Play

This 1st and 3rd Double Steal Play known as the Stop and See Steal. This play is used by offensive teams to score a runner from 3rd base by stopping the stealing runner short of the bag and tag.


Baseball Coaching Digest - Fake 3rd Out Defensive Trick

The Fake 3rd Out is a trick play ran by defensive teams to trick an unsuspecting base runner. If the base runner is not alert and aware, he may step off the bag and give the defensive team a cheap out to end the inning. Coaches should make their players aware of sure plays and tactics to prevent this trick from happening to their team.


Baseball Coaching Digest - Illegal Use of the Courtesy Runner Rule

Baseball coaches must be alert for one way that opposing offensive teams may illegally use the Courtesy Runner or Speed-Up rule. How does a team illegally use a courtesy runner? Here is the procedure outlined:


Baseball Coaching and the Importance of Goals For Team and Player Motivation

There are very few volunteer jobs more challenging, time-consuming or rewarding than being a coach in your local league. There are many four letter words used by coaches that I can not use here. Here I want to discuss the 4 four-letter words that can and will determine the amount of success a coach has during the coming season. The four words are Goal, Plan, Work and Time.




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Overload / Underload Training: How It Works & Why Ball Players Should Use This Training Method


Baseball Training Bats - For Little League Baseball , High School Baseball and College Baseball

Article Title: Overload / Underload Training: How It Works & Why Ball Players Should Use This Training Method
By Steve Zawrotny

There are some, particularly online, who continue to spread incorrect and misleading information about weighted ball training. Our discussion here will deal with Overload/Underload (OU) training in general, and its application to baseball and softball in particular.

1. OU Training Defined

2. A Brief History of OU Research and Training

3. Other Sports That Use OU Training

4. The Benefits of OU Training

5. Other Baseball Experts Who Are Proponents of OU Training

OU TRAINING DEFINED

Using weight-modified implements that are otherwise identical
to those used during competition

The weights of these modified tools weigh both more and less than the standard competitive weight.

Such tools allow athletes to train more precisely for their sport. Sport-specific strength and power are developed by movements with resistance or assistance that imitate the joint action of the skill - SPECIFIC RESISTANCE TRAINING. What makes this type of training so effective is that the weights of the modified tools used are heavy enough to produce a conditioning effect, yet light enough to not adversely affect the athlete's mechanical skills.

Generally, OU Training is employed to increase an athlete's POWER. Power is defined as the rate at which one can perform work, or the ability to exert muscle force quickly. This ability is related to, but distinct from strength, which is defined as the ability to exert muscle force.

As an example, strength is demonstrated as the ability to pick up a 30 oz. bat. Power is demonstrated by the ability to drive a baseball 400+ feet while swinging that 30 oz. bat.

As long as the tools used are not too heavy, mechanics are not affected, making OU Training what I call "skill-neutral." According to published data (see below) the ideal weight range for conditioning and performance enhancement is up to 20% +/- the weight of the competitive implement. I do NOT recommend using baseballs weighing more than 6 oz., or softballs heavier than 8 oz. There is some data that indicates using much heavier balls can negatively affect throwing mechanics, possibly leading to arm problems. Extra motor-units are recruited while throwing these heavy balls that are then not used when the regular competitive ball is used. As relates to our discussion here, the modified implements ball players can use are weighted baseballs and softballs, and various weights of baseball/softball bats, and/or devices attached to these bats.

Conversely, this type of training would not be useful for training other athletic skill areas, for example, shooting or throwing accuracy. OU training could help a golfer drive their tee shots further, but it wouldn't help eliminate their slice if they have one, or otherwise help them to hit straighter drives. OU training could help a young basketball player who is having trouble hoisting a basketball high enough to make a shot in a 10 foot hoop, but the shot still has to be accurate enough to go in. Accuracy training needed for a specific skill would therefore be performed apart from power work.

If I was working with a pitcher who had control problems, I would not break out the weighted baseballs and expect training of this type to help him throw strikes. I would look at his mechanics and make any needed adjustments, and possibly suggest some drill work to help reinforce the new concepts being taught. Such a player might also be working with weighted baseballs/softballs as part of their overall training regimen, but this would occur at a different time, and for the purposes of developing more power and speed behind his/her throws as well as conditioning the throwing structures of the arm.

A potential side-benefit of OU training is that a player could improve their accuracy by virtue of the increased number of reps or throws they are performing. This would be an artifact of the main goal of improving power, however, and not the main purpose of OU training.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF OU RESEARCH AND TRAINING

The first research involving OU training was performed in the 1970s by the Soviet Union and East-European track and field teams. A great deal of this research has been published in prestigious, peer-reviewed journals around the world. Shot-putters, javelin, discus and hammer throwers, and sprinters were the early adopters of this training method.

Research with baseball players dates back to the 1960s. This is just a sampling of studies involving OU Training and baseball. There are dozens more relating to OU Training generally:

1) Coop DeRenne, Kwok W. Ho and James C. Murphy. 2001: Effects of General, Special, and Specific Resistance Training on Throwing Velocity in Baseball: A Brief Review. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 148-156.

2) Escamilla et al. 2000: Sports Med Apr; 29 (4): 259-272

3) David J. Szymanski, MEd, CSCS, June 1998: The Effects of Various Weighted Bats on Bat Velocity - A Literature Review. Strength and Conditioning, pp. 8 - 11

4) Coop DeRenne, Barton P. Buxton, Ronald K. Hetzler and Kwok W. Ho. 1995: Effects of Weighted Bat Implement Training on Bat Swing Velocity. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 247-250.

5) Coop DeRenne, Barton P. Buxton, Ronald K. Hetzler and Kwok W. Ho. 1994: Effects of Under- and Overweighted Implement Training on Pitching Velocity. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 247-250.

6) Coop DeRenne, Kwok Ho and Alan Blitzblau. 1990: Effects of Weighted Implement Training on Throwing Velocity. The Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, 4, 16-19.

7) DeRenne, C., Tracy, R., and Dunn-Rankin, P. 1985: Increasing Throwing velocity. Athletic Journal, April, 36 - 39.

8) Bagonzi, J. A. 1978: The Effects of Graded Weighted Baseballs, Free Weight Training, and Simulative Isometric Exercise on the Velocity of a Thrown Baseball. Master's thesis, Indiana University.

9) Litwhiler, D., and Hamm, L. 1973: Overload: Effect on Throwing Velocity and Accuracy. Athletic Journal, 53, 64-65.

10) Brose, D.E., and D.L. Hanson 1967: Effects of Overload Training on Velocity and Accuracy of Throwing. Research Quarterly. 38:528-533.

11) Elias, J. 1964. The Effect of Overload Training on Speed in Baseball Pitching. Unpublished Master's thesis, Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts.

12) Egstrom, G.H., Logan, G.A., and E. L. Wallis 1960: Acquisition of Throwing skill Involving Projectiles of varying Weight. research Quarterly 31:420-425.

OTHER SPORTS THAT USE OU TRAINING

Over and underloaded implements and techniques are used very effectively by athletes in many sports to augment performance:

Track & Field: heavier and lighter discuses, javelins, shot balls (shot putters) and hammers; sprinting with resistance, such as pulling weighted sleds, wearing weighted vests, and downhill running on a slight downward slope, being towed while running, and running on a high speed treadmill (overSPEED training) .

Swimming: wearing swimming gloves that allow for more water to be pulled during an arm stroke; swimming while dragging an implement or otherwise artificially producing drag on a swimmer.

Heavier footballs (over the standard 15 oz) are thrown by quarterbacks; heavier basketballs are used by basketball players. Boxers train with different weights of boxing gloves.

Note that ALL of these training implements are used to improve POWER and/or SPEED through the joint range-of-motion (ROM) in the activity being trained, which can lead to enhanced performance.

THE BENEFITS OF OU TRAINING

Benefit #1

Appropriate strength and conditioning regimens, such as OU Training, can reduce and even prevent arm injuries related to throwing by increasing STRENGTH/ENDURANCE. Increased Strength - helps prevent injury. Increased Endurance - helps maintain throwing velocity, allows for more pitches to be thrown before tiring.

The muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones (even nerves) of the shoulder and arm in general will positively adapt to an appropriate increase in training load. They become tougher and more durable, able to handle greater workloads. Such training must conform to the following two guidelines:

1) The training load is sufficient to produce the desired training effect, yet not so great as to negatively impact throwing (or hitting) mechanics.

2) The thrower's program introduces OU training gradually and systematically, employing a training principle known as Progressive Overload (Clarkson & Watson, 1990). This principle states that "strength and endurance cannot be increased unless the muscles are stressed beyond their normal workload. To increase the workload, increase the frequency, duration and intensity of your exercise program."

To effectively and safely increase throwing velocity, intensity is increased by using 20% +/- OU balls, duration is increased by gradually increasing the number of OU throws performed with each workout, and frequency is increased by the number of days of throwing workouts. Arm/shoulder structures trained in this manner are more capable of handling the regular competitive game requirements, which are less than those imposed by the OU conditioning. An arm conditioned for making numerous throws with a 6 oz ball will more than likely out-perform an arm trained only to perform under a 5 oz. load (ability, mechanics and over-use considerations aside).

Dr. Mike Marshall, in his Pitching Book (Chapter 32, pp. 5 & 6), describes a concept he calls "Plioanglos Training" as a means of training the external rotator cuff muscles (decelerators). This is similar to the ideas expressed above:

"Plioanglos training means adding resistance to forward ballistically speeding pitching arms to increase capacities of lengthening deceleration muscles to stop."

Perhaps this is best summed up by way of the well-known conditioning principle S.A.I.D. - Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (Wallis and Logan, 1964). This principle states that the body will adapt to stress imposed on it (as long as it is not excessive, in which case the body breaks down). One safe and effective way of doing this is with OU Training, employing the aforementioned guidelines.

Benefit #2

Improved on-field performance - increased throwing velocity (or bat speed).

Increased arm speed throughout the throwing Range of Motion (ROM). This attribute is developed by throwing a ball weighing 20% less than the competitive ball. Because the ball weighs less, the arm moves more quickly through its ROM, leading to increased throwing velocity. Throwing lighter balls has been shown (both clinically and on the ball field) to be one of the best means of increasing throwing velocity. Swinging appropriately lighter bats helps develop increased bat speed. This is also known as overSPEED training.

A note on "light" ball training, high school and older players: This can be an excellent way for pitchers in particular to get a good amount of throwing in between starts with less stress on the arm. For youth ball players - why do we make lighter bats for younger ball players, yet make them throw the same 5 oz ball that guys like Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson throw? That youth fields are smaller makes little difference when it comes to the length of some of the throws that young players have to make. These little arms still have to generate a great deal of force to propel the ball. Underweight balls (4 oz.) are a GREAT tool for players of all ages.

Benefit #3

Enhanced neuromuscular conditioning.

According to Vern Gambetta, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Chicago White Sox, the primary source of fatigue in baseball pitching is not metabolic, but neural. The metabolic demands - conditioning - are just not that great in baseball or softball. Don't misunderstand - I'm speaking here of the skills required to be a good hitter or pitcher. Being well conditioned is still important, as this will help prevent injury, but no doubt you've seen players like John Kruk, David Wells, Tony Gwynn, and others. High level performers who are not particularly well conditioned.

Neural fatigue occurs at the motor-unit level. In the act of pitching, for example, the Central Nervous System sends a nerve impulse to a motor unit (MU) in the shoulder involved in this process. The ability of these MUs to transmit these signals, with optimal frequency and speed, diminishes over time. This "breakdown" occurs at the nerve synapse/biochemical level, which THEN leads to slower and weaker muscle contractions.

In baseball pitching, throwing muscles and tendons in the shoulder are stretching and contracting repeatedly while accelerating and decelerating the arm during an overhand throw - constant biochemical activity at the neuromuscular junction. As neural fatigue sets in, it becomes manifest in mechanical problems. For example, a pitcher dropping their shoulder later in the game, leading to a loss of control or velocity. The tough thing is, this "fatigue" is usually not felt by the pitcher, but it occurs nevertheless.

This is where proper conditioning (OU Training) comes in. Research has shown that neurons adapt to stress much like muscles do. Motor neurons exposed to high-frequency impulses end up with more developed neuromuscular junctions which appear more capable of handling high-intensity impulses better than those not exposed to similar stress. The S.A.I.D. principle in effect again.

Does this mean OU Training is fool proof, and has never harmed a player? Of course not. Most any type of conditioning, performed incorrectly, can cause problems or injury. Throwing itself, be it footballs, baseballs, rocks or whatever, has harmed many a throwing arm. Running is the cause of many knee and ankle injuries. Shoulder problems amongst swimmers are common. Ice skaters often suffer from some very painful leg ailments. I could go on, but you get the point. All of these injuries and problems occur as a part of the athlete's regular practice and competitive activities. Performing them properly minimizes the risk, of course. So does a variety of strength and conditioning methods, including OU Training.

OTHER BASEBALL EXPERTS WHO ARE PROPONENTS OF OU TRAINING

Dr. John Bagonzi. Former pitcher with the Red Sox. Known as the "Pitching Professor" and author of the highly regarded book, "The Act of Pitching."

Dr. Tom House. Former pitcher with the Rangers. Author/co-author of several books, including "The Winning Pitcher" and "Power Baseball." Personal pitching coach to Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Mark Prior, and others.

Dr. Mike Marshall. Former Cy Young Award winner with the Dodgers. Author of the book, "Coaching Pitchers" and the pitching training DVD, "Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Instructional Video."

Dr. Coop DeRenne. Former professional player, instructor and consultant to the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers. Probably this country's leading baseball researcher, supervising 16 hitting and pitching warm-up, biomechanical, and visual research projects using over 600 amateur and professional hitters and pitchers as his subjects. Co-author (with Tom House) of the book, "Power Baseball" and other baseball training books.

ASMI - The American Sports Medicine Institute

All of these experts possess impeccable credentials and favor some type of weighted ball training.

Steve Zawrotny, MS, CSCS
405.373.3253
steve@baseballfit.com
FREE REPORT: "Harmful Resistance Exercises Baseball/Softball Players Should Avoid"
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One Word That Will Make You Sound Like a Baseball Expert


www.HandsBackHitter.com

Article Title: One Word That Will Make You Sound Like a Baseball Expert - 5 Tips For Hitting, Pitching & Fielding
By Jack Perconte

Not everyone knows the finer details of the game of baseball and, of course, many do not care to be baseball coaches or experts. Everyone has there own interests and that is fine. However, that does not mean you cannot say helpful things to young ballplayers. Using this one word will make one sound like a baseball expert and sound like you really know the game of baseball. As a baseball instructor over the past 21 years there is one word that I believe I have said more than any other word. This word is revealed below. If you would like a hint, think of the first thing that you teach your dog to do?

You guessed it - stay. Using the word "stay" with most any baseball term gives instant, "expert" credibility to the one saying it. Following are the terms good coaches often use when talking to players about the three key skill components in baseball - hitting, pitching and fielding. People, who use these terms with the magic word "stay," will sound like a knowledgeable, baseball expert.

Hitting Tips:
1. Stay back - good hitters do not jump at the ball, they let it come to them.
2. Stay inside - good hitters do not reach for balls, they try to hit the side closest to them on all pitches.
3. Stay behind - when good hitters swing, they rotate, transfer their weight and throw their bat at the ball while keeping their head back over their rear hip.
4. Stay balanced - good hitters swing the bat at 100% speed, but make it look like they are not working hard at all.
5. Stay ready - good hitters always expect the next pitch to be "their pitch."
6. Stay focused - good hitters concentrate on just watching the baseball from the pitcher's release to the hitting zone and tune out all other thoughts.

Pitching Tips:
1. Stay balanced - good pitchers throw at maximum speeds but make it look effortless.
2. Stay direct - good pitchers keep great direction, stepping on direct line towards home plate with their delivery.
3. Stay on top - good pitchers keep their fingers on top of ball on backswing and at release.
4. Stay behind - good pitchers do not rush themselves, allowing their arm time to come around.
5. Stay focused - good pitchers remain focused on their target, and tune out any distractions.

Fielding Tips:
1. Stay ready - good fielders "want" and expect the ball to be hit their way.
2. Stay down - good fielders approach ground balls low to the ground and keep their glove below the hop initially.
3. Stay smooth - good fielders make fielding look effortless, moving through the ball with grace.
4. Stay focused - good fielders keep their concentration on the ball, ready for any hop.
5. Stay balanced - good fielders have great footwork when fielding, always remaining under control.

You may have noticed that there are two terms used with our word "stay" that applies to every fundamental tip and those are balanced and focus. Everything in sport requires great balance and focus. So, when you are not sure what to say to your athlete, you can never go wrong with saying, "stay balanced" and "stay focused" as long as they are said in a positive, affirmative manner.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

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Baseball Coaching Digest - Pitcher Fielding Practice Drills - Double Play Feeds and Covering First


Baseball Training Bat by Albert Pujols

Baseball Coaching Digest - Pitcher Fielding Practice Drills - Double Play Feeds and Covering First
By Nick Dixon

Pitcher fielding practice should be an important part of every team's regular practice routine. Pitcher fielding practice is an activity that allows pitchers to practice fielding and making good throws to the different bases in different situations.

Our Pitcher Fielding Practice or PFP, as it is called, requires all infielders and all pitchers. The activity takes only 7 minutes. Therefore we do PFP drills every day in practice. This practice activity requires two coaches to fungo or hit the ground balls, 6 baseballs, and 4 catchers alternating and catching up.

First Set - Pitcher Covering First and Bunt throw to 2nd Base

We begin the activity by having 2 middle infielders report to their position. We will then divide the pitchers into two groups. One line will be getting over to first on a ball hit to the right side. The other line will be fielding bunts and making the throw to second. This is the first segment of the drill and we do this for 3.5 minutes without a beak. The pitchers will rotate lines after each throw.

The "cover first group" works on the right side of the diamond. The bunt cover to 2nd base group works on the left side of the diamond. The line will run out toward 2nd base. The pitchers will set up even with the pitching rubber but will shade to their respective side to allow enough space for both groups to work at the side time without delays or stopping.

Coaching Points: Covering First

The pitcher will must take a good angle toward the line and work up the line toward the bag. The catcher will yell, "get over" each time a ball is hit. The first baseman will communicate with the pitcher to let him know if he will take to the bag himself. If the first baseman bobbles or is slower getting to a ball, the pitcher will setup and stretch on the throw. It is important that the pitcher avoid shading over into the base path in order to avoid a collision with the runner. The pitchers will work out of the windup.

Coaching Point: Bunt throw to 2nd base

The pitchers and catchers will make a call. If the catcher can field it, he will. If the pitcher fields it, the catcher will make a "2 call". Communication and verbal calls by the catcher is an important part of this drill. The pitcher must make a perfect throw every time. Make sure that the pitcher has the right approach to the ball and sets the feet before picking it up, if he can. Good footwork will save time and make execution of the throw easier. The pitchers will work out of the stretch.

Set 2 - "Squeeze Play and Throwing to Second Baseball to Double Play"

During the second half of PFP's we will have the "right" side group field a "come backer" ground ball and make a throw to 1st or 2nd. The "left" side group will may a "do-or-die" play on a squeeze play for 1 minute and then cover home on a passed ball for the remaining 2 minutes.

Coaching Point: Comebacker

The coach will call out where runners are before the ball is hit. The pitchers always work out of the stretch. The catcher will make a "2 call" if the ball is a double play ball and there is a runner on 1st. If the ball is bobble or too slow for to turn two, the catcher will make a "1 call" and the pitcher will make a throw to 1st. If no runners on base the pitcher will make a throw to 1st. We will vary the situations on various days. The coach may call a runner on any base or all bases. The pitcher may check a runner at 2nd and go one, check a runner at 3rd and go 1. The pitcher may have to go home with it if the 3rd base man makes a "4 call". The pitcher may also turn two if the catcher makes a "2 call". All infielders are used during this drill and "talking" is vital.

Coaching Point: Squeeze Play - Cover Home

The "left" side group will may a "do-or-die" play on a squeeze play for 1 minute. The pitcher must charge the ball and use a "scoop and throw" technique to get the ball to the catcher. The winning run is at third and the play is a "do-or-die" play. Speed and accuracy is important. The catcher must complete the play with a simulated tag.
Next, the pitcher will practice covering home on a passed ball or wild pitch. The catcher will retrieve the ball using a "slide by" pickup technique. The catcher must make a perfect tag spot throw to the pitcher. The pitcher will hustle, set up for the throw and finish the play with a simulated tag.

Note: A lot of action is occurring is this 7 minute drill. If commit only 7 minutes so the "sense of urgency" make the kids really bounce around and hustle. Each fielder receiving a throw will step out of the drill and make a throw to the 2nd catcher in their drill. The catcher will then toss the ball to the coach for the next rep. The catchers alternate each side every other day. One day two catchers will work the "right side" drills and the next day they will work the "left side" drills.

I hope you find this information useful and beneficial. I know that you can add and make improvements to this activity as you use it. Good Luck till next time, Nick Dixon.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Are Hitting Mechanics Your Only Ticket to Success? What You Might Be Missing


HandsBackHitter.com - The perfect swing baseball trainer.
Article Title:
Are Hitting Mechanics Your Only Ticket to Success? What You Might Be Missing

By Nate Barnett

The great Ted Williams once said, "A good hitter can hit a pitch that is over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a questionable ball in a tough spot." In his book, The Science of Hitting, he makes it clear that being a selective hitter made him the.344 lifetime hitter he was. When reading his book, this stood out to me as one of the more valuable and under taught principles in hitting instruction.

Williams spends a good amount of time demonstrating the technique he uses to develop a good understanding of plate zones. What's interesting is that getting a good pitch to hit is mentioned in his book prior to his breakdown of proper hitting mechanics. As a side note, be careful that you spend ample time on the mental game of baseball otherwise you may never fully get to enjoy your hard work you've spent on your mechanical development.

Being a selective hitter is an absolute must at all levels of baseball. Once pitchers observe that you aren't going to bite on a pitch that is out of the zone, a choice has to be made on their end. It's simple; either give you a good pitch to hit and see if you can do it, or pitch around you and throw to some other guy. It's a tough choice either way, and that's how you want it to be. The more thinking going on in the head of your opponent, the better chance he will screw up and give you a fat pitch to hit.

Here's how to learn this concept Williams teaches. I've modified his idea just a bit but the core is the same. I find it easier to break this down by individual points.

1. Grab six baseballs and line them up next to each other on the front of a plate. The six baseballs will cover the entire front end of the plate nearest the pitcher. (Williams uses seven baseballs, though I find that six is easier to fit on the plate and serves the same purpose.)

2. Name the balls numerically beginning with the baseball nearest you as a hitter. The nearest ball would then be the #1 ball, and the furthest ball on the outside corner would be the #6 ball.

3. During batting practice learn to identify what range of baseballs you handle the best. That is, what ball do you get excited to see thrown your way because you know you can tear the cover off it? Throughout my career I knew I could handle balls #2-#5 quite well and could expand that to add the #1 ball if need be.

4. When you have identified your range, #2-#5 balls or #3-#6 balls, or whatever, this range is where you will spend the majority of your time in batting practice. Many coaches choose to work on pitches that are toughest for you to hit. Resist this advice for the following reason. If you know that being selective will increase the likelihood that you will get at least two good pitches to hit in any given at bat on average, then developing your skills to absolutely crush those pitches is a must. If you can hit the balls hard you've chosen in your range 80% of the time, why swing at balls outside of your range that you can only hit hard 30% of the time? Now, please understand that I'm not advocating never practicing the weak areas in your hitting zone; I'm just not advising spending the majority of your time working on those spots.

5. Learn to use the count to your advantage by shrinking your zone. On counts of 1-0, 2-0, 2-1, 3-1, the ONLY pitch you should be swinging at is one that fits your developing hitting zone. If you can train your eye to recognize the pitches that float through this zone on a regular basis, you're batting average and confidence will go through the roof. Remember, pitchers aren't good enough to identify your weakness and exploit it each time you're up to bat.

While I get a thrill teaching baseball hitting mechanics to my students, I absolutely enjoy teaching hitters to increase their odds at performing to the best of their ability by winning the mental game of baseball as well. While you only get about 10 minutes of time to use your hitting mechanics in a game, your brain is working the entire time you are on the field. Training it to work with your body instead of sabotaging it will be your ticket to some good fun and success in this great sport of baseball.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball. His website is devoted to teaching the mental game of baseball and hitting mechanics. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career.

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Mental Baseball Instruction - Becoming a Mentally Tough Baseball Player



Article Title:
Mental Baseball Instruction - Becoming a Mentally Tough Baseball Player


By Nate Barnett

The assumption here is that you have either found the title of this article amusing to some extent, or you are looking for information on how to become more mentally tough as an athlete. Maybe both, which would be a bonus for you. Now, a little group participation... I want you to stop reading for a minute after you read the following question. Don't read past until you have an answer.

The Question: What did you do differently this season (compared to last) to prepare yourself for a successful experience in baseball?

If your answer is nothing, many athletes have since passed you and have consequently helped improve their chances of getting to the next level, whatever that may be for them. However, if you have added something else to your game, then the opposite is true.

In order to become a mentally strong athlete, players must develop two types of skills.

A. Physical skills: those that help you throw, run, pitch, hit, and field more effectively.

B. Mental skills: those that help you in dealing with failure, build confidence, get you in "the zone", keep you out of slumps, etc.

The problem is that there is consistently more importance placed on physical development over mental. There are a few reasons physical skills are taught far more than mental skills.

1. Physical skills are more easily taught through the ease of information access in videos, books, and private baseball instruction.

2. The fixation on massive home runs and big power numbers fuel athletes' desire to improve and learn the skill of hitting a baseball 400ft like the guys in the Bigs.

3. The results can often be noticed by everyone right away. Therefore, there is more of an immediate feeling of improvement with physical skill work through baseball drills, etc.

The mental side of baseball is taught far less for a multitude of reasons. Some include:

1. There are simply fewer resources available on the topic of sports psychology and mental training.

2. Many sports psychology and mental training information is written in a complex fashion making it difficult for a reader to comprehend the information.

3. Practice time is limited for many teams. Therefore, fewer coaches can afford to carve out the time to work on the mental game (assuming they know how to teach it).

So how do you begin to work on the mental game? You're doing it now. Read, listen, and search for pieces of information on the topic. Post-game interviews from professional athletes are a good source. Countless players like Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken have devoted time to writing some of their thoughts on the subject. Buy their books or find them at a library.

Why should you develop you mental baseball skills? The answer to this question is lengthy and is a topic for another article at another time. But the simple answer is that you will be noticed by more college and professional scouts because they look for indicators of a strong mental game. And secondly, it will help to cut out slumps that linger and take away from consistent performance.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving your baseball psychology.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett

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Easton Stealth Baseball Bats - The Stealth IMX and Ozone



Article Title:
Easton Stealth Baseball Bats - The Stealth IMX and Ozone
By Brandon Bland

The Easton Stealth Baseball Bats for 2009 are the Stealth IMX and the Stealth Ozone models. The Stealth IMX is a 2-piece, all composite bat. It uses their IMX or Integrated Matrix composite technology. This is an aerospace grade composite material in which the fibers are angled and layered a certain way that creates a very large sweet spot on the barrel. The IMX is known for having a big barrel. It also uses Easton's ConneXion, or CXN technology. This literally means that since the bat is 2 pieces, it creates a "connection" between the handle and barrel. The main purpose for the two separate pieces is to reduce vibration to the handle on contact with the ball. The bat also uses Carbon Nanotube Technology (CNT) in the composite resin material. This is also an aerospace technology, used in many advanced applications and projects. It is used to make the composite extremely strong.

On a scale of 1 to 100 Easton gives ratings to four separate bat characteristics. The ratings for the Stealth IMX are a Hitting Area of 100 (big sweet spot), a Swing Weight (M.O.I.) of 90 (relatively barrel heavy), a VRS (Vibration Reduction System) rating of 95 (minimal vibration), and a handle flex of 75 (average flexibility in the handle).

The other of the Easton Stealth baseball bats is the Ozone model. It has some similarities to the IMX in that it is a 2-piece bat. However, this bat is a combination of composite material in the handle and an aluminum alloy in the barrel. This is known as a "hybrid" design. It uses the alloy from Easton's 2008 line of bats, the Sc900. The Ozone technology used in the bat is named after the way the sweet spot is designed. The walls of the bat are thicker at the taper (area between the handle and barrel) and the end cap, while the sweet spot is made thinner. This creates a trampoline effect on contact with the ball to create more "pop." You can learn more at Easton Stealth Baseball Bats.

Brandon Bland is the webmaster of Baseball Equipment Review, a site devoted to informing ballplayers of the quality of today's baseball equipment so they can make informed decisions about their purchases.

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2010 DeMarini Baseball Bat Lineup - It Cant Get Any Better Than This!


Baseball Batting Trainer by SKLZ - Derek Jeter Series

By Jeff Heitz

2010 Vexxum
It's back. The original DeMarini Bat that Bends. Hitters get to enjoy the longest barrel in baseball as The Vexxum is made of the SC4 Aluminum, giving it the Long Barrel technology that hitters love! The N2M End-Cap and C6 Composite handle are scientifically designed to maximize handle performance with optimal flex, making contact even more punishing.

2010 Voodoo Black
It's Back and More wicked Than Ever!
The Voodoo Black has some big time new features this year. That's right. Featuring a Pitch Black Plus Composite Handle that features Silver Trace Technology. This new technology adds strength and improves power transfer to the barrel of the bat. Combined with a thickness tuned SC4 Alloy Aluminum barrel, the Voodoo is redefined and ready to continue the onslaught.

2010 Vendetta
Step up to the plate and settle the score with this bad boy!

Four years of hard work and development has produced a work of art. We've brought out the reinforcements in our two-piece handle system, featuring a sick vibration-killing core complemented by our exclusive Rails technology. The Vendetta has a 12% stronger SC4 Alloy barrel. This can only mean a huge sweet spot game after game, putting you the best of both worlds - big time power and a super comfortable feel!

2010 Vendetta C6
Killer Composite Bat!

That's right,the all new Vendetta C6. The barrel is made of C6 composite with a wider and stronger weave providing one powerful single wall composite bat. Oh yeah, and it still has the Rails Hybrid Handle with a vibration dampening inner core and a Rails reinforced outer frame.

2010 M2M
So you like heavy metal?
Introducing the all new revolutionary M2M. DeMarini's first ever 2-piece aluminum baseball bat providing both the stiffest and most responsive barrel. Constructed of a SC4 Aluminum barrel and M2M handle, the M2M will deliver power swing after power swing.

2010 CF4
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeff_Heitz


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Zone Hitting - Working the Pitch Count


Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine - Excellent Investment

By Fred Bonds

Undisciplined hitting has two major pitfalls. First, the batter is not swinging at pitches that are located where he hits most effectively, resulting in weak grounders or fly balls and easy outs. Second, a team of undisciplined hitters will never (and I mean NEVER!) press the opposing pitcher to the point of breakdown. Bottom line is that the pitcher will always maintain control of the ballgame as long as he can count on hitters swinging at his pitch and not theirs.

There are many ways to have a good at bat (let's call it a QAB or quality at bat) from this point on. QAB's come from good clean hits. The pitcher throws the all, you hit it hard, it finds a hole and you're on base. That's the most obvious QAB. The less obvious ones come from forcing the pitcher to throw you your pitch or taking him deep into the count before getting a walk or making an out. Both should be rewarded by teammates for reasons I will explain later.

Let's start by defining a QAB. This is a concept you must learn, understand, and apply every at bat from this point on. A quality at bat is any at bat you have that results in either you getting on base via a hit or walk, or you forcing the pitcher to throw more than four pitchers. Why four? Because if I, as a pitcher, can get you out in 4 pitches and I can do it again for each of your teammates, then my pitch count is 12 pitches per inning, 108 for the game. That's not too bad for a pitcher. Also, it means that you, as a hitter, are only getting 12-16 pitches (if that) per game to hit. Later in the game, you'll not have seen enough pitches to get your timing down and get comfortable. Have you ever wondered why a pitcher, who is cruising along in a game with no real problems but is going to full count with nearly every batter, suddenly gets rocked even though he is doing well? The batters got comfortable with him. They saw enough pitches to figure out how to hit him effectively. That's why closers are so effective even if they throw only one type of pitch.

By forcing the pitcher to throw more pitches, you get to see him longer, and see all of his pitches. Also, you wear him down. So instead of 4 pitches, it now takes 7 pitches to get you and the rest of your team out. Assuming no one gets on base, the pitcher ends up throwing 21 pitches per inning or 147 per game. That is a very high pitch count for anyone, especially high school or collegiate pitchers.

Let's assume that most pitchers have an effectiveness ceiling of 80 pitches. You face a pitcher and get on base in 5 pitches. The next hitter flies out in 6. The number 3 hitter hits a ground ball through in 4 pitches. The cleanup hitter is out in 7. The last batter of the inning fights back from 1-2 only to ground out in 7 pitches. No runs score, but your team has made the pitcher throw 29 pitches in one inning. At that pace, the pitcher should lose his effectiveness in the third inning. If your team continues to wear him down, you will have created a window of opportunity to break the game wide open somewhere in the third or fourth inning.

How do you have a QAB? The answer depends on the situation present when you enter the batters box. For now, let's discuss your first at bat, no runners on, and no outs. You should have a good idea of where your "happy spot" is in the strike zone. A "happy spot" is your power zone. Normally, it is mid-thigh to belt high on the inner half of the plate. Where ever it is, this is the spot that you want to hit the ball for power and solid contact. When you are at the plate, you are looking for a fastball in that specific location. You will not swing at any pitch outside that zone even if it is a strike. Also, you will not swing at any off speed pitch. You will keep looking for a pitch in this zone until you have one strike on you.

With one strike, the zone you are hitting in expands slightly. Now you are looking fastball (or hanging off-speed) across the heart of the plate. Height-wise look just above knees to hip high. You must make a mental note to stay closed as you expand your zone. The odds of getting pitched outside increase dramatically when you have one or more strikes on you. Also, your mind-set should be to hit the ball up the middle. You should not swing at pitches outside of the zone or at off-speed pitches that are not mistakes. You will hit this zone until you have two strikes.

With two strikes, the zone is wide open, extending at least 2 in. on the corners and a ball width up and down the zone. Make note of what the ump is calling and adjust your zone accordingly. Your swing shortens slightly as you look to put the ball in play or foul it off. You are now looking for the ball away and will keep your front hip closed as you approach the ball. You are looking to hit opposite field as a majority of pitches will be thrown to the outer half of the plate with two strikes. You will react to the inside pitch.

Now with this mind-set, the pitcher must throw a minimum of 3 pitches to get you out or get a walk. So, a minimum of 3 pitches to get you out or 4 to walk you. You have that many pitches to find one that is in your hitting zone to hit for power. Expect to go at least 5 pitches as we can expect the pitcher to waste a pitch or miss the zone. It is very likely one of those five pitches will be the money pitch for you. Be ready. The big difference between amateur and professional hitters is that pros can hit the pitch when they get it a majority of the time.

With runners on, your zone will change depending upon where you want to hit the ball, but for the most part, those three zone situations will suffice. Also, should you face a pitcher who is throwing strikes and a lot of them; you will need to match his aggressiveness. Still looking for your pitch, your zone should expand larger after the 1st strike to incorporate the zone the pitcher is hitting. If he's not missing much, you have to step it up a notch and match him. Sure, you are not going to drive up the pitch count (unless you hit him a lot and keep him out there) but you will see pitches you can hit so go get them.

Working the count is extremely important when hitting against a pitcher you haven't seen before. A team effort is required to gain info on what the pitcher has in way of velocity, location, and pitch types. Done properly, batters can swing the advantage to their side of the plate while possibly increasing their batting averages. Will this work every time? Probably not, but it will make you a better hitter and increase the odds of your team winning.

Variations of this approach can be made by moving your initial zone to wherever you want to hit the ball. If I know I can hit the outside pitch away with power, I may want to go after the first fastball I see on the outer half of the plate (very likely the first pitch). It's up to you. The important part of all of this is to learn discipline at the plate and not go up there hacking at anything that moves. Have a plan and stick to it unless the conditions make you change.

Ultimately, QAB's will help raise your batting average, RBI count, and on-base percentage. In order to be effective, however, you must learn to recognize pitches as well as developing a short quick stroke to the ball. Putting it all together is what it's all about!

Fred Bonds is the Director of Research for Area51Sports, an innovative new wood baseball bat company, http://www.area51bats.com. He was director of the Central Michigan Sports Center, director of the BPR Nationals Baseball HS Prospect team, and a former associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds and Global Scouting Bureau. Be sure to visit the Area51Sports website and get on the email list for the latest advances in hitting, coaching, and great discounts on the hottest baseball bats in the game. For more info on wood baseball bats or to contact Fred, go to http://www.area51bats.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Fred_Bonds

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Baseball Swing Mechanics - The Rotational Swing


BattingCagesDirect.com
By Todd Thomas

Rotational hitting...What is it?

My simple answer is that it is simply the big league swing. Prior to 2000, no one even knew what rotational hitting was. Now there are experts on every street corner. The facts are that Mike Epstein in his diligent study of the art of hitting isolated the core movements of the game's greatest hitters and defined their baseball swing mechanics in a term he coined Rotational Hitting.

You can call it what you want. Call it the rotational swing. Call it a hybrid swing. Call it weight shift hitting. There are many "names" now that other people have come up with, but I call it the big league swing. After all, that's what it is. Rotational hitting as Mike Epstein defined it encompasses and engulfs ALL of those other names that some are calling it. It IS the big league swing and that's what Mike Epstein Hitting teaches.

The bottom line is that there are really only TWO methods of hitting. A hitter is either Linear or he/she is Rotational with their swing mechanics. Now both techniques have elements of the other in them. Linear has some rotational and Rotational has some linear. The fact that each has elements of the other makes all of the other "techniques" or really names that people are calling baseball swing mechanics simply irrelevant and fictitious.

So let's define the Rotational Swing and the Linear Swing.

A rotational hitter establishes a stationary axis with the dropping of the front heal and with the front leg and they rotate around that stationary axis. This hitters "stays back" with their upper body. The head and chest do NOT come forward. They a very steady and do not lunge forward in the direction of the pitcher. You will occasionally see this happen is when a hitter is completely fooled by a pitch and they break through their axis lunging forward in an awkward attempt to make contact. So the rotational hitter rotates around a stationary axis and stays back.

The linear hitter does not establish a stationary axis and they do not stay back. The linear hitter continues moving forward throughout their swing in a straight forward(linear) movement finishing their swing out over the top of their front foot or even slightly forward of it. The linear hitter typically swings in a downhill plane while the rotational hitter is typically taught to swing on the plane of the pitch because those swing planes match each technique. A linear hitter trying to swing on the pitch plane is very awkward and doesn't work well with all of the moving parts of this technique. Likewise, the rotational hitter swinging on a downhill plane is also an awkward unproductive swing. Staying back and swinging down do not match.

So to summarize the two basic baseball swing mechanics...The rotational hitter stays back and the linear hitter comes forward. See it's not as complicated as many desire to make it out to be. And remember, Rotational Swing Mechanics are simply the Big League Swing.

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is http://www.HitItHere.net. Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses http://PlayMyBestBaseball.com as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Todd_Thomas

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The 4 Things That Make a Great Hitter


Hands Back Hitter Baseball Trainer - Mechanical Ball Launching Tee

The 4 Things That Make a Great Hitter
By Todd Thomas

There are 4 things that make a can make a GREAT baseball or softball hitter. FOUR CRITICAL THINGS. Leave just one thing out and you can forget about greatness. Be absent of two or three or all four and your going from Good, to Average, to Poor, to finding another easier athletic endeavor.

These 4 things are...Potential, Technique, Work Ethic, and Mental Approach. Let's discuss each and their importance in being a great hitter.

1. Potential: This one a coach has no real control over. If a hitter does not have the potential to hit like Alex Rodriguez, then I dont' care who their instructor is they cannot make him/her hit like Alex no matter what they are taught nor no matter how bad they or their parents want that. No more than Hank Haney (Tiger Woods swing coach) can teach any given golfer the same stuff he teaches Tiger and turn that golfer into Tiger Woods. It can't be done. The only real control an Instructor has is to help a hitter to hit to their own potential whatever that is. It may be an outstanding Rec player. Maybe that's your potential. OR Maybe a really good select player or a top high school player, a top College prospect, or maybe a pro prospect. Potential does come in varying degrees that is for sure. Some may even seem to have the ability to stretch their potential, but I would submit to you that the potential they reach was always within their own God given potential. Part of a player's natural ability to fulfill their own potential shows in their ability or lack thereof to "take it between the lines". Some players are great batting practice hitters but when they step into the batters box, they just can't seem to hit(consistently or at all) like they do in the cage or at practice. It's a frustrating and perplexing phenomenon, but it's real. The bottom line fact, and it's hard for most if not all players and their parents to accept this, is that some players just don't have it "built in" to their natural ablility/potential to perform between the lines to a high level or to the level they expect they should. Some players have the desire to be great and I'll talk more about desire later in this article. However, if the potential is not there then I'm sorry neither will be greatness.

2. Technique: When good technique is put together with good potential, good things definitely will happen for a hitter. Some players with tremendous potential and natural ability can have horrible technique and still do very well. However, in my opinion, even though they may be good they are NOT reaching their true potential without good technique. Players with average to below average potential with bad technique certainly shouldn't expect much. Conversely, players with average to below average potential can expect to be much better and have the ability to make great strides toward their own personal potential with good technique. So what technique can help hitters reach their personal potential? It is the technique used by the best Major League and Collegiate hitters. What technique is that? That depends of what you call it. Mike Epstein calls it Rotational Hitting. Some people have a problem with that term for whatever reason. Mostly because they haven't a clue of what it really means or what we specifically teach from the beginning of the swing to the end. But they "assume" and are wrong. Okay, so call the technique what you want if it makes you or someone else feel better. Call it The Big League Swing. Call it a Hybrid Swing. Call it whatever you want, but it simply is the technique of the best Big Leaguers and Collegiate players. It should be noted that some current and former players from these categories have no clue what their true technique is/was and have no clue how to actually teach it either. For you or any hitter to reach their potential, a hitter must have good technique/mechanics.

3. Work Ethic: Along side work ethic is something I mentioned earlier and that is desire. Without desire, there is no sustainable work ethic within a player. A hitter MUST have the desire to be great and because of that they MUST work hard at reaching their potential. I have seen many players with loads of potential. They have learned the best technique and yet they don't work at it. They wonder what's wrong with them, or the technique, or maybe even with their teacher. I say this to every hitter... There is no SHORTCUT to being good(and certainly not great). It takes work and it takes it for an extended period of time. In fact, it takes work until the day they stop playing the game. The best hitters in the world are Major League ball players and the top college softball players. My question to you is... How often do they take batting practice? If you answered "Every Day", you are pretty much right on. Is there a day off here and there? Sure. But for all intents and purposes, they take BP EVERY DAY! Why do they do this? They are already great. What do they need to work on it for? I'll tell you. Because hitting is a lifelong pursuit. One never has "it" figured out permanently. If the best players practice every day, then why do some hitters want to take a "lesson" and then just show up for games and expect to be good?!? It's inexplicable. Yet I see it all the time. I believe that the One Who Works The Hardest, HITS The Hardest! Work, work, work. Take a break and then work some more. Only then should a hitter expect to be their best.

4. Mental Approach: Without a solid mental approach going to and at the plate, a player can only ever expect to be good, but not great. How a player thinks in the batter's box and prior to getting there is what can make a good hitter a great hitter. There are several schools of thought on this. I say subscribe to one and APPLY IT! One side of the mental game is confidence and focus. The other side of the mental game is being prepared and thinking along with the pitcher. Mike Epstein believes the best mental approach lies in anticipating pitches. Having a plan, using acquired information (either from observation or from teammates), and anticipating pitches. Now I am not going to get into the specifics here on this. There is much more to it and to cover than I want to go into here. Mike Epstein's book "The Mental Side Of Hitting" is a good resource. I know one young hitter who has read this book SIX times and guess what, IT SHOWS! There are others resources out there on having a quality at-bat or being a thinking hitter. There really is some good information on this and those hitters that want to reach their potential are the ones who will seek it out, dive into it, and apply it. Many hitters short change themselves by selling short how important it is to have a solid mental approach at the plate. They hear it and it goes in one ear and out the other. Meanwhile, they want their instructor to just help them to perfect their technique to make them better and to reach their potential. They won't and their coach can't if their technique is already solid. Get into the mental side of hitting if you DESIRE to be GREAT.

In closing... As the title to this article would indicate, in order to be a great hitter and/or to reach YOUR maximum potential, you must have all 4 of these things. Think about it. What good is any one of these things without AT LEAST one other element? Without one, you can only expect to be good. Absent of two, a hitter will be average AT BEST. With only one element, it's all but hopeless. Do we even need to consider none? Not really. The good news is that 3 of the 4 are simply a decision. All any player has to do is to decide to have good technique, a good work ethic, and a good mental approach. Only potential/natural ability is out of your control. If God has blessed you with natural ability, then fulfill you're potential by deciding to apply yourself in the other areas. Finally... if you DECIDE to leave out one of the 3 areas that are under your control, now you'll understand the results you'll get.

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is http://www.HitItHere.net. Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses http://PlayMyBestBaseball.com as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Todd_Thomas

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Derek Jeter - All Baseball Players and Coaches Can Learn From His Mental Approach to the Game

By Nick Dixon

Derek Jeter's mental approach to baseball is one that every player, coach and parent should take notice of. He is a true American Sports Hero yet he does not consider himself bigger than the game itself. His words and quotes reflect his attitude, his commitment, and his love of the game.

What can all baseball coaches learn from Derek Jeter's mental approach to the game? He is one of the most "decorated" Major League baseball players in the past decade. But, more impressive than his talent is his ability to keep the game in proper perspective mentally. He is humble. He knows how important the game is to him. He appreciates the opportunity he has to play the game and he considers it an honor to wear the pin stripes. In this article I present Derek Jeter quotes that I feel reflect how every player should approach the mental part of the game.

Derek Jeter helped the New York Yankees win the 2009 Major League Baseball World Series. The win earned the franchise's 27th World Series Championship. In 2009 Jeter made his 10th All-Star Team. The list of honors and awards Jeter received in 2009 is extremely impressive. He Won his 5th World Series Ring. He became the all-time Yankee leader in hits. He won his fourth Gold Glove. He won his fourth Silver Slugger award by batting .334 with a .406 On-Base-Percentage. He won the Hank Aaron Award as the best hitter in the AL. He received the Roberto Clemente Award for his commitment to service in the community. He was honored with Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year for his overall accomplishments in 2009. But, what is more impressive that his honors and accolades is his mental approach to the game.

Derek Jeter considers himself blessed to play the game of baseball. He does not look at himself like many pro athletes do. Many pro athletes consider it a privilege for the game to have them as a player. They put themselves on a pedestal above the game itself.

All coaches should be happy if they players take the same mental approach to baseball as Jeter does. Here I take three Derek Jeter quotes that I feel reflect the proper mental attitude for any player at any level to have toward the game.

Quote #1 This quote reflects Jeter's thoughts about the importance of having fun and enjoying the game.

"You have got to have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we are playing a game. It is a business, it is our job, but I do not think you can do well unless you are having fun." Derek Jeter

It is refreshing to see a Major League Baseball All-Star like Jeter feels that having fun should be a priority. I feel that more players, coaches, and parents should share that same sentiment. Many coaches and players forget the fact that baseball is just a game and games are meant to be played for fun!

Quote #2 This quote shows that Jeter values defensive play and pitching as keys to winning.

"That is how you win - pitching and defense." Derek Jeter

This quote is coming from one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball History, yet he is makes it clear that he considers pitching and defense the keys to winning. Maybe some coaches and players should put more emphasis on the defensive aspects of the game.

Quote #3 This quote reflects how important Jeter thinks it is to keep working and improving. This quote shows the importance of staying focused and staying "hungry".

"We just want to win. That is the bottom line. I think a lot of times people may become content with one championship or a little bit of success, but we do not really reflect on what we have done in the past. We focus on the present."Derek Jeter

As you can see from Jeter's quotes, he does not put himself or his success above the game or his team. He shows a commitment to continue improving and working hard. His love for the game is obvious. He is an inspiration to anyone that watches him play.

I hope that you enjoyed this article. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

Baseball Coaching Digest - What is the Most Important Thing in Coaching Little League Baseball?


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By Nick Dixon

If you ask 100 baseball coaches the question, "What is the Most Important Thing in Baseball?", you will get a wide variety of answers. Some will say winning is the most important thing. Some will say that "expecting to win" is the most important thing. Others will say that helping kids grow, mature, and develop a sincere love for the game is the most important reason for playing baseball. When I ask myself this question, I have one simple answer. This articles explains what I feel that the most important thing in baseball to me is that I see some level of improvement every day.

This "level of improvement" can be in any aspect of the game. I may leave practice knowing that our team improved their knowledge and skill in defending the bunt. I may leave a game knowing that our team, although we lost, learned how to "come back" and compete when we were down by 4 and made it a one run loss at the end.

You may see an improvement in team unity, team chemistry, or team leadership. You may see a certain player show improvement in pitching control, hitting the off-speed pitch, or reading the pitcher to get a better jump when stealing a base. See these improvements are what coaching and playing baseball is all about.

Is it better for a team to show absolutely no improvement in a season and go undefeated because they dominate their league or for a team to play.500 baseball on the season, but show incredible levels of improvement from the top of the lineup to the bottom? You see what I mean? Improvement is the "name of the game". Improvement is what coaching baseball is all about.

Coaches must keep in mind that only half of the teams that play every day, win. The other half lose. Should 50% of the coaches feel their day was a total loss ever day they play? When it comes to playoffs it is a fact that less than 1/100 of 1 percent of all baseball teams will end their season with a win each year. The other 99.999 % of the teams will find themselves ending their season with a loss or not being in the playoffs.

Now, I want you to know that I value winning as much as any coach on this planet. But what I am saying is that coaches must make winning a goal and getting better a priority. You should feel satisfaction when you see improvement on a daily basis. If you do not see improvement, chances are that you will find it difficult to win anyway. So the message here is to make it known to you team that you want to see them improve as players and as a team every day in some way. It is their job to make it happen. It is your job to give them the opportunity to do so in practices and games.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

How to Hit in the Clutch - Baseball Batting Advice From a Former Major League Player


HurricaneMachine.com

By Jack Perconte

There are not too many feelings better than getting hits for baseball players. Actually, there is? Getting a hit in the clutch is an even better feeling. Of all the great memories I have of playing baseball, the ones that are most memorable are those of clutch hits that I had. Many people think of clutch hits as those that drive in runs or win games, but just as important sometimes are hits that players get to start a rally, break up a no hitter or knock a good pitcher out of the game. One of my great memories of a clutch at-bat did not involve a hit but a sacrifice fly that I hit in the 17th inning that drove in the winning run against the New York Yankees. This was as memorable as a hit because, being a player with little power, hitting a ball deep enough in the outfield was not an easy chore for me.

Developing young players to be good clutch hitters is one of my goals as a hitting coach. Of course, the best clutch hitters are generally the hitters who are the most fundamentally sound with their hitting mechanics. Having good fundamentals always give players the best chance at success. However, just having good fundamentals does not guarantee a great clutch hitter and all hitters can be taught to become better in the clutch. I have known many players who have the knack of going 1 for 4 in games for a.250 batting average, but that one hit always seemed to be a big hit for the team. Some players just have a sense of the moment and an inner confidence that they are the right person for the situation. Good clutch hitters are able to focus on the moment. They do this by focusing on the things they can control, which is simply taking a good swing at a good pitch. These clutch hitters do not over-swing, try to hard or get too "up-tight" to perform.

With this in mind, following are coaching tips to help ballplayers become good clutch hitters:

1. Explain to players what was alluded to above, that "clutch hitting" involves more than just an RBI hit or a game winning hit. For example, just getting on base with a walk or single can be very "clutch."
2. Put players in known clutch situations in practice as much as possible. "Two outs, bases loaded, game on the line and here is the pitch," is a good batting practice idea. When players are put in clutch situations often enough, they will develop the sense of having "been there before," which may enhance their confidence and give them reassuring feelings.
3. Explain to players that no one will remember for very long if they make an out but everyone will remember, for a long time, if they come through with a big hit. In this manner, players will begin to feel like they do not have much to lose, which should ease the pressure. This also serves to have players look forward to the opportunity.
4. Good coaches do not over-coach by making more of a situation than it is. This can be done by staying calm and just telling hitters to "get a good pitch to hit." Coaches should be careful not to change their demeanor or overload players with distracting instructional tips, especially during intense game situations.
5. Ask players in practice who wants to be up to bat with the game on the line. Most if not all will say they want to be, even if they are not sure. This "mental preparation" will help players prepare for the situation before they are in the actual situation.
6. Occasionally saying to different players that you want them to be the player up to bat with the game on the line shows your confidence in the player, which should help the player's confidence.
7. Coaches should not show disappointment in front of players when they do not come through in the clutch, so that players will not shy away from wanting to be up in that same clutch situation the next time. Parents of players should be sure and follow this point also, because kids definitely do not want to disappoint their parents.

Finally, one thing that I did as a player was to begin preparing myself for game ending situations. When a game was close in score, I would begin about the sixth or seventh inning to visualize being up in the last inning with the game on the line. This was great preparation for the eventual situation where I came to bat with the game in the balance.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

Baseball Coaching Digest - The 4 Key Elements That Help a Batter Hit a Baseball With More Power

By Nick Dixon

Every baseball player loves to hit the ball hard and far. The power required to hit the baseball deep comes from the generation of maximum bat speed. The generation of bat speed is created by the correct use of the lower body, hips and hands. Four key elements are required to make the batting swing more powerful. This article outlines and explains those key elements.Those key elements are:

1) The Batter Uses the Front Leg as Leverage to Generate Maximum Bat Speed. - What is leverage in the baseball swing? Why is leverage important? How is leverage generated? Leverage in a baseball swing is a resistance point or stationary object that stops forward movement. The front foot acts as the lever and provides leverage to the swing. For this leverage to occur the batter must allow the ball pass front foot. The front foot should be closed with the toes pointed toward the plate to supply maximum leverage to the swing. This leverage is the force against which the batter rotates the hips against. The front leg must be strait and planted to allow the hips to turn.

2) The Batter Generates Maximum Rotational "Torque of the Hips". - I use the term "Hip Torque" to describe the power the hips add to the swing. Batters must rotate the hips to achieve maximum bat speed. To get the maximum hip turn the front foot should be kept in a closed position. If the front foot is allowed to rotate or is in an open position at any point during the swing, there will be a loss of hip energy and a reduction of power in the swing.

The back foot is often lifted or turned up onto the toe. Many coaches describe the action of the back foot as a turn of the "shoe laces to the pitcher". The back foot action is not nearly as important as the front foot. The one thing that must be monitored is that the back foot does not travel forward. The back foot should stay where it was at the beginning of the swing, but the heel should lift and the foot turn to free the back side and to allow for maximum hip and torso rotation.

3) The Batter Keeps of the Hands Close to the Body. The Batter Keeps the Hands on the Shortest Power Path to the Ball. - The power track for the hands is a path that starts above the ball and close to the body. The "power track" is a short compact swing that is directly to the ball. To generate great bat speed the batter must drive the knob and bury it at the power contact position. Keeping the hands closer to the body also keeps the hands inside the ball.

4) The Batter Achieves Maximum Extension Through the Ball. - The batter that keeps the bat on the ball plane as long as possible is able to generate the maximum amount of power possible. The track or path of the bat should be downward until it gets to the balls plane. When the bat gets on an even plane with the ball, the batter should then drive the hands forward through the ball. This power extension has the top hand in a palm down position and the bottom hand in a palm up position. This forward extension or drive through the baseball is a key element of generating power.

I hope that this article was informative and helpful to you. I appreciate you taking the time to read. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

Youth Baseball Coach - The 12 Commandments of Little League Baseball Coaching Success


Baseball2U.com

By Nick Dixon

Being a good head coach for a Little League Baseball Team or any youth baseball team requires certain skills, character traits, knowledge, and a high sense of commitment and dedication. There are certain rules and guidelines that every Little League Coach should always remember. I feel that there are 12 guidelines, the "commandments" that are required to establish a good learning atmosphere and true team unity.

Youth Baseball Coach: The 12 Commandments of Coaching Little League Baseball

1. I shall always consider the safety and welfare of my players to be my utmost responsibility when we are playing and practicing.

2. I shall treat every player fairly and show no favoritism. I want my players to have faith and trust in me. I want them to know I care.

3. I shall display good sportsmanship at all times. I will not display any behavior that would be a poor role model for my players.

4. I shall always be the first person to get to practices and games and the last to leave.

5. I shall never leave a player or players alone after practice. I will wait for a parent or guardian to arrive and pick them up.

6. I shall plan and organize every practice. Every player will have an assigned place and activity. Idle time is wasted time. Every minute will be valued and used wisely.

7. I shall make doing things right a priority. When it comes to practice repetitions, quality will be valued over quantity. I feel that 5 good practice swing performed properly do more good than 25 sloppy swings with incorrect fundamentals.

8. I shall be honest to myself, my players and my parents. I will always tell my players the truth. Telling misleading or false information is not acceptable.

9. I shall maintain the needed degree of team discipline to foster athletic improvement and growth. I must teach my players the value of self discipline in baseball and team sports.

10. I shall teach my players to respect all persons of authority and adults including myself. I will require that they show that respect to all parents, coaches, umpires, and league volunteers.

11. I shall learn the knowledge necessary to perform my coaching duties. That knowledge will include the rules of baseball, the fundamentals of baseball, and the proper techniques of baseball training, baseball instruction, and baseball coaching.

12. I shall always remember that I have a duty greater than the coaching of baseball. I have a responsibility to help each player learn the proper values and priorities that they should have in life. I will seek to help each player achieve to his or her maximum potential as both a player and a person.

I hope that this article was informative and useful to you. I would like to personally thank your for taking the time to read it. I wish you and your team good luck in the coming season. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

Baseball Coaching Digest - Home Batting Cages - Two Misbeliefs Concerning Baseball Batting Cage Use

BattingCagesDirect.com - We specialize in complete net and frame packages for teams, schools, home and family use.



Two Batting Cage Misbeliefs that baseball people need to know about are (1) Many people belive that a Batting Cage must be long for it to be usable for all ages. That is not true. (2) Many people believe that a batter must see 75 miles per hour pitches to receive maximum benefit from cage work. That is not true.
This article discusses how many buyers are mistaken or misled in the buying or building a new baseball batting cage. The article outlines Two Batting Cage Misbeliefs that are simply not true:


1. Batting Cage Misbelief Number One - A Cage must be long for it to be usable for all ages.


This is simply not true. Players of all ages, even the high school and collegiate levels can benefit from batting practice in cages that are 35 to 50 feet in length. A cage does not have to be 70 feet long for it to beneficial to advanced players. The reason for this is that long-toss, front-toss and various other batting practice drills can be performed at distances under the regular pitching distances. When batters take swings at pitches thrown at 35 feet, the batter is seeing and reacting to pitches that simulate higher speeds at the normal pitching distance. The player must perform the swing with the proper trigger, separate, and load actions. All of these elements of the swing must be done at the same speed, rhythm, and timing as under normal game hitting.


2. Batting Cage Misbelief Number Two - A batter must see 75 miles per hour pitches to receive maximum benefit.


Most hitters at all levels of play including high school, college, and pros would rather see and hit live arm pitches at 45 miles per hour at 30 feet than pitches thrown by a machine at 75 miles per hour. Live-arm batting practice is batting practice thrown by a person not a machine. We must remember that advanced batters benefit most from seeing pitches thrown by a person. The batter must pick-up the pitcher arm-slot, the pitcher release point and time the speed of the pitch thrown. When a person is throwing batting practice the speed and location of every pitch can be changed. It is also a fact that many people are not adept at throwing strikes at longer distances. However, most people can throw an accurate pitch for a strike from 30and 40 feet distances. The batter gets more work in because more pitches are hittable. Not as much time and effort is wasted by with bad pitches out of the strike zone. The shorter distance makes the workout more efficient.


What does this all mean to a potential batting cage buyer?


For the average home user shorter batting cage is suitable for all drills, batting practice, and applications that you will need for your player to be successful through the high school level. I think it is important to realize that the system you buy will be used for a variety of batting drills. The function of the net is safety, ball containment, and practice efficiency. The batting net is no better than the parent or coach that dedicates time for its use. If you use it, you will experience incredible results. It will be a wise investment. Kids can not use the cage without parental or adult supervision and participation.


I hope that you found this article useful and informative. You may find more like it at the Baseball Coaching Digest and at the Youth Baseball Digest. Thanks for reading my article. Have a great day. Nick

Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

The Joe Mauer Quick Swing Trainer Joe Mauer Quick Swing Trainer is a popular baseball training machine for home and team use.
The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.


===Advertisement from our sponsor:=====

Baseball2u.com/CoachesBest.com is the ultimate online baseball training and coaching store. With over 1400 products organized into categories Baseball2u.com makes finding that baseball training product easy and simple. Order securely online or by phone. Baseball2u.com is a fully licensed company and has a full time staff available from 8:00 to 5:00 CST. Their toll free customer service number is 1-877-431-4487.

The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

Baseball Tips on Hitting - Hitting the Ball to the Opposite Field

Hurricane Hitting Machine - Derek Jeter Series

By Larry Cicchiello

By now, we've all heard the expression, "hit it where it's pitched." It's very frustrating for a pitcher when he throws a perfect low and away strike and the batter hits the ball the opposite way for a hit. Most pitchers will make a mental note of it and know how well schooled the hitter is. Low and away strikes are almost always a pitcher's bread and butter and the very smart hitters will learn how to take some of the effectiveness of the low and away strike away from the pitcher. It's pretty much a baseball fact of life that if a hitter tries to pull everything, his batting average will suffer. It's also a baseball fact of life that hitters who hit effectively to the opposite field have a strong tendency to hit for higher batting averages.

When Hitting To The Opposite Field. The first order of the day is to avoid the common baseball hitting mistake of letting up on your swing. Many hitters will not swing as hard when going the opposite way. Their swing quite often loses its aggressiveness and this should be avoided. The hitter should attack the ball in the same manner as if it were a very hittable pitch that's belt high and over the middle of the plate. When you are trying to hit the ball to the opposite field, preferably you want the pitch over the outside part of the plate. The angle of the bat should be facing toward the opposite field. One of the best baseball tips on hitting to the opposite field is that you make contact with the ball deeper in the hitting zone. Contrary to what some may believe, you use the same exact swing that you always use. The only difference is you hit the ball when it is closer to the catcher.

Pitchers are not thrilled with hitters who use all fields and can efficiently hit the ball to the opposite field. As a hitter, you don't want pitchers to be thrilled when you are at bat. Just remember to attack the ball with the same aggressiveness, have your bat angled toward the opposite field and let the pitch travel and get a little closer to the catcher. There is a serious link between hitters who can do this and higher batting averages. It is not a coincidence.

Larry Cicchiello is the author of several very informative baseball coaching books. All of his editions are included in "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." He is unique in that his site offers visitors several FREE TIPS that are straight from his books. Baseball tips on hitting, baseball pitching tips, baseball fielding tips, baseball base running tips, baseball coaching drills and more. Your baseball coaching "help desk" will be open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Larry invites you to check out his FREE TIPS. You will be FULLY EQUIPPED as a manager, coach, player at any level or a parent who wants to help their child improve or overcome any baseball struggles.

You can visit his website at http://www.larrybaseball.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_Cicchiello

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If you are looking for great coaching articles, please consider one of our sites: The BaseballCoachingDigest.com, the YouthBaseballDigest.com or the BaseballParentGuide.com. Have a safe and happy season! Nick Dixon

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Coaching Youth Baseball Pitchers - 4 Common Pitching Flaws That Should Be Corrected Immediately



By Nick Dixon


Young pitchers need frequent practice. I recommend that they throw to a catcher or at a pitching target daily. The number of throws should be limited to prevent "overuse" or fatigue, but the daily practice allows young pitchers to develop muscle memory, confidence, and pitch control. A throwing session may be only 15 to 20 pitches at speeds. The point is that daily practice allows players to improve daily and it also allows the coach to observe and see any bad habits or flaws that a young pitcher may have "picked up".

There are 4 Common Pitching Flaws of Young baseball Pitchers that a coach should identify quickly and correct. The 4 flaws that are the most common are (1)Not Seeing The Target, (2)Landing on the Heel, (3)Throwing Across the Body, and (4)Poor Follow-Through and Finish. Here is a brief description of each of these flaws and a coaching point related to each.

1. NOT SEEING THE TARGET -Many beginning pitchers have tendency to look down and pick up the target to late in the delivery. Their eyes wander and they often have trouble hitting their spots. Young pitchers should see the target or "mitt" from the start of the delivery until they finish their delivery. Young pitchers often do not concentrate on the specific pitch target during delivery.

Coaching Point - Make sure that the young pitcher always looks at the catcher's mitt. It is equally important that the catcher give the pitcher a "low target". It is important to keep the ball done in the strike zone. The more the pitcher gets the ball up, the more chances the opponents will have of hitting the ball with power.

2. LANDING ON THE HEEL - The stride foot of the pitcher should land softly and with onto the "ball" of the foot. Many young pitchers tend to "over-stride" which requires them to land on the heel of the front foot. Landing on the heel of the stride foot will cause control problems and accelerate fatigue. The pitcher should land softly on the "ball" of the stride foot. Landing on the front half of the stride foot reduces the "landing impact" on body thus helping to improve body control and pitch control. Control the body; control the pitch! Landing on the front heel with a stiff front leg tends to "pole vault" the pitcher onto the front leg. This action can cause serious control problems. The pitchers front leg must bend to prevent this problem from occurring.

Coaching Point - Consistency is the number one friend of the pitcher. It is important that the pitcher uses the same stride length, the same arm slot, the same lower body motion, and the same stride foot action. If a pitcher normally has great control, the first thing a coach should always check is the front foot landing action. If the front foot is landing properly, look for other problems that may be causing the lack of control.

3. THROWING ACROSS THE BODY - This is caused when the pitcher strides too "closed" to allow a smooth delivery and follow through. The pitcher must throw across the body causing a "front hip lock" that prevents proper and adequate front hip movement and rotation. The pitcher should stride into "center zone" toward the plate to prevent this flaw.

Coaching Point - It is important that coaches closely observe where the pitchers stride foot is landing. The foot should land on or close to what would be a straight line directly from where the pitchers foot lifts from to target. The front foot's toe should be slightly closed.

4. POOR FOLLOW-THROUGH - The pitcher should finish low with a bent back and slightly bent front leg. The pitcher should strive to finish with the throwing arm outside of the knee and chest over thigh. The emphasis should be on achieving a smooth and proper follow through on every pitch.

Coaching Point - The proper finish is a low finish with the back foot lifting higher than the pitcher's head. The pitcher's throwing arm elbow should finish the pitch outside and below the knee on the pitcher's stride leg. The common saying that you hear coaches say is "bend your back" and "follow through". These two actions are simultaneous and they are both correct.

Visit BaseballCoachingDigest.com for a great selection of Baseball Coaching and Training Articles. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon
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---BatAction Machine at CoachesBest.com
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Baseball Hitting Drills For the Stride





In our Hitting System, we practice striding during the following batting practice sequence:


• Soft body, no stride, full take • Load and Stride - Take • Load - Stride - Pivot


Isolating these three activities by themselves can be performed alone at home without a pitched ball, or during batting practice, like in our Hitting Agenda and Tempo Drills. This builds the stride to the point where it is constant. Here are the rules for the best stride:


• The stride travels only 6 inches. • The stride lands on the ball of the foot • The stride goes directly ahead and in the same place each time. • The stride begins on pitchers release. • The hands stay home near the back shoulder during the stride and are not released to make the bat contact the ball until after the pivot (rotation of the hips).


Another coaching point: The stride should be initiated in the large muscle mass of the hips. In other words, it is a slight linear push of the hips toward the ball. The front foot merely follows this push, landing on the ball of the foot. When the front heel goes down, this keys the turn of the hips and the weight transfer.


When facing a pitcher with above average velocity, a baseball player must be quick in the hips and rotate accordingly... having the ability to clear his mid section and allow his hands to get out in front makes for better contact with the ball. The stride plays a vital role in developing from linear to rotation for a sinker or four seam fastball for weight through the ball.
Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and baseball hitting tips to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average. http://www.learnbaseballhitting.com/.

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Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine
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Non-Stop Explosive Power - The Absolute Best Strength Workout For Speed!

By Brandon Richey

Explosive power and superior speed can be developed with the implementation of kettlebell swings and snatches! That's right, swings and snatches are tremendous lifts that can be performed with kettlebells in order to help you to develop superior strength and tremendous athletic speed. By now you may be familiar with the ancient kettlebell and realize that this is one tool that is sure to enhance your personal strength and speed training workouts.

The kettlebell is an ancient strength and conditioning device that has been around for over three centuries. This single device has been utilized by the world's greatest athletes and strongmen to forge their bodies into to the mold of athletic masterpieces. You see the key to kettlebell training is that it is movement based in nature rather than being a form of training that concentrates on training specific muscle groups. By learning to manipulate body movements against the resistance of the kettlebell you stand to develop superior explosive strength and power which is necessary for the development of your speed and athleticism. Two of the best strength endurance lifts that you can implement with the kettlebell are swings and snatches. Both lifts are certainly very dynamic and incorporate the use of your hips and core to generate the necessary force to lift the bell. Both of these kettlebell lifts utilize hundreds of your muscles at once giving you a total body workout that is more intense than anything you have ever tried. Both lifts help you develop superior core strength, hip power, and shoulder stability in order to prepare you for any athletic task that lies ahead. You see by implementing the movements such as the swings and snatches you stimulate your body's nervous system causing your body to react quicker by forcing your muscles to contract quicker and more forcefully. This is the key to a successful speed workout.

If you are serious about learning more about kettlebell training and what it does for your body then you have got to take the time to learn about how to execute the swings and snatches for your own program. I will make it easy for you by inviting you to access the rest of my articles on this topic for free. Start improving your speed and power development today. Remember that anyone can train hard, but only champions train smart my friend!

To learn more about how to utilize your body, Kettlebells, and to achieve Mind Blowing fitness get your copy of My "Better Than Steroids Ebook" by clicking here: http://www.betterthansteroidsebook.com/
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Minimizing Head Movement and the Rotational Swing

By Andy Pohl

By minimizing forward linear movement, the hitter is able to keep the upper body still, mainly the head. This allows the hitter to see the pitch better, which in turn, increases his/her ability to make consistent contact. While it is hard enough to hit any moving object, it is much harder to hit that moving object while moving too. Keeping the head still enables the hitter to see the plane of the pitch more accurately. Remember, hitting is sight oriented. No matter how good one's mechanics are, nobody, not even Ted Williams, could hit blindfolded.

The head must stay in the center of body throughout the entire swing. During the load, the head remains in the center of the body, even as the lower body shifts back. Along the same lines, the head stays in the center of the body during the stride, even though weight is shifting back to the front side. During the swing itself, the head remains in the center of the body, even as the player rotates through the baseball. In other words, while the body is moving in a linear and rotational direction, the head remains in the same spot - in the center!

It is essential to understand that from a biomechanical standpoint, maximum power is achieved through rotational movement. In order to achieve maximum power, hitters need to keep their weight back and rotate through the ball, rather than move in a linear motion from the back knee to the front knee and hit the ball off the front foot. With a few exceptions, all of the great hitters today are rotational hitters. At contact point, their head is directly in line with their rear knee. In addition, the belly button is always in front of the chin at contact point, further illustrating the stillness of the head and the rotational approach great hitters take as their hands enter the hitting zone.

Andy Pohl - Co-Founder, DNA Sports

DNA Sports specializes in personalized baseball and softball skill programs, college recruiting education and preparation, and coaching clinics. Learn more: http://www.dnasportsonline.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andy_Pohl

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Productive Outs at the Plate



By Larry Cicchiello

Sometimes it's a little thing that helps win a ballgame. It's not always what makes the headlines in the newspapers or something that draws the most attention. "Productive outs" definitely fit into the category of little things that aren't so little at all.

I think it's a truly great at bat when an important run is on third base with less than two outs and the batter hits a very weak six-hopper to the second baseman and the much needed run scores. If the infield is playing fairly deep with a very important runner on third base, just focus on contact. If you can put the ball on the ground it's usually enough to get the run in. If it turns into a hit, that's better yet. The main objective is that you put the ball in play. You must make contact and not give the pitcher the all important strike out that he desperately needs.

Another productive out is when an important runner is on second base and is advanced to third base with a grounder on the right side of the infield with no outs. Productive outs are especially important to teams that play lots of close, low scoring ball games because they may very well have to "scratch and claw" to get runs.

To Be Clear On A Couple Of Things:

Hitters in the heart of the batting order. They very seldom should be looking to make productive outs. I didn't say never. I said very seldom. For example, with no outs, they should not be trying to advance the runner from second base to third base and give themselves up for the first out of the inning. That's the same as if they're saying, "here, someone else take the responsibility to knock in the run, not me." The better hitters should not give themselves up and should not leave it up to other hitters to drive in the runs.

When trailing by several runs. If your team is trailing by several runs late in the game and you ground out with no outs and have your runner go from second base to third base, there is nothing productive about that at all. The same holds true with a runner on third base with no outs or one out and you are trailing in the game by several runs. If you ground out and the run scores, there isn't anything productive about that at bat either. The other team got the out that they wanted.

Make sure productive outs are true productive outs and not counter productive outs!

Larry Cicchiello is the author of "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." His very user friendly eBooks cover 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY players, coaches or parents who want to help their child improve will be fully equipped! Some FREE tips are available at http://www.LarryBaseball.com/product/all

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_Cicchiello

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Baseball Coaching Digest - What Are the 12 Most Common Ways That Pitchers Commit a Balk in Baseball?

How to Turn Good Practice Hitters Into Game Hitters

HandsBackHitter.com - Excellent Baseball Batting Trainer for Advanced Hitters.

One of the most repeated comments from parents of my students was, "They kill the ball in practice, but not in games." There are a lot of "5 o'clock" (batting practice) hitters, as opposed to "7:30 " (game) hitters. This is one of the most perplexing situations of baseball for parents, players and coaches.
Hitters, who absolutely pound the ball in batting practice and then fail to hit during games, create much frustration and even drive some to give up playing baseball. There are a number of reasons why hitters hit in batting practice but not in games including the lack of fear or nervousness that may exist in games. Players often tense up in a game, which throws their focus off.

Usually however, there are two main reasons why hitters hit in practice but not in games.

1. Their swing fundamentals are not as good as they appear. Often, it appears to the untrained eye that hitters have great swings but in reality their swings have some fundamental flaws.

2. The hitters are not being challenged enough in practice. Coaches have good intentions in batting practice of building their hitters' confidence by laying the ball in the strike zone at hittable speeds. However, if the batting practice is not game like with different speeds and different pitches, it does not necessarily benefit hitters and they only gain false confidence.

What can be done to help hitters become good game hitters?

1. Coaches should continue to give players hitting drills that address their fundamental, problem areas. Once the season starts, hitters often stop the fundamental drill work that they did in preseason. Tee work and soft toss work keep players focused on contact points and mechanics and should be continues throughout the season. They are essential for hitters to stay sharp.
2. Coaches should have a trained hitting coach observe the struggling hitters and make suggestions how to help their fundamentals. Often, just one little fundamental tip can lead to much more success.
3. Putting hitters in game like situations as often as possible in practice is good. Hitters will begin to develop game confidence and the feeling like they "have been there before" when in actual games.

4. Coaches should challenge hitters in batting practice with game like speeds and with changing speeds (age appropriate, of course). Hitters often adjust on their own, without fundamental help, when they are challenged enough. Coaches should not allow total frustration to appear in hitters by over-challenging them, though.

5. Of course, patience and encouragement with struggling game hitters is always necessary. Coaching statements like "you can do it" and "I believe in you" are great confidence builders and confidence is very important for hitters.

Finally, coaches should not give up on struggling players because "any hitter willing to listen, learn and practice is not beyond hope." I have known many hitters who became very good game hitters after years of struggle because players stayed committed to practice and coaches remained positive and encouraging towards them.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball playing lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his positive parenting advice and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com/
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Today's Feature Article:

Baseball Swing Secrets to Learning the Right Mechanics Quickly!

By Joey Myers

The perfect baseball swing is like poetry in motion...watching Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriquez, or Manny Ramirez hit leaves anyone with an awe that is indescribable. They've taken hundreds of thousands of cuts to create such a beautiful swing with such devastating impact on pitchers.

But, do you really have that kind of time with:


The new season coming up?
A big tournament being a week from now? or maybe you
Have to get ready for a big scouting showcase?

What you need is to SUPER-learn the baseball swing, like, yesterday!

Well, this article will go into what it's going to take to do just that. Doing the following will not make your swing perfect , it never will be, but you'll be able to take the information from the Smart Hitting Tips tab on the navigation bar, do what's prescribed here, and have a helluva showing.

Most of the following tips are hard rooted in research based on state-of-the-art Neuroscience and Exercise Science practice & theory...

This isn't a get hits quick scheme either, and will take A LOT of work, 2,000+ reps a week to be exact, but you'll train your brain and body to harmonize, building to successful baseball swing execution.

Ready?? Hold your horses...First,

You must create a time-line...when do you want to accomplish this? In a week (recommended, at least)? or 2? A month? Decide that first, then move on to the following Steps...

STEP 1: Make Small Circles

Start off slow with one concept, two at most, a day and breakdown each and every movement by going in extremely slow motion. You're brain is like a record...the more you do a movement, the more the needle wears the grooves on the surface of the vinyl... the more reps you do, the deeper and more solid the grooves.

Be careful because it can also work against you, by doing the movement wrong, so start off slow the right way, then speed up.

STEP 2: Balancing Act

Using the Balance & Reach Drill a foot or two off the ground will cause your brain to engage more muscles to stabilize the whole body, and the more you engage the Central Nervous System, the more muscles get recruited, and the faster your body picks up the technique.

Also, doing regular swings on an unstable surface, like on a narrow cushiony weight bench, diving board, exercise bose ball, or with eyes closed, the better off you'll be in record time.

STEP 3: Reps Before Bed

Studies have shown going through the motions before bedtime helps to burn them into your brain better. It has to do with the Four Stages of REM Sleep ...major repairs, both physically and cerebrally, go on in the 3rd and 4th Stages of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. If you don't get to the last two stages, then your body doesn't repair itself, which leads us to the next Step...

STEP 4: Set Alarm for 4.5 Hours

In order to speed up the learning process for developing an effective baseball swing, you have to take advantage of two sets of REM sleep. Do your swing repetitions before bed, set your alarm clock for 4.5 hours, wake up and do more reps, then finish off your sleep or the next REM cycle.

What this does is complete one cycle of REM (all 4 stages), then reset your body (by waking up) for another round, deepening those grooves in the brain. By doing this you're 50% more likely to make "stick" the desired technique.

All this can be possible if you...

STEP 5: Do NOT Eat Carbohydrates Past 6pm

Eating enough Carbs to spike your insulin, anytime past 6pm will keep you from getting to Stage 3 & 4 of REM sleep. Our natural occurring human growth hormones (HGH) get released in those stages of sleep ONLY, to repair the body. To allow that to happen, we have to chill out on the Carbs after hours.

And most importantly for your baseball swing, not only will you not repair and heal, but learning is dampened and your immune system crashes.

Last but not least,

STEP 6: Hyper-Computing for Cadence

Once we get a handle on all of the above baseball swing hyper-learning points, now we can speed up our micro processors. By doing this, we train the Central Nervous system by speeding up our motion to get the proper tempo or cadence.

Key point: do NOT attempt this until you have a solid handle on the proper form and movement first.

Speeding up the process of a particular part of the swing helps to deepen the specific movement groove in the brain, so when you engage the correct tempo, the movement is more natural.

You have to exaggerate a technique (in this case, speeding up the cadence), to get the right motion.

This is also great training for combating fast tempo pitchers, who when you step in the batter's box and look up, the pitch is already on its way.

The bottom line about HYPER-learning the baseball swing?

For these 6 Steps to be effective, you have to take between 1,200 to 2,000 repetitions a week...the RIGHT reps. Remember, wearing grooves in your brain can work for OR against you. Keep in mind, with that amount of swings in a small time-frame, you're going to develop blisters and sore muscles. Try and work through them, but if it comes to the sacrifice of good form, then stop, let them heal, and get back on the horse.

To Hyper-Heal sore muscles, do what the Soviet athletes did in the 80-90's, ice the sore spots for 5 minutes, then plunge into a hot bath or spa for 15 minutes, and repeat the process a couple times. This sequence also helps your body release melatonin, which will aid in putting you to sleep.

For blisters, drain them, but don't cut away the whole dead skin blister layer for a couple days...put antibiotic ointment between the dead and raw skin, and cover with a band-aid & athletic tape. They also have blister spray skin toughener, which you may want to look into...it burns like hell for a moment, but makes it so you can hit again with virtually no pain.

We hope you enjoyed this baseball swing article, remember we're always adding content, so please subscribe to the RSS feed, blog, and/or The Dugout Newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest baseball hitting information.

My name is Joey Myers, and I played 18 total years of baseball finishing my career after my fourth year of college (2000-2003) as a Fresno State Bulldog (the 2008 College World Series Champions). I'm very grateful for the success I had at Bullard High School, and getting a scholarship to play at a Division I university, Fresno State, where I started 110 out of the 178 games I played, in the outfield. Now I devote most of my life to baseball swing coaching and personal fitness training. My websites are http://www.swing-smarter-baseball-hitting-drills.com/ and http://www.corecreationsonline.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joey_Myers

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How to Analyze a Baseball Swing

By Jack Perconte

Many people who have a basic knowledge of baseball can look at an inexperienced hitter and figure out what they are doing wrong. Certain things like stepping out, over-striding, swinging early or late, upper cutting, pulling off the ball and taking their eye off the ball are fairly obvious flaws. The solutions to these problems are not as obvious, and certainly not as simple as just telling the hitter what they are doing wrong. Muscle memory can be very tough to change and it is important for hitters and adults to have patience with players who are trying to make changes to their muscle memory. However, I am getting ahead of myself. The swing cannot be fixed until it has been analyzed correctly. Analyzing a swing when the flaws are not as obvious takes a much more experienced coach.

Following are pointers for coaches who are not as experienced to know what to look for when analyzing a baseball swing:

1. The best angle to watch a hitter is the side angle, as from the on deck circle.

2. The main thing to watch from this angle is the path of the bat barrel.

3. The ideal is when the bat barrel settles above the hitter's rear shoulder with the knob of the bat pointing down just as the front foot lands with the stride. A slight tilt of the bat barrel where it settles anywhere between 11 and 1 o'clock is best.

4. From this settled position, the ideal is to see the hands and barrel begin on a downward path towards the ball, while never traveling too far from the hitters head on the path to the ball. This is known as a compact swing.

5. The swing is begun by a break of the back knee allowing the hips to open, and with a pull of the lead hand.

6. The bat barrel starts on a downward path but will begin to level off quite quickly, especially on the lower pitches. As the back knee rotates towards the ball, the back elbow lowers and remains very close to the body on the initial portion of the swing. This prevents the hands from casting away from the body, another common flaw of young hitters.

7. This leveling off is accomplished by the hands forming a palm-up (top hand) and palm-down (lower hand) position before and after contact. The hands will end at about the same level they began the swing, at shoulder level height.

8. After leveling off, good hitters will keep the bat mostly level for an extended period until well after contact when it will begin an upward path till finishing behind the back.

9. As the bat barrel comes through, the hitter's hips have completely opened with the belly button facing the pitcher.

10. The area between the legs should form a capital A at contact, with the hitters head located above the rear hip.

11. The rear foot has pivoted towards the pitcher as the weight has shifted from the rear leg towards the front foot, and the hitter will finish up on his back toe.

12. All of this is ideally done with the hitters head and eyes tracking the ball all the way till contact.

Often, it takes a great deal of observation of the baseball swing to pick up on these little intricacies of the swing. These actions of the swing happen very quickly. Picturing an airplane landing is a good mind illustration that describes the bat barrel swing path. As mentioned, paying close attention to the path of the bat barrel is the key to analyzing the swing. Watching video of good hitters, especially in slow motion, can be very helpful in learning to analyze the baseball swing. Good swings involve excellent balance, even though there is an explosive opening of the hips and an aggressive "throw" of the hands. In all my years of teaching hitting, I found that if I could correct the hitter's bat path, the rest of their problems began to disappear or were much easier to correct.

After watching a hitter from the side angle, it is beneficial to analyze the swing from the angle of the pitcher or directly behind the hitter. From these angles it is easier to notice the hitter's front side, mainly the stride direction and front shoulder. It is important that the hitters stride is towards the pitcher and that their front shoulder stays pointed at the ball until the swing begins; when the front shoulder will start its rotation open.

Obviously, there is a great deal to the swing, as this just covers the basics. I guess it explains why I needed 200 pages to discuss all the aspects of hitting and "teaching hitting" in my book.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball. Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

=====================

If you are looking for great coaching articles, please consider one of our sites: The BaseballCoachingDigest.com, the YouthBaseballDigest.com or the BaseballParentGuide.com. Have a safe and happy season! Nick Dixon

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Simple Assessment of the 5-Tool Player


By Connor R Sullivan

In high-school baseball, discovering a 5-tool player doesn't happen every season. Well-rounded players are few and far between. A good batter practices hitting drills daily. Maybe he watches an instructional hitting DVD. A good infielder takes grounders everyday. A talented outfielder works on his throwing accuracy. A great base runner studies the moves of opposing pitchers. Although every ball player is different, and possesses varying strengths and weaknesses, every 5-tool player has a few things in common.

One trait that all 5-tool players have is versatility. Remember that kid in grade school who, during a pick-up game, was all over the field, catching every ball? He threw out every runner at any base. He batted the ball hard every time he came to the plate, usually for a home-run. He could do it all. This is basically the very definition of a 5-tool player. His versatility is evident because his skills are obvious. He is the rare player a coach can put into any position at any point in a ball game. His batting skills are valuable, whether it's a situation where power is needed, or simply a make -contact opportunity. His speed can help a team, whether with a stolen base, or tracking down a ball in the outfield. The 5-tool player can be the MVP of any team. At least, that is, if he is coach-able. This leads to another point about well-rounded ball players.

Every developed 5-tool player has access to good instruction. Most truly gifted athletes have a God-given ability. They are just naturally good at their sport. Usually, when they are young, they will take an interest in a particular area, sometimes several areas, and that is where they typically excel. At some point though, every young player needs the instruction of a good coach. A coach can be just the one to fine- tune a players skills. He can take the raw talent and develop that talent through a trained eye and through a mature outlook. The input of a coach can help a player with skill specific improvements, or can help a player in areas which are not directly related to the sport he plays. Such things as self-confidence, self-control, and the ability to be a good leader are all things a coach can model for his player.

A third area where a 5-tool player shines above his peers is in his strong work ethic. It can be tempting, especially for a high-school ball player, to rest on his reputation of being a star. Those athletes who find success for the long term are those athletes who put in the long hours of practice. The mentality of the hard worker will serve him well in his athletic career. Even the best players are capable of slumps. But the disciplined player will be in a good position to overcome. He will run out every ground ball. He will watch hours of tape. He will take extra batting practice. Also, even the best players can succumb to injury. If an injury does occur, the player with the disciplined routine will be very successful with a rehabilitation regimen. Not only is a strong work ethic important in the physical sense, but mentally as well. The player who is both mentally and physically disciplined will be a great asset to a team.

Connor R. Sullivan ordered copies of a
hitting DVD to help some of the junior the kids on his baseball team. He also set up hitting drills to help them practice.

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The Five Elements of the Major League Little League Baseball Swing

By Nick Dixon

There is nothing more beautiful in sports than when a "major league" swing whether it be at the tee ball, little league, high school, college or Major League Baseball level of play. A "major league" swing is what I consider to be a perfectly executed swing. There is nothing more beautiful in sports than when you see a baseball batter, at any level, executes the perfect swing, and drive a line drive into one of the outfield gaps.

What makes a little league baseball swing become a "major league" swing? What are the 5 elements of the perfect baseball swing? The answer to that question is simple. The batter must have batting skill, good bat speed, a good eye for the baseball, perfect timing and a proper approach to hitting. Here I discuss all five of these basic elements and how each is improved:

The five basic elements of the "Major League" Little League Swing are:

1. Batting Skill - There is only one way to improve batting skill. That is making sure that the batter takes a high number of practice swings daily or at least 3 times a week year round. The younger the batter begins this practice routine, the batter. It is crucial to batting skill development that the batter receives proper instruction as to proper hitting mechanics.

2. Bat Speed - The grip must be perfect with the fingers aligned and the bat handle gripped in the fingers and not deep in the palm. The batter must have adequate strength to get the bat speed generated. The absolute best way to improve hand and arm strength is do finger pushups, weight roll ups with the arms extended and wrist curls with the arms on a bench.

3. Good Eye for the Ball - There are two things involved in having a good batting eye at the plate. First the batter must learn the strike zone and be able to determine quickly whether a pitch is a in the strike zone or out of it. The other thing that makes the eyes of the batter an asset at the plate, is when the batter has the ability to pitch the ball up very quickly as it is released from the hand of the pitcher. The batter must learn to identify pitches, the spin on the ball, the pitchers arm slot, and the pitchers release point. There are many drills that can help a better have a better eye. One such drill is a "tracking" drill in which the batter stands in while a pitcher throws his bull pen. The batter verbally calls out the type of pitch and its location. The batter will call the pitch in this order...strike, fastball, in or ball, curve ball, off the plate away.

4. Proper Timing - Good timing is something that all great hitters possess. They know when to load and when to launch. They are never late on the fastball. They are never early on the off speed pitch. They know exactly when to attack the pitch based on where the pitch is located. The always attack the inside fastball early. They always attack the fastball down the middle when it gets over the plate. And most important of all, they attack the off-speed pitch late when it gets just inside the back foot. One of the best drills to develop timing is the do a front long toss drill. The pitcher should vary locations, speed and pitch types.

5. Proper Approach - Having a good approach at the plate is a process that involves two aspects of mental concentration.

One part of having an approach is to know what your team needs from your at bat.This is known before the batter walks up to the plate. For example, if the team needs a deep fly ball, the batter looks for a pitch up. If the team needs a ball hit behind a runner, the batter will look for a pitch to hit the other way.

The other part of having an approach is the batter executing the perfect timed swing for the pitch thrown. The batter turns on the fastball in or the batter stays back and hits the curve ball to the opposite field.

The best way to develop a good approach at the plate is to have situational batting practice sessions. The batter takes batting practice swings under simulated situations specified by the coach. The batter practices hitting with the coach calling different numbers of out, different base runner locations or different offensive plays be run.

I hope that you found this article to be interesting and informative. I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Have a great day. Nick

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

To Swing Or Not To Swing


By Joe Brockhoff

Visualize a bat swinging. The club head is moving and arcing as it approaches the ball for contact. This is what most people visualize when they think about "swinging". However, swinging is just not a good idea. It doesn't allow for the hitter to have the best chance for maximum contact.

So, whether coaching youth baseball or older, here's one of our baseball coaching tips: A better idea to teach would be-no arcing or swinging the bat to make contact with the ball. But rather, DRIVE the bat in a straight line to make contact.

In simple words, we do not swing the bat to hit the ball! We should DRIVE the bat to the ball in a straight line to get contact with the ball. We get contact, and then the bat swings! The bat should never arc until after contact. So a better explanation of a pro-type action is that the batter doesn't swing the bat, HE STROKES IT.

The hitter who uses this stroke, which we refer to as the "pro-stroke", sends the bat in a straight line to contact the ball producing better contact and distance.

You might say..."I've seen major leaguers start with their hands away from their bodies. So it must be good".

And the answer to that is -"Major leaguers make an adjustment. Before they direct the bat towards the pitch, they will pull their hands back to their bodies in the shoulder area. We usually don't see this, because it happens so quickly. But research shows that is exactly what they do."

This is what we call the "PRO STROKE" It is outlined in 8 Hitting steps, which we call The Super 8 Hitting System. Those 8 steps are: Stance, Coil, Stride, Drive, Contact, Extend, Extend Again, and Finish.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average. http://www.LearnBaseballHitting.com/lcp.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joe_Brockhoff


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How to Develop a Compact Baseball Swing


AdvancedSkillsTee.com

By Jack Perconte

All major league hitters have compact swings. They could not get to that level without one. What separates hitters at this level is their degree of bat quickness and bat speed. Bat quickness determines how quick they can get the bat to the ball once they decide to swing. This is one of the ingredients needed for being able to wait on the pitch as long as possible and for making contact. Bat speed determines the amount of power that a hitter will produce if solid contact is made when the ball is hit. Once again though, all major league hitters have compact baseball swings. This is vital in order to hit the speeds that major league players face.

You might ask, "If they all have compact swings, why do some strike out so much?" There are three reasons for that and one was mentioned, bat quickness. A compact swing does not guarantee a quick bat. Two, some players put more tilt in their upper body with their swing. When players collapse their back side creating un-level hips, they create more up-swing, leading to greater lift on the ball, but more misses too. Three, some players simply have better hand-eye coordination.

Developing a compact swing should be the goal of young baseball hitters too. This will be necessary if they wish to consistently hit as they move up the baseball ladder.

First, a definition of a compact swing is necessary. Compactness implies a short, tight area and this would define a good baseball swing. A compact baseball swing is one in which the bat barrel goes from hitting position (above hitter's rear shoulder) directly to the ball as the hands descend into a palm-up, palm-down position approaching the strike zone. The bat barrel stays relatively close to the hitter's head on the way to the ball, without taking a detour to the contact area. Why is this so necessary? The more compact the swings, the longer hitters can wait on the ball which is a huge advantage when making decisions on different speed pitches.

Following are the drills that will lead to a compact baseball swing, giving ballplayers the best chance of having baseball hitting success:

1. Place a pad under the hitters lead arm and take some swings without the pad falling out till the follow through. Hitters will develop strong quick hands and forearms with this drill and not a long arm swing.

2. Have hitters stand belly button away from a net and take swings with the edge of bat just grazing the net with a full, fast turn. This will force hitters to keep the hands close to body to avoid casting the bat.

3. Have hitter stand with net close behind them (toward catcher) and take swings missing net on way toward ball. This drill is best done with no stride and will not allow hitters to drop the bat barrel

4. Set a batting tee hip high and even height with hitter's rear hip. Hitters take swings while missing the tee and hitting balls at any level, even knee high - best done with dropped ball drill or soft toss flipped balls.

5. Dropped ball drill - coach holds ball up in air and drops ball into the hitter's strike zone after the hitter takes their stride. A compact swing is necessary to make solid, consistent contact.

6. Alternate fast and slow pitches until hitters learn to have the same quick swing on all pitches - when players make good contact on both speeds while hitting balls in the direction of where the pitch is located is the goal.

Finally, hitters can perform a few of these drills in combination with the other drills to challenge them further. For example, combining the glove under lead arm (# 1) and the dropped ball drill (#5) with the tee hip high(#4) at the same time can be done.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball.
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte
============
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Shop CoachesBest.com for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at HurricaneTrainer.com.

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at BatAction.com. Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to HandsBackHitter.com.

Players develop incredible bat speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at QuickSwingTrainer.com. See the world’s most advanced batting tee at AdvancedSkillsTee.com.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

College Baseball Recruiting - An Interview With a Junior College Baseball Team Coach

By John Riedling

What is the most important factor other then athletic ability that will determine your interest in a high school baseball player?

First of all, I am looking for a player who wants to play for my team at my school. The student should show a clear interest in playing here, specifically, at my college. They have to want to come to this institution. And the reason for this is that I don't want my players to transfer to another school after playing only one season. Yes, we do lose some players every year to the professional draft but that comes with the territory. The ability to qualify for the professional draft at any time is one of the main reasons that we are able to attract the high level of talented players that we do.

What is something that you have seen high school players overlook in the past when trying to get recruited at college baseball teams?

One very important thing that I see too many high school students not doing is the proper research. And by research I mean that the students need to research the team rosters of the schools they are applying to very carefully. Because the bottom line is that if a coach already has a great freshman and sophomore shortstop, for example, and you are shortstop trying to get recruited to his team your chances of success of greatly diminished. You may be a great shortstop but if my team doesn't need a shortstop you will be overlooked for another player who fits into our roster. The one position on the team that is an exception, of course, is the pitcher. We are always recruiting pitchers. We have ten to twelve pitchers on the roster. High school players need to be thinking about finding a college team that will be a good fit for them and think less about the prestige of the team. They need to research the team and the school very closely.

What are some other factors outside of pure athletic ability that you look for in new recruits for your team?

I look for good character. I actually ask around. I will call a student's high school and ask him about the character of the player before I make my recruiting decision. I will also speak to his other team mates. I want to find out what kind of reputation this person has because I am concerned about how his character will affect the overall quality of my team. Trust is a major factor. I have to know that this person will be trustworthy. There are three red flags that will immediately disqualify someone from being recruited to my team: lying, stealing and drugs. I will not tolerate either of those three things. Trust is major issue. Our players spend a lot of time in dug outs and traveling to other cities where we simply can't have someone is might be stealing from other players in those situations.

What is one, often overlooked, piece of advice that you could give to a high school students who are narrowing their search for a college baseball program?

Take a look at the junior colleges and smaller schools. If you are really serious about continuing your baseball career then you need to be considering the junior colleges. All too many times I see talented players get recruited at the big division I schools and then spend the next two years on the bench. When you are sitting on the bench you are not playing and you are not improving. Unfortunately, I have seen situations where a player will see very little game time during their first two years and then get "recruited over" by a new recruit who spent the last two years playing and practicing at a junior college. Many people don't realize that the top 5 or 6 junior college baseball teams in the country can compete with any division I program. At a junior college you are going to get more play time, you can get recruited every year and you generally receive the same education for the first two years as any other college or university. If you want to play professional ball but are playing for a division I school you won't be allowed to be recruited for three years. If you are playing at a junior college, in those same three years, you have three separate opportunities to get recruited.

If you are truly serious about playing college baseball and you want to know exactly, step by step, how to get recruited at the college baseball team of your choice then you must read my Grand Slam Guide [http://www.nlprospects.com/grand-slam-college-baseball.html] to College Baseball Scholarships and Recruiting.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Riedling

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College Baseball Recruiting - An Interview With a Junior College Baseball Team Coach

By John Riedling

What is the most important factor other then athletic ability that will determine your interest in a high school baseball player?

First of all, I am looking for a player who wants to play for my team at my school. The student should show a clear interest in playing here, specifically, at my college. They have to want to come to this institution. And the reason for this is that I don't want my players to transfer to another school after playing only one season. Yes, we do lose some players every year to the professional draft but that comes with the territory. The ability to qualify for the professional draft at any time is one of the main reasons that we are able to attract the high level of talented players that we do.

What is something that you have seen high school players overlook in the past when trying to get recruited at college baseball teams?

One very important thing that I see too many high school students not doing is the proper research. And by research I mean that the students need to research the team rosters of the schools they are applying to very carefully. Because the bottom line is that if a coach already has a great freshman and sophomore shortstop, for example, and you are shortstop trying to get recruited to his team your chances of success of greatly diminished. You may be a great shortstop but if my team doesn't need a shortstop you will be overlooked for another player who fits into our roster. The one position on the team that is an exception, of course, is the pitcher. We are always recruiting pitchers. We have ten to twelve pitchers on the roster. High school players need to be thinking about finding a college team that will be a good fit for them and think less about the prestige of the team. They need to research the team and the school very closely.

What are some other factors outside of pure athletic ability that you look for in new recruits for your team?

I look for good character. I actually ask around. I will call a student's high school and ask him about the character of the player before I make my recruiting decision. I will also speak to his other team mates. I want to find out what kind of reputation this person has because I am concerned about how his character will affect the overall quality of my team. Trust is a major factor. I have to know that this person will be trustworthy. There are three red flags that will immediately disqualify someone from being recruited to my team: lying, stealing and drugs. I will not tolerate either of those three things. Trust is major issue. Our players spend a lot of time in dug outs and traveling to other cities where we simply can't have someone is might be stealing from other players in those situations.

What is one, often overlooked, piece of advice that you could give to a high school students who are narrowing their search for a college baseball program?

Take a look at the junior colleges and smaller schools. If you are really serious about continuing your baseball career then you need to be considering the junior colleges. All too many times I see talented players get recruited at the big division I schools and then spend the next two years on the bench. When you are sitting on the bench you are not playing and you are not improving. Unfortunately, I have seen situations where a player will see very little game time during their first two years and then get "recruited over" by a new recruit who spent the last two years playing and practicing at a junior college. Many people don't realize that the top 5 or 6 junior college baseball teams in the country can compete with any division I program. At a junior college you are going to get more play time, you can get recruited every year and you generally receive the same education for the first two years as any other college or university. If you want to play professional ball but are playing for a division I school you won't be allowed to be recruited for three years. If you are playing at a junior college, in those same three years, you have three separate opportunities to get recruited.

If you are truly serious about playing college baseball and you want to know exactly, step by step, how to get recruited at the college baseball team of your choice then you must read my Grand Slam Guide [http://www.nlprospects.com/grand-slam-college-baseball.html] to College Baseball Scholarships and Recruiting.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Riedling

=================
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Shop CoachesBest.com for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at HurricaneTrainer.com.

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at BatAction.com. Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to HandsBackHitter.com.
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Shop CoachesBest.com for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at HurricaneTrainer.com.

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at BatAction.com. Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to HandsBackHitter.com.

Baseball Coaching Digest - Survey Results - The Top 10 Worst Parent Excuses of All Time


By Nick Dixon

The word "excuse" is a bad word to most coaches. A parent excuse is a reason given by a parent to explain or justify their son's poor performance, tardiness, or inappropriate behavior. Coaches really would prefer that someone simply say they were wrong or give a legitimate reason rather than a ridiculous excuse.

If you coach any sport, you are going to hear your share of excuses from parents. Most parents refuse to make excuses. They understand that behavior and actions have consequences.

However, there is that small percentage of parents that are always ready with a reason or excuse for their son's behavior. Some of the worst excuses are those that parents try to use to justify getting their player to practice or a game late. It is no wonder that players use excuses when their parents do so frequently.

The Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal surveyed baseball coaches. One of the questions was "What is the worst excuse you ever heard from a parents? Here are the top 10 worst parent excuses of all time:

#10--- "I can not get my son to any games or practices because I'm pregnant."

#9---- "My son does not like playing 3rd base because he says the balls come to him too fast."

#8----"You should play the 12 year olds the entire game, they have earned that right."

#7----"I could get my son to practice his father had the kid and he did not bring him back on time."

#6----"The game started late (8:00) and it was too late for a kid to be out!

#5----"We did not know that we had a game today."

#4---"I know he did not play well, but he did not get into bed to after midnight. He was watching TV."

#3---"The reason he did not play well was because he ate 3 hotdogs before the game."

#2---"He did not hit the ball because he did not have his new bat. That old bat just does not hit as good."

#1----"I could not get him to practice Saturday, because I had to go to the casino."

Unbelievable as they may sound these excuses were used. I am sure that you have heard some excuses that are just as amazing. Thanks for reading my article. Have a great day! Nick

The Coaches Best Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

3 Absolutes to Develop Arm Strength and Accuracy For Baseball

By Jack Perconte

Throwing a baseball with accuracy and speed is obviously a necessity for ballplayers to continue to move up the baseball ladder. It is almost incomprehensible that kids who are fourteen years old and in high school are expected to play at the same distances that major league baseball players do, but that is the case. High school dimensions are the same ninety feet between the bases and sixty feet between home and the pitcher's mound. Those are formidable distances for players, especially for those who have not had their growth spurt yet. The good news is that players can improve their arm strength and accuracy with good mechanics and practice. Players who want to improve their throwing should adhere to the following fundamentals and practice until perfecting them. It is also necessary to throw (correctly) for anywhere between six and nine months out of the year. Generally, as kids get closer to high school, more throwing is advised with at least a couple of days a week of quality throwing. Getting the proper amount of rest between throwing sessions is also important.

3 Absolutes of Throwing for Speed and Accuracy

1. Direction - most kids know how to stand at home plate so having them go to their hitting position before throwing should come easy. This complete turn of the body will point the front shoulder directly at the target with feet parallel to each other. Without this correct set-up position, the thrower's ability to reach maximum speed and accuracy are already compromised. A noted with hitting position, a complete ninety degree turn of the thrower's foot of the same side as his throwing arm is necessary to get to correct starting position.

2. Direction 2 - Players must step directly at the target. Without this direct step the thrower's hips will not function correctly causing a lack of accuracy and power. The length of the step will be determined by the distance of the throw and will come naturally, with the key being the direction. Drawing a direct line from the lead foot towards the target or setting down a couple of objects for the player to step in between are good practice drills to reinforce the correct step. An indirect step is the most common area of break down in a player's throwing fundamentals.

3. Follow through - it is necessary that throwers allow their arm to travel the complete path so the body can alleviate some of the stress of the arm action on the shoulder and to prevent aiming the ball. This is done by the players throwing arm finishing at his opposite side hip, thigh or knee and by having his rear leg come up and forward as they throw. Like hitting, this weight transfer puts power into the throw.

Sounds simple enough but like anything, "The difference between doing something totally correct and almost correct, is the difference between success and failure." (Author of quote is unknown.) Long distance throwing can also develop arm strength but the 3 above fundamentals must be followed for "long toss" to be beneficial.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Happy Holidays & Season’s Greetings From Nick

Happy Holidays & Season’s Greetings From Nick



Thank you for being a regular reader of our blog. We are taking some time off for the Holidays. Our post schedule is normally 5 to 6 daily articles posted per week. During the Holidays and until Jan. 4, 2010, or post will not be daily because of Holiday activities. If you are looking for great coaching articles, please consider one of our sites: The BaseballCoachingDigest.com, the YouthBaseballDigest.com or the BaseballParentGuide.com. Have a safe and happy season! Nick Dixon

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Shop CoachesBest.com for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at HurricaneTrainer.com.

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at BatAction.com. Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to HandsBackHitter.com.

Three Tips For Improving a Pitcher's Control


www.HurricaneMachine.com

By Mike Posey

Are you confident the next pitch will go exactly where you planned? How can you be sure your pitcher will locate the next pitch exactly where you want it? A pitcher with great control can sure make the the coach look good.

A few years ago we had one of our HS pitchers throw a perfect game. Not only did no one reach base (zero hits, zero walks, and zero errors) but he had ten strikeouts. What's even more amazing is that it only took 55 pitches (in a five inning ten run game) and 42 of them were strikes.

So, he must have had a blazing fastball? No, his fastball was in the neighborhood of 82 MPH with a 70 MPH change up. The most impressive feat? Every pitch was exactly where he wanted it to be. He was in complete control at all times. A real thing of beauty to watch and enjoy.

Here are three tips to help your pitcher maximize their control.

1. Good control starts with practicing good mechanics--every day.
Pitchers must practice quality mechanics daily. A secret is to develop a good visual image of how to perform correctly. From a good balance point, properly breaking the hands, a good landing, release, and follow thru. A Tip to help pitchers develop visualization: purchase a full length mirror and have the pitcher practice each day facing the mirror. Balance point, break the hands, release, and follow thru. Practice and visualize.

2. Pitchers must master both sides of the plate with their fastball.

Assuming the pitcher is practicing correct mechanics daily, emphasize that importance of pitching in and away. Many young pitchers today are afraid of pitching in. Teach your pitcher the importance of throwing to the inside half with confidence and accuracy. It will make the pitches away more effective. If you pitcher can not do this consistently with their fastball, don't go to another offspeed pitch until they have mastered the fastball to both sides of the plate.

3. More important than a pitch count is the ratio of strikes.

Pitchers must have feed back of the total percentage of strikes thrown during the game and the total percentage of first strikes thrown to each hitter. Use a pitch count device that will give you these percentages during the game.

Mike Posey "CP"
Expert Baseball Pitching Stats

Expert Baseball Tips from a championship coach's perspective and experience, offering creative insights into helping others learn the game of baseball.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Posey


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Coaching Baseball: A Dozen of the Best Hitting Drills in Baseball

Here are 12 hitting drills that I feel every team should use in a year round training program.


Drill # 1
Top-Hand Drill
The top hand on the grip is the hand that takes the bat to the ball. It is improtant to develop strength and skill with this hand. To do this we do a one-handed isolation drill. The batter uses just the top hand. Gripping the bat at the top of the grip and using the bat like a tomahawk, the batter tries to get over the top of the ball and hit it into the ground. The batter has a coach or player soft toss the ball above the waist. The batter hits the ball from the top and drives its straight into the ground. This drill is best performed with the Hit2win Handheld Trainer from Nedco Sports. Suggested - 25 Swings - 3 Times a week.

Drill # 2
Power Hand Drill
A hitters power comes from the bottom or pull hand. This drill develops bottom hand strength. This drill when done on a hitting machine, the machine should be set at a high strike setting. The hitter uses only the bottom hand in its regular position near the knob of the bat. We recommend the BatAction Hitting Machine for this drill. It works absolutely perfect! The coach must make sure that the ball is above the batters waist. It is best for the ball to be numbers high. The batter steps into the ball and hits its one-handed. Suggested - 25 Swings - 3 Times a week.

Drill # 3
Multiple Location Contact Drill
The hitter is given three pitch locations to practice hitting; inside, away and middle. The ball may be presented to the batter using soft toss, batting tee, Hit2win Trainer coaching trainer, or Bataction Machine. On the inside location, the batter must learn to involve the hips and turn on the pitch, pulling it. On the middle pitch the batter hits the ball dead up the middle. On the away pitch, the batter makes sure to take the ball to the opposite field. The coach may want to put spots on the ground showing where the batter attacks each pitch location. The inside pitch is attacked on a spot located in front of the plate. The middle pitch is attacked on a spot located just behind the instep of the hitters front foot. The away strike is attacked on a spot located just inside of the hitters back foot. The batter can also use a Hitting machine and change location to the machine to get multiple strike contact work. Suggested - 20 At Each Location - 3 Times Weekly.

Drill # 4
Two Ball Soft Toss
The hitter learns to concentrate and keep the weight back. The coach tosses two balls. The coach calls top or bottom after the balls are releasd. The hitter hits the called ball into the fence or screen. This drill can be done from different locations. The coach should also fake toss and change the release points as well as vary the speed of the balls.

Tip:
Players should Know All Hitting Terms
Squash The Bug- The correct action of the hitters back foot.
Trigger-The hitters final inside turn movement before the swing.
See The Ball Flat-See the ball until it goes flat against the bat and comes off.

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Drill #5
Long Toss BP
One of the best misconceptions in baseball is that to benefit from batting practice the pitcher must be at regular distance and throw game speed. Much more can be accomplished when the pitcher throws from half the regular distance. At this distance the pitcher has better control and more work is accomplished. The ball is thrown at a steady appropriate speed. The speed at this distance should make the batter develop a quicker bat and great skill.


The coach should never do this drill without a L-screen. This drill can also be performed with regular or golf-ball sized wiffles.

Drill #6
Bring-By Drill
The purpose of this drill is the increase of bat speed. This drill is best performed with soft toss or the BatAction Hitting Machine. The batter hits a ball that is coming from his back side going toward the pitcher. The hitter must see the ball and catch-up with it before it gets by him. The speed of the ball is increased to challenge the hitter more and more. When performing this drill with a BatAction Hitting Machine, it is recommended that you remove the machines power bands to increase your swing counts and to vary the balls comeby speeds.

Drill # 7
Closed Eye Hitting Drill
This is one of my favorite drills. The hitter assumes a comfortable and correct stance each time. Then the hitter closes the eyes. The coach or Hit2win Trainer coaching trainer holder will change the strike height and location each time. A verbal command is given, the hitter opens the eyes and hits the ball correctly wherever it is located. The batter must use the correct swing to hit inside, middle, and away pitches. The holder will also locate the ball out of the strikezone. Any ball above the hands or on the ground is a ball and should not be hit. Suggested - 15 Swings - 3 Times a week.

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Drill # 8
Backside Barrier Drill
This drill is used to shorten-up a hitters swing. If the batter is too long to the ball or has that A to B to C swing that is considered a slow-pitch softball swing, drills can be used to make the hitter shorten up. The batter sets up with his hands 8 to 10 inches from the fence with the fence behind the batter. The fence should run parallel with the batters back foot. If the batter casts the hands backwards or loops the bat, he will hit the fence or barrier.

Drill # 9
Step in Drill
One of the most common faults with young hitters is stepping out. This drill is used to combat that bad habit. The coach may use a BatAction Machine, Coach Nick's Hit2win Trainer, or Stay-Back Tee. The hitter sets up to start the drill one step behind where he should be when he hits the ball. The hitter will step toward the plate with the back foot first then the front foot. When the front foot hits the ground the batter will attack the ball. There should be no hesitation. Step, step, HIT! The hitter will develop the habit of stepping into the ball when he attacks it. His momemtum is going toward the plate during this drill so it is very difficult for the hitter to step out.

Drill #10
Bunt Pepper
This is a great drill to develop bunting skills. The drill involves 5 players in each group. The players may use the pivot or square around bunt technique. The batter must bunt the ball to each of the four fielders. The hitter bunts one to each and then takes the left fielders (facing the batter) place. The right fielder comes to bat and the other move over one place. The coach should emphasize that the batters bunt the ball softly to the fielders. The bat should be keep at a 45 degree angle and the batter should change height by bending the knees. Fielders should catch the ground ball, bare-handed, out front, then square the feet around and throw the next strike to the hitter. This makes a great warmup drill for the beginning of practice. Defensive skills should also be stressed.


Bonus Drill - The Hit2win Trainer Bat Speed Drill
The drill begins with the trainer ball on the ground. The holder will raise the ball to the batters numbers. The batter will hit the ball when it gets to certain called spots, eg. knee, belt, numbers. The speed that the ball is raised is varied to make the batter wait sometimes and react quickly at other times. The drill is great for developing concentration, bat speed, and patience.

Drill # 11
Full Count Game
This is a great game simulation drill that teaches hitters to be agressive and to hit under pressure. Two teams face off in a 7 inning game with each batter coming into the box with a full count. Action is quick and players must be alert both offensively and defensively. The count may also be changed to 2-2 and each team can be given one out to start the inning.

Drill #12
Streak Drill
This is a BatAction Machine drill. The machine should be set at a height suitable for all players participating in the drill for that day. The machine is set with a one-band setting that allows it to rotate multiple times on contact. The players compete against each other. In the drill the goal is to make good contact as many times as one can without fouling out. Good contact is a swing and contact that makes the machine rotate at least once. The hitter that has the longest streak that day is the champ.

Three Baseball Batting Drills - Streak Drill, Switch Hitting Drill and Step-In and Hit Drill



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The Baseball Swing - A Couple Fallacies


By Nate Barnett

Do you know why you teach what you teach to your hitters? If I stopped you right now and asked you to tell me a couple advantages of any part of what you're teaching, could you do it? If not, it's time to kick into gear your learning habit and pick up some instructional strategies.

I've picked a couple parts of the baseball swing mechanics I hear taught repeatedly that are incorrect. Don't worry, I'll follow my own advise and explain why. Don't just take my word for it, however, ask around. Get other perspectives. But most of all, build your baseball swing knowledge base. Baseball instruction is a funny thing. You can find information and hitting "experts" everywhere. However, please for your own sake make sure that you are qualifying your sources of information first before you accept it. If you don't, you'll end up spending a lot of money, and changing your philosophy often.

Two Mechanical Fallacies:

1. Keeping your back elbow up is NECESSARY for a proper baseball swing.

I hear this advice mostly in Little League or in some of the younger age leagues. There is no physical advantage or benefit for a hitter to keep his back elbow up (often sometime much above the back shoulder). I'm not quite sure where the idea originated, but I do know it spreads like wildfire. It's like the cure all for a poor baseball swing. When it doubt, it must be the back elbow! And you can be sure you'll sometimes hear from the dugout or the stands, "Keep your back elbow up, Johnny!"

Keeping the back elbow up for younger hitters is often a source of a slow and long swing. When the bat head travels into the zone, the elbow of the top arm on the bat is down and relaxed close to the hitters body (if done correctly). Because of that, it makes little sense for a younger hitter to move his back elbow from a stiff position in the stance to a relax and collapsed position in mid-swing. Extra parts moving during a baseball swing mean less consistency. As a hitter gets older, his preference may be of a back elbow that is raised some. At this point (assuming he understands swing mechanics) he can make the adjustments as necessary.

2. Rolling your wrists as your bat comes through the zone is a must to create bat speed.

I have to bite my tongue (quite hard actually) when I ever hear this advice being offered for baseball instruction. While the back elbow up philosophy can be dismissed somewhat as a youth baseball strategy that does relatively minimal damage, this wrists rolling business can not be ignored in order to create a fundamentally sound baseball swing.

What "Wrist Rollers" can't do:

A. Hit an inside fastball to the pull side (right field as a lefty and left field as a righty).

B. Hit an outside fastball with any consistency to the opposite field (left field as a lefty and right field as a righty).

C. Hit line drives with back spin consistently (you know the kind that get over an outfielders head in a hurry for a double).

Here is why I can make those statements so confidently. In order to roll the wrists through a baseball swing, your arms must be straight at the elbows on contact with the baseball to do so. Youth hitters can get away with this because the velocity of the pitch is not overpowering yet. Add another 10-15 mph to the pitch and those inside pitches cannot be hit (or if they do, it stings) because the bat will be slow to sweep into the hitting zone. Outside pitches will also be difficult because the barrel of the bat will only cover the outer portion of the plate a fraction of the time necessary.

So what to do?

Teach your athletes when hitting a baseball to have their palm facing up on their top hand as they come in contact with the baseball. As the hands stay close to the body through the swing, the hitter will extend his arms after contact is made with the pitch. This proper extension is extremely important for good bat speed and plate coverage.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett

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I'm Positive You Will Want To Read This!

When you use positive mindset as a team concept you can find positive items almost any play or at bat, even if it appears to be non productive. The coach should shoulder most of the burden of displaying a building, positive mindset.

By Chip Lemin

If you've ever played baseball before, you know what it is like to be caught off guard and make a mistake. You probably know what it is like to not want the ball hit to you, or have to bat next, because of un-confident negative feelings. This type of thinking usually leads to poor results.

Why? because in our minds we have already visualized not doing well. That is the power of negative thinking or negative self talk.

Well guess what! we can use this same process, only let's visualize positive results. This is a team function also. From the manager, the Parents, and fellow players, positive thoughts will help produce positive results.

I'm not stating that every player will hit 500 on your team, or pitch no-hitters, just because they used positive thinking. I will guarantee that you will have more fun, fewer bad attitudes, and more production in all parts of the game when your team has a positive building mindset.

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This positive mindset, being a builder, has to start with your manager and coaching staff. In your team letter, state this season we are going to be a positive mindset team. This will set the tone to help keep everyone positive. Even if this season has already started, call a team meeting to announce this new attitude.

The coaches should shoulder most of the burden of displaying a building, positive mindset. This mind-set also means, no yelling or showing up players for mistakes made in practice or games.

• We talk of progress first, of what was done right first, then bring up mistakes. Coaches must keep to yelling out only positive instruction. Wait until after the inning is over to discuss mistakes. The game is not that important to show up players and upset family by public displays.

• Your team takes fun and mental makeup of its coaching staff to a large degree. IF your coaching staff is easily rattled and emotional, your team probably will be to.

• With the positive mindset, your team will be more relaxed. Your team will be more willing to visualize making the next good play. All you should demand from them is 100 percent effort.

• A positive mindset, will allow coaches to remain calmer during a tough parts of the game. It will help to keep you from lashing out or tearing down your players in frustration.

• Your parents will appreciate a calm confident composure even when things aren't going well. Once you have witnessed the power of positive mindset for yourself, you will become a believer.

• No player deserves to be put down, or criticized out loud. There's plenty of time to discuss mistakes after the game. That is why carrying a clipboard for notes is so important.

• Also put good things you see on the clipboard too. Make sure to praise all actions that indicate players are using positive mindset or sportsmanship.

• When you use positive mindset as a team concept you can find positive items almost any play or at bat, even if it appears to be non productive. Few players do everything wrong when they make a mistake. Go over what the player did right first, so they will be more receptive to instruction later.

• Encourage your players to use positive mindset outside the game, and other sports, at school, and at home. It is a great tool for anyone to use. Be sure to praise your players and coaches who practice using positive mindset. The best way to get others to try it is to be an example of it your self.

• Positive mindset training is something very powerful, to be used in all areas of life. It does take work, determination, and persistence to see the full benefit. It is indeed worth every bit of effort used to promote it.

Hello My name is Chip Lemin. I'm a long time youth baseball coach who loves to promote this great game of youth baseball. Promoting sportsmanship in this game of youth baseball is something that really needs I feel. I have a free e-course that will give you some solid coaching information along with great help on the inter-personal relationships we must have to be good youth baseball coaches. Things such as parents, travel baseball, getting parents to help out, how to communicate better to parents and players, just to touch on a few. This course will help to organize practices like an elite coach. How to motivate players and other coaches with your positive attitude. It really is not very hard to be a great coach when you know what to do.Best of all you will learn how to have fun with these great kids that you have the privilege of coaching. Do yourself a favor and check it out, it's free,you will get 1 part every couple of days in your e-mail. Coaching can be fun and rewarding if you have a plan in place first, and you have an idea what you are doing.
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chip_Lemin



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The 3 R's of Pitching


By Rick Harig

Realize the basic premise that the pitcher has the advantage. This is the foundation for a successful pitcher. Hitting a baseball is said to be the hardest thing to do in all of sport. The pitcher needs to remember that. "If the swing by a right-hand batter is seven milliseconds (.007) too late, the squarely hit ball will sail foul past first base." - Robert Adair, a Yale physicist who has studied the science of baseball, referring to a 90mph fastball.

Recognize when you, as the pitcher, lose your focus. How do you avoid a big inning? You avoid it by recognizing that you have been taken out of your game and only then can you adjust and refocus to the task at hand. Many pitching plans include some avoidance of "the big inning". It is easy to talk about, but after one of these "big innings" takes place, the pitcher usually only understands it when reflecting back on it after the game and on the chaos that surrounded him while it was going on. The pitcher needs a thought-stopping cue from himself to help recognize that he has lost his focus. It is important to do this so he can pitch in the present and not in the past. The thought stopping cue could be as simple as "STOP", or "play in the now".

Refocus to the task at hand. Once the pitcher "snaps out of it" and concentrates on the present, then he can pitch to his potential and win the situation. The pitcher who analyzes and frets on how all those guys got on base will not be able to refocus into the present to do the job. A routine or mental cue can help with focus. The pitcher needs to let it flow and let the right side of the brain take over. He can only do this if the mind in clear and free of distracting thoughts. Here is an example of how a pitcher can get back into the now by letting his left brain guide him and set his right brain up for the actual pitch. Use the dirt circle of the mound as the positive / negative ground. Whenever he catches himself being negative he goes into the grass. At that time, he can tell himself anything he wants, he can worry about all the runners, the errors and walks that got them there, whatever he wants. However, the second he gets back onto the dirt he is positive and ready to get the next guy out! A routine like this combined with some proper breathing can get the pitcher to stay in a positive, non-distracting mode. Hopefully he spends most of his time in the dirt and stays in the now.

Every pitcher needs a plan. There is not one pitcher in the history of baseball that has gone through his career, let alone a season, or even a game, without adversity. No matter how good a pitcher is he will face dilemmas in games that he needs to have a plan for. It is too easy to say, "Be a bulldog, go get them". Sure successful pitchers have bulldog characteristics and competitive success models built in that they do not even know about, but there is no need to analyze that. It is the pitcher's past experiences, successes, and failures that have given him those built in characteristics. It is the future challenges that the pitcher will face as he progresses to higher levels of competition in his career that he needs the above to help advance his success rate.

Rick Harig
Copyright 2009
Cognitive Advantage Program
http://www.play-in-the-now.com

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Coaching Baseball - Situational Pitching - Squeeze Play Situation - By Nick Dixon

We often hear the term "Situational Hitting", but just as important is "Situational Pitching". Knowing what to throw and when to throw it. Here are three examples of situational pitching.
"HIT and RUN Situation" - Most often occurs with the batter ahead in the count and no outs. The most common counts are 1-0, 2-0, and 2-1. The pitcher should know when to expect the "HITand RUN" and keep the ball inside on the hitter to prevent the pitch from being driven to the opposite field.

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"DOUBLE PLAY Situation" - The most important point to remember is to keep the ball down. One of the greatest plays in baseball is the inning ending double play. It is not advised to throw a change up or curve ball in a double play situation.

"SQUEEZE BUNT Situation" - There are many things to know and remember in this situation. Here are suggestions on how to have a "pitching approach" when the squeeze bunt may be on.

RIGHT-HANDED HITTER:
1. Throw the pitch either "UP and IN" or "LOW and IN".
2. The pitcher should not try to hit the batter, but if the batter is hit, the runner must return to third base.
3. It is more difficult to bunt the low pitch than the high pitch.

LEFT-HANDED HITTER
1. Throw the ball outside. The pitch is actually a pitch- out.
2. Make sure the pitch is "UNTOUCHABLE".

7 Keys to Building Good Work Habits in Young Baseball Players


By Nick Dixon

Today the four letter word for baseball coaches is W-O-R-K: Working and learning to work are one of the vital elements required in the building of a successful baseball team and program. In baseball coaching work and baseball playing involves a lot of things. Work is practice. Work is hustle. Work is execution. Work is commitment. Work is being focused. Work and knowing the value of work may be the most important thing that you will teach your players. A player can have all the talent in the world, but if that player is not willing to work hard to develop that talent, the player is destined to be an underachiever.

Work is what allows a player, a team, and a coach to reach their maximum potential in the game. Every player has the potential to be great at something in the game! Hard work is the key element that will determine a the level of success a player will have later in life. Learning to work hard is a life skill that every youth player can benefit from. We all know of players that we played with or that we coached that had great God-given abilities but terrible work habits. They refused to push themselves to greatness. They would always spend more time looking for a way to get out of work, than actually working. They were simply lazy. They did not have the drive. It made no difference what the coach did, what the parent did, or what their peers said, they simply did not have the focus and commitment to work hard. These underachievers always come to their senses but it is always too late. When they look back to the good old day, they always say that wish they would have worked harder. A common saying of underachieves is that if they only had known then what I know now, they would have pushed themselves harder and made themselves work harder.

Players and coaches must understand the value of hard work. Anything worth having is worth working for. You must work hard. The assistant coaches must work hard. The players must work hard.

What are the keys to teaching players to work? Here are 7 keys to building good work habits in young players:

1. Praise
Praise the player when work is done. Instant positive feedback can serve to motivate players to work harder and harder. You should always correct a player when he does something incorrect. But when you do verbally get on a player, always find a reason to pat that kid on the back later. Keeping a balance between corrective criticism and praise is a valuable skill every coach must learn. Always try to send the players home on a positive note with a positive frame of mind.

2. Fun
The kids must enjoy practicing, playing and spending time together. If going to the baseball field feels like going to the dentist, they are going to lose interest and drive. When they lose interest and drive, they will stop working. Plan your practices with a variety of drills and activities to prevent boredom from setting in. Always include a couple of competitive games or drills to make the practice as fun as possible. I am not saying make your practice all fun game and play-time. I am just suggesting that you plan and organize your practices to include as many fun and motivating activities as is practical.

3. Discipline
Team discipline and player self discipline are two crucial elements for having a successful season. Players should be expected to have a high level of self control and follow all team rules. One important team rule is always showing respect to coaches and adults on and off the field. You can be firm and still keep a fun and comfortable atmosphere.

4. Role Model
The players must see their coach work. Kids can sense when a coach practices what he preaches. Do not expect a kid to work for you if you do not work for him.

5. Short-term Goals
Setting a goal for a drill or workout activity will often motivate players to put forth more effort. Have the goal be something simple and have the reward instant.

6. Long-term Goals Setting team goals for the season is an important tool to improve player mental focus and to add value to the work done at practice.

7. Individual Goals
If you have a gifted player that is more advanced and skilled that most of the other players on the team, you may want to have each player set 3 individual goals for the season. Have players set a target batting average goal, a goal of stolen bases, a goal of a number of base hits or such. Such individual goals often can motivate players to work harder than ever.

Visit the Baseball Coaching Digest for daily post and articles on every aspect of coaching baseball. Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Baseball Training - An Off-Season Plan For Hitters

By John Peter Pero

1st Things First!

Commit to having a plan. With a plan, you have direction.

With direction, you get more done in less time and are more apt to get results.which makes you want stick with your plan.and repeat it even more.which gets you better quicker.get it?

But.what do I plan?

My summary is to always work on your weak points.but let's mix the fun stuff in as well. It's off season, you know it's important, but this is supposed to be fun. right!

Here's a great idea for this time of year:

Try to hit at a home training station with a batting tee or (for more fun) with a soft toss machine and get into a batting cage as often as you can during the cold and off-season months.

Better yet.use your plan to decide what to practice & how to accomplish your goals (again.one of your goals is to accomplish more with less time).

It is a game that we are playing.it's the game you chose, so why not make up your own practice rules!

Here's some examples & ideas:

Divide everything you do into 10 swings with a purpose.


Round 1 - Begin with hitting to the opposite field.count your successes.out of 10 (this might simulate driving in runners on base)
Round 2 - Take 10 swings up the middle - just for focusing on a target.count your successes.out of 10
Rounds 3, 4 etc. examples Make it up. play games best out of 10. Some examples: * Hitting a long fly ball to score a runner from 3B (how many runs can you drive in. out of 10) * # of hard hit balls. out of 10 * # of ground balls. out of 10 * # of sac bunts. out of 10 * # of clean base hits. all out of 10 swings

Lather, Rinse & Repeat

And, of course, you can have a 2nd round on any of these ideas to see how you improve. Keep your own "scorecard" on a clipboard complete with dates and your results. Add a buddy and compete against each other.make it 9 innings (9 specific "tests" or a World Series best of 7) where the winner of each test chooses the next test.

I'm just making up these examples as I am writing, you do the same.

Just note that the most important points are:


Get a plan (one that is fun.so you will want to do it regularly).
Use these games as practice tools.
Compete with yourself or other players.or even Dad.
Make up your own games.and compete, whether it's against yourself, your Dad or a teammate. Just do it right or not at all.

Remember to plan your work and work your plan.In other words, stay focused! It's true in school, business, baseball and life in general.

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Baseball tips & youth baseball equipment, training aids & instruction! It's all here for baseball coaching of pitchers & hitters, little league to high school.

Article Source:
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See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at BatAction.com. Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to HandsBackHitter.com.

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QuickSwingTrainer.com. See the world’s most advanced batting tee at AdvancedSkillsTee.com.

Teaching Baseball Batters to Use Hip Movement and Leg Leverage to Generate Power



By Nick Dixon

When you watch several elite baseball batters hit the ball, you quickly see some common traits. The great high school, college, and pro baseball players all generate incredible power with the lower body, legs, and hips. A good baseball swing incorporates the hips and lower body into the swing. Most of batting power is generated by the hips and the leverage created by the front leg. How many times have you heard the following "That batter swings with all arms, and has no power"?

The amount of hip movement or turn is always determined by the pitch's location. We all know that a hitter that "turns on everything" is setting himself up to be a victim of "soft stuff away". And a batter that cannot turn on pitches and that has problems catching-up with the fast ball will be a victim of pitchers working on the inner half of the plate.

A batter will not use the same amount of hip turn with every swing. Some pitches we hit require more hip turn than other pitch locations. The closer the pitch is to the batter, the more hip turn allowed. How do we teach a young batter to use the hips? How do we teach a young player to vary the amount of hip turn with various pitches? We teach young players to visualize that the belly button has an eye in it. The hips should always turn the required amount to allow the "eye" in the belly-button to see where the ball went when it came off the bat. The batters hips turn completely when an inside pitch is pulled. This full hip turn allows the belly button to "see" the ball go to left field. The hips will turn less when a ball is hit to center field thus allowing the "belly button eye" of the batter to see the ball hit over second base. When the ball is hit to the opposite field, the hip turn is limited to allow the belly-button to see the ball go to the opposite field.

This technique is simple, but effective to teach young players how much hip turn they should have on each pitch location.

COACHING POINT: The proximity of the batter to the plate can cause major problems. If a batter is too far off the plate, the other third will belong to the pitcher. If the batter is too close to the plate and the batter has limited bat speed, the inner third may belong to the pitcher. The general rule is that the batter should tap the bat on the outer black of the plate when stepping into the box to insure that all pitches over the plate can be reached. If a batter has two strikes, the batter needs to move closer to the plate so that the pitch slightly off the plate can be reached. This is especially important if the umpire has shown a tendency to call the pitch slightly off the plate a strike.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL HITTING, COACHING and TRAINING DVDs

Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon


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Baseball Tips on Hitting - The Most Common Hitting Problem at Any Level of Play!


By Larry Cicchiello

If you have what is referred to as a "quick hip," please forgive my bluntness but you will have no chance of being a successful baseball hitter.

Only on an inside pitch, can you get away with opening the front hip a little bit early.

A "quick hip" is when the front hip opens a fraction of a second early. It is a common hitting problem and a very serious one for many hitters at all levels of play. The swing itself should force the front hip open.

If the hip is a fraction of a second too quick, it forces your front side to open too early and this is a recipe for disaster for a baseball player at any level of play.

Three Major Problems Occur if You Have A Quick Hip:

1. You will not see the ball well. Your head will go along for the ride with your "quick hip" and you will be looking at the ball out of the corner of your eyes when the moment of truth arrives and you attempt to actually hit the ball.

2. Your power will be lost. You will be leaning toward third base if you are a right-handed hitter or toward first base if you are a left-handed hitter. That is NOT where the hitting is taking place. The hitting is taking place in front of you, not to the left or right of you.

3. Your plate coverage will be poor. The only pitch you'll be able to hit with any success at all is the inside pitch and low and away pitches will cause many baseball hitting problems for you.

I wonder how much young players who are struggling at the plate would improve considerably if they made this fairly simple adjustment at the plate.

Keeping the front hip closed is one of the best baseball tips on hitting you will ever hear.

How common is the baseball hitting problem of having a "quick hip"? You can check it out for yourself.

When watching a game live in person or on TV at any level of play, observe the weaker hitters.

(The ones who are batting.220,.230 or.240.) Keep an eye on their front hip. In almost all cases, it will be opening too early.

On the other side of the coin, you can also check out the better hitters. They will be keeping their front hip closed!

Larry is the president of Larwenty Online Enterprises Inc and is also the author of "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." If you are a baseball player or baseball coach at any level of play, or a parent who wants to help your child improve, you will be fully equipped! His baseball website offers several FREE baseball tips from his very informative and very fairly priced eBooks.

Larry's baseball website is http://www.larrybaseball.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_Cicchiello

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How to Improve Arm Strength For Baseball


Hands Back Hitter by Swing Buster

By Jack Perconte

When people speak of improving arm strength they are basically asking "How can a ballplayer throw a ball faster?" This is one of the most asked questions I received from parents in my twenty one years of teaching baseball and softball. Throwing the ball faster and building arm strength for baseball and softball is basically the same thing. The answer to the question is very simple, "Throw correctly and throw often." There is no magic formula. The secret is all about good, solid throwing mechanics and throwing at least six to nine months out of the year. Of course, many experts will tell you that arm speed is based on genetics; that players are predisposed to being able to throw top speed based on their genetic make-up. I am sure they are correct, however until a player gives it everything they have, meaning the mentioned blend of good mechanics and continual throwing, players do not know what speed they are genetically capable of throwing. Every player is capable of greater arm strength if they put in the practice time. Of course, weaker armed players need to practice more than strong armed players, but weaker armed players have the most to gain, also.

With this in mind, following are tips for helping players improve arm strength:

1. At a young age, parents should have players' throwing mechanics analyzed by a professional throwing coach. Any suggested deficiencies should be addressed until correct throwing fundamentals are attained. Without the correct fundamentals, a player will not reach their potential and probably will be unable to avoid arm (shoulder or elbow) injury at some point.

2. About a month before their team practice begins, players should begin throwing two times a week, followed by three and four times a week.

3. Players should gradually increase speed and distance of throws until they are at maximum line drive distance. Players should throw at least 10 throws from this "long toss" distance and stop when their arm begins to tire or their throws begin to lose distance. Long toss is when players throw at maximum "in the air" distance without putting a big arc in the throw.

4. Once the season begins, position players should throw up to 5 days a week. No extra throwing than normal game day throwing is required. Of course, pitchers must take rest days after pitching.

5. Players should continue throwing a few days a week after their season concludes, up to nine months of the year, with two days a week performing long toss.

Players may not notice immediate improvement in arm strength, but over time they will see much stronger arms. As a coach, I have seen all players improve greatly when they stuck with a long term throwing program. Although strength training exercises do not lead directly to increased arm speed and throwing strength, it can lead to over all strength and quicker arm recovery time. Therefore, a controlled, age oriented strength training program is advised.

A few extra points worth knowing:

* The number of maximum effort throwing days (pitching or long toss) should eliminate one day of throwing during the week. For example, players who normally throw four or five days a week should cut off one day for an extra days rest after pitching or long toss.

*Players who complain of tired or sore arms should not throw through it. Rest days are important to improving arm strength, too.

* Pitchers, who are on travel teams or in leagues without set inning guidelines, are in the most danger of developing sore and tired arms. Adults associated with these teams and leagues should pay special attention to "overuse" throwing. With this in mind, coaches are responsible for making sure their teams carry enough pitchers to handle the pitching load.

*Players should have a three consecutive month break without any throwing at some time of the year.

* There is no harm and maybe some benefits of using a lighter weight ball for some of this throwing.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

Baseball Training - An Off-Season Plan For Hitters


SKLZ Hurricane Hitting Machine

By John Peter Pero

1st Things First!

Commit to having a plan. With a plan, you have direction.

With direction, you get more done in less time and are more apt to get results.which makes you want stick with your plan.and repeat it even more.which gets you better quicker.get it?

But.what do I plan?

My summary is to always work on your weak points.but let's mix the fun stuff in as well. It's off season, you know it's important, but this is supposed to be fun. right!

Here's a great idea for this time of year:

Try to hit at a home training station with a batting tee or (for more fun) with a soft toss machine and get into a batting cage as often as you can during the cold and off-season months.

Better yet.use your plan to decide what to practice & how to accomplish your goals (again.one of your goals is to accomplish more with less time).

It is a game that we are playing.it's the game you chose, so why not make up your own practice rules!

Here's some examples & ideas:

Divide everything you do into 10 swings with a purpose.


Round 1 - Begin with hitting to the opposite field.count your successes.out of 10 (this might simulate driving in runners on base)
Round 2 - Take 10 swings up the middle - just for focusing on a target.count your successes.out of 10
Rounds 3, 4 etc. examples Make it up. play games best out of 10. Some examples: * Hitting a long fly ball to score a runner from 3B (how many runs can you drive in. out of 10) * # of hard hit balls. out of 10 * # of ground balls. out of 10 * # of sac bunts. out of 10 * # of clean base hits. all out of 10 swings

Lather, Rinse & Repeat

And, of course, you can have a 2nd round on any of these ideas to see how you improve. Keep your own "scorecard" on a clipboard complete with dates and your results. Add a buddy and compete against each other.make it 9 innings (9 specific "tests" or a World Series best of 7) where the winner of each test chooses the next test.

I'm just making up these examples as I am writing, you do the same.

Just note that the most important points are:


Get a plan (one that is fun.so you will want to do it regularly).
Use these games as practice tools.
Compete with yourself or other players.or even Dad.
Make up your own games.and compete, whether it's against yourself, your Dad or a teammate. Just do it right or not at all.

Remember to plan your work and work your plan.In other words, stay focused! It's true in school, business, baseball and life in general.

http://www.baseballtips.com/

Baseball tips & youth baseball equipment, training aids & instruction! It's all here for baseball coaching of pitchers & hitters, little league to high school.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Peter_Pero

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Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009
 
 


www.AdvancedSkillsTee.com

By Nate Barnett

One of the best ways to force long innings (when you are on offense of course) and to win more games is to put added pressure on the defense. There are multiple ways of doing this, a couple of which are outlined here. Understanding the concerns of a defense and exploiting those concerns are valuable techniques any good coach will insert into his baseball drills.

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

Don't skip this part because you, your son, or the team you coach has little speed. You don't need any to understand this concept. The more offensive movement is created on the base paths, the more potential there is for defensive mistakes. Create movement the following ways:

A. Bigger lead offs. Most youth baseball players don't get a proper lead off at any base. Because of this, the defense doesn't feel the perceived threat of the runner. How long is a good lead? A runner should be able to rotate and dive (body fully extended) back to the bag in time if he is watching the right movements from the pitcher. Getting aggressive leads will do two things. First, it will force the pitcher to split concentration between the runner and the hitter. This will help out the hitter as pitch location may improve with the lack of focus from the pitcher. Secondly, the more throws drawn by the runner at first base (primarily) can results in potential overthrows as well as an increased opportunity to utilize a stolen base or a hit and run play.

B. Take aggressive turns on the bases. I frequently see many younger players after hitting a baseball, jog down to first base and take a small turn around first. This puts zero pressure on the defense. The first goal on any hit to the outfield is to reach second base. The mentality that every hit is a double will help runners become more aggressive. Obviously I'm not advocating running bases wildly, I'm simply promoting adding some extra heat on the defense to provoke some mistakes.

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

It's quite common to watch hitters all the way through high school swing at pitches quite out of the zone. Most of the time this is caused from a lack of a game plan, or improper teaching during baseball drills. Each hitter should have a specific pitch plan based upon his hitting strengths. Every hitter has a special pitch, or one that is more favorable to hit than others. This needs to be the focus early in the count. No other pitches should be offered at early in the count other than the favorite pitch. The only thing that would change this scenario would be if a coach called some sort of offensive play.

A more selective approach to hitting will put pressure on defensive two different ways:

A. More pitches will be thrown by pitchers which will (hopefully) force a pitching change earlier in the game. Since more relievers in youth baseball are not as good as starters, this is a plus for the offense.

B. Getting better pitches to hit will create more baseballs in play. The more balls hit hard there are, the greater chance there is for a mistake by the defense.

Finally, there is no secret that perceived pressure causes more mistakes. If an offense can manufacture pressure and remain confident in doing so, they will enjoy watching an error filled defense play more timid and give games away.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett

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Monday, Nov. 16, 2009
 

Overanalyzing the Baseball Swing Can Create Problems

By Steve Rau

Let's take a look at some of the most common swing faults that need to be addressed.



Dipping the back shoulder- This common flaw in young hitters is a killer. When the player strides, the back shoulder drops along with the hands, instead of loading with a short negative movement towards the catcher. This movement causes the hitter's swing path to be offline of the path of the pitch. Weak pop ups and groundballs are likely results.

Losing the barrel- So many little leaguers make their first move with the bat, a lowering of the barrel. This movement takes the hitter out of attack posture and produces a long, slow, looping swing to the point of contact. The result is being slow to the ball; a characteristic of .200 hitters.

No hip turn- If a hitter wants to have a weak swing and hit lazy fly balls all day, then not using the hips will do just that. Good hip action may be the most important mechanical skill hitters must possess if they want to drive the ball. The belly button needs to face the pitcher after contact.

Getting the foot down- The timing of the swing is an important skill that great hitters master and part of that timing comes at the point of toe touch. The swing does not start when the front foot lands, it does start on the hip turn. Young hitters think they need to start the hands in motion towards the ball on the stride and this is wrong. Starting the hands too early means that the hitter is committing to the pitch early; the result is not being able to adjust to the location and speed of the pitch efficiently.

The above mechanical faults are common among young, inexperienced hitters; coaches at the collegiate and professional level are usually not dealing with these issues. If your player is not experiencing gross flaws in the swing, it is likely that they are using the wrong mental approach to each at bat and the swing does not need to be tinkered with.

Before changing swing mechanics sit down and take a look at the approach to each at bat. Is the hitter studying pitcher tendencies? What pitches is he throwing for strikes on that day? Is the hitter chasing bad pitches? Does the hitter think about hitting the ball to the opposite field? Is the hitter chasing pitcher's pitches?

There are a number of questions that need to be answered before screwing with a nice swing. If there is an obvious flaw in the swing, then you should definitely work to rectify the problem, but don't try to fix what's not broken.

Coach Steve Rau is a long time baseball instructor and co-founder of Play Ball Academy. He has been a part of championship baseball programs as both a player and coach for over 20 years. He currently helps hundreds of coaches and young ballplayers improve their baseball knowledge through online and offline instruction.

Baseball coaches can find free baseball tips, video lessons, and audio sessions at: http://www.PlayBallAcademy.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steve_Rau



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Friday, Nov. 13, 2009

The 10 "Must Do's" Of Coaching Baseball And Softball

I have compiled my list of the "MUST DO'S", that I feel every coach must coach by! These reflect the duties and responsibilities accepted when one becomes a coach. Here are my "MUST DO'S":

1. I MUST..."Always remember that I am a role model, on and off the field, for all players and kids. I must remember that everything I do is observed. Everything I say is heard.

2. I MUST..."Always remember that something I say or something I do not say can have an profound positive and negative affect on a player. I am a coach because I care! I care about the game. I care about my players. I must act like I want to be there! My player will observe and emulate my attitude. My attitude must show my dedication, excitement, and enthusiasm!

3. I MUST..."Constantly remember that the safety and well-being of my players is my responsibility and the old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", is never truer than when it applies to sports accidents. Youth coaches should apply a team rule that that at practice no player should swing a bat, unless the coach has given them permission to do so.

4. I MUST..."Be fair to every player. I will treat every player equally with the same respect. I will always be honest with my players. I will be mindful that praise is a great motivator. I will at times use constructive criticism but I will always maintain a balance between correction and praise. I will speak "one-on-one" with every player, every day. This may be something as simple as the question, "Jon, how is your day going?".

5. I MUST..."Demand and receive respect from every player at all times. Disrespect will not be tolerated. I will remember discipline is a vital part of the game. Team and self-discipline is something I must teach and reinforce. Kids expect and love discipline. Many players do not get enough discipline at home."

6. I MUST..."Dress and look the part of a coach. I will keep a clean and neat appearance at all team practices and games."

7. I MUST..."Remember that to be a good coach, I must first be a good teacher. It is my responsibility to teach the fundamentals, rules and skills of the game. I will structure and organize every practice and pre-game ritual so that my players will know what to do, will know what to expect, will be focused and stay busy." I must remember "idle" time is "trouble" time when one is dealing with kids. I will always be the first to arrive and the last to leave all games, practices, meetings, and all other team events!"

8. I MUST..."Coach the details during the game to help my players learn and perform to their highest level". I will work hard at all times during practice and games. I will instill in my players the value of hard work and preparation.

9. I MUST..."Remember that character development and self-confidence are what youth sports is all about. Kids do not have to play. They play because they want to have fun! I must have fun, know how to laugh, and enjoy every minute along with my kids!"

10. I MUST..."Remember, that "WINNING is NOT EVERYTHING" but "EXPECTING to WIN" is. I must instill hope and confidence as I prepare my team for each game!

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL COACHING DVDs. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Baseball Training With the Albert Pujols Sweetspot Batting Training Bat"

While watching the College Baseball Regionals, Super Regionals, and College World Series, last May and June, I witnessed great baseball power hitting displays by some of the best collegiate hitters in baseball. How do great college hitters exert so much power in their swing? How do they drive a 90+ mph fastball 400+ feet and perform with such grace under pressure. The answer to this question is simple, they practice, they practice, and they practice. Another simple explanation is that they "get-all-of-the-ball" more often than the average hitter. They use the "sweet spot" of the bat more often than the average player. What is an effective way to teach sweet spot hitting? Coach Dixon describes the benefits of the new Sweet Spot Training Bat.

Have you ever heard a player return to the dugout after a big hit and say "That felt so good" or "I hit that so perfectly on the sweet spot, I didn't even feel it"? What does this mean? What causes this great sensation? It is a widely known that every bat has a sweet spot. It is the spot on the bat that maximises the distance and power of a good swing. This is the spot on the bat where contact is made and very little jar or vibration to the hands is felt. There is no sting to the hands when a ball is hit with the bat's sweet spot. Contact on the sweet spot provides maximum power contact to the ball and greatly increases the distance and speed of the ball hit. All balls hit below or above the sweet spot can and often do result in a distinct vibration to the hands and fingers. The more times a batter's able to hit the ball with the bat's "sweet spot", the more successful the batter will be. We would like all balls hit to be hit perfectly on the "sweet spot".

How can coaches better teach players to use the "sweet spot"? How can players train to use the "sweet spot"? "Sweet spot" swing training can be accomplished easily with a new training bat appropriately called the "Sweetspot" Trainer. This new training bat has a unique design that features a regular bat handle attached to a "sweet spot" only barrel. This unique design forces the player to get the barrel through the zone and to hit the ball on the "sweet spot" every time. This new trainer is great for soft-toss, live-arm BP, and cage work. It is also great for hitting off the tee. It is also very popular as a training tool to be used with the BatAction and Hurricane Hitting Machines that are so popular with today's players.

If you have not incorporated the "Sweetspot" training bat into your teams or players daily practice routine, I highly recommend that you do so. You will be amazed at the increase in line drives and hard hit balls that you see during batting practice and games. Players gain a high level of confidence when they use this new training bat. The "Sweetspot" also adds an element of focus often absent in batting tee, soft-toss, and batting cage workouts. The players must keep their eyes on the ball more intensely and they must concentrate on every swing to insure the ball hits perfectly on the bat's sweet spot.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has the BASEBALL SWEETSPOT BAT at dicount prices. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Did You Learn to Hit on a "Johnny Bench Batter-UP"?


Do You remember the "Johnny Bench Batter-UP"? If you had one, you know and realize the benefits of a rotational hitting machine with a high speed moving ball.

Did you love your "Johnny Bench Batter Up" Rotational Trainer From the 70's? Looking for similar machine for your player? The BatAction Machine features the same ball movement but with a heavy-duty space age design that offers superior performance and durability! If you are old enough to remember the Johnny B "Batter-Up", then you will really appreciate what the BatAction Hitting Machine offers your hitters!


The BatAction Hitting Machine features the same high speed ball rotation but in a larger circle! The BatAction trainer is made with today's "space age" technology to offer a high performance machine that will provide your players with years and years of quality practice! In fact, Coach Nick owned a "Batter-Up" years ago!


Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Minutia in the Baseball Swing



By Nate Barnett

It seems like the more you learn and know about the mechanics of a baseball swing, the more you think you have to learn and know about the baseball swing. Confused? It's simple. Many times baseball instruction, and specifically the area of hitting mechanics, can be taught to the extent that one loses focus on what is really important and necessary to produce a good baseball swing.

Let me explain. There are certain key movements in a hitting motion. The basics are, the stance, the load, the trigger, contact, and the finish. These five steps all have a few key mechanical movements within them that if done correctly will help a hitter develop a proper baseball swing. Notice that I paid special attention to the word few. The problem comes when one explains that there are more than a few movements in each of the five steps listed. This is what I refer to as "minutiaitis".

So what are the main reasons that coaches feel the need to instruct the minutia? Here are my top reasons.

1. Ego problems. 2. Lack of playing experience. 3. Over-analytical tendencies. 4. Enjoy having "new" answers to problems.

The reason why I am bringing to attention this problem of "minutiaitis" is simply because it confuses athletes. Heck, it confuses me! Players enjoy things that are put plainly and clearly. They enjoy a clear plan of action to solving a mechanical problem with their swing. Bringing in extra information that muddles and clutters the information flow hurts everyone involved. My suggestion is to learn the basics to hitting a baseball and then learn how to communicate those basics in a clear fashion. Athletes will learn far more with this style of instruction.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nate_Barnett

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Tuesday, Nov 10

Baseball Pitching - Coaching Pitchers to Succeed by Starting With the Basics

By Nick Dixon

The coaching of baseball pitchers does not require a degree in "pitchingtology". There is no such degree to my knowledge. I just made that up. My point here is that coaching baseball pitching is not rocket science. However, having a basic knowledge of the terms and mechanics is a must. Having a commitment to be attentive to details in instruction and and to have frequent quality practice sessions is a good start toward becoming a coach of a successful pitcher at any level.

Here are the 5 basics elements of pitching success:

1. Beginning with the basics and keeping it simple

Let we first say that one of the basic rules on our high school team is that if you make our team, you are going to pitch. Every player participates in pitching workouts until it is determined that player simply can not help us on the mound. Over the years about 75% of our players pitch at least 10 innings during the season. With that said, I want you to know that my philosophy is to keep the terminology simple, the technique simple, and to make the process of pitching as easy as possible to master.

2. Balance is Key

The first thing we want out kids to understand is the importance of balance. Pitchers must learn to achieve and maintain balance from the start to the finish of their delivery. This is done by learning to keep the weight evenly distributed on the balls of the feet. Nothing happens on the heels. Keep head and body movement to a minimum. The head should stay still. This allows the head to stay over the ball of the pivot foot and over the body core or center. Special attention should be directed at eliminating any tendency to lean back, lunge forward, or to arch the back.

3. Knee Lift and Proper Stride Leg Motion

The lifting action of the stride leg should be smooth, straight up, and to a point of perfect balance. Make sure that the leg is not swung. The stride foot should go downward and then out. Many you pitchers want to lead with their hip and this cause major problems. Make sure that the leg action is down and out in smooth path. The stride foot should land on the ball of the foot. The stride should be in a direction with at least part of the foot landing on a straight line toward the catcher. Some pitchers will land more closed and some will land more open. The main point to remember here is consistency. A pitcher must land in the same spot time after time. If the landing spot is all over the place, control problems will be evident.

4. Elbow Dynamics

Much has been written and many studies have been made on the dynamics of the pitching process. To keep it simple, we want the following to occur. When the front foot lands both elbows should be up and even with each other on a direct line. The glove and ball may be above or below the elbow, but both elbows serve to reverse mirror each other. If the front elbow is tucked when the front foot lands, then a problem is evident. Both elbows should be extended away from the body in perfect opposite directions from the body to form a perfect straight line.

5. Late Break of the Hips

What I mean by this term is that we want the weight out and onto the front foot before the hip and trunk rotation occur. This late rotation generates velocity. Early rotation causes the pitcher to throw with all arm and will cause arm problems.

COACHING POINT: Make sure that the pitcher finishes low with the throwing arm finishing outside the stride knee. Many young players want to lock the front leg thus pole vaunting or lifting their body up and over the front foot. The stride leg should bend slightly.

As mentioned before, make sure that the stride foot is not heeling- out or landing on the heel. This is a flaw that causes jar and control problems. Also make sure that pitchers set up on the pitching rubber in the correct location. We want right-handed pitchers on the right of the rubber and left-handed pitchers on the left. This makes the ball more difficult to pick-up by the batter because of the increase in angle. It gives the pitcher more plate to work with.

Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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Monday, Nov. 9, 2009

Three Tips For Improving a Pitcher's Control


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By Mike Posey

Are you confident the next pitch will go exactly where you planned? How can you be sure your pitcher will locate the next pitch exactly where you want it? A pitcher with great control can sure make the the coach look good.

A few years ago we had one of our HS pitchers throw a perfect game. Not only did no one reach base (zero hits, zero walks, and zero errors) but he had ten strikeouts. What's even more amazing is that it only took 55 pitches (in a five inning ten run game) and 42 of them were strikes.

So, he must have had a blazing fastball? No, his fastball was in the neighborhood of 82 MPH with a 70 MPH change up. The most impressive feat? Every pitch was exactly where he wanted it to be. He was in complete control at all times. A real thing of beauty to watch and enjoy.

Here are three tips to help your pitcher maximize their control.

1. Good control starts with practicing good mechanics--every day.
Pitchers must practice quality mechanics daily. A secret is to develop a good visual image of how to perform correctly. From a good balance point, properly breaking the hands, a good landing, release, and follow thru. A Tip to help pitchers develop visualization: purchase a full length mirror and have the pitcher practice each day facing the mirror. Balance point, break the hands, release, and follow thru. Practice and visualize.

2. Pitchers must master both sides of the plate with their fastball.

Assuming the pitcher is practicing correct mechanics daily, emphasize that importance of pitching in and away. Many young pitchers today are afraid of pitching in. Teach your pitcher the importance of throwing to the inside half with confidence and accuracy. It will make the pitches away more effective. If you pitcher can not do this consistently with their fastball, don't go to another offspeed pitch until they have mastered the fastball to both sides of the plate.

3. More important than a pitch count is the ratio of strikes.

Pitchers must have feed back of the total percentage of strikes thrown during the game and the total percentage of first strikes thrown to each hitter. Use a pitch count device that will give you these percentages during the game.

Mike Posey "CP"
Expert Baseball Pitching Stats

Expert Baseball Tips from a championship coach's perspective and experience, offering creative insights into helping others learn the game of baseball.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Posey

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Friday, Nov. 6, 2009
 

Dick Mills Teaching Velocity The Simple Way Using Momentum Pitching

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http://www.pitching.com Momentum Pitching was developed in 2007 by Dick Mills and Dr. Brent Rushall. It is a new way for all pitchers to increase velocity. By taking a step back instead of to the...
http://www.pitching.com
Momentum Pitching was developed in 2007 by Dick Mills and Dr. Brent Rushall. It is a new way for all pitchers to increase velocity.

By taking a step back instead of to the side and pushing into the pivot, the pitcher automatically will increase his momentum because his body will have to move a longer distance toward the plate while moving faster. In Momentum Pitching the pitcher pushes twice. He pushes after he steps back so he forcefully moves into the pivot and he pushes again once he initiates back leg drive.

Another key factor in Momentum Pitching for increasing velocity is that the pitcher holds on to the ball longer. The longer the pitcher has the ball in his hand the more force is created. Getting to ball release quickly actually reduces velocity.

Thus that added energy from the body stretching out fast into a stride 100% of the pitcher's height or more...more elastic energy is created which is the source of velocity for all pitchers.

Sport science research has proven that arm strength has little to do with improving velocity. Velocity is all about momentum, speed of movement going from the back leg to the front leg and a long stride...plus getting the arm involved as late as possible.

Sports science research has also proven that the faster an athlete moves the less chance of mechanical error...which is completely opposite to what most coaches believe and teach. Thus why so many pitchers today do not maximize their velocity because they are moving their bodies much too slowly and robotically.

What has been learned since January of 2007, when Momentum Pitching was developed is that it is much easier to teach and learn than conventional pitching where tempo is slow and every pitcher is told to reach a balance point. There is no balance point to get to. All a balance point does is slow the pitcher's forward momentum. Balance is easily corrected by all athletes by simply making them aware they are off balance.

If pitchers want to throw fast...they must move fast like Giants's Tim Lincecum...who has the fastest tempo of any starting pitcher in the big leagues and the longest stride to body height ratio.

Check out my 2008 Holiday Special Discounted Offer where you can purchase our Momentum Pitching DVD as well as other fully researched pitching products at a great discount.
http://www.pitching.com
Category: Sports

Tags: pitching mechanics arm momentun explosive strength long toss throwing tips velocity drills Dick Mills training injury curveball



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Today's Post - Thursday. Nov. 5, 2009
 

Baseball Coaching Tip - How to best use your time.

Wasting time is something that baseball coaches should avoid. There is nothing more precious to a player, to parents, or to assistant coaches than time. Time spent at the baseball field must be considered valuable or constructive time. We are coaches because we love the game and we want to help young players grow up to great adults. We help nuture that process by teaching good morals, good values, and good habits. There is no more important thing for a kid to learn than the value of time and the importance of always being punctual.

The key to showing that you value someones time is to have your team practices, meeting, and other acitivites planned and organized.

Here are my 10 tips for showing the value of time:
1. Be punctual at all times. If a practice is schedule to start at 3:00. You should start it eactly at 3:00. Not one minute arly or one minute late. If the practice is set to end at 5:00, end the practice on time. A coach that is constantly running practices over is showing little regard for time and family life. If you do not end it on time. Why should you start it one time. You running a practice is not different than a player arriving 10 minutes late.
2. Stop drills when the alloted time is up. Do not run over.
3. Do not waste practice time having coaching conference. Have your coaching meeting after practice or 30 minutes before practice.
4. Have a practice schedule. Have every minute accounted for and planned. Use odd minutes in drills such as 7.5 minutes. This emphasizes the value of time.
5. Have agenda for team meetings. If you have a team meeting without a purpose or agenda, you may be wasting time. If you have a team meeting and ramble on and on talking in “circles”, you are wasting valuable time.
6. Have a designated place in the dougout for each player’s belongings. Make sure every players name or number is clearly visible on their glove, batting glove and bat. This saves time when a players has to find a glove, a bag, or a bat.
7. Do not talk through the fence with a parent or friend during practice. Kids should not do it and coaches should not either. You are showing a definite lack of respect for practice time. Make sure that you make it known that you will not have discussions or converstations with anyone during practice time.
8. Set all training equipment up before practice. Do not wate valuable practice time assembling, locating, or moving practice equipment.
9. Always disassemble and pack the training equipment up after the designated practice time is over. Do not waste valuable practice time packing way equipment.
10. Do not talk all night after a game. Set a time limit to post-game or post-practice meetings. If you can not say it in 5 minutes, they are not going to remember it anyway. Younger kids are going to “turn you off” after about 5 minutes. Save some of your talk for the beginning of your next practice.
 
Recommended Baseball Training Sites:

Baseball Coaching Digest
Baseball 2day Coaching Journal
American Baseball Directory
Baseball Parent Guide

Today's Post - Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009
 

Baseball Instruction's 7 Essential Mental Skills

By Robert Bulka

There are many different methodologies for teaching baseball instruction. When most folks talk about baseball instruction they talking about three things: fielding, hitting and throwing. I often wondered why there isn't more importance put on teaching the mental aspects of baseball as well. What I've come to realize it that mental skills are learned, but it is an implied knowledge, meaning it's found it to be so important that I added my "7 Essential Mental Skills" to my baseball instruction program. Here they are:


How To Keep Your Cool
How To Use Visualization
Confidence and Positive Thinking
How to Eliminate Negative Thoughts
Stay Focused - No Distractions
How o Overcome Intimidation
How To Prepare in pressure situations (like a sacrifice bunt)

1. How To Keep Your Cool
One of the most important things you can teach your baseball players is how to act, both on and off the field. Another hot topic is arguing with an umpire, coach or another player. Arguing can result in immediate expulsion of the game and possibly the league.

To help players deal with frustration I teach the "10 second rule". This simply means they count to ten before talking. This is to let the rage pass. Believe it or not I have seen it work pretty well.

2. How To Use Visualizaion
Visualization is simply seeing things in your "mind's" eye before they happen. Let's say the hitter has a bunt sign. He can step out of the batter's box and visualize himself successfully executing the sacrifice bunt. Now, when he steps back in the box he has a mental picture, or a blueprint so to speak, to help him execute the strategy. This is a very effective tool.

3. Confidence and Positive Thinking
Positive Thinking and confidence are an essential part of baseball instruction. Think about the game in general, think about how many times you fail. I mean a .300 batting average is great but realistically it's being successful only 30% of the time. Think about how many outs we make, and the errors, and the mental lapses in judgements, etc. etc. There is negative and failure all around.

To promote positive thinking I use stories of incredible baseball comebacks of the past so the kids can see it's possible to comeback from a deficit and win. To boost morale and confidence players are encouraged to root and cheer for each other. It can makes all the difference hearing it from your peers.

4. How To Eliminate Negative Thoughts
Using the confidence building and positive thinking techniques also help to eliminate those negative thoughts. You can help visualize the release of negative thoughts by breathing in deep and exhaling. At the same time visualize that negatively exiting with your breath.

5. Stay Focused - No Distractions
This is so difficult to do, especially for kids. Here is a a great fielding drill that helps them focus and avoid distractions. It uses competition as it's catalyst.

With glove in hand, have four to eight players make a semi-circle around you. Yo will need a baseball glove and two balls. Now throw random ground balls and try to keep at least one of the balls active at all times. Any player who misses the ball or doesn't throw the ball directly back to you sits down and is waits for the next game. Last player left is champ.

6. How to Overcome Intimidation
Sometimes games are won before they even begin. This is because a team's appearance can intimidate a team so much that psyche themselves into thinking they have no chance. Before each game, pump your players up with accolades to boost their confidence. Another technique you can use is to huddle and give a real good pep talk.

7. How To Prepare In Pressure Situations (like a sacrifice bunt)
The use of the skills discussed above, combined, will help them prepare in pressure situations.

Robert Bulka is a former college baseball pitcher and current coach in the New York Metropolitan area. He has penned 2 books on Baseball Scorekeeping and he manages three baseball related sites.
http://bestbaseballebooks.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Robert_Bulka

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Tuesday's Post - Nov. 3, 2009
 

Baseball Pitching Know-How - The 30 Cardinal Sins of a Baseball Pitcher


By Nick Dixon

Every baseball team's fortune lies in the hands or the "arm" of the pitcher on the mound.

This can be said for pitching at every level from Little League Baseball to High School Baseball to College Baseball and to Major League Baseball. As I was watching the College World Series on ESPN last June, I noticed that every pitcher did the little things perfect. Every pitcher had basically the same approach to the game. Every college baseball pitcher in Omaha tried to get ahead of the batters, pound the strike zone with good pitches, and let their defense make plays behind them.

Before a pitcher "toes the rubber" there are many things that that pitcher must know. Little things make a big difference when it comes to baseball pitching success or failure.

Here are what I consider to be the 30 Cardinal Sins of a pitcher.


Not stretching and properly warming up before you pitch.
Walking the lead-off hitter!
Not spotting the fast ball.
Not knowing the number of outs.
Not knowing what bunt coverage is on.
Not sprinting to the plate to cover after a passed ball or wild pitch.
Hitting the lead off batter in the inning.
Hitting a batter with a 0-2 count.
Letting a hitter go from a 0-2 to a 3-2 count.
Allowing the batter to get a 0-2 base hit.
Hanging a curve ball.
Failing to cover first base on a ball hit to the right side.
Failing to back up 3rd or Home on a base hit to the outfield.
Making an errant pickoff throw to a bag.
Failing to vary your looks to check runners on base.
Allowing 2 walks in inning.
Not knowing who is covering 2B in a double-play situation.
Throwing a different pitch from what the catcher calls
Not setting up on the correct side of the pitching rubber. (RH on R, LH on L)
Allowing a walk with two outs.
Going 3-ball-count on any hitter.
Showing negative emotion!
Questioning an Umpire's Call!
Not running or icing your arm after the game to prevent injury.
Not wearing a warm-up jacket in cold conditions.
Failing to check a runner back to the bag on a come backer hit to you.
Throwing out of the windup with a runner on 1st or 2nd base.
Not pointing up in the air at a fly ball.
Not pounding the strike zone with a 5 or more run lead.
Not getting ahead of batters early in the count.

I am sure that you can add more. I hope that you find this information useful.

Good Luck till next time, Nick Dixon

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of Pitching Trainers. Check out their huge selection of Pitching DVDs and coaching books.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon

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