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The Little League Digest features free Little League baseball articles, Little League baseball drills, Little League baseball tips, and other baseball training information. The LL Digest has a new baseball article posted every morning for your reading enjoyment. Make sure to bookmark this site to your favorites so that you can visit frequently to read these daily posted Little League Coaching Articles.

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Baseball Coaching Digest - Coaching Young Baseball Pitchers With the 1, 2, 3 Pitching Drill

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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Bunting Success In Little League Baseball


Bunt Young, Bunt Often In Little League
By Guest Author:
Marty Schupak

Bunting is a very big part of baseball. And, when a bunt is laid down the right way, it is very difficult to defend. I have always been big on bunting, and feel it can be taught at a young age. There are basically two types of bunts: the square bunt and the pivot bunt. My preference is the pivot bunt because the players just pivot on their toes and do not have to lift their feet. Once in a playoff game, I had a player perform a square bunt, and he put down a perfect bunt, and beat it out...we all thought. The only problem was, when he lifted his leg and put it down in a different position, it was right on home plate and he was called out. The best way to teach bunting for the first time is to practice with a soft covered ball or a rag ball, which is described in The 59 Minute Baseball Practice video. With the rag balls or a soft covered ball, there is very little danger of getting hurt, and the players can actually pitch to each other. Once they seem confident, coaches can pitch a hard ball to his team.

There are many bunting strategies that can be used in a game. My favorite is with less than two out and a runner on third. In this situation, the batter can bunt to the third baseman as the base runner bounces toward home. When the third baseman releases the ball to first base, the player on third runs home, and must slide. If it is a good bunt, and the base runner breaks to home when he should, this is almost unstoppable. Remember that youth baseball players can practice bunting at a very young age. Seek out your high school coach to teach the proper technique. Also, make sure your best bunters get a chance to swing away.

http://www.YouthSportsClub.com

http://www.VideosForCoaches.com

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills", "Winning Baseball Strategies", "Hitting Drills & Techniques", “Pitching Drills & Techniques”, and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is a principle with Videos For Coaches and is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.

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

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Everything You Need to Know About Batting Cages


Batting Cages Tips and Information
By Andy Brock

If you want to practice your hitting skills or if you just want your children to have a safe and protected space where they can play baseball, then you should get yourself a batting cage. Batting cages come in different styles and sizes. That is why you should know more about them before you purchase one for yourself or your family because there are so many choices available in the market. Here are some basic information that you need to know:


As the word implies, batting cages are made especially for hitters to improve their skills in hitting the ball. They could have an installed machine that throws a ball to the batter. Due to the consistent nature of the pitching machine, this could build confidence which would help the batter enhance his skills.
Batting cages are often protected with nets to keep the ball safely within the limits of the cage. This could prevent unfortunate accidents, especially if you want to use your cage in your backyard.
You can choose from three kinds of batting cages. First is the even-floored, non-automated type. If it is okay with you to retrieve balls from different places, then this type of cage is just fine for you. However, there are also batting cages that have uneven floors so that the balls that have been thrown by the machine will roll back easily to that side of the cage and can easily be picked up. The last type is the most convenient but probably the most expensive. This is the automated and mechanical type of cage. it has conveyors in which balls could be placed to be put back into the machines for yet another round of pitching.
The usual dimension of a batting cage is 55(l)x16(w)x13(h) feet. You should also know that you can maximize the function by installing several batting cages right next to each other, which means more space. If you can accommodate such space, then buy several cages. If not, just make do with the few cages that your space allows you to put up.
Make sure that you are wearing complete protection for playing baseball before you go inside the cage. Do not come close or put your face on the fencing or netting when somebody is using the cage right next to you. Not doing these precautions can cause serious injuries. Always keep the batting cage entrance close and never enter a cage that is currently being used by another batter.

Find more information on building batting cages at the website: batting cages.

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

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Teaching Kids Baseball Pitching Mechanics


Youth Baseball Pitching Mechanics
By Nate Barnett

It is fun to watch youth baseball games. I enjoy watching the kid on the team with the least amount of talent "accidentally" catch a fly ball that was hit right to him. Those kids will always remember that time in their life when they were a hero; at least they felt that way for that moment in time. That is what youth baseball is all about.

I will always remember (in great detail) hitting my first homerun over the fence in Little League. I was 10; 23 years ago. I remember where I hit the ball, how far I hit it, how the ball almost hit a green car when it finally landed, who the first base coach was, what he said to me when I reached first base, how the sun was setting just above the mountains, the excitement rounding second when I could barely control myself from leaping all the way home, what my third base coach told me just as I was rounding third, how my teammates surrounded me when I reached home plate and the reward of the hamburger after the game for hitting a homerun. It was tasty! I also remember that was the only game my parents didn't make it to that year because it was my older sisters High School graduation night. That is the joy of youth baseball!

As parents and coaches we often forget what baseball is all about as we focus on winning more than we do developing players on and off the field. The coaches that have fond memories of playing little league Baseball can be some of the most influential coaches to the youth.

Here are a few things we need to remember when coaching youth baseball pitchers:

Youth Coaching Tip #1: Youth pitchers have to be taught mechanics with patience and understanding. You shouldn't be aggressive in your teaching style. Most players respond with a negative attitude and won't enjoy the learning process regardless of how well you think you teach if you are too intense. Nobody performs well under pressure from coaches when they are overly aggressive constantly yelling or barking at them during games and practices. They are on the field to have fun learning life's lessons and the fundamentals of the game. Pitching mechanics take time to learn so parents and coaches need to understand that little league is a developmental league not MLB. I read once that it takes Tiger Woods 18 months to incorporate a new swing to his golf game; be patient with the youth.

Youth Coaching Tip #2 Most of us are visual learners and need to be shown how to do things. Coaches should take the time first to learn what they should teach and then practice it themselves so they can physically show pitchers proper mechanics. If the coach is unable to do that, they should find instructional videos that allow the pitcher to visualize what is being taught.

Youth Coaching Tip #3: During practice explain why a concept is important in the throwing motion. If the student doesn't understand why they are supposed to do certain things mechanically they have a difficult time retaining the knowledge. They will continue to do what they have always done.

Youth Coaching Tip # 4: To ensure you know your players understand what is being taught it is necessary to ask them questions about what they are learning during practice. I always make my students re-teach what I taught them at the end of the lesson, or many times during, to help me know they get it. Taking it a step further, have them physically show you what they have learned and have them repeat it time and time again until the mechanics become a part of their muscle memory. This takes a lot of patience because mechanics take time to develop for any pitcher.

Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

You can find The Pitching Academy's articles, blog, and videos on baseball pitching mechanics, pitching grips, and hitting mechanics when you visit the website.

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

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Baseball Tips on Hitting - How to Overcome Two Very Common Baseball Hitting Problems!


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"Correcting Common Baseball Hitting Problems"
By Larry Cicchiello

Tension Is A Hitter's Worst Enemy!

I've heard this expression dozens of times and could not agree more. No, let's make that hundreds of times. If you have tension in your swing, it is next to impossible to hit the ball effectively. On the other hand, relaxing is a great asset to have.
 
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How to Prevent Strike Outs - Baseball Hitting Advice From a Former Major Leaguer


By Jack Perconte

Nothing is more frustrating for young baseball players and their parents than strike outs, especially if it is a recurring event. Strike outs may lead to very depressed ballplayers and to upset coaches and parents. Obviously, continual strike outs lead to athletes losing confidence, self-esteem and usually their desire to play the game altogether. What to do?

First, explain to ballplayers that hitting a baseball is one of the toughest things to do in sports and good fundamentals, practice and patience are necessary. Further explain that there are very few kids that have natural swings and the necessary hand-eye coordination to automatically be able to hit a ball. This explanation is important so players do not get too frustrated and depressed and to give them the message that they have control over the situation if they are willing to put in the work.

Next, the results of the hitter's at-bats must be analyzed. Sometimes, it is just a matter of the hitter becoming a little more aggressive when batting so they are not always behind in the count. Unaggressive hitters find themselves hitting with two strikes too often. If that is not the problem, check the results of the player's swings and misses. Are they under the ball (most common), over the ball, early or late? This will lead to what needs to be done.

Following are possible solutions for each of these situations:

1. When hitters are continually swinging late at the pitch - challenge them with higher velocity that approximate game speeds. Many hitters will make the necessary adjustments on their own when they begin to see faster speeds and get their eyes used to seeing the faster pitching.

2. Similar advice - when hitters are continually early they need to face much slower pitching so they learn to wait on the ball.

3. When hitters are under the ball they need to shorten the swing. This means keeping their swing path more direct by keeping the barrel of the bat above the ball on the approach to the ball. This can be done in a number of ways including the following drills.

Hitting Drill - With the use of two batting tees set the tees a bout a foot apart and in line with each other. Place a ball on both tees with the ball closer to the catcher about a balls width lower than the ball out front. Hitters should work on hitting the ball closest to the pitcher while missing the back ball.

Hitting Drill - Along the same lines as the previous drill, set the height of the batting tee a little above the back hip and place the tee under the hitter's hands in their stance. Pitch balls to the hitter and have them swing over the tee on the way to contact. This will help hitters develop a more direct swing path and should lead to more consistent contact.

4. When hitters are over the ball they should work on knee high pitches until they can begin to hit line drives on this pitch location. This will help them get use to driving their hands to the back of the ball while using their hips and legs in the correct way.

It is important to note that habits are tough to change and that there are times when I use "opposite drills" to change a players habits. These drills are extremely different then what the player is doing and often are not the fundamentally sound swing either, but they are the only way the hitter can break their initial bad habit. The hitting drills under point number 3 above could be considered opposite drills compared to what happens in reality with a great swing. The goal is to eventually meet in the middle with the correct swing and this is a way of doing that.

Finally, a great way to prevent strikeouts and promote more consistent contact is with front arm work. The hitters lead arm (hand) is the one that takes the bat to the ball so swinging the bat with just the lead arm will help contact. This drill will force the hitter to use the lead arm and get stronger with the front side, which is often the hitter's weaker arm.

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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There is no better baseball training machine for stopping those embarrasijng strikeouts than the Hurricane Machine by SKLZ and the BatAction Machine by Nedco Sports. Both are 100% Guaranteed to improve batting averages, reduce strikeouts and improve power.
 

Nation's Winningest High School Baseball Coach Reveals Secrets to Baseball Success


Nation's Winningest High School Baseball Coach Reveals Secrets to Baseball Success
By Rick Cabral

Coach "Guy" Anderson, head coach of the Cordova High School baseball team (suburb of Sacramento, Calif.), calls himself "old school." In 40-plus years he has coached the varsity team to 840 victories, the most wins of any high school coach currently in the nation. Anderson believes his "old school" methods have played a role in the development of the young men who won those games for Cordova High on the ball field.

One of those players is Jerry Manuel, manager of the New York Mets, who was a first round pick in 1972. Another is Geoff Jenkins, who won a World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Each can attest to Anderson's winning ways. In all, 24 of Anderson's players have been drafted by major league teams, and many more have gone on to play at the college level.

As with most established coaches, Anderson has developed a routine of conditioning and practicing that leads to team victories. His players begin each practice with a series of stretching exercises, then running. When they conclude their running the team participates in a Cordova High tradition of each player running to the center field fence and touching the 360 foot sign.

But it takes more than conditioning and tradition to field a winning club these days. It starts with players who have what Anderson terms "God-given ability," and he admits to seeing fewer players with that kind of skill these days. For instance, this year just 12 students made the Cordova High varsity. In the glory years of the 1980s and '90s, when Anderson's teams won three Sac-San Joaquin Section baseball titles, he often carried up to 22 players on his squad and turned away many more. Today, an intra-squad game is out of the question.

Anderson says one reason for the lack of talented players is that fewer kids play catch with fathers, an outgrowth of single-parent families. Moreover, there are a greater number of distractions-from mobile phone video games to club sports such as rugby and lacrosse, that didn't exist in California in prior decades. Consequently, when they come out for the team now, Anderson says, some players have to be taught even the most fundamental baseball skills.

But if mostly average players is what a coach ends up with, then the kind of program Anderson has developed over the years is crucial to success.

Following warm ups, the team then begins regular throwing. The players begin by taking a knee and throwing a short distance. Once they're limber, they begin throwing in earnest, eventually extending out their throws to 110 feet, and then shortening the throws. Next, they do a tossing drill Coach Anderson calls "quick fire," that requires hand-eye coordination and quick foot movements. Then the players go to their individual defensive positions.

Anderson says he got the idea for these types of drills from "Bud" Wilkinson, who led University of Oklahoma football teams to national championships in 1950, 1955 and 1956, and amassed a 47-game win streak, an NCAA Division 1 record that stands today. Wilkinson was known as an ultra-organized coach, who broke down practices in 10-minute concentrated segments; not a minute wasted and purpose driven. Adopting that concept has garnered Anderson election to the prestigious National High School Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Easton Sports voted him "Master Coach" in 2003.

Asked what one thing he would do different in his coaching career, Anderson offers that he would show more "compassion" while still adhering to his standards. He also advises young coaches to develop a written agreement, spelling out the coach's rules or expectations and requiring both players and their parents to sign off.

This type of attention to detail, and love of the game, helps to build a winning program. It doesn't hurt to have the consistency of a head coach with 40+ consecutive years, either.

"(Baseball) is a special game to me," Anderson says proudly. And Guy Anderson will surely go down as a "special" coach.

Rick Cabral is a Sacramento baseball historian. To listen to his interview with Cordova High School Coach "Guy" Anderson visit http://BaseballSacramento.com and navigate to Teams > High School.

To learn more about Cordova High baseball, visit http://cordovalancerbaseball.com

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

Youth Baseball Digest - Pitcher Having Control Problems - 3 Pitching Delivery Flaws I Check First


Hurricane Hitting Machine - Hitting Success is 1005 Guaranteed by Our Money Back Guarantee
By Nick Dixon

You are a youth baseball coach. One of your pitchers is having trouble throwing strikes. When a pitcher is having a bad day on the mound, there has to be a reason. In most cases bad days are caused by simple pitcher delivery flaws. Often times these flaws can be quickly identified and corrected. What are the first three things that a coach should check in the pitchers delivery? Here I discuss the first three things that I always check first.

1) Target Focus and Concentration
2) Front Leg and Landing Foot Action
3) Release Point Consistency.
 
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Good morning to you. I have posted several articles below that I have written for baseball coaches. I hope that you find theses articles informative and useful. Makes ure to visit our sponsors, Baseball2u.com and BatAction.com. Have a great weekend and good luck to your team. Nick
 
  • 7 Keys to Building Good Work Habits in Young Baseball Players
    [Recreation-and-Sports:Baseball] This baseball coaching article discusses the value of work and how to motivate players to work harder. 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.

  • A Dozen Things That I Feel Every Youth Baseball and Youth Softball Batter Should Remember
    [Recreation-and-Sports:Baseball] When the coach gives the runner or runners a steal sign get deeper in the batter box. This extends distance for the pitch coming in and the throw by the catcher. This slight movement may give the runner a little more time.
  • Baseball Hitting - The 3 Basic Elements of the Major League Baseball Swing
    [Recreation-and-Sports:Baseball] The "Major League" baseball swing is a thing of beauty. If you watch it in slow motion, you will see that there are 3 common elements of the swing that that most major league baseball players have in common. Baseball batting practice repetition makes the Major League Baseball Swing consistent with the same 3 basic elements exhibited with every swing of the bat.

  • Baseball Pitching Know-How - The 30 Cardinal Sins of a Baseball Pitcher
    [Recreation-and-Sports:Baseball] 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.

  • "Shove-Up Baseball" - A Great Baseball and Softball Practice Game
    [Recreation-and-Sports:Baseball] Adding variety and preventing boredom is an attribute of great coaching. Little league and youth baseball practice can be both fun and productive at the same time. Great coaches know the importance of having a pure fun day every one and a while. The game "Shove-Up" is definitely not an activity that you would use every day, but as a "change of pace" activity, it serves well to motivate kids and teach competitiveness. How is "Shove-up" played?

  • Baseball Coaching Digest - Team Making Too Many Errors? Two Great Mid Season Team Defensive Drills


    Baseball Coaching Digest - Team Making Too Many Errors? Two Great Mid Season Team Defensive Drills
    By
    Nick Dixon

    Team defensive baseball drills should be a daily routine for your baseball team. Team defensive drills make your players execute and perform under pressure more than regular ground ball drills. These two team defensive baseball drills are excellent ways to build defensive skills, build confidence, and to improve mental concentration. The two drills are: 1) Infield Live Batting Drill 2) Live Game Action Drill.

    If you incorporate these two drills into your baseball practice routine, I am confident that you will see an improvement in your team defensive play and a reduction in errors.

    Infield Live Batting Drill - Your infield players will be in their regular positions and they will be making the plays. Your outfield will be the base runners. The coach hits the ball. When the coach hits the ball, the base runners will run to first. If the runner is safe, the runner is on first base. You will keep hitting balls until the infielder record three outs. The infielders must talk during this drill to make sure they know where the runners are, how many outs there are, and where the play should be made. For example, with bases loaded and two outs, the players will say "take it to the easiest base or that the play is at one".

    This baseball drill has multiple purposes. The outfielders can improve their base running skills also. You will clear the bases after each three outs. The coach can also lay down bunts to check bunt coverage. Make sure to mark a starting spot for the base runners. Make sure that the runners wear helmets during this drill.

    It is recommended that you perform this drill for 21 outs at least two days a week.

    Live Game Action Drill - This drill is performed with all players at their defensive positions. You will have 5 or 6 players running the bases while your infielders make plays. The coach will hit the ball in this drill with the base runners going as far as the hit ball will allow them. The players must execute, communicate, and stay alert mentally during this drill. You will clear the baseball after each three outs. Normally you will require your team to do this drill for 21 outs two days a week. Make sure to mark a starting spot for the base runners. Make sure that the runners wear helmets during this drill.

    I hope that these two drills prove to be useful in helping your team improve defensive play. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. For more articles like it, you can visit the Baseball Coaching Digest, Youth Baseball Digest, and Little League Digest. Good Luck to You and Your Team. 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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    10 Ways to Increase Your Baseball Batting Average - Besides Getting a Better Swing

    By Jack Perconte

    There are many things players can do to raise or maintain a high batting average. Obviously, developing improved baseball swing fundamentals and working on timing the ball are the most beneficial things to do. Beyond that, there are other not so obvious ways to keep a high batting average. This can be the difference between continuing to play and getting a seat on the bench. Dedicated players will look for all means to improve. Improving in the following areas can make at least a hundred point difference in a baseball player's batting average.

    1. Improve running speed - the ability to beat out a few extra ground balls a season for a few extra hits will help maintain a good average.

    2. Develop good bunting technique - as the previous point, being able to put down a few base hits via the bunt can make a big difference, especially when players are struggling with their swing or timing.

    3. Have eyes checked before season - nothing is more important to hitters than their vision. Playing even a few games without great eyesight can be detrimental to a good average.

    4. Learn and adhere to the strike zone - chasing bad pitches and not being willing to take a walk will hurt the player's average.

    5. Know strengths and weaknesses - hitters who know what pitches they hit best and which they don't will have better success early in the count. (Players should consult coaches for this information if unsure).

    6. Study the opposing pitcher - even young players should watch the opposing pitcher during warm-ups and in games to get an idea of their speed, control, etc.

    7. Use the whole field - during batting practice players should work on hitting balls where they are pitched. It's a big advantage to be able to hit balls to all fields as opposed to only using half the field.

    8. Cut down on swing with two strikes - players who just try to make contact and hit the ball back through the middle with two strikes have a great chance to maintain a high average.

    9. Keep a good attitude - hitters that realize their next at bat can be different than their previous failed attempts will succeed. Forgetting bad at-bats is crucial to maintain confidence and belief in oneself.

    10. Remember the directions to Carnegie Hall - practice, perfect practice, practice when others aren't.

    Finally, good coaches will stress the above suggestions and help players develop these parts of their game. Over time, players will begin to do these on their own and notice how their batting average soars.

    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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    Baseball Tips - Catchers - Where's the Instinct?

    Baseball Tips - Catchers - Where's the Instinct?
    By Chico Reese

    Sometimes I'll be watching a game and one of the teams has a pretty darn good catcher. I mean, he has a cannon for an arm, good size, quick feet back there, blocks real good, and on and on.

    But little things happen in games with guys like these and I sit there scratching my head thinking, "Why didn't he do this? Or, why didn't he do that? Or, he had him there if he would have just thrown it!" There can be a small list of these things that this "pretty darn good" catcher does, or doesn't do. It's only recently that I think I realize why I see this type of thing today.

    Think back, you older guys, when your video game was Pong, or at the best, the original Atari. There were no computers (and, no Instant Messenger, thank God!), no cell phones, no X-Box 360 and so on. What did we do, besides have to cut the grass? Well, we played baseball, softball and sometimes football in the same day. We did this day in and day out and still had baseball games at night. We developed many baseball "instincts", even as small kids. Kids don't play pickup games in neighborhoods anymore. It's all organized now, down to the smallest details.

    Years ago, even though kids didn't play as many organized games, I think on the average kids played more baseball. As they grew older, they developed many instincts...things that tell you to throw or not, in a split second. Catchers knew how to read batters. They knew how to read runners and remember that #14 always looked down when he started back to first as soon as he saw the catcher's hand go up and start to throw back to the pitcher. Catchers knew when they had to trot out to the mound and say some bad, goofy stuff to make the pitcher laugh a little, just to relax. Many catchers were calling their own pitches at thirteen.

    Today, this seems to be less and less. Catchers are more like wind up dolls. Just go and watch a game today, even older kids. You'll see catchers looking into the dugout after every pitch, looking for the next sign and pitch to call. Many times they're clueless why some of these are called. It's like a wireless video game for the coaches sitting on the buckets near the on-deck circle. And to make matters worse, after every pitch, what do you usually hear? You hear two or three coaches yapp'in away at the catcher, the pitcher and the infielders given multiple instructions and demands. It's a puppet show at times...not a baseball game.

    Players attempt pickoffs when told to, or if some play is on. If they do it on their own and they throw the ball away, you'll hear, "Hey! What was that? Did I call that? Let's go!" So much for instincts. Won't do that again.

    I'm not saying catchers today are no good. I actually think they are way better than in the past in most cases. I'll see many that are more trained in throwing and blocking than years ago. Hitting, well I just think players today are way better hitters than hitters in the past. Kids today are more exposed to different baseball training methods and different baseball drills. They get much more instruction and therefore are more skilled than kids years ago.

    It's those little things that they don't have as much as players did in the past. Those little things are instincts. I guess they eventually get them, but just at an older age.

    There are coaches out there that encourage the catcher to think on his own given different situations. You can always correct and teach later. This is commendable as it doesn't happen very often anymore. In time, you and he will think alike and you'll see him grow into a smart catcher, not a wind up doll looking for the next instruction.

    Maybe some of the coaches out there can let their catchers and other players work on developing some of their own instincts at times. There might be a game that you know you are going to win or a game where the score indicates that you can maybe let the catcher try to call pitches, encourage the infielders to communicate among themselves and try to set some things up on their own. Let them take control. Let them be responsible for what happens on the field. They'll make mistakes, sure. But that's when you, the coach, come back in for a little word or two and then back out. If things look like they are going the wrong way, then take over again.

    You'll see them become smarter players in time. They'll be developing some instincts. They'll think a little more differently and maybe understand why you do some of the things that you do.

    Most importantly, they'll look forward to that time in certain games when they're winning enough that you say, "Hey! You guys got it...don't blow it!" They'll have fun...just like we did in the neighborhoods years ago.


    Chico Reese has been closely involved in youth baseball, softball and High School Baseball over the last twelve years and enjoys working with young catchers.

    For excellent Catching instruction, drills and training, consider the following sources:

    Catchers Instruction, Training and Tips

    http://baseballcatcher.baseballgloverestore.com

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

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    Teaching the Professional Baseball Swing


    Teaching the Professional Baseball Swing
    By
    Joe Brockhoff

    For over 25 years thousands of happy clients have learned the correct way to become better hitters using Joe's unique and effective baseball hitting tips. ... Article Word Count


    First, let us understand the direction the ball comes to us. A pitcher pitches off of a 10 inch mound and because he is elevated when he pitches the ball, the ball will come to the hitter diagonally down. If you we can visualize a ball coming to a hitter on a downward plane and the hitter also swinging on a downward plane, the hitter has only one chance to intersect with the ball on contact.

    When hitters hear the term "swing down", they will almost always swing on a vertical plane. Perhaps coaches teach this because in their minds, this would be a short stroke. However, while swinging down would be shorter, which would be beneficial, this action does not place the bat in alignment for the best contact with the ball.

    Swinging down is also popular with coaches because they feel it will hit ground balls in little league and youth baseball, where fielders struggle to make these plays. In other words, more chances for errors give them a better chance for getting on base.

    This is a negative way to think about learning how to be teaching the professional baseball swing because it does not maximize hitting ability. As a player grows in the game, there will be other players who will be excellent in fielding and throwing out grounders.

    Here is another important point, and we have tested this time and time again. Swinging down hits more pop-ups than ground balls. We identify the action of "swinging-down" that hits a pop-up as a "scrape". The ball counter acts the downward swing and can actually hit a pop-up each time.

    So where is the adjustment? We do not swing down. But we do go down. By driving to the ball diagonally down, keeping our hands above the ball, and the bat head above the hand as we pivot (drive), this puts us in perfect position to make the best contact. We then invert the bat so that the top hand goes under the stroke, then goes diagonally up. This perfectly matches the pitch.

    We go to the ball diagonally down, and our stroke goes diagonally up. NEVER do we want the bat head to point to the ground after contact.

    If that happens you will usually see a pop up because the bat will hit the face of the ball rather than the core of the ball.

    Techniques that show teaching the professional baseball swing are fully explained in our
    baseball hitting drills web site for the"Super 8 Hitting System", completely demonstrated in a series of baseball hitting videos, which includes many baseball coaching tips and baseball coaching drills. 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/blog.

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

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    The 10 "Must Do's" of Coaching Baseball
    By Nick Dixon

    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!

    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

    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:
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    Baseball Hitting Tips - 100 Swings a Day


    By Tom Read

    An old baseball coach use to say after every practice, "go home and swing the bat 100 times each and every day. If you want to hit against the high level of competition we are going to be playing, swing that bat 100 times everyday". What he did not explain to the players was that doing something over and over makes it easier each time. It eventually becomes natural, second nature. So when that fastball comes flying in, and there is a half second to react, and you know where the swing needs to go, the muscle memory takes over and the swing comes naturally.

    Hitting off the tee is a great baseball hitting drill. Take a 100 cuts a day off the tee and you will see your batting average start to climb. Another good baseball drill is soft toss. Here the tosser can change the location and the speed of the ball. Again, a 100 cuts a day of soft toss will bring improvement to your swing. The old coach used to tell the players that even if they did not have a tee to use, or no one was around to do soft toss with them, just go out in the yard and swing the bat thru the air. A 100 times a day. Doing this will get you comfortable with your swing. At game time, you want to be confident at the plate, and comfort brings confidence. You have swung that bat so many times, you know it is not going to let you down. You are concentrating on the pitch, not your swing. At just the right moment, you let loose with that same swing you have taken a 100 times a day.

    The last thing I want to say is very important. You play like you practice. Before you start swinging a 100 time a day, you need to have found a good batting stance and good mechanics. It will not help you if each one of the 100 swings is different. Each swing needs to be identical. Find that perfect swing for you and practice it a 100 times a day.

    After my many years of coaching, watching and traveling to out of town baseball games, I decided to share
    my baseball tips and stories that I have learned and experienced along the way. To check out more articles that I have written, please visit my website at http://baseballknowledge.info

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

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    Baseball Hitting Drills


    Our latest ad in this month's Jr Baseball Magazine.

    Baseball Hitting Drills
    By Kenny Buford

    That One's Outta There!

    Nothing quite beats the sound of a bat cracking a pitch so perfectly that the batter barely even needs to look up to see it's out of the park. A satisfying smile creeps across the batter's face as they toss the vibrating bat aside, jogging the rounds of the bases with pride. The following baseball hitting drills aim to improve your team's batting skills so that more players can experience the joy of cracking one out of the park.

    Have your players perform the following hitting exercise at every practice to help them build muscle memory in the crucial lower body region. Each hitter takes a bat, places it behind their back and while gripping the bat firmly assume their hitting stance.

    Next, have players take a stride inwards, then remove the top hand and use it to pull the bat around their waist. At this time, players are rolling up on their back foot and their knees and abdomen should be facing outwards, towards where the pitcher would be situation. From here, have players resume their normal stance before repeating 10 times. Players will begin to feel the improvements in their lower body muscles after just a few practices.

    Arm Isolation

    The first of the baseball hitting drills can be used to strengthen arm muscles and improve hitter confidence by hitting the ball using only one hand on the bat. Make sure that batter begin with the lead hand choked very high up the bat. Weaker players may need to place the hand from their weaker arm in the armpit of the batter arm for extra power and support.

    Before attempting to hit, have players swing the bat a few times with just their lead arm. Make sure approach the pitches with caution, staying back on the ball as much as possible. Allow each player 5 successful hits before switching arms and performing double the reps with the weaker arm to build additional strength. After adding this to your arsenal of drills, players will ideally develop equal arm strength in each arm, or at least build crucial muscle memory in their weaker arm.

    Don't Hit the Chair

    The next of the baseball hitting drills is perfect if you have a number of players on your team who cut too far upwards when hitting. To set up the drill, set up a batting tee at home plate and a folding chair behind the tee. The seat of the chair should be facing the tee and the tee should be slightly lower than the back of the chair.

    Have your hitter approach the plate and assume their normal stance just behind the chair. Players are to swing and hit the ball through the hole in the chair, forcing players to accommodate a downward angle to their swing. I like to use metal folding chairs for this drill because of the loud sound made when players fail to add enough downward arc to their swing. This drill is great for players looking to develop their line drive hits as they are shown the ideal spot to hit the ball to produce such a result.

    About The Author

    Kenny Buford has coached nearly every level of baseball in a career that spans several decades. You can get instant access to his championship baseball practice plans and more baseball hitting drills by visiting his website:

    http://www.Baseball-Practice-Plans.com/

    For a limited time, all coaches who visit Kenny's site will also get a free copy of his special report: "The 7 Biggest Mistakes Baseball Coaches Make". Go get your free copy today!

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

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    Hit a Baseball With Power and Crush More Home Runs

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    Article Title: Hit a Baseball With Power and Crush More Home Runs
    By Rob Bucher

    Imagine having the power at the plate to launch prodigious home runs the largest parks in your league can't contain.

    If you're a player, coach or parent and are ready to discover the secrets to hit a baseball with power. Stay glued to every word in this article.

    It's all possible you know...

    ...You can pad your power stats and become a complete power hitter, even if you've never hit a dinger before.

    Let me explain by revealing the three keys to hitting all batters can use to maximize their power at the plate.


    Loading up - In order to effectively add more power at the plate you need to build up kinetic energy. The only way to build it up is by separating the lower half from the top half. As you begin your stride, you should turn your front shoulder in about one or two inches and push your hands back into a good hitting position.
    Hips lead the hands - Your swing begins by turning the hips towards the pitcher and pulling the top half of your body into the hitting zone. Most coaches teach players to take the hands to ball first, this is a power draining motion. The hips must fire first and then pull the upper body and hands into the hitting zone.
    Contact position - Maximize the kinetic energy in the body by making contact with the baseball at a ninety degree angle. The barrel of the bat must be on the same plane of the pitch at contact. When contact is made you want to have a the correct ball and bat angle to release the energy your body has built up from a proper load.
    How to hit a baseball with power happens when you incorporate all three of these mechanics into your swing.

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    Because your current mechanics are zapping your power at the plate.

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

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    Sports Psychology and Baseball Pitching - How to Be a Better Pitcher - Fifteen Simple, Proven Tips

    AdvancedSkillsTee.com
    By Jay Granat

    Over the years, I have counseled a number of outstanding pitchers who have wanted to take their game to the next level. These pitchers have been professionals, high school players, minor league players, college players and little league players.

    They all want to get better and they want to learn how to pitch in the zone more often.

    Here are some of the tips that I have communicated to them.

    1. Get some training in self-hypnosis, visualization and meditation. These skills will make you a better pitcher. Know what you need to do to ease yourself into the zone.
    2. Use a pre-pitch routine which builds confidence, focus and relaxation into your mind and your body. Similarly, know how to use time in the dugout and the bullpen to stay mentally ready and mentally tough.
    3. Study hitters carefully and keep accurate records on what works and what does not work. Too many pitchers and coaches fail to do this. Use and analyze video and relevant statistics frequently.
    4. If you can learn to deliver the ball from different positions. Being able to throw overhand, side and three quarters can make you a more deceptive pitcher.
    5. Know your strengths and build up your weaknesses.
    6. Speed is important, but having movement, break and variety or pitches are also essential skills for a great pitcher.
    7. Decide if you are a strike out pitcher, a fly out pitcher or a ground out pitcher.
    8. Practice throwing balls as often as you practice throwing strikes. You need to be able to waste pitches and entice hitters into swinging at bad pitches.
    9. Work with different coaches, so you can master different aspects of pitching.
    10. Determine if you are better as a starter or as a relief pitcher as early in your career as possible.
    11. Develop a great rapport and working relationship with your catcher, coaches and and teammates.
    12. Erase mistakes from your mind.
    13. Believe it or not, you can learn something from every pitch.
    14. Every pitch has to have a mission or a purpose.
    15. The most important pitch you will throw is the next pitch.

    Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com. He is also the author of How To Get Into The Zone With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis http://www.stayinthezone.com/shop-stay-in-the-zone.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=55
    He can be reached at 888 580-ZONE.

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

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    Baseball Drills - Staying Motivated While You Practice


    Baseball Drills - Staying Motivated While You Practice
    By Nate Barnett

    One of the biggest challenges a coach faces is to successfully instill a long-term motivation and vision in practice during the typical lengthy baseball season. It's not uncommon for a high school player to spend February through August doing baseball drills, workouts, training, and of course participating in games. So the question must be asked, how can you create a sense of urgency and long-term focus during the hundreds of hours of baseball drills throughout the season?

    This is where goals come into play. Though I will say, be careful how you use the term "goals", the reaction of your athletes may be less than excited. I prefer the term, "road map". Whether it be to play in high school, college, or professionally, you will be much more likely to find your athletes will perform the baseball drills and workouts you create efficiently if you help them continually expand their road map. Without a clear and defined road map, you'll end up wasting a lot of practice time and will most certainly find it tough to help your players stay motivated throughout the duration of the season.

    I'm sure you've agreed with me thus far that a road map creation process is vital to the success to an athlete. But let me give you one tangible and practical way to help enlarge the thinking of your players.

    Think of it this way. If the goal is to get to the Big Leagues, there are some serious rewards that come with the title of Big Leaguer. One of the benefits of course is economic. Lets say a talented and successful player makes one million dollars annually playing professionally. Broken down over a career of practicing and working hard on baseball drills, that's about 20 grand per practice! Obviously it largely depends on the age of the athlete whose dream is to play in the Bigs, but I'm sure you can do the math and figure out the amount of money per practice. Have the athlete deposit the money in his mental bank account only if he's worked hard during his practice.

    The mind is an amazing thing. Help your athletes develop it so they may achieve their full potential.

    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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    A Few Little League Baseball Drills to Teach Swing Mechanics


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    A Few Little League Baseball Drills to Teach Swing Mechanics
    By Joseph Harrison Jr

    Batting a baseball is no easy task. Often it is especially frustrating and discouraging for a child. A successful swing requires control and sound technique. This article will cover basics of hitting and introduce some very simple and effective little league baseball drills, aimed at improving mechanics and technique.

    First of all and most importantly your child should watch the ball all the way to the bat. Meaning when they hit the ball they should actually see the ball hit the bat.

    There are several simple little league baseball drills you can do to improve "picking up", or seeing the ball.

    Perhaps the most common is to stand, chin on front shoulder. As the swing is completed the chin will rest finally on the other shoulder. A batting tee can be used to develop this skill. Soft toss is equally as effective and can offer a change of pace. Both of this little league baseball drills are very effective at improving eye hand coordination and increasing bat speed.

    To be a successful hitter balance is a must. Most people feel comfortable with feet shoulder width apart, although this is the norm there are a wide range of stances out there so go with what feels comfortable and more importantly with what works. However they stand be sure they are firm footed and well balanced.

    A fluid swing is the result of several parts of the upper and lower muscle groups working together. Bat speed is created by the hands and wrists and is as important, if not more, than lower body muscle groups in hitting for power. A short, quick swing will generate more power than a long over extending of the arms. A shorter swing speeds your bat up, generating more power.

    The hands are also extremely important in hitting. Hands should be held at chest level with the bat in front. This is a generalization, many prefer to hold their hands high and others low but chest level is the best point from which to begin a swing for most.

    Avoid dropping the hands before swinging. This cuts the time a batter has to react to a pitch. The soft toss drill is one of several little league baseball drills that will develop wrists and hands. A tennis ball can be used to promote hand strength. Stronger hands mean more bat speed can be generated.

    The lower body is also an important part of hitting. Many players over stride when swinging, creating an awkward swing. Have your child lift the front foot off the ground and simply place it back. This helps in keeping their weight back, creating more power in the swing.

    Proper hip usage is crucial to a good fluid swing. Squashing the bug is one of several little league baseball drills to teach proper hip usage. Your child can practice swinging by placing the left hand out in front of the body over an imaginary strike zone. Then have them swing through with the right and make contact with the left in the center of the zone, keeping in mind to pay attention to form and technique. The drill is used to teach correct balance. The batter will sharply turn the right, or back, ankle as if to squash a bug with the toe as the hand swings through the zone.

    The key aspects of hitting are balance, seeing the ball and precise timing of the body's lower and upper muscle groups. Hitting is very difficult by any measure. Improvement will come through good habits and practice.

    I am Joseph Harrison, a baseball coach since 20 years ago. I love baseball since I am young, especially the feeling when you know you will absolutely crush the ball. Training your kid to gain interest in baseball will benefit him from both mentally and physically. In with he will gain team spirit, learn how to cope with teammates, and at the same time train up his physical, and concentration (to have good eye and hand coordination and the ability to use both at once). Go through my article and you will know all the benefits of baseball.

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

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    Youth Baseball Digest - 4 Important Factors That Can Help New Little League Coaches Be Successful


    Youth Baseball Digest - 4 Important Factors That Can Help New Little League Coaches Be Successful
    By
    Nick Dixon

    The 4 Most Important Rules that all New Little League Baseball Coaches Should Follow

    Coaching Little league is a great way for baseball and softball players to give back to your community. Every baseball player remembers his first t-ball coach, coach pitch coach, little league coach, and high school coach. Baseball coaches have a profound effect on the lives of the players they coach. Being or becoming a great youth baseball coach requires a high level of commitment and dedication. There are 3 important rules that every new little league coach must always follow. Those rules are:

    1. You must be a student of the game. To be a good youth baseball coach, you must have a good knowledge of how the game is played, how the rules are applied, and how certain skills and drills are performed. If you feel uncomfortable about a certain position, skill or fundamental, look for help. You may ask another coach. You may go to your local library or book store and find a book on how to coach baseball. You have access to an enormous amount of information about every aspect of the game through your computer and the internet.

    2. You must have good help. You can never have too much help when coaching a youth team. Ask your parents and friends to find other volunteers to help you coach your team. It is best to have a parent meeting. Ask for parent volunteers. The parents that volunteer to help should choose a specific area in which they concentrate their effort. You will need at least 2 good assistant coaches. One needs to have enough knowledge and patience to be the pitching coach. One should be the hitting coach.

    3. You must remediate your weaker players. In you draft, you may find that you must pick children that are good at certain skills but extremely week in other areas.One often overlooked and neglected aspect of coaching is remediation/ Remediation is special attention and help given to those players that need it. This is a job for what I refer to as the remediation coach. The coach that takes one or two players to the side and works on specific areas of the game in which they are too weak to compete. They may need help with swing mechanics, throwing mechanics, or simple footwork. These kids will master these skills easier and faster when they receive one-on-one personal attention. These "tutoring" lessons pay back huge returns if you can have enough help. The theory is that you must bring every player up to a certain level or much valuable team time will be lost to working with them during team drills. It is best to take these kids aside and work them separately from the team until they get their skill levels up. These lessons should be done in such a way to not embarrass the child or players involved.

    4. You must work hard and set a good example. A willingness to work hard may be the most important trait of a successful coach. They work hard at planning, organizing, and executing individual and team drills for both offense and defense. They have high energy levels and are always willing to put forth that little extra effort to make a practice or game run smother.

    I hope that you found this article to be helpful. Good luck to you and your team. 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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    Baseball Coaching Digest - The Swing Looks Perfect But the Batter Always Hits a Weak Ground Ball


    Baseball Coaching Digest - The Swing Looks Perfect But the Batter Always Hits a Weak Ground Ball
    By
    Nick Dixon

    We have all seen this scenario. The batter has above average bat speed, above average hitting skill and is always extremely aggressive at the plate, but is simply not getting on base. The swing looks great but weak or poor contact is made. The batter is in a serious hitting slump. The only pitch the batter seems able to hit hard is the fast ball on the inner part of the plate. It seems like every other ball he makes contact with is a ground ball weakly hit back to the pitcher. And when it hits it hard, it is a "worm-burner" back to the pitcher. This article offers reasons and corrections for this hitting flaw.

    What causes this hitting flaw?

    The answer to this question is one word, "timing". The batter is not being patience enough. The batter is attacking the baseball too quick or too soon. The bat is not making good solid contact with the baseball because the bat is already through the POWER ZONE before the ball gets there. When the batter attacks the pitch too soon, the bat has passed through the "level plane" and has started to move upward when it contacts the ball.

    Many young batters and overly aggressive or impatience older batters, want to attack the ball as soon as possible. They often attack it too it early before the ball reaches the plate. No matter how hard the swing is, the batter is only making contact with the top edge or third of the baseball. This contact at the very top of the ball is forcing the ball hard downward off the bat, thus creating a "hard worm burner" back to the pitcher.

    How is this batting flaw be corrected?

    You may have heard a coach in the past say, "Let the Ball Get In". What this means is that the batter should let the ball get inside the front foot. The only pitch a batter should attack before it gets inside the front foot is the fast ball on the inner third of the plate. Every other pitch must be allowed to get inside the foot before the batter attacks it.

    Letting the ball get in allows the bat to make contact when the bat is on a level plane. The best way to correct the flaw is to do a front toss drill and making sure that the batter waits until the ball gets inside the front foot before attacking it. Patience and timing are the two important things batters must learn to use at the plate. Having these two traits are the key to hitting line drives for base hits.

    I hope that you found this article to be useful and informative. You may find other articles like it at the Baseball Coaching Digest and the Youth Baseball Digest. I thank you 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

    Baseball & Softball Swing - Confidence Vs Mechanics


    By Todd Thomas

    I was at a high school level ball game recently. Of the two teams playing, one was filled with a group of very cocky players. They were cocky and CONFIDENT. What's interesting is that the players on this team had some of the worst baseball swings I have ever seen in my life. But they were confident as all get out.

    It's an interesting phenomenon to observe that a player can have horrible mechanics but have supreme confidence(cockiness is a good word to describe here) and still be able to hit the baseball successfully. Alex Rodriquez successfully? NO! No, as I watched the game none of these players really scorched the baseball but they did swing confidently at it and put the ball in play often finding holes and blooping hits all the way to a 14 to 2 win.

    These players' potential to play at higher levels is limited with bad mechanics. Ultimately, they will reach an end to their success(and subsequently their confidence) as they move to higher and higher levels of baseball. These were high school players. Obviously, they are going to have some success at the high school level. Reaching the collegiate level is probably out for most of them because of their technique, but one or two of them may reach that level. Then that's probably it. I once had a collegiate player over for some training and his mechanics were awful, but he was playing Division I baseball. Why? More than likely he was extremely confident up until this point but now was crashing and burning at the collegiate level. He also had a load of natural ability that had carried him this far too. However, he had reached his peak and I remember telling him that if he has sights on playing professionally he needed to change what he was doing mechanically. And he did have the desire to play pro ball.

    However, even if a player works on and gets mechanically sound, I believe that any player(no matter what age) will struggle if they don't learn how to be confident. If they are not confident and their new mechanics aren't "working" for them, then they will blame the mechanics or the teacher or both and will keep searching for that "perfect" way to swing to insure success. When what they really need is confidence training in order to raise the game and to be successful.

    So is learning the proper mechanics the "answer" to being a good hitter? I teach the mechanics of the best players in the game and I am supremely confident in what I teach. Let's say however that I took a player from the team of confident hitters with bad mechanics and we started working on fixing his mechanics. IF he is able to sustain his confidence, look out. He should excel in a big way.

    What if though(and this probably goes higher the younger the player is) the player starts "thinking too much" about executing the proper swing mechanics? What if he starts over-analyzing his swing and trying to hard to make things happen with his new swing? Questions and doubt may start building within him after a bad(weak) hit or a strike out. He then starts asking himself, "Am I doing it right?" "Am I performing my mechanics correctly?" If the results are not there, then the player will assume that he is not swinging "correctly" and there begins the process of over-thinking, over-analyzing, and confidence shrinking. And I believe the downward spiral of his hitting results and confidence will continue to fall.

    What's interesting as I think about the team of cocky confident hitters is that I don't think they realize that they suck. Their mechanics that is. They seem to have no idea how "bad" they are and they play as if not to care. They are just confident. On the contrary, they are pretty good because they THINK they are in spite of what they don't know.

    So which is more important? Confidence or mechanics? It seems from my observations that confidence with bad mechanics can still have a degree (albeit limited) of success. YET, good mechanics with zero confidence and playing scared seems to have no chance to succeed.

    Hmmm?

    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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    Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule
    By
    Nick Dixon

    The word is PLAN

    There are many four letter words that baseball coaches know, but few are as important as the word for today, PLAN. 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. In part one I discussed the important of the word Goal and the importance of setting a goal to drive a team toward success.

    The Baseball Coaches four letter word of today is P-L-A-N:

    Planning is one of the most important responsibilities of a head baseball coach is planning. Planning is organization. Planning is delegation of duties and responsibilities to your assistants. You must plan every practice. You must plan your season. You must have a game plan going into every game. Planning practice after you start is a sign of bad coaching. If the team has practice at 3:00 PM, and the head coach turns to the assistant coaches as the team is warming up, and says, Well, guys what do you think we need to do today? A team with a coach like this is destined to have a difficult year. The coach is not organized and does not have the dedication to do his coaching homework at home before he arrive at the field. Have a plan and a schedule before you arrive at the field. The practice plan should be in the can! Planning as you go will waste valuable practice time that will never be recovered. It is extremely important to have a daily practice schedule written down. You must decide on each practice activity for that day, the assigned amount of time to be spent doing each drill or activity, and the objective or reason for doing the activity. A written practice schedule is a must! You practice plan must be detailed, easy to read, and easy to understand. Your practice plan begins with the first minute of practice and ends with the last minute. Every minute is scheduled. Include breaks and transition times from one activity to the next. You should write out the practice plan, run copies, and give each coach a copy. The schedule will have time slots, each coach drills and duties, and location of each activity.

    A sample practice plan:

    3:00 to 3:12 Team Stretch and Warm-up

    3:12 to 3:27 PFP (Pitching Fielding Practice)

    3:30 to 3:45 Outfield Drill Work & Infielder Drill Work

    3:45 to 4:00 Team Defense, Infield, and Outfield Cuts

    4:00 to 4:45 Team Batting Practice

    (4 Groups, 4 Station, 12 Minutes and Rotate to the next station

    -Station 1 On-field Batting Practice -Station 2 Batting Cage Work -Station 3 Bunt Station -Station 4 Tee & Soft-toss

    4:45 to 4:55 Break

    4:55 to 5:15 21 Outs Drill

    5:15 to 5:25 Base running Drills/Conditioning

    Coaching Note:

    6 Pitchers will throw after practice bullpens. List Names. The greatest difficulty in having a practice schedule is staying on time. You must have a set rule that when drill time is up, the drill ends. If the drill was performed so bad that it needs to be done again, it will be done over after practice. Always have a coaches meeting after each practice to discuss what the staff has to say about the day practice. You also need to ask what they think the next practice schedule should cover. Listen to your assistants and consider what they say when you make out your next practice plan. Another part of having a plan is the delegating of responsibilities. You can not do it all. Recruit some good volunteer coaches to help you.

    Good coaches always delegate task and duties to assistant coaches. Let certain coaches work with certain positions. One of the crucial assignments on every team is the position of pitching coach. You must have a coach that oversees pitching practice, bullpen work, and that calls the pitches during the game. Another important role is that of the team hitting coach. The hitting coach is often the offensive coordinator and 3rd base coach. This coach oversees all batting drills, batting practice and base running practice. Organize you pregame routine. Plan it, write it down, and make sure every coach know it by heart. Have a set time when you start stretching and warming up. Have a set time that you take pregame defensive infield and outfield warm-up. a set time that players may have 3 minutes to go to the restroom if they need to. Have a set time that you have a team huddle. Plan what you are going to say during this team moment. Having a plan is having a purpose, a time, and a place for everything and everyone.

    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!
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    Correct Batting Practice Methods For Little League Baseball Teams


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    Correct Batting Practice Methods For Little League Baseball Teams
    By Marty Schupak

    In my eighteen years of coaching youth baseball, I am always looking for the most efficient practice methods for every aspect of baseball. It took me only a few years to realize that most youth baseball coaches and myself were running batting practice, not incorrectly, but not efficiently. From what I have seen with the typical batting practice, a coach will pitch a predetermined number of balls for each batter with the fielders fielding the hit balls and throwing them to first base. Usually the coach will yell something like "run the last one out", and the batter does just that. If the ball is an infield hit, they try to throw him out at first. If it is hit into the outfield, he usually runs until he is thrown out. This is all well and good intentioned, but it is wasting valuable time when a coach wants to run an efficient practice.

    Here is the most efficient way of running a batting practice that I've come up with. First of all, let me say this. Batting practice is just what it is, batting practice. Batting practice is not fielding practice or base running practice. So all youth coaches and parents should really define what a youth batting practice is and what they want to get out of it.

    Most of my youth practices do not run more than one hour. Every minute of wasted time will affect all other aspects and time of any other drills or techniques I want to accomplish. The first thing a coach needs to have is an over abundance of baseballs. The league will provide baseballs but I always make sure I purchase a few dozen extras. I try to work with three-dozen and keep an extra dozen in my trunk. And don't think I'm not frugal accounting for every baseball at the end of practice. I try to make sure we find each one, and after practice, we comb the field to make sure we got them all. Usually we find extras and end up with more than what we started with.

    Now, here is the actual logistics and set up that I do about 95% of the time I run batting practice. I'm a big proponent of bunting. I set up two cones on the third base line, about six feet apart, approximately where the bunt is suppose to go. I set up two empty buckets, one about three feet behind second base and the other one at the far base of the mound toward second. I have another bucket with the baseballs on the mound easily accessible to me. Now, this is a key. As a youth coach who wants a well-run practice and a lot of repetitions for the kids, I move up almost to the front base of the mound to pitch. I do this mainly so I can throw strikes consistently. For safety purposes, an "L" screen would be required from a shorter distance for safety. If your league doesn't have any, make them get them.

    I have the first person up at bat with the 2nd and 3rd player ready to go. I have the 3rd hitter (or double on deck hitter) on the outside of the screen hitting balls on a batting tee using pickle balls (plastic) or wiffle balls with another parent feeding the balls on the tee. I always have the number 2, or on deck hitter, ready to hit.

    The batter bunts the first to pitches. For each successful bunt, the player receives an extra swing. I usually give a player five swings besides his two bunts. So if a player lays one bunt between the cones, he get six regular swings. If he lays both bunts between the cones, he gets seven swings (the maximum per hitter). Now, there are certain things that have to happen to make this work. Remember there are two buckets strategically located. After the bunts, when the hitter swings away, wherever the ball is hit, the fielder tosses it into the bucket closet to him. If it is hit to the outfield, he will throw the ball as close to the bucket behind second base. If he hits it to the infield, the fielder will toss it to the bucket behind the pitcher's mound. Reinforce to the players that they must toss to the bucket on one or two bounces or they will tend to play basketball with the baseball and bucket.

    Now the point here is that the fielders do not make a play to first and the hitter does not run the last one out. We get more repetitions in a short period of time. The players are always facing the hitter. One might ask, isn't this boring for most of the players in the field? Well, not really. Because of the amount of balls hit in a short period of time, the ball is usually hit all over the place. And the coach throwing batting practice will keep one or two extra balls in his glove and is ready to pitch the next ball right away. When out of baseballs, have the players in the infield hustle to gather up the balls, combine buckets, and we're ready to go again. This works great!

    Batting practice is a favorite of any baseball player at almost every level. Do not deny batting practice at any practice. And always look for the most efficient, safest procedure to help enhance your whole practice.

    http://www.YouthSportsClub.com
    http://www.VideosForCoaches.com

    Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills", "Winning Baseball Strategies", "Hitting Drills & Techniques" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is a principle for Videos For Coaches and is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.

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

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    Ten Tips on How to Identify Who Can Pitch


    Ten Tips on How to Identify Who Can Pitch
    By John R Di Nicola

    Coaching Little League Pitchers

    Coaching little league pitchers is every coaches night mare. I will be discussing the level which it is right after T-Ball or coach pitch depending on when the player comes into the league. There are variation of the coaching experience in little league. Regardless of the coaches experience he will be faced with finding pitchers.

    Three Types of Coaches:


    Has coaching experience and has at least two assistant either moved up from coach pitch or T-Ball
    First year coaching but has some experience but never a Head Coach in Little League
    Never coached before
    Drafted Coach, this is the coach who's team was picked for him and given to him

    Each division will have approximately 8 to 12 teams depending on the size of the organization. The majority of the league will be combination of 2 and 3. The larger the division the greater chance there will be one drafted coach

    Most leagues have a try out and a draft. You get your players list and first thing you ask yourself is how many pitchers do I have? You go home and call the parents one by one. You have your list of questions:


    Has your son or daughter every played before?
    How long have they played organized baseball?
    What positions have they played?

    You might get lucky and have one that has played in another league and has had some experience pitching.

    How to identify players who can Pitch


    How do they Grip the Ball?
    While players are warming up watch how they throw the ball
    How they bring their arm back. Is it short armed or fully extended?
    Do they fall off to side when releasing ball
    How is their follow through?
    Do they snap their wrist downward when releasing the ball?
    Does the ball go in an Arc or does it go more on a straight line?
    How accurate is the throw? Does the receiving player have to move to catch each ball?
    Watch their feet see if they stay flat footed and don't move as the ball approaches
    Is the player aggressive while playing catch?

    There are so many area's to cover when you trying to get your team ready for the first game. While pitching is one of the most important areas of the game you still have to be working on Defense, Hitting, and Running the Bases.

    I found that if you work with the pitchers after practice or have a practice just for pitchers and catchers it works best. Pitching is too important to just rush through and give it only 20 minutes twice a week.

    http://www.easypitching.com, http://twitter.com/easypitching

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

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    Pitching at the Next Level - Hard Work Required


    Joe Mauer Quick Swing Batting Trainer


    Pitching at the Next Level - Hard Work Required

    By Nate Barnett

    I have instructed pitchers for almost 10 years. My best pitching students are those that take the knowledge they learn from every lesson to heart; they go home and repeat movements that improve their mechanics.

    They study other successful pitchers, they are eager to learn about every aspect of the game of baseball, not just pitching. They understand that they have to have a depth and breadth of pitching knowledge to succeed. The best students also understand what their true potential can be and are willing to do what it takes to improve everyday. They expect more of themselves than others expect of them. These pitchers are not na´ve to think after a few great games, they have it made. They expect greatness and that is what they get half of the time. Yes, half of the time. Hall of fame pitchers win half of the time; it's just part of the game.

    The most successful pitchers learn from their mistakes and then get over them quickly. Pitchers who win the most games accept failure as a learning tool and expect to win their next game. They cannot change the past; they only move forward.

    Winning pitchers visualize success before it happens. They study hitters; they know each hitter's weaknesses and then they attack those areas they are most vulnerable. Their pitching workouts are very challenging; they are workhorses. Winning pitchers trust their team that they will back them up. They help other teammates succeed. They are leaders!

    Winning Pitchers don't stress the small stuff. If they give up a hard hit; they will never allow that hitter to do that again, especially that very day.

    If you want to be a winning pitcher, my guess is that you do because you are still reading; you need to be willing to work very hard at your game. You cannot expect greatness if you haven't put in 100% effort!

    Nate Barnett is co-owner of The Pitching Academy.

    After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. You can find The Pitching Academy's videos, blog, and more articles when you visit the website.

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

    Little League Baseball Drills - Base Running Practice


    Joe Mauer Quick Swing Batting Trainer
    Little League Baseball Drills - Base Running Practice
    By Chris Campbell

    There are so many different roles for each player in the game of baseball, that it can be difficult to become a master of all. But, with some good drills catering to each role, it's quite achievable to become a master of many. Let's take a look at a base running drill. Perhaps not as much fun as hitting practice, but an essential skill none the less.

    For drill, it's not necessary to have anyone playing on defense. This is good, as more players can focus on the same drill. It works a number of different base running scenarios, and builds up the conditioning and cardio of the players involved.

    Begin the drill with one runner on first base, one runner on second base, and a player in the batters box at home plate. Any remaining players, should queue up behind the runner in the batters box.

    You'll need a couple of coaches to run the drill. Position one near home base equipped with a baseball bat and a few baseballs. The other coach should situate themselves near third base. The coach positioned in front of home base will begin the drills by hitting a ball anywhere in fair territory. Fly balls hit count as singles, and ground balls as well will count as singles past the imaginary infielders.

    While there is no one playing on defense, the runners on base, and at home will react as if there is another team on the field. The runner at home plate, will do one of two things. If the coach hits a ground ball, then he is to run as quickly as possible to first base, as if the defense is trying to throw him out. On a fly ball, that same runner, will run to first base, and round first base, as if he was considering carrying on to second.

    If only a ground ball is hit, the runner at first base will go directly to second base. If a fly ball is hit into the outfield, the runner goes to second, and makes visual contact with the coach on third for his next move. The coach decides what the runner should do next. Either stay at second, or go for third base.

    The last runner positioned at second base will do something similar. A infield ground ball will send him directly to third base. A fly ball to the outfield will send him rounding third, and looking to the coach positioned in the third base coaches box for instruction.

    If there is a runner at third (can't happen on the first ball hit), and a fly ball is hit, then the runner should tag, and as soon as the ball bounces on the ground, then run for home. On ground balls, and no runner at second, the player waits for instruction from the coach on third.

    This is a good drill, that keeps multiple players in motion. Be sure to move as quickly through the drill as possible, to keep everyone working.

    Little League Baseball Drills is a great resource for helping your little leaguer get the most out of his or hers favorite pastime. With a little good training, amateur or even professional ball players will see a dramatic improvement in the way they play.

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

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    Ten Tips on How to Identify Who Can Pitch


    Ten Tips on How to Identify Who Can Pitch
    By John R Di Nicola

    Coaching Little League Pitchers

    Coaching little league pitchers is every coaches night mare. I will be discussing the level which it is right after T-Ball or coach pitch depending on when the player comes into the league. There are variation of the coaching experience in little league. Regardless of the coaches experience he will be faced with finding pitchers.

    Three Types of Coaches:


    Has coaching experience and has at least two assistant either moved up from coach pitch or T-Ball
    First year coaching but has some experience but never a Head Coach in Little League
    Never coached before
    Drafted Coach, this is the coach who's team was picked for him and given to him

    Each division will have approximately 8 to 12 teams depending on the size of the organization. The majority of the league will be combination of 2 and 3. The larger the division the greater chance there will be one drafted coach

    Most leagues have a try out and a draft. You get your players list and first thing you ask yourself is how many pitchers do I have? You go home and call the parents one by one. You have your list of questions:


    Has your son or daughter every played before?
    How long have they played organized baseball?
    What positions have they played?

    You might get lucky and have one that has played in another league and has had some experience pitching.

    How to identify players who can Pitch


    How do they Grip the Ball?
    While players are warming up watch how they throw the ball
    How they bring their arm back. Is it short armed or fully extended?
    Do they fall off to side when releasing ball
    How is their follow through?
    Do they snap their wrist downward when releasing the ball?
    Does the ball go in an Arc or does it go more on a straight line?
    How accurate is the throw? Does the receiving player have to move to catch each ball?
    Watch their feet see if they stay flat footed and don't move as the ball approaches
    Is the player aggressive while playing catch?

    There are so many area's to cover when you trying to get your team ready for the first game. While pitching is one of the most important areas of the game you still have to be working on Defense, Hitting, and Running the Bases.

    I found that if you work with the pitchers after practice or have a practice just for pitchers and catchers it works best. Pitching is too important to just rush through and give it only 20 minutes twice a week.

    http://www.easypitching.com, http://twitter.com/easypitching

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

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    How to Run a Great Baseball Practice
    By Jack Perconte

    Of course, the number one key to running a great baseball practice is organization. Legendary basketball coach John Wooden was famous for mapping out every detail of his practices, with every second of practice accounted for. This may be a little extreme for coaches of youth baseball but the point is that coaches who are organized will get the most out of their practice time. Baseball coaches should map out their preseason practices to be sure they cover every important aspect of baseball for the age of the player. As the season progresses, coaches can gear their practice time to cover the areas most needed, based on their team weaknesses. Following are some points that coaches should consider to run a great baseball practice:

    1. Get in the habit of starting practice on time - parents who bring their child late will get the message early in the season that a late player will be missing out on some instruction.

    2. Do not neglect warm-up time. This time is a very important time for coaches to teach the fundamentals.

    3. Get help from assistant coaches and interested parents but be sure to inform them of the correct fundamentals that they should be watching for and teaching.

    4. Keep players busy - players should not be standing around very often. Small group stations are recommended when coaches have help and game action drills or play is recommended when help from assistants is not available.

    5. Keep stations relatively short so boredom does not set in and try to cover as many aspects of the game as time allows each practice.

    6. Mix up the pattern of each practice - for example, if you work on hitting first one practice, work on defense first the next.

    7. Safety is paramount at all times so don't forget helmets, etc... Use of softer balls for younger aged players can really help teaching all phases of the game.

    8. Kids love competition and contests - the use of those when players begin to get bored, or tired, can spur enthusiasm. Using contests as incentive to work hard early in practice, with the idea of competition (games) later in practice when players work hard, can be a good idea.

    9. When having contests, be sure to handicap them some so each player, or group of players, have a chance at winning. Make sure and let players know that a handicap system is in place for fairness.

    10. Reward hard working "practice players" and not just star game players. Rewards for best defensive, offensive and hustle player(s) of each practice will spur good effort in practice.

    11. Try to give the same amount of attention to each player. Players who feel slighted will be affected and other players will generally notice the slight of another player also.

    12. Give homework. Inform players and their parents of the things you would like them to work on before returning the next time.

    13. Long drawn out talks are never recommended. Bringing in a guest speaker or coach can be memorable for players.

    Finally, coaches who remain positive, informative and hopeful will have the best chance of developing good players, as well as fun loving baseball players.

    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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    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Baseball Tip - Learn to Bunt



    Baseball Tip - Learn to Bunt
    By Tom Read

    There is a runner on third. Your team is down a run and you are up to bat with one out. The third base coach gives you the suicide squeeze signal. The pitcher winds up and the runner from third takes off for home. You square to bunt while the pitch comes in, and you pop it up. It goes right back to the pitcher. He makes the catch and throws to third for a double play and inning over.

    Not what the coach had hoped for. Not what you had hoped for. You are feeling down and wishing the coach had never called for the bunt. You know you have let your team down. Why did he ask me to bunt? I can hit the ball and I was due. I would have been the hero.

    Do you ever want this to happen you? No, everybody wants to be the hero. The game was close and the coach knew that even good hitters only get a hit three out of ten times. A good bunter can lay down a sacrifice bunt eight out of ten times. So get prepared. Learn the proper mechanics of bunting and practice, practice, and more practice. If you get that bunt down and get the game tied up, you would have been the hero. They would have called you a great team player.

    Bunting a baseball is a skill that all players can master. Not all players can hit with power, or hit for a high batting average. But bunting is a baseball tool that every player should have. There are no good excuses for not knowing how to bunt. And once you learn how to get a good sacrifice bunt down, you might even learn to bunt for a hit. Being able to get on base by bunting will help your batting average rise significantly. Strive to be a complete player and add bunting to your arsenal of baseball tools.

    To get more tips on bunting and hitting please visit this site http://learntobunt.info

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

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    Sports Psychology and Baseball Hitting Tips - How and Why to Relax at the Plate



    Sports Psychology and Baseball Hitting Tips - How and Why to Relax at the Plate
    By Jay Granat

    The baseball season is about to begin and I already getting calls from parents, players and coaches who are concerned about hitting slumps.

    Anyone who has played baseball for any length of time has experienced the frustration of an extended hitting slump. And there are many causes of these performance valleys.

    Some of the causes are physical. A breakdown in mechanics, poor balance, poor technique, a moving head, a tight grip on the bat or an injury can contribute to poor performance by baseball players.

    Some of the causes of hitting slumps are mental. A batter who has been hit by a pitch can be scared in the batter's box. A player who has been hitting poorly can lose his confidence. A batter who is worried about impressing his coach, his parents or a scout can become quite anxious. A player who is conflict with teammates may find it hard to hit to his potential. Similarly, a player with stress related to his or her life off the field can have difficulty concentrating when he or she steps up to the plate.

    Also, it is important to understand that there are many relationships between the mind and the body where hitting a baseball is concerned. For instance, a nervous player is apt to grip the baseball bat too tightly. Likewise, a tense player is apt have difficulty turning on a pitch.

    Interestingly, some people believe that our vision gets worse when we are tense and that it improves when we are relaxed.

    There are many ways to relax one's mind and one's body before you get up to bat.

    Players can learn relaxation techniques, meditation, visualization or self-hypnosis. Some players benefit from listening to music in the dugout or before a game. Others do some aerobics before they take the field as they find that this helps them to relax when they get up to bat.

    Tension will work against you at the plate, so it is important that baseball players learn how to get very comfortable when they face the opposing pitcher.

    Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist and the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com. He is also the author of 101 Ways To Break A Hitting Slump With Sport Psychology And Self-Hypnosis. http://www.stayinthezone.com/shop-stay-in-the-zone.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=21

    Dr. Granat can be reached at 888 580-ZONE.

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

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    Youth Baseball Hitting - How to Fix Your Baseball Swing


    Youth Baseball Hitting - How to Fix Your Baseball Swing
    By
    Brian McClure

    To hit the ball well takes a lot of practice. Youth baseball is actually easier than for older players because there is only the basics to learn and develop. This makes it easy for as as coaches to improve our youth baseball teams hitting.

    We still must do it right. Practice does not always make perfect. The practice must be effective and done correctly or the mind and body will instill the wrong mechanics.

    Hitting off the tee - has probably been a lost art. It is however making a comeback in certain circles. I have always started batting practice by hitting off the tee. Yes..all ages. Purpose of the tee is to load the bat and get our weight back. First check that the players hands are in the right place..batting stance should comfortable. Second, Load the bat (Body and hands go slightly back and front foot comes up) Third, short quick swing.

    Common mistakes to look for and avoid is the player dropping his hands and and weight back to far which is caused by wrapping the hands around the head. Wrapping the bat and Dropping the hands is usually the youth baseball player trying to hit a hard fly ball. It lengthens the swing and there will difficulty in hitting the ball correctly(popups) if at all, in live pitching.

    Soft Toss - My favorite way to practice hitting. A youth baseball coach (or whoever is doing the tossing) can get a lot of control over the ball and watch the mechanics without fear of injury. The most common way I see soft toss done is from the side of the batter. I prefer to use a screen and toss from the front. This better simulates the pitch and the tosser and see the hands, head, and stride better too. Franklin L-Frame Pitching Screen
    Work on strike tosses in the middle, inside, and outside... up, down. Toss in a few balls too so the player can work on learning the strike zone also. As you see a lot of work can be done in a short period of time.
    If you toss from the side ,it is best to have net to target the balls.

    Free Hitting - Turn 'em loose. Pitch or use a pitching machine and let the youth baseball player work on improving his hitting with live pitches without a lot of coaching at this point. Let the player have fun and just hit away. The Tee drill and soft toss is to work on mechanics. Now Focus on the ball and Swing.

    These tips and basic batting practice strategy will greatly help your players improve their hitting skills. As a parent you can quickly move your son to the meat of the batting order with these simple batting practice two or three times a week. As coaches we should try and implement some batting practice every practice. The best way is to divide them into groups..some work on tee..move to ..the soft toss..then free hitting and move on to shagging.

    Author- Brian McClure Want to learn more about helping your child in youth baseball as a parent or coach?
    http://www.coaching-youth-baseball.com

    See our complete list of Topics and articles on youth baseball here http://www.coaching-youth-baseball.com/topics.html

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

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    Baseball Tips - Unruly Parents - Here is a Solution


    Baseball Tips - Unruly Parents - Here is a Solution
    By Tom Read

    You Know This Parent

    My wife was a self described bad sport. She had been thrown out of games, argued with the other teams' parents, yelled at the umpires, and embarrassed my son and I. I would talk with her before and after games, reminding her to not get out of control, but it did not help. Someone from the other team would say something, or the umpire would make a questionable call, and she would start in. What was I going to do?

    It Can Start At the Beginning

    When I was coaching tee ball, I once had to break up a verbal fight between my first base coach and the other team's coach. Another time, I noticed that a dad, who had been to every practice and game, started missing the games. I asked him at a practice if his work was keeping him from the games. He told me no, Johnny was feeling too much pressure with him at the game. This is still tee ball. I guess it was good that the dad at least realized where the pressure was coming from. Most of the time parents do not realize that the things they say can put undue pressure on their kids.

    Travel Teams Are the Worst

    It seems travel teams have the most vocal parents, good and bad. I have always assumed the reasons for this are either one, they have spent a lot of time and money involved with this team and are expecting a big return, or two, they are on the road and friends and family are not around. But, on the other hand, I've seen travels teams stay home to play and behave just as badly. And I have seen bad behavior at recreational games. So it can happen anywhere.

    Solution - Put My Wife in Time Out

    Back to my wife; a few hours after the game would be over she would feel bad about her behavior. I thought about asking her to stay away from the games, but she really did enjoy watching our son play. Finally it came to me. I needed to remove her from the home plate area, get her away from the other teams' parents and away from our son when he was batting. We moved down the outfield line; pass the dugouts and about half way towards the outfield fence. Out there we didn't hear the other team, the home plate umpire couldn't hear us, and the game became real enjoyable. Our view wasn't as good, but that was a small trade off. We were having fun again.

    It Is Easy to Involve Others

    Other parents were asking us why we were sitting so far down the line. My wife did not hesitate to answer that she was in "time out". Like a child, she couldn't be trusted to behave properly when located near a potential bad situation. Soon, others that had the same problem were joining us. A few games into this idea, and half the parents were down the line with us. It became an enjoyable social event. Maybe it even helped a few marriages.

    Start Your Own Cheap Seats Section

    There are certain situations where adults will act like little children. If you have these types on your team, ask them to take a stroll down the line with you. Everyone, especially their sons, will thank you.

    Preaching to the Choir

    I know most of the people reading this are not the problem. Parents with bad behavior usually do not seek out advise. But in the right way you can make a difference. Also, to help your son's playing ability, please check out this website http://baseballmentalhelp.info

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

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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 Play Baseball - Teaching Younger Hitters a Good Baseball Swing


    How to Play Baseball - Teaching Younger Hitters a Good Baseball Swing
    By Nate Barnett

    I love teaching 11 and 12 year olds how to play baseball. They are still at the age (most of them) where they don't know everything there is about the baseball swing. But, one of the best rewards from teaching youth baseball drills is the excitement on their faces when they figure out for themselves how to crush the baseball.

    The first step to teaching youth baseball drills is to understand the part of the swing that will produce the greatest and quickest positive results in a hitter. The faster a coach can reach an athlete and instill some confidence in the skill of hitter, the more receptive he will be for future coaching as he learns how to play baseball better. The single most important first skill to teach a young athlete is the ability to properly manage his balance while hitting a baseball.

    Here are a few techniques to include when teaching your athletes how to play baseball offensively.

    1. Make sure that the stance of the athlete is wide enough. The "shoulders width" suggestion doesn't hold up when one really understands how weight is shifted. The general rule is to position your hitters with their hips inside their knees, and their knees inside their feet. Once a hitter is in this position, and it is difficult to tell if the formula from the previous sentence is in place, he is too narrow at the base and needs to widen his stance.

    2. There must be a legitimate transfer of weight onto the back leg as the hitter prepares himself before the baseball is released. Without the ability of a visual here (though I'll have a complete ebook finished on this topic very soon complete with visuals!), make sure the back knee is roughly above the back shoe. If the back knee has moved to the outside of the back shoe, the weight transfer is too great. This whole process of creating a transfer of weight allows a hitter to create power generating from his backside leg and not only his upper body. I cannot emphasize the importance of this point enough.

    3. Once the hitter begins his swing, the back leg which is still housing approximately 60% of the body weight will rotate in what is commonly referred to as the pivot. As the rotation occurs, look to see if the weight and the flex of the back leg is still present. One simple way to tell if this has occurred is see if there is an imaginary vertical line running from inside shoulder through the hip, through the back knee upon finish of the swing.

    I do realize this is somewhat technical in nature, however, if fully understood it will make all the difference in the world for the consistency of a young athlete. It's worth learning for sure.

    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: 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!

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    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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    Teaching Young Baseball Batters to Have Better Eye Focus and Visual Concentration

    Teaching Young Baseball Batters to Have Better Eye Focus and Visual Concentration
    By Nick Dixon

    The eyes of the batter are his greatest asset. The batter must "see and think" with the eyes. A batter can know the count, know the situation, know the pitcher, and know how to swing, but if their eyes are weak or fail them, they will more than like suffer defeat at the plate. How many times have we heard a successful batter say that "I am really seeing the ball right now" or an unsuccessful batter say "I am not picking the ball up. I am not seeing the ball". There are many factors that affect the ability of the batter ability to see the baseball.

    Factors and conditions such as the pitchers motion, the amount of sunlight or field lighting, the angle of the sunlight as to the time of day and the background in center field all can hamper or affect the ability of the batter to see the baseball. These factors we have little ability to change. However, we can minimize their affects by improving the ability of the batter to focus or see the baseball.

    How should a batter use the eyes during the batting process? Does a batter simply step in the batters box, tap the plate with the bat, and start looking for the ball? Or is there a recommended process or procedure of using the eyes during the batting process? What should the batter focus the eyes on prior to the pitch? If you ask 10 batters, most likely, you will receive 5 different answers. Batters can be taught a technique that can increase the effectiveness and sharpness of eyesight during the batting process.

    Batters should use two types of eye focus when batting. Batters should start with a "soft eye focus" to ease tension on the eyes, and then go to a hard eye focus when the pitcher starts the pitching motion. The batter begins the soft focus by looking at an area around the pitchers head and shoulders. The batters may soft focus on the pitchers cap. As the pitcher begins the pitching motion, the batter when then converts to a hard eye focus on the pitching arm shoulder area and the pitchers release point. During this crucial segment of the swing, the batter uses an extreme hard eye focus technique to pick up the ball. Using the soft to hard focus technique, batters tend to not lose concentration, suffer eye strain, and get too up-tight.

    Coaching point: good teams and players read and identify certain tendencies by pitchers. The opposing pitcher should be observed and studied to determine his "arm slot" and "ball release point". Players should be doing this "observation" from the dugout and in the on-deck circle. Knowing the delivery motion, timing, and release point of the opposing pitcher allows batters to "pick up" or see the ball much quicker out of the hand of the pitcher. The ability to see the ball earlier increases the chances for a successful at-bat.

    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!
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    Baseball Coaching Digest - Baseball Rules - Can You Name 5 Common Kinds of Baseball Interference?


    Baseball Coaching Digest - Baseball Rules - Can You Name 5 Common Kinds of Baseball Interference?
    By Nick Dixon

    Can You Name the 5 Most Common Kinds of Baseball Interference?

    If you coach, play or watch baseball, you should be familiar with the term "baseball interference". Baseball interference is described as any infraction or action by a person that illegally alters the course of baseball play. The five types of interference are covered by the rules and different rules are applied in each type of interference. The 5 kinds of interference can be committed either by an offensive player, a player off the bench, a catcher, an umpire, and a spectator. This article describes and explains the 5 most common kinds of interference called by umpires.

    The 5 most frequently kinds of baseball interference that occur are:

    Offensive Physical Interference

    Offensive interference is when an offensive player causes a defensive player to misplay a hit ball. The offensive player physically interferes with the defensive player that is in the act of attempting to field a ball. This contact allows a base runner to advance or makes it more difficult for the player to get an out. This is the most commonly called kind of interference. When offensive interference is committed, the ball immediately becomes dead. If a batter or a base runner the commits the interference that player is called out. All runners must return to the bases they occupied at the time of the interference.

    If offensive interference is committed by a runner with the intent of preventing a double play, both, the batter and the runner committing the interference will be called out.

    Offensive Verbal Interference

    Did you know that interference can be called on a player in the dugout? A player can commit what is called "Verbal Interference" from the dugout. Verbal interference may also be called on an offensive player. Calling out "foul" on a fair ball or "mine" on a fly ball, to confuse or hinder a defensive play is offensive verbal interference.

    Umpire interference

    Umpire interference is when a umpire interferes with a catcher attempting to make a throw. If the umpire`s action does not prevent the catcher from making the play, the play stands. If the action by the umpire causes a runner to be safe, the ball is dead and all runners must return to their time of throw bases. Umpire interference also occurs an umpire is struck by a fair batted ball before it touches or passes near an infielder other than the pitcher. The ball is dead, the batter is awarded first base, and all other runners advance only if forced.

    Catcher interference

    When a catcher physically hinders the swing of a batter, Catcher interference is called. Catcher interference is most commonly called when the bat touches the catching mitt during a swing. This most frequently occurs when a runner is attempting to steal and the catcher is too anxious to catch the ball. When catcher interference occurs, play continues, and after continuous playing action ceases, the umpire will call time. The batter is awarded first base, any runner attempting to steal is awarded that base, and all other runners advance only if forced. The catcher is charged with an error.

    Spectator interference

    Spectator interference most frequently occurs when a spectator in the first row of seats reaches onto the field to attempt to grab a fair or foul fly ball. Spectator interference occurs when If the umpire judges that the fielder could have caught the ball over the field. The ball becomes dead, and the umpire will award any bases or charge any outs that, in his judgment, would have occurred without the interference.

    I hope that you found this article to be 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

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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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    Today's Feature Article:

    Baseball Tips on Hitting - Hitting Problem Against Tough Low and Away Strikes


    By Larry Cicchiello

    When trying to overcome any baseball hitting struggles, you should always look for the "easy fix" first before getting more complicated. Here is a list of things to try if low and away pitches are causing baseball hitting problems for you:

    • The two most obvious reasons can be you are standing too far away from the plate or maybe your bat is not long enough and you cannot effectively reach the pitch over the outside corner. Like I said, we always start out simple.

    • You may be opening your front side too early, one of the most common baseball hitting problems for hitters at any level. It simply means that you are opening up too quickly and are pulling away from where the hitting is taking place. It simply takes you too far away from the pitch, especially pitches over the outside portion of the plate. Baseball hitting is not taking place out toward the third base coach if you are a right-handed hitter or by the first base coach if you are a left-handed hitter. The hitting is taking place right in front of you and not to the side. You can try striding with your front foot closed instead of pointing straight out across from your body or even worse yet toward the pitcher. In other words, turn the toes on your front foot and point them a little bit back toward the catcher. This will encourage you to "stay closed" and not "fly open" and away from the pitch. Baseball hitting does not take place out toward third base or out toward first base. It takes place right in front of you. Please, stay closed

    • You can try bending at the waist if you are not bending already or bend a little more if you are bending already. This will give you better extension and better plate coverage of the outside corner simply because you will be closer to it.

    Larry is the president of Larwenty Online Enterprises Inc. He 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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    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!

    Little League Baseball Tryouts And The Draft


    Little League Baseball Tryouts And The Draft
    By Marty Schupak

    In most youth baseball leagues, autumn is the time of year that baseball leagues have registration and also assign players to teams. Tryouts and the player draft are always one of the most interesting times of the year. Some managers try to gain an advantage during this time. There is always a scramble to secure assistant coaches. Parents who have experienced the process, know that some managers will pick an assistant not according to the assistant's ability to coach, but by the ability of his talented child. Another technique done which is highly unsportsmanlike is for the manager to discretely suggest to a player to "dog it " during the tryouts so that manager can get a player of first round ability in the later rounds of the draft.

    There is very little a league can do about a manager picking an assistant to secure a spot on the team for his child. Drafting the actual teams can be done in a fair manner. A fair process is for the league managers and league director to pick each team with similar ability and throw them into a hat. For instance, a league will have eight teams consisting of twelve players. Assuming each team has a manager and coach and their two kids, all the managers and coaches will sit in a room and rate the players and assign ten players to teams one through eight. Once it is agreed that the eight teams of ten are pretty much equal, throw the teams into a hat and each manager will pick a team. The league will have more parity with this system and this will limit some of the complaints. One word of advice when using this technique is to make sure enough pitchers are part of the ten players on each team.

    The success of a league begins in the autumn. There have been seasons where some teams do not win a single game. The team assignment process can make for a better year for each player individually, as a team and as a league. A league that has parity will make for a better season and in fact will help that league in All Stars with each player experiencing a competitive season with some excellent close games. It is up to the league President and league director to make every effort to make sure each team is fairly equal in ability and take away any advantage that some managers try to gain.

    http://www.YouthSportsClub.com

    Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills","Winning Baseball Strategies","Hitting Drills & Techniques" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.

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


    Buy Top Quality Baseball Equipment at Ebay Discount Prices

    4 Highly Recommended Baseball Coaching Articles for High School Little League, Cal Ripken, Dixie Youth, Babe Ruth Pony, and all other Youth Baseball Coaches


    Look for this ad in the Next Issue of Jr. Baseball Magazine


    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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    Drills For Little League Pitchers in the Bull Pen


    Drills For Little League Pitchers in the Bull Pen
    By John R Di Nicola

    The Bull Pen is where you can get the most done working with your young pitchers. Here they are working on their wind up and delivery. The pitchers will go through this station while the team is working on infield outfield practices. Once you have had a practice or two you can determine how much time you will allot for this station. You most likely will not get all the pitchers completed. Also your pitchers will be playing a position so you will have to schedule stations with that in mind.

    You will most likely have to schedule several practices with pitchers and catchers only before the season starts. You can get so much more accomplished by working solely with the pitchers. Listed below are drills you can do in the bull pen and the actual field.

    1. Wind up and from the Stretch - Mechanics

    * This is the most important part for the young pitcher. Unless you get real lucky and have a pitcher who has pitched before you basically will be starting from scratch. To help the young pitcher feel comfortable you might want them to pitch from the stretch. History has shown they tend have better control when pitching out the stretch. A big factor that at the 7,8, and 9 year old level there seem to be a lot of base runners so they spend most of the time in the stretch position.

    2. Locations

    * This is the only time when you can really work on their control. You give them five places to look at while they are in their wind up and delivery.

    1) The catcher right shoulder 2) Right Knee 3) Left shoulder 4) Left Knee 5) catcher's mask.

    They first throw 10 pitches to catcher's mask. You instruct them to reach out and pull the catcher's mask off. Show them the index finger and middle finger out in front with arm extended and snap them down as to pull down when releasing the ball.

    * Have them throw 5 pitches to each of the other locations. Once they are in the ready position they should pick up one of the locations and keep their eye's focused on the location till after the release of the ball.

    * In time you should see improvement, However if a player is not improving with his control you to redirect him back to a position and try and find another pitcher.

    Organizing your Practice

    Set up your schedule and rotate your days you do the drills. You will find that some of the drills they will pick up quicker than others. The biggest thing is you cannot have marathon practices. By keeping the practices short and crisp you will keep players motivated. I found if you have a practice schedule and post it, will show the players approximately how long each drill will be and what to expect.

    Practice makes perfect.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you would like further information on this topic or other information you can EMail me at:
    jdinicola@easypitching.com

    You can follow us on Twitter
    http://twitter.com/easypitching

    Web site:
    http://www.easypitching.com.

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

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    How to Hit a Baseball - Is the Stride Necessary?



    Article Title:
    How to Hit a Baseball - Is the Stride Necessary?
    By
    Joe Brockhoff

    An instructor during my pro days who was teaching me how to hit a baseball told me that if the pitch is straight down the middle, step forward. If the pitch is outside, step toward the outside, and if the pitch is inside, step inside. The problem is that against good velocity, there is absolutely no way for a hitter to wait until after he determines the direction of the pitch before he takes his stride. He will always be late getting to the pitch and will have extreme difficulty with his timing.

    Another method made famous by Kirby Puckett, is to raise the front foot in an exaggerated hop-step stride. Many hitters who try this method struggle because they cannot get the front foot down in time to start the stroke.

    Super 8 Hitting System techniques are simple, easy and repeatable.

    Here is a very important principle: THE STRIDE DOESN'T HIT THE BALL. It merely gets us in position to hit the ball. This means the hands are still back at the completion of the stride. The stride overcomes inertia and supports the hitter against the fastball.

    If the pitch is a fast ball, the action would be "stride-stroke". If the pitch is slower, there would be a momentary pause. Example: "stride-(pause) stroke".

    The stride is initiated by the large muscle in the upper leg (hip thigh area), which keeps it consistent.

    Here are the rules:
    1. The stride travels only 6 inches, directly forward, in the same place every time.
    2. It occurs at the time of pitcher release.
    3. It distributes approximately 30-40% of the weight to the front side, and lands on the ball of the foot, which remains closed, open no more than 45░, which usually happens during the pivot. Some players stride in a "toe tap", with no significant weight on the front foot. If a player places only 10% of his weight down on his stride, how will he get 90% more of his weight off his back side when he rotates to the pitch? He can't.
    4. It happens quickly, getting the batter into position to hit.
    Finally, never underestimate the importance of a good stride. It is part of the hitter's timing. When he's striding, he's deciding.

    The hitter must work on his stride in his baseball hitting drills, using either live or pitching machine practice, so that he can drill "stride and take", just concentrating on technique.

    These techniques are fully explained in our baseball hitting tips web site for the "Super 8 Hitting System", completely demonstrated in eight baseball tips which include many tips on how to hit a baseball.

    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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    Baseball Hitting - The Movement of the Head is Critical



    Article Title:
    Baseball Hitting - The Movement of the Head is Critical


    By Larry Cicchiello

    It is very important to make sure your head is turned and facing the pitcher to ensure that you get a good view of the pitch that will soon follow. Your head should be totally relaxed and pretend that you are simply watching TV. Make sure both the front shoulder and arm are out of the way.

    A good point of focus is the pitcher's cap because it's approximately the same height as where the pitch will be released from. The advantage is that your eyes will not have to refocus on the baseball and will be focused already.

    What you do when the pitch is released is very important for being a successful baseball hitter. If your head remains turned toward the pitcher at the point of contact, you will be seeing the ball out of the corners of your eyes and this must be avoided. It will not work.

    If your head is facing half way between the pitcher and the point of contact, you will see the ball a little better.

    If you turn your head directly toward the point of contact, you will get the best possible look at the baseball and this is what you must do. It's a medical fact that you can not see an object as well when looking at it out of the corners of your eyes.

    If it's a medical fact, imagine the importance when trying to see a baseball that takes less than a second to get to the catcher's mitt, may have movement on it and you have to decide if it's a ball or a strike! And all this happens in less than one second so you need to see the baseball as clearly as possible.

    When it comes to baseball hitting, it is an absolute that you must turn your head if you want to achieve success.

    Larry is the president of Larwenty Online Enterprises Inc. and also the author of "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." If you are a baseball player or are involved in baseball coaching 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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    Advanced Hitting Drills

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    There are numerous hitting drills and all have specific purposes. Good hitting drills address a specific area of a hitter's fundamentals. When hitters have practiced basic hitting drills for a time they may be ready for more advance hitting drills. Additionally, these drills can serve to break up the monotony of performing the same drills over and over.


    Some drills will actually address a few different fundamental areas at the same time, making them even more valuable. One such drill is the back knee pickup drill that I have written about before. This drill where the hitter swings, picks up the back foot and allows the knee to rotate towards the pitcher is a good multi-use drill that works on using the front side and keeping a firm front side without collapsing the lower half on the swing.


    It also serves to have hitters transfer their weight and maintain leverage through their swing. This is only a drill and is not the way a hitter will hit in a game, but a drill that reinforces the correct fundamentals for hitters who have specific hitting deficiencies. This drill helps hitters who "step out" with their stride and for those who open their hips or front shoulder too early.


    Other advanced hitting drills include the following:


    1. The self flip drill is very valuable for advanced hitters. It will force hitters to develop quick hands and strong forearms. To perform this drill the hitter will hold the ball with their top hand as their lower hand grips the bat. The hitter flips the ball up no higher than eye level into the hitting zone. At this time, the hitter will grab the bat with both hands and hit the ball. Obviously, the goal is to hit line drives and in the direction of where the ball was flipped, (middle, inside or outside). Hitters will notice that very quick hands are necessary to hit the ball consistently solid.
    2. Another advanced hitting drill is to have the hitter stand a foot or so away from a net, where the hitter is facing away from the net. The goal is to swing and miss the net with the bat going forward, but to hit the net slightly on the follow through with the bat. This drill will reinforce a compact swing and "staying back" at the same time. Hitters should keep their head in throughout the entire swing and not pull their front shoulder out in order to hit the net on the follow through. Once again, this is another drill for advanced hitters only. This drill can be done with a ball on the batting tee or with flip drills for even better results.
    3. The two ball flip drill is another advanced hitting drill that is very good for teaching hitters to wait on the ball and to develop a quick, compact swing. Hitters will need the assistance of a coach to flip balls from behind a protective screen for this drill. The coach will hold two balls in the same hand at once and flip the balls into the hitting zone. When the ball approaches the hitter, the coach yells out which ball they want the hitter to hit, either high/low, or even inside/ outside. Obviously, because the hitter does not know which ball to hit until the last moment, they cannot cheat with their swing too early or they will hit the wrong one or miss altogether.

    These are a few advanced hitting drills that will help advanced hitters. Many more like these are contained in my hitting 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 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 - and one of his videos can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsIt0TIsHmQ

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    Youth Baseball Practices Don't Have To Be Long To Be Good


    Youth Baseball Practices Don't Have To Be Long To Be Good
    By Marty Schupak

    Back in the late 70's an old college professor of mine was fond of saying, "Don't confuse activity with accomplishment." Jump forward about eight years and imagine me observing a coach running practice for his Little League team. At the start of practice most of the 10, 11, and 12 year olds are very enthusiastic. As the practice progresses I notice only two forms of activity taking place. One has the head coach throwing batting practice, with each hitter getting 10 to 15 swings while each pitcher takes a turn throwing to the assistant coach as the others stand and watch. I, too, stand and watch and I don't know who is more bored-the players or me.
    When I saw a member of the board of directors, I commented on how poorly I thought the practice had been run. The board member responded, "If you think you can do a better job, then volunteer to coach." (Me and my big mouth!) But I did just that. And my first practice, though planned differently, ended up being two tedious hours of batting practice and pitchers throwing on the sidelines. Exactly what I had been so critical of myself! After that first practice I told my wife that there must be a better way. Even though I had a master's degree in Phys. Ed from Arizona State University, baseball was the major sport I was least knowledgeable about.

    So, I decided to research alternative practice methods. I observed a variety of teams during practice ranging from seven year olds to college level players. I noticed that the best practices were not necessarily the longest and that the most organized coaches wasted little time. On most of the drills every player was involved. It was amazing the way some coaches integrated fun and learning and how creative some of the drills and games were. I began to use some of these techniques with my team. After a little trial and error I was actually able to run a more effective practice in half the time.

    To run a practice like this does take preparation, mostly at the beginning of the season. But coaches need not look at this as a chore. It can be as much fun for you as it is for the players.
    The youth baseball coach, whether it's Babe Ruth League, Little League, or local Park and Recreation Dept., should make a list of drills at the beginning of the year that they are interested in trying. The idea is to be creative. When my oldest son was eight, I began a practice with a simple relay race, consisting of two lines of six players each. To put a baseball theme into the race, I had each player wear their glove and hold two baseballs in it. The learning benefit of this relay race was to teach kids the importance of squeezing the glove. Another year I was teaching players how to bunt. When the team took batting practice, I put one cone 10 feet directly in front of home plate and another cone 10 feet to the left of the plate. Each player gets two bunts before his regular swings. For each bunt that goes between the cones, the player earns two extra swings. This motivated the players to focus when they bunted. And, it worked!

    If a coach plans five to seven drills of ten to twelve minutes in length for each practice, the players will be more attentive and less bored. Don't worry about players not liking certain drills. About a third through the season they will let you know which ones to weed out.

    The youth baseball season is unlike any other season. Fathers sneak out of work early, families rarely eat dinner before 8:30 at night and the laundry room is active day and night. As parents and coaches, we should make practices more interesting and fun because during a typical youth baseball season, players spend as much or more time practicing than in actual games.
    Be creative and have a great baseball season!

    http://www.YouthSportsClub.com

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


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    Little League Baseball Drills - Batting Practice


    By Chris Campbell

    I have heard it said by many an accomplished athlete, that one of the hardest things you can do in professional sports, is to hit a major league fastball. Or any major league pitch for that matter. Just ask Micheal Jordan. He may be a living legend in the world of professional basketball, but he only managed a 202 batting average for the Birmingham Barons (a farm team for the Chicago White Sox). The moral being, it's best to get your little leaguer started early, if they plan on challenging some of the MLB hitting records.

    With that in mind, lets consider a few hitting drills that the kids can use to get their bats swinging true, and making contact as soon as possible. One of the best drills you can do with your kids, is simply to grab a bucket of balls, and pitch a few to them every day you can find the time to do so. It's practically impossible, for most kids to get enough batting practice with the team. There's a limited number of pitchers, catchers, and backstops for most little league coaches to work with. It's almost impossible for them to get more then a few minutes hitting each practice. A one on one practice with mom or dad every day or so will really help out.

    Now just swinging for the sake of swinging will make you a better hitter, but there are a few simple points you should keep in mind, to maximize the time put in. Don't harp on these items too much, as they can be a bit technical and boring for kids. Try to make it fun for them at the same time.

    Choosing The Right Bat

    Picking a bat that's appropriate for your child's height and strength can make all the difference. It should feel comfortable for them to hold and swing the bat. If the bat is slowing down their swing too much, it's probably a little too heavy. There is a simple way to test a bat, even before you buy one. Simply have your son or daughter hold the bat by the handle, and hold it straight out to the side, so the bat is parallel to the ground. They should be able to hold the bat steady for at least fifteen seconds. If they can't, or their arms starts to shake, you should try a smaller bat.

    Batter Positioning

    It's important to know where the batters box is, where home plate is, and where the strike zone is. That way, even little league players, can put themselves in good position to reach any ball that is passing through the strike zone. Even if your in your back yard practicing, you can mock up a plate, and batters box. Just use a can of spray paint on the grass to mark out home plate and a made up batters box. Don't worry, it'll disappear the next time you cut the grass.

    Little League Baseball Drills is a great resource for helping your little leaguer get the most out of his or hers favorite pastime. With a little good training, amateur or even professional ball players will see a dramatic improvement in the way they play.

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



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    How Would You Like to Run a Fun, Effective Youth Baseball Practice?


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    How Would You Like to Run a Fun, Effective Youth Baseball Practice?
    By Chip Lemin

    Practices in any sport can be boring and unproductive if not planned out ahead of time. Having a clip board with your practice itinerary written out is just a good solid idea.You can keep track of your time slots for certain drills,and keeping these on file, you will know what you have covered.

    Keep your practices to 90 minutes when possible. I realize that early pre season practices will likely go over due to weather wiping out some valuable time early on.

    Break up the practices with a couple of water breaks, so that you add some instruction as a group.Water breaks are not free-for-alls, they are for listening. Go over what you have been doing so far,and what you going to do next.

    KEEP PRACTICE MOVING ALONG!

    Practices can be broken up into different stations.A station is a group of players and 1 or 2 coaches.The term station refers to whatever skill is being worked on at that "station".

    Typically you will divide your players and coaches up to best suit the drills you are doing.For example, take 3 catchers and run a blocking drill for 15 minutes.Then take your catchers to home plate and along with 3 middle infielders,conduct a throwing and tagging station.You can also work on back ups at 2nd base,along with pitch out drills for catchers . GET PARENTS INVOLVED!

    Obviously you will need help to run these stations. That is why in the parental letter at tryouts or sign ups, you must be clear in asking for help. The parents or relatives do not have to have coaching experience,although it is helpful.

    This one good way to get parents to see how much work you put in to the team.Please make it clear who your assistant coaches are right away. NAME them in your letter if possible.Just because someone helps with practice doesn't mean they are now on the staff.

    I know some of this seems obvious,but believe me,it must be spelled out to avoid confusion.You will be training the parents as well on how to help with the drills,and they just might work with the player at home also.

    A GOOD PRACTICE SHOULD SEEM TO BE OVER QUICK!

    My nightmare practice scenario is this.A coach is trying to throw batting practice to 1 batter at a time.The coach can't get it over the plate.There is no on deck batter to quickly help pick up balls at the backstop.The rest of the players and coaches are standing in the field looking very bored.

    This is a very common practice,and 1 reason that kids don't like baseball practice. It's too boring. Well I'm here to help you take charge of your team with an energizing practice.

    Use your creativity and come up with some different stations.Or just use some old stand byes. Hitting stations,throwing stations,catching stations,fielding stations,or pitching stations.

    Rotate your coaches and volunteers to different stations each practice to give them another station to learn. Keep track of which person worked what station so you can them experience at all of stations.

    KEEP THEM MOVING!

    HITTING STATION

    What is stressed at each hitting station is a good balanced stance, starting the swing with your bottom hand,along with a strong hip rotation,and balanced high finish or follow through.

    We like to use a drill called the Towel Drill. It is simply placing a folded towel under the back elbow of each hitter.Each hitter then gets several balls soft tossed to them one at a time.Each hitter is then trained to rotate the torso to hit the ball without the towel falling out from under their elbow.They quickly catch on after a couple practices.This is a good drill and inexpensive.

    Another drill is balanced beam drill.Using a 60 inch 4x4 flat on the ground,have the players hit a ball off of a tee or soft toss to them to see whether their swing is balanced.It will also show you if they are stepping out of the batters box.

    I use soft toss all season long.Try a purchase a hitting net to set up wherever you go during the season.Using soft toss you can look at the player's swings to see whether they are swinging correctly. All of the other hitting stations work a different part of the swing.Soft toss is where you can see the progress of the stations.

    REPETITION, REPETITION REPETITION

    Baseball skills are learned with repetition.We must guard against boredom however by keeping station times to 15 minutes. Have players hustle from station to station. While others run the stations, the manager can go from station to station and observe players while heaping praise on them.Stop at a station and interject if needed.

    Take a water break after all players have cycled through stations, and go over the fundamentals of the drills again.Also preview what they are going to do next,and praise their efforts on previous drills.Have a coach actually demonstrate the drills coming and what expect.Take questions from players if needed, but don't get off topic.90 minutes goes by fast.

    Be sure to praise players who are doing drills correctly for their skill level.Remember not all players have the same skill levels, but all players need consistent praise and encouragement.

    90 minute practices do not include 15 minute prepractice meeting and warm up time. Please have parents bring kids 15 minutes early, or if you are really on the ball, just schedule practice time 15 minutes earlier.

    WARNING :COACHES MUST BE EARLY TO GAMES AND PRACTICE!

    Parents will not get players to games and practice early if they see coaches and manager getting there late.Set an example right away!

    My son had a coach who would always be there when we arrived and we were usually 30 min early for practice and 1 hour early for the game.We only arrived before him twice,and that was because we left even earlier than normal.There were no issues on that team about latecomers.

    Getting to games early also helps to get good dugout sides if they are not marked.You can look at field conditions during uncertain weather.You can do some work on fields if needed or permitted.If it was a difficult place to find, you can communicate that to others by phone so they aren't late.It shows other team that you mean business,it may give you a slight psychological edge.

    PRACTICE EXAMPLE

    Practice is set for 12 noon

    1150 or earlier - you arrive to get make sure everything is set, bases,pitching rubber,equipment, etc...

    1145- players arrive hopefully, put them in parallel lines 20-35 ft. apart depending on age group. Have begin warming up using proper mechanics. Any overthrows are to be picked and run back into the line. This prevents more overthrows from further away.

    12 noon Call practice to order. Go over what stations are being set up and which adults are running them.Divide players up as equally as possible,splitting up buddies,and or siblings.

    If this is 1st practice using stations,please demo for kids what you want at each station.

    Station 1 A drill called Fly

    Players line up single file, coach throws a football pass type throw over the shoulder of player on the run to make the catch.Run the ball back to the coach on the outside of the line so there are no collisions between players. do this for 10 min.

    Station 2 Fly ball drill with tennis balls

    Using a tennis racket, hit fly balls to a single file line of players, one at time. Players must use 2 hands with tennis balls or they will have hard time catching them. do this for 10 min.

    Station 3 5gal bucket drill

    Set up a 5gal bucket at home plate or anywhere else you want.Put players in a single file line, throw them a grounder or fly ball, using proper throwing techniques, attempt to throw baseball into the bucket. Put bucket at least 100' away depending on age group of course. Do this for 10 min.

    Station 4 Cut off man drill

    Have the players rotate as cut off man,throw or hit ball past the outfielder,have them chase,then pick up ball,using good throwing form, hit the cut off man.Rotate after each throw. 10 min.

    1245pm

    Have a water break,go over how drills went.Kid around with players a little and be very positive. Highlight all the good things you saw first, then maybe touch on what needs work. Above all,stay positive,and fun.

    1250pm

    Divide into 2 groups 1 at 3rd,another at 1st. Single file lines Have players field some grounders and pop ups, throwing to coaches or catchers 15-20ft up each baseline. 10 min.

    1pm

    Put players into regular positions or close to it.Bring in 2-3 players to hit. Machine or coach pitch.Give each player 7 swings, then rotate to next batter. Each player hits 2 times, then goes out and shags balls. After hitting for 2nd time,call in another player. Always have 1-2 players ready to hit,and have everyone ready to hustle in and pick up balls between hitters.

    125pm

    Call team together, go over things,and announce next practice or game time.Thank everyone for being prompt,especially the parents.

    BE CREATIVE BE FUN BE POSITIVE

    There are many other ways to run a practice, I have given you a basic format that you can modify anyway you see fit.Just don't fall into a rut of doing the same things over and over. Variety is the spice of life and same is true for baseball.

    Sometimes you will have entire practices on fielding or hitting. Schedule as many practices as the team's families will tolerate before the season starts.Once the season starts, have team arrive 1 hour before game time for some hitting and fielding workouts.

    CONCLUSION

    Practice will make your team better.Well run productive practices will do even more. When you run challenging varied workouts players will develop their skills quicker. Always encourage working hard on their games.Most important is be positive,and be fun.

    Chip Lemin has been a promoter of youth baseball since they started using aluminum bats. That's a long time. I have witnessed many good people get into coaching without solid coaching skills and it is not fun for them or the kids.Today's newer coaches are also being shortchanged on sportsmanship, like there is none. Visit my site to sign up for a insightful, informational, free coaching e-course at http://www.baseballecourse.com

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

    Coaching Baseball - 4 Things the On-Deck Batter Should Always Do and 4 Things He Should Never Do

    Baseball2U.com - Many of college baseball's best hitters grew up with us in their backyard! We have been helping hitters improve since a 1999! We guarantee hitting success!


    Coaching Baseball - 4 Things the On-Deck Batter Should Always Do and 4 Things He Should Never Do
    By Nick Dixon

    Baseball coaching is teaching the big and little details of the game. Every position or location on the field requires a player to observe and to be aware of what is happening. Many young batters on deck often do no pay attention to what is happening. They are often guilty of looking into the crowd or even talking to someone through the fence. On-deck batters that do not closely observe the pitcher and the catcher are missing a greatly opportunity to "scout" the opponent. The on-deck circle is a crucial location from which the observation process should be done. Here are 4 things that the on-deck batter must do and 4 things they not do.

    On-deck batters should always:

    1) Identify the ARM SLOT of the opposing pitcher? Is the opposing pitchers arm motion, over the top, side-arm, at 1 O'Clock, or 2 O'clock, 3 O'clock or submarine? The on-deck batter must know this before getting into the batting box. Knowing the "arm slot" or pitchers arm angle during the delivery will accelerate the batters ability to "pick the ball up" or see the ball in the pitchers hand before it is released. Picking the ball up early allows the batter to see the ball out of the pitchers hand at the release point.

    2) Take practice swings every time the pitcher throws a pitch to the batter ahead of you. Try to pick up the pitchers speed, timing, rhythm, and release point. Time the fastball by taking a stance, loading, and swing in rhythm with the pitching delivery. This timing warm-up exercise should be taken facing the pitcher.

    3) Does the pitcher have a tendency to work slow or fast? If the pitcher works too slow or fast, you may want to call time and step out to change the pitchers rhythm.

    4) Does the pitcher throw a lot of off-speed or junk pitches? Does the pitcher have below average, average, or above average pop on the fastball? You will move up in the box if the pitcher is a slow ball junk pitcher and move deeper in the box if the pitcher has high velocity on the fastball.

    Coaching Point: There are other duties of the on-deck hitter at the high school, college and even travel ball level. If the batter ahead of you gets a RBI hit, you may have to move the bat out of the sliding zone if the umpire does not move it. Only do this if time allows. The on-deck batter will may also coach the scoring runner at the plate by using signs or verbal call to signal "get down", "you are up", or a "needed slide location to avoid a possible tag".

    1. Never talk to the crowd, fans or family through the fence. The on-deck batter should be seeing and concentrating on what is happening on the field. This is for performance, concentration, and safety reasons.

    2. Never Swing Before looking. For safety reasons, never swing the bat in the on-deck circle without looking to make sure that he is clear of the fence and that other players have not approached him. Making sure that everyone is clear of you before you swing a bat is a rule for all batters, of all ages, to live by.

    3. Never talk to the batter unless it is positive praise or encouraging words. "Warning" the batter that he better look out for that curve-ball is not encouraging words. Simply telling the batter that he can do it and to keep his eyes on the ball is far more appropriate and productive.

    4. Never take a knee or kneel in the on-deck circle. If a ball is hit toward you, you must be able to move quickly.

    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

    Baseball Coaching Digest - the Top 10 Worst Youth Baseball Coaching Excuses of All Time

    Baseball Coaching Digest - the Top 10 Worst Youth Baseball Coaching Excuses of All Time
    By:
    Nick Dixon

    If you coach baseball, you are going to hear your share of excuses from other coaches. If you are like me and most coaches, you absolutely hate to hear anyone make an excuse for bad behavior or poor performance. But, it really make me furious when I hear a coach make an excuse. Coaches are in the job of teaching kids to be accountable and responsible. They should never try to justify a mistake or poor team performance by making an excuse.

    Most coaches refuse to make excuses. They understand that behavior and actions have consequences. However, there is that small percentage of coaches that are always ready with a reason or excuse for poor team performance.

    The
    Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal surveyed baseball coaches. One of the questions was "What was the worst excuse you ever heard from a coach?"

    Here are the top 10 worst coaches excuses of all time:

    #10..."I forgot how many outs there were. The umpire should have told me"

    #9...."They are only kids... they don not know any better. They are not a very smart bunch."

    #8...."You should give up your practice time because I scheduled a game on this field without consulting the field schedule because I helped found this league."

    #7...."I Can not get my short stop to come to practice. He has not practiced in 2 weeks." (shortstop started the game and made several crucial errors)

    #6...."That kid is not coachable. He knows it all at the age of 12." (When talking of a kid)

    #5...."I was too busy talking to my wife to watch that play." (coach missed a great defensive play by his third baseman)

    #4...."I was riding around town and I did not know what time it was." (assistant coach missed a scheduled practice)

    #3...."I thought the game was canceled because of the rain." (Assistant coach arrived late for the game because he assumed that the game was rained out - it rained at his home, but not at the field.)

    #2(tie)...."We do not play good in early games" (youth coach after losing a Saturday morning game)

    #2(tie)...."We do not play good in late games" (youth coach after losing a Saturday late night game)

    #1(tie)...."I was talking on my cell phone."(Coach of the batting team did not get into the third base coaching box until his team had two outs in the inning)

    #1(tie)...."I was texting my wife" (Coach failed to shake hands with the opposing coaches after the game.)

    I know that you feel like I do. I feel that many of these guys are wasting their time attempting to coach youth baseball. If their excuses are true indications of their level of commitment and dedication, they need do what is best for the team and resign.

    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

    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"
    VISIT: http://www.BaseballFit.com

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

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    Blocking Drills for a Baseball Catcher


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    Article Title:
    Blocking Drills for a Baseball Catcher
    By Scott Mathewson

    The most unheralded position on a Baseball field is the Catcher's position. The reason being you are involved in all the action but receive very little of the glory. If you are truly doing a good job back behind the dish, you have a ghostly appearance. It is those who struggle that are at the forefront and stick out like a sore thumb.

    With all this being said, the thing that I see most Catcher's need to work on is their blocking skills. Too many out there try to catch the bouncing ball with the glove. That is mistake #1; because your main purpose at that point is to block the baseball, not catch it. I say this because you shouldn't go into that situation thinking I need to catch this because more can go wrong than can go good. When you try to catch the ball your body tends to rise up, leaving a huge gap between the legs, or in terms of baseball lingo the "wickets". I will bet 9 out of 10 times it find that gap.

    So when blocking a baseball the first key is to have the right mindset, next think of your body as a pillow. Drop to your knee's and let your arms fall straight down next to the outside of your legs. Palms up and relaxed the ball will bounce off the ground first and then off you preferably off your chest protector. If you have the perfect form the ball will be within a couple feet of you. Always try to round the ball off angling your body towards home plate. By doing this you can usually avoid the errant bounces to the backstop. Here are some drills that can help catchers blocking skills.

    - Practice dropping straight down on your knees in full gear repeatedly and getting back up into the squatting position. This builds quickness and strength.
    - Use a flat glove and have someone throw balls at you for a period of a couple minutes. This constant repetition in a short period of time builds up your endurance and reinforces the mindset of not trying to catch the ball into your head.
    - Practice rounding your body off angling it always towards home plate. If the ball is a foot to the right than slide your feet over two feet to the right. Always exaggerate your movements.

    I've coached many kids here in Omaha and a good catcher makes the team so make sure you praise them. At our store, PrimeTimeSportingGoods you can find the equipment you need for these drills - like the Mizuno training glove. You may also be interested in our youth chest protectors. For a little baseball commentary, come visit our baseball blog [http://coloradolegionbaseball.org/baseball-cash].

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


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    3 Baseball Hitting Instruction Tips For Better Hitting Mechanics


    Baseball Batting Trainer - Derek Jeter Batting Machine

    Article Title: 3 Baseball Hitting Instruction Tips For Better Hitting Mechanics
    By Rob Bucher

    Baseball hitting instruction comes in many forms and from many different people. Dads bark out instructions to their sons and coaches do the same.

    As a player and a coach all this terminology not only confuses the hitter, but is usually wrong.

    Let me explain...

    Most of the time coaches instruct using the same coaching they received as a player. If they had a great coach then they teach proper hitting mechanics...usually.

    And players have to listen to the coach or they fear getting lodged in the dog house for a season.

    It's why I want to share three baseball hitting instruction tips to help players and coaches.

    First I want you to throw out all your terminology and if your a player, erase them from your memory.

    A good coach does not instruct a player without showing him the correct way and the wrong way. They also put the player into swing mechanics positions so he can feel what's right.


    Never throw your hands or arm at the ball. The further your arms get away from the body, the less strength you have in your swing. Get in a strong position by keeping your hands closer to the body. Think of a ice skater, they spin faster with their arms closer to the body.
    You don't swing with the arms first. You allow the hips to trigger the swing and pull the upper body through the hitting zone.
    You make contact with the ball with your arm closest to the pitcher slightly bent and the other arm in a L position slotted next to your side. You should not cast your bat out and make contact with the ball with your arms extended.

    Hopefully these tips will help both player and coach when looking for better baseball hitting instruction.

    Want to become a better hitter? Click here - Rotational Hitting Mechanics. Because your current mechanics are lack pop and consistency at the plate.

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

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    Teaching Young Batters to Use the No-Stride Technique For a Good Baseball Swing


    Batting Cages Direct is the Best Way to Go!

    Teaching Young Batters to Use the No-Stride Technique For a Good Baseball Swing
    By Nick Dixon

    If you watched the College World Series on ESPN SPORTS TV last June, I am sure that you saw, as I did, player after player, use the no-stride technique. The abundance of players using the "No-Stride" technique at the College World Series in Omaha shows how many baseball coaches today teach the "wider stance and no stride approach" to hitting. Here I cover the basics of teaching and coaching the "No-Stride" hitting method.

    The "No-stride" technique is simply the process of swinging the baseball bat without taking a big step or stride forward during the swing. The front foot is the stride foot. The back foot is called the pivot foot. The "No-stride" technique allows the batter to swing and keep the head still, the weight back, and the eyes on the ball.

    When using the "No-Stride" approach, the batting stance should be wide enough to insure a solid base and wide enough so that the batter can use a "soft or short" stride technique. It is best that the batter simply lifts the front foot up less than an inch and puts in back down in the same place. There is little or no movement forward by the front foot.

    A wider base and shorter stride allow the batter to keep the head still and prevents the head from dropping during the swing. When a batter assumes a narrow stance with the feet close together, the batter must take a long stride during the swing. This long stride causes the head and eyes to "fall or drop" during the swing. This is the reason that many coaches teach the no stride technique. Of course, another reason is the fact that when a batters uses a "close stance" and "long stride approach" they often cannot hit the fastball velocity of many pitchers in the game today.

    The optimum width of the feet would be slightly wider than shoulder width. The weight should be on the "balls" of the feet and off the heels. The front foot or stride foot should be "placed softly as if it is on a carton of eggs". This softness allows the foot to be lifted and placed back down easily. The back foot or pivot foot is also important during the swing. The back foot should not "move or leak forward" but should turn up "shoe laces to pitcher" when the front foot settles into place during the swing.

    COACHING POINT: I recommended an "even toed" stance meaning that the toes of each foot are even when the stance is assumed. A closed stance is one with the back foot farther away from the plate than the front foot. An open stance is one with the front foot farther away from the plate than the back foot.

    COACHING POINT: You may actually use a simple demonstration to illustrate how a long stride causes the head to drop and the eyes to move. Have a batter assume a narrow stance. As you face the batter, hold your hand palm down exactly even with the eyes. Have the batter take a long stride while you hold your hand perfectly still at the level where the eyes were when the stride began. A long stride will cause the head to drop and the eyes to drop also. This movement of the head and eyes makes it more difficult for the batter to "see and hit" the ball as it travels through the strike zone.

    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!
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    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.




    www.QuickSwingTrainer.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.

    How to Create Consistent Hitting Mechanics


    Albert Pujols Sweet Spot Training Bat

    Article Title: How to Create Consistent Hitting Mechanics
    By Nate Barnett

    I'm sure you know from experience that hitting a baseball consistently for any length of time is one of the most difficult and frustrating things to do in sports. There are two areas of your overall baseball preparation you'll need to develop on a regular basis if you want the most consistency possible as a competitive athlete - the mental game of baseball, and proper hitting mechanics. If you're interesting in learning more about baseball psychology there are quite a few resources online as well as my blog. This article is reserved for teaching a little on the topic of hitting mechanics.

    I get the chance to work with dozens and dozens of athletes individually each year. It's truly a rewarding experience much of the time, though at times it can be extremely frustrating to see such talented athletes fail to put in the necessary work to achieve some consistency in their swing. I never have a tough time getting the athletes to work hard when I work with them in the cage. It's when athletes have to motivate themselves to work outside of their practice days when their work habit breaks down.

    In order to become a highly consistent and effective hitter, I prescribe the following "medicinal procedure" to be used away from practice:

    1. Dry Drills: These are hitting mechanics related drills that are meant to reinforce muscle memory. It is impossible to only put in two to three days on a specific hitting technique and make it stick long-term. The problem you'll run into is that during a game your focus will be placed on the pitcher and not your mechanics. If you have failed to put in the necessary time to build quality muscle memory, you'll revert back to the problems you were initially trying to fix.

    2. Mental Rehearsal: The mind is a powerful tool for good or evil. When you use your mind for positive imagery or visualization you will increase your effectiveness as a hitter. If your mind pollutes your body with thoughts of failure, your body will respond in a negative way. Lack of confidence and fear can destroy a good hitter. To make sure you are conditioning your brain in the right way, it's highly important that you replay mental video clips of yourself succeeding offensively. This is easy to do, many of you do it all day long in other areas. Sometimes your mind wanders in church or school and you lose focus as to what is occurring around you. If you can slip into this mode and daydream about your performances, you can truly become a master of the mental game 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.

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





    Sponsor Links:
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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!

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    Little League Digest - Proper Baseball Swing Mechanics and the "Belly Button" Rule of Hip Turn


    By
    Nick Dixon

    Little league Digest: Baseball Batting Coaching Tips: Teaching Hip Turn Mechanics and Using the "Belly Button" Rule to Improve Baseball Swing Quality

    The hips play an important part in the baseball swing process. The turn of the hips helps to generate power and bat speed. There are several important coaching points about the involvement of the hips in the swing. The "B B" rule is one good way to teach young players the degree of hip turn on various pitch locations. This article presents several coaching points and explains the "B B" rule.

    Here are 10 Coaching Points related to Hip Movement Mechanics:

    1. The degree of hip movement is determined by the location of the pitch.

    2. The hips must turn more when hitting an inside pitch.

    3. The hips will turn less when hitting a pitch away.

    4. The hips should not move before the hands and bat.

    5. To free the hips, the back foot must spin, rotate or turn onto the toe.

    6. The hips follow the barrel. The hips should open behind the barrel, not before it.

    7. Premature front side or hip movement will cause a batter to pull the head and to pull of pitches.

    8. The correct hip movement is a spin. Lunging or sliding the hips forward is not acceptable.

    9. The hip movement should be a thrust or fast rotation. The faster the rotation of the hips, the faster the bats speed.

    10. The degree of hip rotation can be taught by teaching the "Belly Button" rule as explained below.

    The "Belly Button Rule" is explained as the following:

    The Belly Button should follow the barrel of the bat through the baseball swing process. The location of a pitch determines hip turn. The degree of hip turn determines where the belly button is pointing when the batter finishes the baseball swing. The belly button should always finish in a position that points toward the direction in which the baseball was hit.

    For example, when a ball is hit to the opposite field, the batters "Button" should point or be directed toward the opposite field when the swing is completed. If a batter pulls an inside pitch, the belly button should follow the ball and point toward the direction in which the ball was hit.

    Coaching Point: For right and left handed batters, if the ball is hit through the box, up the middle, the belly button should "shine" or point toward second base when the swing is complete. For right handed batter, is a ball is pulled, the belly button should finish pointing toward third base. If a right handed batter hits the baseball down the right field line, the button should point toward first base when the swing is completed. If a left handed batter pulls the baseball, the hips should turn completely and the button should finish pointing at first base. If a left handed batter hits the ball to left field, the hips should turn less and the belly button should finish the swing pointing the 5-6 hole or between 3rd and 2nd base.

    I hope that you found this article to be informative and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read it. I wish you and your team good luck this 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 Little League 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 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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    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.

    Today's Feature:
     
    Little league Baseball Articles from the Youth Baseball Digest Blog:
     
     
    By Nick Dixon Little league Digest: Baseball Batting Coaching Tips: Teaching Hip Turn Mechanics and Using the "Belly Button" Rule to Improve Baseball Swing Quality The hips play an important part in the baseball swing process. ...
     
     
    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 ...
     
     
    Baseball2u.com By Nick Dixon Teaching, training and developing young baseball pitchers takes a lot of time, patience, and practice repetition. Many young pitchers need to practice pitching skills daily. To keep the interest level high, ...
     
     
    The quality of a Little League Team's play depends greatly on the quality of coaching the kids receive. Coaches spend most of their team assessing and trying to improve player skills and performance. The theory is simple, improve your ...

    One Perfect Swing

    The BatAction Hitting Machine - The Original Rotational Hitting Machine - The Perfect Home Batting Trainer.
     
    Article Title: One Perfect Swing

    By
    Todd Thomas

    Is there one perfect swing? The simple answer is no. There are many "perfect" swings. Every pitch in every location at every speed requires adjustments. Mike Epstein's definition of a perfect swing is "the adjustments the hitter makes to the pitch s/he gets." If a hitter is only taught one swing, for instance level or down, they will be ill-equipped to make adjustments to different pitch locations if their body has been programmed to only "one" swing? If a hitter is only taught to swing level and taught NOT TO let their rear shoulder drop on the approach, how are they going to hit the pitch at their knees?

    Great hitters like say Manny Ramirez ,though they have a core of swing mechanics, on a regular basis clearly show the adjustments good hitters make. When Manny is thrown a ball up in the zone you will see him swinging in such a way where he is upright on his axis, his shoulders are more level, and his swing is level to the incoming pitch. A "perfect" swing. Manny would have little or no success hitting the high pitch if the only swing he was taught was straight down.

    If Manny was taught only a level swing, he would be well equipped for pitches up in the zone but would be in trouble on pitches down. Have you ever tried to swing "level" on a pitch at the knees? But we hear instruction to hitters all the time, "Swing level, swing level". Level to what?

    Manny however within his core of rotational hitting mechanics has a great deal of success on the low pitch. His rear shoulder comes down and his bat head properly drops below his hands in order to get on plane with a low pitch. This being in a lot of ways a very different swing then he executed on the high pitch, yet another "perfect" swing. Keep in mind: this is the SAME hitter responding to different pitches and making adjustments!

    Here's how a swing can be perfect AND ugly. A pitcher gets a hitter to break their vertical plane and come forward through their axis bringing their weight out over the top of the front foot executing a one-arm lunging swing. This could really be considered a "perfect" swing with two strikes when all the hitter is trying to do is get a piece of a tough pitch in order to get a better one to hit next time. Simply making contact is often the goal with two strikes and this could have been the swing necessary to fight off a good pitch. However, if that very same swing were executed by a hitter with the count 2-0, it would be considered "ugly". A hitter's goal often changes with each pitch based on count situation, score, inning, and runners on base. Perfect swings by good hitters though often different are the by-product of their mental and physical adjustments.

    Adjustments made by the top hitters in baseball and softball are done to enhance their ability to get on the plane of the pitch and to hit the ball square. Repositioning the body is one of the adjustments necessary for making this happen. Why make a tough thing like hitting, tougher with a one way to swing approach?

    Sometimes a hitter can execute a "perfect" swing(or what I call their "A" swing) to match the speed and location of a particular pitch and still one of those 9 other guys on the field makes a play on it and gets the hitter out. Sometimes a hitter will put a less than perfect swing( a "C" or "D" swing) on a particular pitch and somehow ends up with a hit. The goal of every hitter however should be to put as many "A" swings on pitches as they can.

    Learning a "core" technique that you see in the best player's "A" swings is important. A good instructor will then show the hitter how to adjust from that blueprint to pitches in different areas of the strike zone. This is an absolute must. There is no "one way" to swing. Adjustments have to be made from a swing that would be "perfect" for an inside pitch to what would put a hitter in the perfect or better hitting position for an outside pitch. The Rotational Hitting technique (or whatever you want to call it, the "the big league" swing, hybrid swing, et. al) gives the hitter the flexibility to make on the fly adjustments much more than the rigid Linear Hitting approach does.

    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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    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.

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    4 Baseball Pitching Drills For Little League Players


    Baseball2u.com

    By Nick Dixon

    Teaching, training and developing young baseball pitchers takes a lot of time, patience, and practice repetition. Many young pitchers need to practice pitching skills daily. To keep the interest level high, it is best to use a variety of drills on alternate days to prevent boredom. Here are 4 baseball pitching drills that can be used to train youth and beginner pitchers.

    Drill #1 - Up & Out Foot Drill Objective - To help pitchers perfect the proper back leg action. The purpose of this drill is to stop foot drag and prevent over striding.

    Equipment Needed - A brick, block or wood or other suitable object. The object will be placed at a location just in front of the pivot foot of the pitcher. The pitcher will be working out of the stretch. The pitcher should be reminded to roll and pick his back foot up so that it clears the object.

    Procedure - The pitcher throws using his normal motion and delivery. If the pitcher fails to clear the object, then his back foot is "dragging" or he is over striding. Young pitchers should be coached to step out of the "hold" and up and over the block.

    Drill #2 - Dot Spot Drill Objective - The purpose of this drill is to build confidence, to teach young pitchers to hit their spots and to teach young pitchers to have great control.

    Equipment Needed - Good balls, Catching equipment, and glove.

    Procedure - The catcher has 4 dots on his gear. The 4 dots or spots are different colors or they each have a number on them. The dots are taped to each knee on the shin guards and one to the left shoulder and right shoulder. The catcher or coach calls a color or a number. The pitcher must hit the dot called. The pitcher has 6 pitches to hit all 4 of the dots. All dots should be called in different orders each time. If the pitcher fails to hit 4 dots correctly, the pitcher must do 10 push ups. Two pitchers can compete to see which finishes first. The dots may be placed lower on the catcher to stress keeping the ball low or down in the zone.

    Drill #3 Long Toss - Power Building Drill - Pitchers should long toss several times a week to build strength and endurance. The two players should warm-up as usual and then move back a few steps after each 4 throws. Pitchers should be able to increase their strength and extend their distances within weeks. Pitchers of all ages should work out to a distance at least 3 times their normal pitching distance. Some coaches allow players to "crow hop" at the farthest distances. That is up to you.

    Drill #4 - Front Side Drill Objective - This drill is used to teach and reinforce the proper front shoulder action during delivery.

    The drill is performed as the pitcher kneels on the pivot-leg knee. The pitcher will begin the drill with the throwing arm in the "T -position" and the stride foot aimed at the plate. The pitcher begins the throwing motion by pulling and tucking his front arm and glove. At the same time he is bringing his throwing arm and shoulder around and toward the plate. The drill should be performed many times to give the pitcher the feel of proper mechanics and front shoulder movement. The front elbow should be used as the guide for the front side. The glove should be extended out and tucked as the pitcher rolls his lead shoulder and pulls it in. This deceptive move is used to distract and deceive batters. The drill should be finished with the throwing arm in proper finish position outside the stride leg knee.

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


    BatAction Hitting Machine - The Backyard Hitting machine. What come 25,000 more practice sing do for your game?

    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.

    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.

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    3 Strength Building Drills to Make Your Baseball Bat the Most Powerful in Your Baseball League

    By Nick Dixon
    These 3 batting drills should be a part of every serious baseball players daily batting practice routine. These hitting drills are well known and recognized for increasing bat speed and power. These drills should be done regularly during the off season.

    Batting Drill #1 - Top Hand Drill

    Purpose: To increase the coordination and skill of the top hand on the bat. The top hand is the hand that guides and controls the bat. Building strength in the top hand can make it take a stronger role in the swing thus, improving bat accuracy and bat speed.

    Procedure: You can do this drill with tossed balls, a hitting stick device or a batting machine. The most common way to do this drill is to have the player assume a position with the back knee down and the front leg extended. This body position makes the batter use only the forearm and arm to control the bat. The batting aid or target should be held above the head of the batter. The batter should be instructed to take the barrel above the ball and hit the top of the ball to drive the ball unit downward.

    Reps: It is recommended that a better do at least 30 to 45 top hand reps a day divided into 3 sets.

    Coaching Point - The heavier the bat is the better. These are strength building exercises. We want to limit the number of reps to less than 50 three times a week. We do not want to do these during the season. We would only do these until 2 weeks before the season begins. You should also incorporate some quick hands or speed hands workouts into your daily routine as well.

    Batting Drill #2 - Power Hand Drill

    Purpose: To increase the muscle strength and power of the bottom hand on the bat. The bottom hand is the hand that generated bat speed and power. Building strength in the bottom hand can make it stronger and increase bat speed and power.

    Procedure: You can do this drill with tossed balls, a hitting stick device or a batting machine. The most common way to do this drill is to have the player assume his normal stance. The batter should have his feet shoulder width apart. The batter will turn the hips and pivot on the back foot to do each swing. Special emphasis should be given the batter to grip the bat near the knob.

    The batting aid or target should be held above the belly button of the batter. The batter should be instructed to take the barrel and drive the barrel through the ball. The bat should be moving parallel to the ground.

    Reps: It is recommended that a better do at least 30 to 45 top hand reps a day divided 3 sets.

    Coaching Point - The heavier the bat is the better. The batter must keep the bat higher enough to be parallel to the ground or higher. The movement of the bat should never be downward. Therefore the target to hit must be kept high. The reason for this is that the batter can not be aided by gravity if the bat moves parallel to the ground and level. Any downward movement by the bat reduces the work of the muscles and reduces the effectiveness of the drill.

    Batting Drill #3 - Bat Power Resistance Drill

    Purpose: Use strength building resistance exercises to increase the strength and power of the muscles in the hands, forearms, and shoulders that are vital in generating bat speed and power. The stronger these muscles are the more bat speed and power the batter will be able to generate.

    Procedure: This weight resistance exercise requires a stationary object like a pole, corner of a wall, or tree to give resistance to the bat during this exercise. The bat will not move. The batter will do these 3 exercises.

    Exercise - Knob Drive Resistance Weight Exercise

    The batter when flex the muscles of the forearms. The batter will put place the knob against the resisting object. The batter will flex the muscles 10 times at two locations. The two locations are:


    Pressing downward
    Pressing toward the pitcher

    Exercise - Bat Barrel Resistance Weight Exercise

    The batter when flex the muscles of the hands, fingers, forearms and biceps. The batter will put place the bat barrel against the resisting object. The batter will flex the muscles 10 times at two locations. The two locations are:


    6 Inches behind the belly button - belt high - (toward catcher)
    6 Inches in front of the belly button - belt high - (toward pitcher)
    12 Inches in front of the belly button - belt high - (toward pitcher)

    Coaching Point - Each exercise is done with the batter keeping the barrel level, belt high, and pressing toward the pitcher.

    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 Baseball Coaching Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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    Coaching Baseball Pitchers - Multi-Purpose Baseball Pitching Drills to Improve Control

    HandsBackHitter.com - Mechanical Ball Launching Tee - Great Swing Builder!
    By Nick Dixon




    Learning correct baseball pitching mechanics are the first step in the making of a pitcher. Once proper mechanics are mastered these two drills can be used to hone skill, increase concentration, build confidence, and improve control.



    Here are two drills that can bed used to help improve a pitchers control. The two drills are "Pitch Tracking" and the "20 X 4" Pitching Drill.


    "Pitch Tracking"


    Great Drill for Hitters, Catchers, and Pitchers!


    The pitcher is throwing to a catcher as he normally would in pitching practice or bull-pen work. The pitcher is throwing at his normal pitching distance. The purpose of the drill is to increase a pitcher's level of concentration, to work a catcher, and to allow one batter or two batters learn to "track" every pitch.


    Variation #1: One Batter - Right or Left handed
    C --------------------------------------- P
    B


    Variation #2: Two Batters - One Right and One Left handed
    B
    C --------------------------------------- P
    B


    Variation #1 - One batter is standing in and tracking every pitch from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt. The batter does not have a bat. The batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batter will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and eyes on the ball all of the way. The batter must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the second paragraph below.


    Variation #2 - Two batters are standing in the batter's box without bats. Each batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batters will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and his eyes on the ball all of the way. The batters must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the paragraph below.


    Next the batters will swing away with their "imaginary" bats. The batters will read the location of each pitch the pitcher throws and hit the ball where it is pitched. When two batters are tracking, they will do opposites. One will pull a pitch in a location that his tracking partner will hit to the opposite field.


    The coach can call out a count such as 2-0, 3-1, 1-2, and 0-2 to allow the batters, pitchers, and catchers certain mind-sets in different situations.
    Note: If your hitters are too young to perform this drill, have a coach to stand in. The coach may wish to wear a helmet and wear a glove for protection. This is a tough drill, but it is great for developing concentration. Make sure all batters wear helmets and other proper protective equipment.
    Coaching Point: The hitters do not hold a bat. The batters will swing a "invisible" bat. They must attack and hit every pitch according to its location. This drill is great for teaching hitters to see spin and to teach them to see a pitchers release point.


    "20 X 4" Pitching Drill


    Improves Control & Concentration


    This drill is a pitching drill in which the young pitcher works at a smooth, rather fast pace, but only throws 50-60% of normal speed. The pitcher should not be allowed to throw full speed. The objective of the drill is to teach concentration and develop great control. The pitcher has to throw 20 strikes before 4 balls are thrown. The pitcher should be allowed to perform the drill at a shorter distance at first. After several practices, the pitcher should be able to move to the regular pitching distance within. If 4 balls are thrown before 20 strikes, the pitcher must restart. Care should be taken to not overwork the pitcher. Keeping the distance short, emphasizing accuracy not speed, and making sure the pitcher is properly stretched and warmed-up should prevent any chance of arm injury.


    With younger players you may want to make the drill a 10-3 drill. 10 strikes must be thrown before 3 balls or the drill is restarted.


    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.
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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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    Little League Baseball Coaching

    By Joe Brockhoff

    If we hold our hands up and pop our wrists, we can do that over and over again very quickly. If someone were to throw a punch at us, our hands would quickly and automatically pop up in defense.

    As an infielder, we don't have to think about a ball thrown to us. Our hands will react to the direction of the ball and make the catch without having to think about it.

    Think of the catcher after he gives the sign. He is taught to frame the pitch. His hands automatically go to the pitch without any thought or direction.

    So the hands are auto reactors. Is this good for the hitter? The answer is: No! The hitter who allows his hands to react automatically as his first movement towards the pitch will never have full body support.

    When the hands go too early, this is when we hear the coach yell out, "Wait on the pitch!"
    Now, let's apply this to our baseball hitting mechanics.

    These are the steps:

    1. Coil (Load): The hitter collects his weight on the backside
    2. Stride: a linear step towards the pitched ball (30-40% of weight transfer)
    3. Body Rotation: Hips rotate toward the ball
    4. Hands will then, and only then, execute the stroke

    Here is one of our best little league baseball coaching tips: "HIPS TAKE US TO THE BALL. HANDS TAKE US THROUGH THE BALL."

    So, when we are leaning how to hit a baseball, do we trust the hands? The answer is:

    Don't trust the hands. Then, trust the hands. In other words, discipline the hands to wait until we get into the launch position, which is with the hands inside the ball and the hips rotated.

    Our hands do not initiate the stroke until we rotate to the pitch. They travel in rotation with the pivot, but they do not commit to the pitch until the rotation is complete. This rotated position with the hands still back is what we call the DRIVE position. It is at this time that the hands will launch.

    NOW we can trust them. Let them explode the bat to the ball.

    One final note. Remember that when we hit, the hands are in a double lever system. That is, they don't personally go to the ball. They are holding the bat, which goes to the ball. The hands always end up in front of the body. They are responsible for directing the bat to the proper cut line on the pitch.

    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.kewego.com/video/iLyROoafMM8J.html.

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

    sponsor links;

    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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    Baseball Pitching Tips - Checkpoints Are Mandatory For All Pitchers!

    By Larry Cicchiello

    Checkpoints are something that every baseball pitcher should do before every pitch in order for him to be the most effective!

    Usually, baseball pitchers have about three or four. They will vary from pitcher to pitcher. Checkpoints are very simply mental reminders that a pitcher gives to himself before every pitch.

    Some Common Checkpoints That Pitchers Use:


    Step toward your catcher's target.
    Keep the front shoulder closed when driving toward the plate so you don't "fly open."
    Throw the ball and don't overthrow the ball.
    Don't rock left and right and keep everything straight during the windup and delivery of the pitch.
    Remember not to tilt the head and to keep it straight.
    Remember to "stay back on the rubber" if you have a tendency to get your body ahead of your throwing arm and it causes you to rush when throwing.
    Keep the windup slow if you have a tendency to rush and it causes pitching problems for you.
    Get the legs involved in the pitch to share the work load.
    Stay "on top" of your pitches or they will flatten out and be much more hittable.
    Turn the hip enough when pivoting.
    Raise the throwing elbow up to shoulder height or you will "push" the ball and not throw it.
    Break the hands apart early so you don't have to rush the throwing arm.
    Raise the front knee to at least waist height.
    The list can go on and on. (And it almost did.)

    As an individual baseball pitcher, you have to decide what the three or four things are that should be your personal checkpoints. Only you will know what these things are that you should do, or should not do to pitch the most effectively.

    Think of them before you throw every pitch!

    It's not nearly as complicated as one might think. Simply think of an abbreviated form because it is not like you have to think of thirty, forty or fifty words before every pitch.

    A typical checkpoint list may be staying back on the rubber, front shoulder closed and point the landing foot to the catcher's target. A more logical and abbreviated version would be "stay back, closed and foot." It takes about one second at the most.

    Spending this valuable one second will help you tremendously as a baseball pitcher!

    Larry is the president of Larwenty Online Enterprises Inc. He 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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    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 Digest - The Power of Praise in Coaching Little League Baseball


    Baseball2u.com
    By Nick Dixon

    Praise is the easiest and most effective way to motivate young baseball players. Understanding and believing in the "Power of Praise" can make a Little League Baseball coach a better and more effective coach. Knowing how and when to praise is the key. This article discusses the value of praise in coaching youth baseball.

    Good coaches have a variety of skills. They know how to teach the game of baseball. They know how to communicate their thoughts and observations almost immediately. They know how to correct without humiliation. They know how to motivate without intimidation. They love the game of baseball and that love is displayed through their actions and behaviors. But, one of the universal traits of successful youth baseball coaches is that they know the "Power of Praise".

    Good youth baseball coaches know that kids respond differently when they are coached and taught the game of baseball. Many kids do not take constructive criticism. All kids do not respond the same to harsh words or loud instructions. But, one thing that 99.9% of all kids respond favorably to is praise. They love to hear words of encouragement and words that tell them that they did a task well.

    What youth coaches must always remember is that many kids we coach never hear many positive words. It is sad and true that many kids never hear words or praise or encouragement at home. Words of praise are "words of respect" for a youngster. They want to love, appreciated, and respected just like most people do. Many kids we coach are hungry for attention, discipline and most of all praise. The more they are praised, the more they want to earn more praise.

    So when you see a player struggling or having a bad day, find something that he is doing correctly and praise him for his action. Make his day a better day. I do not mean to give out unmerited or false praise. Make sure that the praise is deserved and merited. Kids can sense if a coach is sincere or genuine when the coach praises a player. False praise is useless and counterproductive.

    One good rule to live by as a youth baseball coach is that you should find a way to praise every player on your team at least once a day. A pat on the head or back takes little time and energy on your part, but can do wonders for a kids self esteem and attitude.

    I hope that you enjoyed this article. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Good luck to you and your team. Your friend in baseball, 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!

    Little League Digest - Instantly Make Yourself a Better Little Coach With This Quick Self Evaluation

    CoachesBest.com - Over 1400 Products and Growing!


    By Nick Dixon

    Little League Digest: You Can Make Yourself a Better Little Coach Instantly with this Quick Preseason Evaluation

    The quality of a Little League Team's play depends greatly on the quality of coaching the kids receive. Coaches spend most of their team assessing and trying to improve player skills and performance. The theory is simple, improve your player's talent and you improve your team. I have a different approach. I say, improve your coaching skills and your Little League team will definitely play better baseball. How do you improve your coaching skills? I have a simple evaluation that will help you become a better coach instantly.

    Ask yourself these the three simple questions listed below. Depending on your answer, chose the recommended approach and set your standards for this coming season.

    Question #1 - "Coach, are you a good a planner and organizer when it comes to Little League Baseball Practice?"

    If you answered YES...Congratulations! Your planning and organizational skills should help your team have high quality practices in the coming season. Move on to question #2.

    If you answered NO....Make a commitment now that you will spend at least 20 minutes pre-planning every practice and write your practice plan on paper. Carefully plan each drill and activity with specific start times and end times. Make sure that drills are short with time periods restricted to 10 minutes are less. Make a commitment to make a copy to give to each assistant coach that you have helping you.

    Question # 2 - "Coach, do you value time and punctuality as much as you should?'

    If you answered YES...Congratulations! You are a coach that knows the value of time and punctuality. Your players are lucky to have such a coach. Move on to question #3.

    If you answered NO....Make a commitment now that you will be the first person on sight at every practice and game. It is bad policy for Little League coaches to arrive late at a practice or game. If you expect your players to always be at practice on time, you should set a good example and be the first person arriving each day. Make it your personal goal to not be late for a single practice or game. Always plan and give yourself extra time to arrive at practice.

    Question # 3 - "Coach, do you really know enough about the baseball fundamentals and the rules of baseball to adequately teach your players?"

    If you answered YES...Congratulations! Your knowledge of baseball is commended. You are a coach knows baseball fundamentals and knows how to teach them. Your baseball knowledge will definitely give your team an advantage in the coming season. Congratulations! You have completed this coaching self-evaluation.

    If you answered NO....Make a commitment now to commit time and effort to improving your knowledge of the rules of the game of baseball and the fundamentals of baseball that your players must be taught and master. The internet is a valuable resource for finding free baseball coaching articles and drill videos. Three great sites for free articles are the Baseball Coaching Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest, and the Little League Digest.

    Every Little League Coach has a responsibility to put effort in learning more than they know. How can we expect players to improve their knowledge of the game if we refuse to? Not knowing baseball is not the ultimate sin of a baseball coach. Refusing to become a student of the game is the ultimate sin. If you knowledge is limited and you do not wish to increase your knowledge, you might be doing your team a favor to offer your time and effort as a Little League volunteer in another capacity other than coaching.

    How did you score?

    One Yes Answer - You are definitely an honest person and honesty is a strong virtue of a good Little League Baseball Coach. You now know what two areas you in which you need to improve. You are commended for taking the first crucial steps toward improving your qualities as a Little League Coach. Improvement will come with the right commitment and continued effort.

    Two Yes Answers - You should be proud that you only have one area where improvement is required. You are close to being a top notch Little League Coach. You should focus all of your effort into eliminating the weakness that you have identified. Set your goal now to improve your qualities as a coach in that particular area.

    Three Yes Answers - Congratulations! You are a top quality Little League Coach. With your skills and talent, you should be able to help every player on your team improve and become a better player. You team should have a great.

    I hope that this evaluation helps you improve as a coach. Enthusiasm is one trait this quick evaluation did not address. Along with the qualities evaluated here, you must possess and display a high level of excitement and enthusiasm for the great game of baseball. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. 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!

    A Dominant Baseball Pitcher's Workout!


    By Brandon Richey

    A pitcher's workout program should focus in on the stability of the shoulder and elbow while increasing pitching velocity at the same time. As a strength and conditioning specialist I can think of no better way to do both than by implementing the overhead kettlebell snatch lift into your program. This single lift will completely change your baseball pitching workouts forever.

    If your pitching exercises aren't explosive and dynamic in nature then you are wasting your time, as far as, I am concerned. The overhead kettlebell snatch is a lift that helps you to develop superior core strength, explosive hip power, and shoulders that can take and dish out more punishment than anything. By implementing this lift you will give your competition constant headaches. To execute this lift you must have the availability of a moderately heavy kettlebell. In order to snatch the bell you must vertically lift the bell from either the ground or from between your legs up to a held position above your head in a smooth explosive movement. This movement is accomplished by you forcefully flexing and then extending at both your hip and knee joints to generate the necessary force to lift the bell to a high pull lateral position next to your head. Once the kettlebell is elevated at this peak spot next to your head you must then complete the lift by vertically punching your palm towards the sky. When you do this you must make sure to suck your shoulder into the socket and lock out your elbow. As a pitcher looking to add some REAL velocity to your throwing you will quickly see why this particular exercise is so effective. Make sure that you take the time to fully understand and learn the technique that is involved in this lift. Once you do this your progress will soar and your pitching ability will become more dominant than even you could imagine.

    Take the time to learn about how to implement the overhead snatch and other kettlebell lifts into your baseball pitching workouts if you are serious about winning. I will even make it easy for you by asking you to access the rest of my articles on the matter for free. Kettlebell training is only for those that are serious about their strength and conditioning program and getting better. 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/www
    .betterthansteroidsebook.com/Better_Than_Steroids_Ebook.html

    You will become one of my Free Elite Members if you make your "Better Than Steroids" purchase, but to just become one of my Elite Members and receive my free Newsletter just go to http://www.efandps.com/www.efandps.com
    /Brandons_Members_Newsletter.html

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

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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 Instruction - How to Add 50 Points to Your Batting Average Sitting on the Couch

    By Nate Barnett

    Don't worry, this is not a promo article on some illegal growth hormone, or some attempt to counter all you've ever learned during your baseball instruction about hard work, practice, and dedication. What I'm about to help reveal to you takes different practice compared to going out to the ballpark every day to work on your skills. It takes more dedication than working out in the cold and rain all winter. It won't transform your game over night; but, if the skill is developed, then I'm confident you will experience a serious boost to your batting average.

    The concept is called imagery, or visualization. In non-scientific language, it's simply mental weight-lifting. And the reason many of you have heard of if it is simply because rarely does baseball instruction before the collegiate level emphasize it. I'll give you a taste, but it's up to you to search out more on the topic and really chew on it.

    I will be writing as if I was providing some mental baseball instruction to an athlete. If you are a coach or parent reading this, just pick up the concepts should you choose to pass the idea on.

    Let's begin.

    Take a quick trip back to a game where you struck out with the bases juiced. What did you think about in the field the next inning, or the next time up to bat? Whatever your thoughts were about your performance, good or bad, is called imagery. The more you condition your thinking either positive or negative, the more your body will respond to what is familiar. This is why athletes that are in a hot streak have a bad game and then sometimes slip into a little slide, or a full blown slump. It's not because they suddenly forgot the skill of hitting, their visualization was horrible.

    The chance of getting to the next level is determined largely by your ability to control your thoughts and feelings and use them to your advantage. This is especially true if you have a goal of playing professionally. The use of imagery is a must-you'll never get there without it. Ok, enough of the philosophical mumbo jumbo, here is how the concept is applied to your game.

    Everybody is always looking for the secret for this or for that in baseball. Well here it is, the raw and uncut version of how to use imagery and take your hitting game to the next level... fast.

    First and foremost you must admit to yourself that each year the skill level of the players in your league increases. Some are still figuring things out mechanically, but most have a general idea by now. This simply means that there is a good chance that you're not "the man" in your league, let alone your team. If you are, "the man" and you're not using visualization tactics, you'll have some serious competition soon.

    Let me put you in the right frame of reference with an illustration we can all relate to, unfortunately. You're up to bat, it's a 2-2 count, and the guy has a nasty curve ball you haven't seen in a while. A quick thought runs through your mind and you wonder if you might see it this pitch. He winds, you ready yourself, the pitch is released, and sure enough it's the big hammer. Strike three looking. You trudge slowly back to the dugout with your head down, teeth clenched in frustration as you grab your spot on the bench.

    If you haven't experienced the above scenario yet, you haven't been playing long enough. It will happen a couple dozen times to you. But, the real problem is not the strikeout; the best in the game strike out all the time. No amount of drill training or baseball instruction can prevent it.

    The issue is your automatic instant replay system in your head is working overtime for the rest of the inning. It's playing back your strikeout mentally over and over and over for you to think about. Your imagery you are giving yourself stinks. It's programming your body to react the same way the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. The cool part is, you can fully manage your instant replay system with some practice.

    If you want to be sure what images are being played through your instant replay mechanism, you have to make sure you've tuned it to the correct mental channel. What do you do when there is a show on television you don't want to watch? Turn the channel. The same applies to your mind in baseball.

    You must change your station after you experience a negative result as an athlete. Here is the meat of this concept. If you've spaced out until now, this is the paragraph you'll want to understand. I'll use the previous example of the strikeout looking above. I use this image because it's often an opportune time for your instant replay to run haywire quickly. The key after the strikeout is to take a minute once back in the dugout, or before the next inning starts out in the field, and change your mental channel. Most athletes will replay the strikeout over and over again, getting more frustrated in the process. It's what feels normal, and you're mind will do this automatically. Instead, play the at bat over again in your mind, but this time with a positive ending. Maybe it's a base hit through the hole, maybe it's a double off the wall in deep left, or it could possibly be a bunt base hit. Repeat the at bat multiple times in a row and then give it a rest and refocus on your current task on defense. The next time you're on deck, play the positive result instant replay series again and you'll be fully prepared for your following at bat.

    What if you can't control your thinking?

    Negative thoughts running through your mind takes up space in your head used for concentration and relaxation. If your main focus is on how poorly you performed in your last at bat then you cannot use that energy for anything productive at that moment or for moments afterwards. It takes time to change your energy and focus. And if you allow your mental replay system to switch channels frequently, you'll soon find yourself not relaxed when you need to be.

    Manage your replay efficiently? If you've ever experienced being in the "zone" this is what it feels like to have your thoughts fully under control. Your mind will have 100% focus and concentration on your task at hand without any room for scattered thoughts about what you should have done.

    The only catch to this skill development is that it takes time. Just like hitting a baseball takes time and practice to master, so does mental conditioning. But once you get it, the results will be spectacular.

    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

    Baseball Strategy Tips For Developing a Solid Pitching Rotation

    By Jack D. Elliott

    Everyone enjoys the excitement of the homerun; however, pitching tends to play a larger role in the importance of a winning Baseball Strategy. Let's use high school baseball as an example. For most high school teams, there are usually only one or two good pitchers on each team. One of the differences between good and great high school teams is how they develop the rest of their pitching staff.

    To win at the high school level in the playoffs and beyond, a high school team should develop a rotation of 4 to 6 pitchers. There are several reasons for this Baseball Strategy:


    Top pitchers will then get the opportunity to rest their arms during the season.
    It provides an opportunity for younger pitchers to develop their skills for future seasons.
    The coach has a number of options to choose from for certain game situations. (For example, have a left hander throw to a left handed batter).
    May be able to use your top pitchers in other roles. This can be especially helpful if they are a very good hitter as it adds a strong bat to your lineup.
    Allows you some additional protection if you lose one of your pitchers to grades or an injury.


    www.Coachesbest.com

    Traditionally, pitchers on high school baseball teams tend to be those who throw the hardest and or have done it for a number of years. However, a smart high school coach should be scouting his team every year to look for players who could be turned into pitchers. Some of the skills a coach should look for in a prospective pitcher include:


    Left-handed or a unique throwing motion (ex. sidearm delivery).
    Strong arm (Fastball is above 80 mph).
    Excellent control of throws regardless of fastball speed.
    Natural movement on fastball.
    Ability to throw a unique pitch (ex. knuckleball).

    Once these players are discovered, the coach should have them begin practicing pitching at every practice. Over time, their skills would improve to the point where you could use them in game situations. Then, your baseball strategy could shift from relying on your two top pitchers to letting these prospects start pitching against weaker teams in your district or allowing them to pitch a few innings in certain games.

    To help encourage players to want to be a pitcher, the coach should give extra praise to those who are participating and repeat the importance that pitching has on helping the team go far in the playoffs. In addition, a wise coach would recommend these players take additional pitching instruction from quality baseball instructors in the area. With a little encouragement, you can outsource some of this training. This will allow for these players to keep developing their skills and not take away from the team's overall practice time.

    The benefits of developing a pitching staff over time should allow for your high school team to move from a good to a great program. Also, who knows, you just might stumble upon the next great ace pitcher.


    www.HurricaneMachine.com

    Jack Elliott, is a former player and fan of the game. To read more tips and techniques like the ones in this article, please click here: http://www.baseballtrainingtechniques.com/Baseball-Strategy/

    Article Source:
    http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_D._Elliott




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