TeeBall Parent Guide Blog

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Youth Baseball Drills

The following short article features three free youth baseball drills that focus on holding players' attention while building their defensive skills. The first has players catching pop flys while the next two drills will improve their co-ordination when it comes to the unpredictable grounder ball.

By Kenny Buford

Defensive Drills that Don’t Bore

One of the hardest things when selecting baseball drills for youth is coming up with drills that build muscle memory but don’t bore the players so much they lose interest in the action altogether. This task is especially arduous when selecting defensive drills, since good defense is all about being prepared for whatever comes your way, and the only way to learn that is by playing out the various game-time situations. The following free youth baseball drills aim to keep players so engaged and interested they forget they’re building defensive skills.

Catching the Notorious Pop Fly

One of the most important defensive skills is how to catch a pop fly. To prepare your team for these high, straightforward catches, try this drill. Give each player on the team a ball and have them line-up one behind the other. Player one runs towards the coach, tossing the ball when close enough. The player then runs long, starting around 50 feet, while the coach lobs the ball high up into the air.


Players then turn around, spot the pop fly and catch it. To up the competitiveness of the drill, players who fail to catch the ball are assigned a letter in a predetermined word, such as HORSE. Once a player gets all the letters, they are out. While players are running to catch the ball, remind them to stay on the balls of their feet, since it will keep their strides shuffling and quick.

Mastering the Unpredictable Grounder

The next of the free youth baseball drills is perfect for teaching players to properly field the often wildly unpredictable grounders that inevitably will come their way come game time. To set up the drill, set up your fielders in a row. To cut down on wait time, set up a number of different stations with a coach or assistant managing each station.

The coach hits five ground balls in a row to the first player in the line who fields each grounder and throws it back towards the coach. After fielding the five balls, the player returns to the back of the line. In this drill, the most important thing to remember is staying low when fielding the balls. Make sure players are standing with their feet slightly wider than their shoulders, and constantly keeping their eye on the ball.

When looking for free youth baseball drills for defense, sometimes you want a drill that players can perform on their own without much help so you can concentrate on watching each player and correcting them when you see errors. This drill is perfect for that, since players are set up facing a wall, which basically provides its own grounders.

Line up players facing a wall or fence. Players should be at least 15 feet apart and approximately 20 feet away from the wall. Give each player a ball and at the sound of your whistle, players begin throwing the ball towards the ball low enough to get a grounder back. Have players count the number of grounders that are able to successfully field in a row without having one slip past or between their legs in a one-minute time span. Encourage players to beat their personal bests, and if they are excelling at 20 feet try moving them further back from the fence.

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 youth baseball drills by visiting his website:


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

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Youth Baseball Coaching Challenge - Developing a Coaching Philosophy


Developing a coaching philosophy is an often overlooked yet very important aspect of coaching. Many youth baseball coaches have an idea of their philosophy, but never take the time to write it down or convey it to their parents and players. By doing so you will be helping your team understand you and your expectation and believe me, this will make your job A LOT easier.

By Larry Miljas

Your philosophy is a collection of principles that you will use to run your team. The principles that you have will guide you in creating your team policies and these policies will guide your coaching decisions throughout the year. If parents and baseball players know what your philosophy is, what your policies are and what you expect from them, you will be ahead of about 90% of all youth coaches in heading off potential disasters. However, let me make one thing clear. If your philosophy and policies should change during the season, you MUST communicate this as early as possible.

It's not as complicated as it may seem. To break it down -- Your coaching philosophy is made up of your principles, your principles will drive your policies and your policies will drive your decisions. As stated earlier, all coaches have an idea of what their philosophy, principles and policies are, but by organizing, clarifying and communicating them, you will increase your coaching effectiveness.

Step 1 -- Organize. Think about what is important to you as a baseball coach and write it down. Create a spreadsheet or word document of what you feel is important for you as a coach to do for your players. Make a list.

Step 2 -- Clarify. Once your list is finished, go through and make sure you didn't miss anything. Also, look for things that appear contradictory. If you find some, think about what the differences are between the two and then remove one, or clarify it if need be. Once you get a clear understanding of what is important to you as a coach, you should have a good list of principles to use to develop your policies.

Step 3 -- Communicate. Clean up and edit your document and then use it as a handout at your first practice, or attach it to your introductory letter. At your parent meeting (yes you should have one of these), go over it with parents and let them ask questions. This should put everyone on the same page. By communicating your philosophy and policies at the beginning of the season, you will save yourself headaches and distractions later on.

In closing, here are some sample principles that I have heard other coaches incorporate into their philosophy.

* Doing your best is more important than success.
* Coaches, Players and Parents should be positive at all times.
* Good sportsmanship is mandatory.
* Players and Coaches should have fun.
* Players and Coaches should be disciplined.
* Players and Coaches should be enthusiastic.
* Always keep a good attitude.

There are probably hundreds or thousands more, but this should give you a good start. I wish you success in your youth baseball coaching endeavors. Make it a great season!

Larry Miljas believes that coaching youth is very important as it gives us a chance to influence tomorrow's leaders. He is a martial arts instructor and little league baseball coach that wants to provide baseball tips, drills, and information on techniques for hitting, pitching, coaching, and training through his website at http://www.TheYouthBaseballCoach.com

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

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coaching Your Child In Youth Baseball


By Brian McClure

There are many reasons to want to coach youth baseball, one is the love of baseball and wanting to teach today's youth the great experiences and fun that come with playing youth baseball. There are many parents who coach during and after their own children play baseball. This parent probably played baseball as a child and loves the sport. Another reason parents coach sometimes is because their child will not participate if the parent is not involved in some way. Some children are accustomed to Mom and Dad being around all the time, and do not take instruction well from others outside of a school setting. Sometimes it is a necessity. No one else will do it, thus the parent becomes the youth baseball coach. Without this dedicated parent the team might not exist. This parent may not have any sports experience, but is willing to take over the team for the benefit of the children.

No matter what reasons a parent becomes a coach the challenges are the same. The biggest challenge is how to treat your own child as a member of the team. Parents tend to treat their child in one of two ways.

The first is by being harder on their child than the other team members. This is sometimes because a coach feels his/her child should lead be the best player and setting an example. It could also be an effort to keep other parents from complaining about favoritism. Regardless of the reason it should be avoided. Everyone gets to play and take turns so we should treat our own children that way too.

The second way I have seen parent-coaches handle their own child is to treat him special. Special treatment is letting him always hit first or play a popular position all the time. This is very hard on parents who paid money for their child to be treated as an equal player on the team. Non parent coaches do not appreciate it either, and believe, everyone notices. Your child has to understand that he will play as a member of the team. Not a position because you are the coach. Treating your own child too harshly and favoring your child are two situations that should be avoided. One thing I've learned as a coach is to treat every child (including my own) like I would want my child to be treated if I weren't the coach.

You will be called upon to be a parent while you are coaching many times. It is difficult for kids to differentiate the roles of parent and coach and therefore you shouldn't expect them to never treat you like Dad during practices or games. An example would be when your child gets injured. Another player on the team might cry and get upset and probably expect his own parent to comfort him in some fashion. Your own child will do the same thing, and you should treat him like a parent during these times. If he gets hit with a ball at practice, and gets hurt, he expects you to treat him just like you do at home when the same thing happens. Another example would be when your child experiences the frustration of playing a bad game or losing . He won't want to hear your coaching speech on "what did we learn from that" , but will want to hear from Dad. When we leave a game or youth baseball tournament, we talk Father to son about the game, if he wants to, then we move on to something else.

As challenging as coaching and parenting can be, there will always be opportunities facing us I this role. That being said, some of my proudest moments as a coach have been related to my role as a parent-coach.

Author- Brian McClure
Want to learn more about helping your child in youth baseball as a parent or coach?

See our complete list of Topics and articles on youth baseball here

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Essential Facts
About Baseball Hitting

By Chris Moheno

Sometimes when people think about hitting a baseball, they end up over thinking the situation. Then again, there are others that just get up there and swing away, which only hurts them in the end. The truth is there are essential facts about baseball hitting that often get overlooked. Today we wanted to talk about some of the main methods and techniques many of the pros use that you can utilize in your own swing.

We understand that professional baseball players are role models for many younger players out there. Whether you dream of wanting to be a pro someday or are simply looking for ways to improve, all the tips and tricks below will help. Granted, all of them may not be for you, so make sure you take the ones that pertain to your stance and swing. In the end, you will see the ball better, get around quicker, and hopefully, have a higher batting average.

The Right Bat

No matter how many different things you try, if you don't have the right bat it will throw off your baseball hitting tremendously. So before anything else be sure to find one that is the right length and weight for you. If you have long arms, make sure the bat compliments that aspect. If some bats are too heavy then find one that allows you to swing faster. Doing these things alone will give you an extra edge when you are up to the plate.

Waiting for the Right Pitch

One of the best tools you can have in your baseball training is patience. Learning to wait for "your pitch" will not only make the pitcher work harder, but will allow you to be in control instead of the other way around. Don't be afraid to take a pitcher deep in the count. The reason being is it can help you build your tolerance for swinging at bad pitches. Plus, no matter if you are a power hitter or hit for average, this will improve both areas tremendously.

Swinging Through the Ball

Sometimes, the difference between a good hitter and a great hitter is being able to swing through the ball. The easiest way to do this is by making sure your back elbow stays close to the body. In the beginning, this may be hard to get used to, but in the end, you will drive more balls than before. This also gives you an advantage towards getting the bat around quicker in dicey situations against a flamethrower.

The Confidence Factor

Listen, when you walk up to the plate feeling as though you are going to get a hit every time, you will be a better hitter. Even if everyone tells you that you have bad mechanics, the confidence factor can have a positive effect on your hitting. One thing to keep in mind is having the right techniques and confidence combined is much better, but worst-case scenario, you can make it work for you. Standing on deck just praying you aren't going to strikeout is definitely not a hitter's mentality.

Balance is Key

Amongst all the baseball training you go through, balance is always key. The golden rule of keeping your back foot planted is enough to improve your hitting if you aren't already doing it. Also, having a balanced batting stance can give you enough leverage to get around the ball just like everyone else. Think of this as balancing one of those teeter-totters on the elementary playground. If you have the right balance, then you will keep everything level (shoulders, elbows, legs, etc).

Have Fun

The main ingredient to playing baseball is having fun, period. When you walk up to the plate, keep a loose and relaxed persona. If you have ever seen the Derek Jeter Gatorade commercial, you don't want to be thinking about everything going on. Granted, a smart hitter is thinking about the count, what pitch is coming next, and how your opponent is fielding you, but also feel like you are enjoying yourself. The end result is more hits, fewer slumps, and better averages.

What All This Gets You

At the end of the day, you want to be a better baseball hitter. If you take the advice we gave you above and utilize the areas you need to work on, your experience is going to be a good one. Like we said before, there are many different mechanic driven points as well, but these are the essential facts. Once you start utilizing them and the coaches see improvements you are bound to move up in the order. Then again, they may just help you get some more playing time. Either way, it is all better for you.

Chris Moheno has a long time passion for sports in general and for baseball coaching more specifically. His goal is to spread the word about effective non-fluff baseball training techniques for both more experienced and young baseball players, to help them perform better during the game. Discover more about baseball training on baseballtrainingsecrets.com

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

Friday, July 17, 2009

Why I Love to Coach Tee Ball


By Alex Dumas

Coaching tee ball runs in my family. My dad coached me and my brothers and our friends. My uncle coached in their place. My other uncle coached at their town's local pre-school. My grandfather coached my dad and uncles how to play tee ball. And to top it all, my mom has always been supportive with what I do. She has never failed to encourage me and my friends to boost our morale up. I played for four years and though I may be that young, the memories are still as fresh as dewdrops on a spring morning. I grew up in the world of baseball but I never focused on making a career out of baseball. There were a lot of things that I learned while playing baseball and most of it helped develop my personality.

28 years had passed and I have my own family now. My wife and I are blessed with an energetic boy. We live in the suburbs just outside the city. Our neighborhood is mostly composed of young parents and I've seen several toddlers and kids around. My son is turning four this year and I wanted to introduce him to youth sports, so I took out my tee ball equipment and set it up at our backyard one Saturday morning. Billy, our seven-year old neighbor, saw me teaching my son to swing his bat and asked if he could join. I agreed and he called his five-year old brother too. This became a weekly thing with one or two kids joining every week. After two months, I had about 16 kids knocking at my door every Saturday morning for tee ball. We had to move to the park because my backyard was not enough.

Teaching kids to play tee ball is a moral booster for me because I always know that I was able to contribute to a child's development. I was a coach and a second parent to them. Other parents joined and we were like one big happy family. Our relationships extended beyond tee ball and the support for one another is awesome. We contributed to form our own team. We practiced and dealt with the joys and pains of a growing child. We have yet to win a championship but that has not been our main goal. All the parents and I have agreed that our main priority was to ensure that our kids have the best times of their childhood while playing tee ball. That for me, is a goal far more better than a tee ball championship trophy.

For more tips and information about coaching tee ball, check out http://www.weplay.com.

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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How To Select The Best Sports Camp For Learning To Play Baseball?


The game of Baseball has been around us for quite a long time (from the start of the 19th century). Baseball and Football are considered to be the most popular games by the American People. Baseball is popularly known as "America’s Favorite Pastime" because of it's popularity. Baseball is well established in other countries around the world too. More and more people are becoming great fans of the great game today. Additionally, baseball was accepted as a medal game in Olympics by the year 1992. This game of baseball gathered huge attention in the recent 2008 Olympics, and was then was then dropped from the 2012 Olympics.

Learning to play this wonderful game is very easy today. There are many sports camps around that teach playing baseball. Though there are lots of sports camps available today to learn baseball, not all of them will be able to provide you the best training. Just keep reading on the article to know some tips for finding the best sports camp to learn baseball.

The Participant-To-Coach Ratio
Success in learning any game depends on the interaction of the participants with the coach. The degree of interaction depends on the number of participants assigned to a coach. The coach should be able to handle the given number of participants very effectively. Hence it is always good to look for sports camps where only a limited number of participants will be assigned to each coach. This will help you to learn the techniques used in baseball very effectively. The optimum participant-to-coach ratio is 12:1.

Make sure that the fundamental skills are taught very effectively
Fielding, catching, throwing, hitting, and base running are some of the basic skills required for a baseball player. The sports camp of your choice should be able to provide you the lessons on these basic skills with well experienced coaches. Once you understand the basic skills needed for the baseball player, you will be able to follow up with the advanced skills like tee hitting, soft toss, and live pitching with ease.

Awards and Uniforms
Some of the best sports camps provide free baseball T-shits and other goodies for joining their sports camps. Trophies are often given to kids who complete the camp which adds to the sense of accomplishment they feel. It is also important that these sports camps will be able to provide the equipment like Baseball Gloves, Helmets and Wood Bats inexpensively. Joining such Youth Sports Camps will save money when buying the equipment your child needs to learn to play Baseball.

If you are a fan of "America’s Favorite Pastime", the sports camps are made for you. Join a sports camp today and experience the thrill of the baseball game.

The Author of this article knows all about Baseball. He has worked with some of the best sports camps and provided many ideas to the sports camp members on becoming a successful baseball player. He writes articles on selecting the best Youth Sports Camp for learning the baseball game. That’s why he recommends Skyhawks.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/baseball-articles/how-to-select-the-best-sports-camp-for-learning-to-play-baseball-803800.html

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Teaching Youth Baseball

Teaching Youth Baseball
By Trevor Sumner

Teaching youth baseball is a rewarding experience for both parents and coaches alike. While parents have an obvious investment in the teaching of the fundamentals of the sport of baseball to their children, coaches, make a significant investment of their own in time, effort and emotion. From a personal perspective, one of the greatest rewards is in developing relationships with and positively affecting the lives of individual youth baseball players. The lessons of sports such as in baseball are positive and well documented. For coaches, there are also the internal rewards they get from seeing each player develop and from watching a youth baseball team improve as a group and learn to play together under their coaching tutelage.

Astute coaches improve the performance of the team as a whole by employing youth baseball drills to improve the individual performances of team players and there interactions together. There are three main categories in which youth baseball drills will have an immense effect on the performance levels of players.

Youth Batting Drills - one of the most important of the youth baseball drills. The vast majority of youth baseball players have the most fun when they hit. The better they are able to hit, the more fun that they will have, and the greater their interest in the sport of baseball. Coaches and parents who teach baseball drills in batting must stress the importance of a well-balanced stance that is comfortable for the individual player, picking the ball up as it leaves the pitcher's hand, and keeping the body weight back until the pitch is delivered.

Youth Fielding Drills - an integral part of teaching the defensive position. Of course, there are sets of baseball fielding drills that are unique to each of the nine fielding positions in the game of baseball. However, there are baseball drills common to all fielding positions. One of the key youth baseball drills in catching ground balls is to keep the fingers of the fielding glove on the ground for ground balls, and raising the glove to catch the ball on the bounce, instead of lowering the glove. Another one of the instructional keys to fielding is to catch the thrown or batted ball with the wrist in an upward position for balls at or above the waist, and to turn the wrist upside down to catch balls below the waist. There are many ways to take a single drill and apply it so the whole team can practice at once.

Youth Throwing Drills - the most basic of all youth baseball drills, and many instructors feel that it is the most important fundamental of all. It is vital for parents to make sure that their children develop proper throwing techniques from the time they can throw a baseball, around the age of eight or so. The importance of throwing a baseball with proper grip can not be overestimated.

Youth throwing drills must emphasize four important elements: Throw the ball by gripping it with the index finger and middle finger on the ball; point your shoulder opposite from your throwing hand in the direction of your target; step in the direction of your target when you release the ball; and follow through after you release the ball with your back leg so that both legs are parallel upon the completion of the throw.

You can find many youth baseball drills on the Internet covering hitting, fielding and throwing. Some drills are free and some require subscription or for you to order a DVD. Free baseball drills allow you greater flexibility in trying a variety and see what works best for you as the coach and your youth baseball team. Always remember that drills should be age appropriate. The right fielding drill for a 14 year-old boy will not suit and 8-year old and vice versa.

There are many baseball coaching resources and communities like Weplay, available to help with any questions you might have. Don't underestimate the passion of the community around you. We are all here to help the kids.

By Trevor Sumner who works for Weplay.com, a youth baseball community dedicated to providing parents, coaches and athletes the tools and information they need to celebrate the love of the game. Weplay has one of the most comprehensive baseball drill libraries in its active baseball community.

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

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Youth Baseball Bats: How To Choose The Right One

So your child plays baseball and you want him or her to have the best baseball gear like youth baseball bats. Of course you need to make sure that he or she has the appropriate baseball equipment so they can play at their best. Since the primary equipment that your child should have is a baseball bat, it is important to choose the right one. When choosing youth baseball bats, it is essential to consider the length, weight, width and league requirements. These factors are the key to choosing the perfect baseball bat that will fit your child’s playing ability. Though there are a whole lot of choices in the market, today, finding the right one can be very beneficial.

It is recommended to choose baseball bats that are the lightest for their length but you also need to make sure that this is not an issue with the league your child is playing in. Some leagues require that this should not be more than minus 10. For example, if the bat is 29 inches in length it cannot weigh less than 19 ounces. Choosing the right weight to length will make sure that your child gets maximum swing speed. However, light youth baseball bats cost more than heavier baseball bats that are often made from thicker and cheaper-grade aluminum or wood. While wood baseball bats are available and are also inexpensive, aluminum or cutting-edge alloy youth baseball bats are a better choice because of their lighter weight and they are a lot less likely to crack.

Another factor that should be considered is the length. It is important to understand that the longer the bat, the more plate coverage your child will have. However, longer bats are usually heavier. It is important that when choosing the right length to make sure that your child can reach the outside of the plate. If they crowd the plate too much they have a higher chance of getting hit with the pitch. This can cause them to be scared of the ball and start backing out before the pitch reaches the plate. Aside from the length, another thing that needs to be considered is the youth baseball bats barrel size. Baseball is a game of inches. The bigger the barrel the better. Bigger barrels allow your child to get more bat on the ball. Note that most youth baseball leagues require that the bat should be no more than 2 and 5/8 inches in diameter.

Choosing youth baseball bats can be a hard job and if you don’t know what you are looking for, you might not choose the best youth baseball bat for your child. Shopping can be a real headache because you usually cannot try out the bat before you buy it. Most sporting goods stores will not have batting cages inside of them. It’s a good thing to have your child try another child’s bat out to find the right length to weight ratio before you buy if possible.

For you to have the right picture of what youth baseball bats are right for your child, you can look for professional help online by simply browsing the internet
for detailed information on the bat you are thinking about purchasing.

Allen Arnold is the owner of YouthBaseballBats4Less.com which is the #1 source for the best deals on the top brands of youth baseball bats. http://www.youthbaseballbats4less.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beginner Baseball - Notes For Coaches

By Alex Dumas

A friend of mine once said "Give a kid a bat and he'll run around hitting anything in sight including himself. Teach a kid how to bat and he may turn into another Babe Ruth." Coaching beginner baseball is not a walk in the park. Yes, you would be dealing mostly with kids but kids have different personalities too. Also, do not discount the fact that some older generations would want to try their hand on baseball too, probably because they did not have a chance when they were younger.

Let us focus more on kids. Sad to say, there are kids who shun away from baseball because they did not have the opportunity to enjoy the real fun in baseball. Coaches for beginners should be very understanding since most kids lack the emotional stability of most adults. Their emotional capacity and limited understanding should be properly addressed by the coach. If a coach fails to do this, the baseball world would lose another potential player. Always remember that each kid has potential. It is up to the coach to learn what this potential is, bring it out, and hone it to its limits.

The first thing that coaches usually deal with is fear. Most kids fear baseball because, well let's face it, your initial reaction to a ball thrown at you is to evade or protect yourself. Baseball does not involve much physical contact compare to other youth sports like basketball or football. A coach should be able to teach and guide a young one to turn fear into determination. A young player, when coached properly, would see a ball as a target and not as a weapon. My friend showed a Japanese samurai cutting a thrown apple in half to his young squad and everybody was applauding. But he was keen to add that a baseball bat is not a sword but a tool used to prevent a ball from hitting them. A coach should also be kind and exhibit lots of patience. This is no different from a parent teaching his child to read or write. Come to think of it, a coach for baseball beginners should be similar to a loving and caring parent. Their degree of strictness should be surpassed by their degree of support and passion to develop a child into a young baseball player. Showing these traits to baseball beginners would further encourage them to do well and add up to their development. The satisfaction of being able to coach someone and turn him into a great baseball player is beyond description.

For more tips and information about coaching beginner baseball, check out http://www.weplay.com.

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

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baseball Practice Drills

By Frank LaMorte

There is nothing worse than having a baseball practice and players are standing around waiting their turn to field a pop up or ground ball or even take batting practice. During practice it is essential to introduce drills that will provide repetition necessary to improve players skills. The only way to get better at a sport is to practice and repeat the proper behaviors to learn.
A critical component to any successful baseball practice is repetition, repetition and more repetition. As such I would like to introduce several drills that I have used that improved all my players' skills while having a fun time.

Head to Head Ground Ball Drill

First,break the players down into four groups. For purpose of this example let's say there are 20 players. Put players in groups of 5 making 4 distinct groups. A group of 5 will face another group of 5 at 11 to 15 yards apart depending on the skill level. Set the width of play at no more than 4 yards and expand the area as skill levels increase. Have the lead player on one side throw ground balls to the player on the other side. Once the player throws the ball he rotates to the back of the line. The player receiving the ball will throw to the next player in line. Repeat this for as long as you like. Each player in a short period of time can easily field 100 ground balls or more.

Pop Up Drill

This is one of my favorite drills that has the added advantage of increasing endurance. Once again break players down into 4 groups of 5 players. You can use other players or coaches to help. Designate two areas of play that is anywhere from 10 to 15 yards away and at least 4 to 6 yards in width. These areas should be opposite of each other. These areas can be expanded depending on the skill level of the athletes.

Have at least a dozen balls handy and have the player enter the field of play as you toss a fly ball to him, over his right shoulder, left shoulder, left side, right side and as he runs toward you. Toss the balls at a brisk pace to keep the player running and concentrating on making the play. This will allow him to work on technique while increasing range over time. When the dozen balls are used have the player retrieve them and return to your bucket. Then turn to field two and repeat with a new player. Keep doing this and in less than a half hour each player would have fielded at least 100 fly balls. You will be amazed at how effective this drill is and no one will be standing around for long.

Dirt Lines Ground Ball Drill

This drill is used to teach young players to get their hands and glove out front when fielding a grounder. The young player often gets in the habit of catching grounders close to his or her feet or slightly in front of the toes. As coaches, we want infielders to extend their arms and get the glove out in front so that they can see the ball into it. The player should "lay" the glove on the ground out in front of his body . Each players distance will vary. However, a good rule of thumb is to try and extend the length from the players arm or from the tip of the fingers to the armpit. Another good measuring scale is they should be able to extend the length of the the bat they use. This distance is measured on the ground from the back of his heel outward. For this drill we pair two players. The players will roll grounders to each other from about 6 to 8 feet. The coach draws two lines in the dirt about 8 feet apart. The players must catch the ball out in front of this line. The coach will then draw a second line for each player - this is the "feet" line. The players feet must stay behind this line. The players roll the ball and catch it while making sure to:

1. Get extension.
2. Keep the elbows off the ribs.
3. Funnel the ball in using the top "bare" hand.
4. Work their feet as they bring the ball up to the correct "T" throwing position.
5. Roll the ball back to your partner.
6. Repeat the process 50 to 100 times.

There are many drills to be used in baseball for pitching, hitting, fielding, running, bunting, etc. There are more drills then one could imagine. Employ a few new drills with each practice and watch your players enthusiasm and desire to return to practice. More importantly watch the development of your athletes, while they have lots of fun.

Keep the practices exciting and games stimulating and players will wait with excitement for the next opportunity to be with their team.

Coaching sports requires a set of skills acquired over time. Regardless of ones natural talents and instincts in dealing with the athlete there is much to learn in terms of how to become an effective coach. Learning how to run practice, use drills, techniques, and much more is an important part of coaching and learning any sport. For more information on coaching sports visit http://www.sportsnest.com

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

Saturday, July 11, 2009

T Ball Ready Position - Coaching Ready Position in T Ball

By Brian McClure

In coaching t ball probably the first thing to do is teach the Ready position. You cant do nothing if your not ready so..What is the Ready Position?

1. Feet spread a little wider than shoulders
This gives balance and ability to move any direction

2. Balance on the balls of your feet:not the heels.
Sometimes when the kids are getting a little disinterested I may state (loudly of course) On Your Toes! This will wake them up and get them in position

3. Butt Down!
Most important..if your butt is down the knees bend and the hands go down with them. This gives balance.

4. Hands in Front
Two hands(I like to have kids (the first few practices) practice a few ground balls catching them in front without a glove to get them used to catching with two hands and then try it with the glove on.

5.Eyes on the Ball

Cant catch what you cant see. Catch the ball in front with two hands Safety too. If there is a bad hop your hands will move to protect and catch. How do I Coach and teach the ready position? Lets keep it simple.. It would be best to have the kids divided into at least 2 groups. This gives the most repetition and is the most efficient use of time. It will also keep them from getting bored to quickly. Pretty much every drill in t ball should be done in groups for these reasons.

1. READY! Spread your feet a little, get your butt down, hands out in front.

2. Toss a few ground balls without gloves

3. Ground balls with gloves

4. GET IN FRONT OF THE BALL! Now lets get them moving. Remember Eyes on the Ball? Toss a few balls to either side of the player and get them to move in front of the ball. (Some coaches like to use the belly button for this but I still like using the eyes and it has been effective for my coaching)

5. CHARGE! With this command you should toss some slow rollers and get the players moving in to the ball. It will happen I guarantee you.

A Special Note for Parents: I started working with my latest T baller during winter in the house. Showed him relaxed(which was hands on knees) and then Ready. We would practice this just a few times. I would say Relax! and he would go in to the relaxed position..I would say Ready! and hands come up and butt goes down. Then we would catch some tennis balls without a glove..then we would do a few with the glove. You will have to help them a few times with this but if you do this a few times a week...When the weather is nice enough to go outside you can do the above drills. At that first practice when Coach states Everybody Ready! You will be very proud. The Ready Position is the beginning of coaching youth baseball.

Author- Brian McClure

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The Basic Gripping and Throwing of a Baseball

By John R Di Nicola

Pitching is like building a house. You have to start with the foundation, in pitching this is the very basic fundamentals. Before you can even think about throwing different pitches, you have to work on how and where to hold the ball in your hand when it comes to basic playing catch and warming up.

• The ball should be held with very little pressure with your fingers. Most young pitchers make the mistake of sliding the ball back toward the hand. You must keep ball on your finger tips.

• The first time trying to hold the ball with little pressure can be very uncomfortable. Like everything else it takes time and practice.

• This should be done as part of your off season workout and practice routine.

Each off-season should include improving and perfecting your pitches and this starts with becoming comfortable when holding and gripping each pitch. No matter if you are throwing on the side, warming up, long tossing, or pitching in a game, the way you throw is critical. You should pay close attention to your form as bad habits can be created from just playing around in your back yard.

Most people while warming up or throwing just catch the ball and throw the ball back. For example, they may just stand flat footed with shoulders facing the person and never get into the proper throwing position.

1) As the ball is approaching you should start to turn your glove shoulder toward the person throwing the ball. This is so when you catch the ball, you are in a throwing position.

2) Once you catch the ball, you should start the process to start the backward swing of your throwing arm.

3) Once the ball leaves your glove, your front shoulder should be level and pointing toward the person you are throwing to.

4) You will have to develop the comfort level as to how far you bring the ball down during the backward rotation of your arm, before you bring it back to the throwing position.

5) The importance of comfort and the ability to get all the moving parts together so that you are not rushing your delivery is very important. Ideally, the ball should never drop below your waist.

6) When you bring the ball back behind you, keep your shoulders square and the ball must be pointing toward second base with your finger tips on top of ball.

7) Your front shoulder still should be level and as you start your arm forward your glove should start coming toward your chest. You should have to pull your glove through as your proper throwing motion should push it through automatically.

8) Bring your throwing arm to your comfortable arm slot, with fingers on top of the ball with your front shoulder being your guide still pointing toward the other person.

9) The lead elbow should be tucked into your side and pulling motion to bring the throwing arm through the zone.

10) As you're your throwing arm is going through zone prior to release, your arm should be in a L shape if you throw over the top or in more of a 45 degree angle if throwing motion is closer to three quarters.

11) Once you are in position to release the ball, your throwing arm should be extended out as to reach out and touch the other person.

12) At this point you should snap your wrist downward in line with your arm angle and follow through with the throwing arm coming through towards your glove side knee.

John R Di Nicola coached High School baseball for 12 years and many of players continue on to play junior college, division I, II, III, and several to be drafted.

For more information on how to properly throw a baseball, grips, and become a fundamentally sound pitcher. Please visit... http://www.easypitching.com, http://twitter.com/easypitching

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Six Steps to the Perfect Swing

(Shown Above: The Hit2win Trainer - Available at Baseball2u.com)

"Six Steps to a Perfect Swing"
Great material for teaching beginners.

Proper instruction and repetitive practice are vital for young players to learn a perfect swing. The instructing coach or parent should make sure to cover each step adequately before preceding to the next step. The parent or coach should always teach and emphasis the correct desired fundamentals. Consideration should be given to the fact that young players learn at different rates and have varying attention spands.

Click here to see the 6 Steps to a Perfect Swing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Helping Young Baseball Players Overcome Their Fear of Getting Hit by a Pitch

By Tony Argula

Eventually all baseball players will get hit by a pitch. Most times, especially the first few times, it hurts! For more experienced players, getting hit by a pitch is just part of the game of baseball and is easily forgotten.

However, for young players, especially players that have recently moved up from Tee Ball to the player pitch level, the experience can be somewhat devastating. A player must get over the fear of being hit by the ball. If they are in the batters box worrying about getting hit, there is no way they're going to hit the ball.

Helping a player get over their fear of the ball can take time. It is best to start the process immediately. If a coach finds that a player is afraid of getting hit by the ball, the first thing the coach needs to do is to help the player become comfortable in the batters box.

In practice, have the player get into the batters box WITHOUT the bat. A coach should pitch and have them only watch the ball as it comes over the plate. The player should not swing or stride towards the pitch, just stand and watch the ball. This should be done for 10-20 pitches each and every time the player bats in practice. Continue this until they look comfortable in the batters box. When the player feels they will not get hurt, they will become more comfortable and relaxed at the plate.

The next step is to have the player grab a bat and get into the batters box. The player still should not swing at the ball. You want the player to simply watch the path of the ball. Make sure the player is in their proper batting stance. This drill should be done for and additional 10-20 pitches.

Finally, when the player looks comfortable at the plate the coach should then have them swing at live pitching.

For younger players, the coach may need to spend more time helping a player feel safe up at bat. Especially with a younger player that has recently moved up from Tee Ball.

Tony Argula

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

T-Ball University - Batting Drills For Tee Ball Coaches and Parents

By David Comora

Baseball Season is just around the corner, so parents and parent coaches, start digging through the garage for your baseball equipment and begin stretching out those rusty arm and leg muscles. For many communities, children begin their baseball or softball careers playing the lead-up skill called Tee Ball, which is baseball, minus the pitcher. In Tee Ball which is also spelled T-Ball, children learn the fundamentals of batting, fielding and base-running. For the purposes of this article we'll be concentrating on batting. In Tee Ball, batting takes place utilizing a Tee which sits approximately waste high to the hitter. The Tee is a great tool for perfecting a child's swing. When used correctly, a coach can analyze all of the components used in a swing and make subtle or not so subtle adjustments to a child's swing, batting stance, hip rotation and foot work.

It is my opinion after coaching all these seasons that proper footwork is the most important aspect of hitting. If you have the proper footwork, the arms, hips, and head will fall into place with the required timing.

In order to achieve proper footwork, I will place the tee on top of home plate. I will draw a perpendicular line in the dirt with the handle of the player's tee ball bat from the middle 45 degree corner of the tee's base. The line length is approximately 12 inches. Adjust this length accordingly to a comfortable extension of each player's arms with the bat swing. I then will draw a perpendicular line from the first line and parallel to the edge of the tee base going back toward the backstop. Therefore, this line is in the shape of an inverted "L". I will squat down and point with my index finger as to where I want each foot to be placed along the parallel line. Drawing the 12-inch line allows the hitter to extend his or her arms when swinging to comfortably hit the tee-ball with the "sweet" spot of the bat.

I want each child to have a stiff front leg with feet square to the parallel line. The player should be placing their weight on the balls of both of their feet. The square front foot will prevent the front knee from buckling or bending. Imagine a bug underneath the back foot. I want the child to squash that imaginary bug with a pivot of their back foot. Approximately 60% of the player's weight should be on the back foot. This is called the "load" position. This pivot will open the hips toward the pitcher when "squashing the bug". The front foot should remain square and the front knee locked when "squashing the bug" also. The back leg can bend but do not take a large dip with the back leg. (This drill is presented in a short video on our www.tballu.com website, within the "Free Sample Video" section).

Most coaches and parents who played the game when they were young were taught to take a step toward the pitcher with their front foot when swinging the bat. Most coaches and parents remember taking a small step or a large step. I do not want the player to take a step with their front foot when "squashing the bug" since a step will cause the player's head to slightly dip when swinging the bat and therefore, the player's eyes will dip when swinging the bat also. The no-step will prevent an eye dip when attempting to hit a breaking ball (e.g., curve, slider, etc) later in the player's career when he or she advances to high school baseball or softball. Use a series of batting helmets as impediments to prevent the player's front foot from taking a step if they had been previously taught to do so.

Practice "squashing the bug" with a bat situated between the arms and the back's shoulder blades. Have the entire team practice this drill at the same time making sure they are a good distance away from each other. Keep an eye on a stiff front leg and the back foot should pivot on the ball of their back foot. Some players will pivot and raise the heel of the back foot such that the back weight is placed on the toe of the back foot instead of the ball of the back foot. The player's head should stay down while looking in the hitting zone. If the back shoulder does not remain in the hitting zone upon pivot, the head will lift up from the hitting zone and the front foot will automatically lift up as well where the hitter is pivoting on the heel of the front foot. This is called "rolling" the front foot. Repeat this drill 50 times each practice and before each game. The player can also do this drill 50 times daily in front of a full length mirror at home. This will provide the player great muscle memory to ensure a proper swing every time.

After more than ten years coaching youth baseball, it has been my experience that, despite the best efforts of parent-coaches, too many children do not learn the basics of hitting and fielding and develop bad habits from the start. As these children progress to coach-pitch and kid-pitch leagues, this results in coaches spending many hours trying to correct problems, which could have been easily avoided at the Tee Ball or Beginner Baseball level. Coaching children, whether your own or children in your community, is one of the most rewarding experiences you'll have. Watching children learn and successfully apply the skills that you've taught them is tremendously fulfilling. I wish you all the best of luck in your t-ball, baseball or softball seasons.

David Comora
T-Ball University

David Comora has coached Tee Ball and Youth Baseball for over 10 years. He and his partners Steve Polansky, Brian Leuthner and David Kalb have developed the T-Ball University system of coaching to help new parent coaches learn to quickly master the skills of coaching. Their program includes video drills, coaching forms, practice plans, lesson notes and more. Free coaching videos are also available at http://www.teeballuniversity.com.

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Baseball and Softball Urls for Blogs

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Baseball Swing Grip

By Nate Barnett

The hands are the only physical connection you have with the bat as the baseball swing begins. While other parts of your body are responsible for generating the power in hitting a baseball, your hands and how they grip the bat play a large role in how fluid the bat passes through the hitting zone. Therefore, it stands to reason that some time and attention by paid into understand the quick and easy fundamentals of gripping the bat.

A good grip occurs when the handle of the bat is held primarily in the fingers of the hand. In order to accomplish this correctly, simply lay the handle of the bat across the lower base of the fingers of each hand. Then, just close your hands around the handle. Pay attention that you are not squeezing the bat. Instead, hold it lightly in your fingers.

The reason you should keep a light grip is because it will keep the muscles of the hands, wrists, and forearms loose and prepared for quick action in your baseball swing. Loose muscles are fast muscles while tense muscles will create a blocky swing that will produce little positive results. Unfortunately, many hitters when facing a pitcher who throws a speedy fastball will grip the bat with flexing muscles and white knuckles. The tightness in the hands, wrists, and forearms will prevent other muscles from helping you create a quick baseball swing. Next time you get a chance to watch a Major League Baseball game, watch how many of the hitters lightly grip and re-grip the bat as they wait for the pitch. This is simply an unconscious habit many hitters employ to keep from gripping the bat too tightly.

Two Effective Grips

Option #1: The easiest way to ensure that you are keeping the bat up in the fingers is to rotate your hands so that the second row of knuckles on each hand line up with each other. Many hitters find this grip slightly uncomfortable. The second option may be better suited if this is the case.

Option #2: Rotate the hands until the second and third knuckles line up with each other. This "box grip" is used by quite a few Major League players. With either option you choose, it is important to be comfortable. So, pick the one that feels the best for your size and shape of hand and stick with it.

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

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

T-Ball Coaching Tips For Game Day

By David Comora

So, you've survived the first practices, the parent meetings, the fund raisers and the uniform distribution, and now its game day. Many of the questions we receive from new coaches at our T-Ball University web site concern how to handle their team in a variety of game day situations. So, in this article, we'll be discussing some of the most common game day questions, including stretching, warm-ups, pep talks, tips for coaching the game and post-game activities.

What is the first thing you should do when the kids arrive for the game? When players arrive on the field, it's important to make sure their bodies are in the proper condition to play ball. We usually start our children with some simple warm up exercises, such as arm rotations and then a slow jog around the T-ball field. Once their muscles are warmed up, we'll transition to five minutes of simple arm and leg stretches.

Next, we have the players warm up by throwing to the coaches and parents before the game in the outfield on the side of our bench, (you'll need to check with your league rules, since many leagues require any adult who steps on the field to be "certified" by attending a training class). Typically, the home team bench is on the first base side and the visitor team bench is on the third base side. Ground balls from the coaches and parents are then taken in the infield on our benches side of the field. If time is available, we try to take infield and outfield practice with the players in their first inning positions. This usually consists of players fielding ground balls in the infield and throwing them to first base. As the players become proficient with this, I then have the players fielding ground balls in the infield and throwing them to second and first bases for a double play. It may be a long time before they actually turn a double play, but that's no reason not to get them in the habit of trying. Next we hit soft line drives to the outfield with the outfielders fielding the line drives on one or two hops. I have them throw to the appropriate cutoff man (shortstop or second baseman) and then to the appropriate player covering second base (second baseman or shortstop).

We will then have the players come in to the bench for a pre-game pep talk. We usually ask the team if they listened to their parents this week and then ask them if they listened to their teachers this week. If they say yes, which most of the time they do, we ask the parents if their children listened to them this week. This usually generates a look of horror from the players. We tell the team they can play because they listened to their teachers and parents the past week. We try to stress that each player needs to be a good student athlete.

The bench coach has a line-up card and it is their responsibility to have each child sit on the bench in the order they are hitting. Batting helmets are worn on the heads of the first few children, depending on the number of available helmets. Players returning from the field take a seat on the bench behind the players that have not yet batted. It is very important that the bench coach ensures that only one batter is in the on-deck circle taking his or her practice swings. You'll find that you are constantly telling children to "put down the bat", this is normal and it will alleviate two or more players from injuring themselves. You should check on your league rules for on-deck swings as some leagues ban all on-deck practice swings for safety.

Before each inning in the field, have the players gather around you on the tee-ball diamond to receive their position assignments. We try to have as many coaches on the field as possible to assist the players in finding their positions.

We suggest that you let every player know where the next play is going by mentioning the base and the player's name the ball is going to (e.g., Mikey, you're going to Kira at first base on a ground ball, etc). It sounds like a lot of instruction but you and your players will get used to it after a while. This repetition on each play will eventually be retained by each player, so as time goes by, you might not have to remind each player what they should do with the ball if it is hit to them.

You should also have each player call out the number of outs in each inning (e.g., call it out, one out, etc). Have each player raise one of their arms with their fingers pointing appropriately with the number of outs each inning. Prior to a batter swinging, make sure each player is prepped in the ready position to field the ball. An infielder should have knees slightly bent with their "alligator" position showing. An outfielder should have knees slightly bent with their glove and throwing hand resting comfortably on their knees.

If you feel that your players are getting bored and are losing their focus, or there is a lull in the action, yell to the whole team, "who wants the ball?" Each player raises his or her hands responding "me!" Its important for each child to want the tee-ball and be eager to make the play. Its important to work with them so they are not afraid to make a play.

For less accomplished players, we suggest that you have them make the ground ball play to first base. For more accomplished players, you can try to have them get the lead runner out. If a pitcher fields a hard hit ground ball, we try to have him throw to the lead base, whether it is first, second, or third base. We usually have the shortstop take the throw at second base for a potential double play at first base since his or her momentum is directed to first base. If a pitcher fields a softly hit ground ball and they have to charge off the mound to field the tee-ball, I have the pitcher throw the ball to first base only.

We also instruct the fielder covering a base to tag the runner upon receiving the ball, even if the runner is not forced on the play. Its important that you do not take any of the player's knowledge of the game for granted. We always assume that they do not know a thing about the game. We remind the children to tag the runner with the ball firmly held in the glove. Its common to see players attempt to tag the runner without the tee-ball in the glove.

After the inning in the field is over, we yell to them "Hustle in, we're burning daylight. Don't be the last one on the bench!" We belive that no one on the team should be walking during practices and games. Every team member should be hustling at all times.

Here's a safety tip that can reduce a few bruises. During the game, we like to warn the other manager and coaches when we have a good hitter up at the plate. We ask that the coach move his pitcher back in the pitching as much as possible, to prevent any potential injury. We've seen a few well accomplished players hit a parent or coach with a line drive back up the middle through the pitching circle. We've also seen a few instances where the pitcher took a line drive or ground ball in the face. A few steps back can make a big difference.

After the game is over, we stand on first or third base, whichever is closest to our bench, and ask each player to line up behind us. We ask them to extend their right arm and hand and the opposing team does likewise across the diamond. I tell the players to go and shake the hands of the other players and coaches who have participated in the game. We then ask each player to sit on the bench or gather their equipment and sit off to the side of the field, if another game is about to begin. We give the players a combination critique and pep talk. The critique is never really negative but constructive. It is never loud. We praise each player for the positives they performed during the game and reiterate what we need to work on as a team for the next game. The parents scheduled to bring the snacks and drinks distribute them. While they are partaking of their treat, the coaches decide who should get the game ball. We give the game ball on tee-ball level to the player that pays the most attention. We try to distribute the game balls for each game evenly amongst the players that a game ball is given to each and every player before the end of the season.

Here's to a successful Game Day! We hope these Game Day tips were helpful. For more information on coaching t-ball you can visit our t-ball coaches forum and watch sample video drills at our T-Ball University web site (www.tballu.com).

David Comora
T-Ball University