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Monday, August 31, 2009

Coach's Corner - 10 Things I Don't Want to Hear This Baseball Season


Coach's Corner - 10 Things I Don't Want to Hear This Baseball Season

By Ken Kaiserman

It’s Spring; always a great time of year for everybody! Our customers on the East Coast and the Mid-West are thrilled because the long winter is finally coming to an end. For the rest of us, we get to be excited because baseball season is starting. While I always try to be positive, especially with Spring Training going strong and all the youth leagues kicking off their seasons, for this newsletter I’d like to add a twist and focus on 10 things I hope NOT to hear this season.

1. "Swing Level"

You’ll hear this at every park you go to watch baseball or softball: “Swing Level”. However, it’s not possible to swing level. Think about the baseball swing for a moment. Your hands are held high, close to your head. The ball, if it’s a strike, is thrown between your knees and the letters. So, how can a swing be level? Well, it can’t be. A correct baseball swing is elliptical; it has a downward motion through contact to create backspin on the ball and a high follow through. Great hitters may each have different planes they swing on, but none of them are ever going to be “level”. Let’s stop creating this incorrect mental image for the kids.

2. "Just Throw Strikes"

“Ok Johnny, just throw strikes now; all you have to do is throw strikes.” Any kid who’s pitching is doing his or her best to throw strikes. Especially when a kid is struggling to get the ball over the dish, you can bet anything they’re not trying to “paint the black” or “blow it past” the hitters. All they’re trying to do is “throw strikes”. Pitching is the greatest pressure cooker in all of youth sports. When a kid is on the bump, he’s all alone and the entire team is depending on them to throw strikes. When a pitcher is struggling, they may have a basic mechanical flaw or they might be nervous. Stating the obvious and telling them that the sky is blue isn’t going to help them throw strikes. What it will do is make them stop “pitching”, change their mechanics even more, and try to “aim” the ball.

3. "Practice Makes Perfect"

We’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth emphasizing again. Ask any kid what practice makes and they’ll tell you: “Practice Makes Perfect!” Of course, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes PERMANENT! Repetition creates muscle memory. If you practice the wrong motion over and over again, what kind of motion are you creating? Breaking a bad habit is very, very hard. It’s crucial that parents and coaches spot flaws quickly so that they aren’t repeated. Of course, that means that a parent or coach needs to know the right way to do things. Please, get some instructional books and tapes (LINK TO INSTRUCTION SECTION). If you’re going to volunteer to coach, make sure that you’re not passing along the same bad habits that you learned. It takes about 1,500 repetitions to turn a bad habit into a repeatable good habit. It’s a lot easier to just do it right in the first place.

4. "Bad Game"

Sportsmanship is something that every kid, parent and coach should be always be aware of. In our baseball league, we’ve instituted a new Code of Conduct that requires good sportsmanship and enforces penalties, including suspensions and expulsion, for violations. After the game, each kid should congratulate each person on the other team. Even in jest, nobody should ever tell another kid: “Bad Game”. As a coach or a parent, if you hear it, please stop it.

5. "Keep Your Back Elbow Up"

Keeping your back elbow up is neither right nor is it wrong. The batting stance is one of the most over coached aspects of hitting. Think about some of the unique stances you’ve seen. Jeff Bagwell, Bobby Tolen, Joe Morgan, Eric Davis, Steve Garvey, Frank Thomas, Don Mattingly and every other player each has their own unique stance. What all great hitters do have in common is not their stance before the pitch comes, but getting into the proper position when the pitch is on the way. That means having their hands back, wrists cocked, balanced and ready to swing down through the ball. So, focus on getting kids into this position and stop picking on them for everything before the pitch.

6. "Throw From Your Ear"

I really can’t believe that anybody teaches throwing like this – even for really young kids; it’s just wrong and it creates bad habits. Putting the ball next to your ear and throwing creates a pushing motion and costs much of the power a kid has. Get them to extend their arms in both directions – like a half jumping jack. They should maintain flexibility and bend in their arms. Then just “high-five” to throw the ball. If you’re teaching kids to throw from their ears, get some tapes.

7. "Arguing"

There is a great line at the end of the movie A League of Their Own when a player is arguing with the umpire about a called strike. The umpire says: “That pitch may be a ball tomorrow and it may have been a ball yesterday, but today it’s a strike!” Umpires do their best and they make mistakes – lots of them. We can’t control the umpires and we need to accept that they are human and that they do their best. Of course, if they make a mistake with the rules, there is no harm in pointing that out, but judgment calls are a different matter. Disputing them is a poor example for the kids. Also, there is no need for parents to heckle the umpires from the stands. Coaches need to proactively make sure this isn’t happening every time they hear it.

8. "Charge the Ball"

This is another baseball myth – that a good fielder “charges the ball”. What great fielders actually do is “play the ball” instead of having the “ball play them”. This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it’s huge to a kid who is trying to grasp the fundamentals of fielding. Charging the ball required them to run in at full speed and get to the ball. In contrast, playing the ball means that you’re trying to get it on the right hop to make the play. The only time a fielder really has to “charge” the ball is on a dribbler or a bunt. Almost every other grounder will require reading the hop and making the play.

9. "Turn Your Wrists"

I still hear parents and coaches telling their kids to “roll their writs” as they swing the bat. The proper position for the hands at contact is palm up and palm down. During the follow through, the wrists will naturally turn, but it’s long after the ball has been hit. Just a last note on hitting: kids will swing at bad pitches, including pitches over their head and in the dirt. There’s a time to coach and a time to be a cheerleader. During the at bat, a kid knows he just swung at a terrible pitch and he doesn’t need to hear it from the stands or from his coach. After, you can work on the strike zone and making sure that the recognition is there.

10. "Keep Your Eye on the Ball"

Of course, it’s crucial to watch the ball, but we try to teach kids to watch the ball with their nose instead of their eyes. For pitching, hitting, throwing and playing sports in general, keeping the head from moving is a key to success. A player can waggle his or her head more or less freely and still technically "see" the ball. They just won't be able to hit or catch it. In contrast, coaching to watch with your nose trains the head to stay still, allowing the eyes to focus. So instead, we say: “keep your nose on the ball”.

That’s the list of the 10 things I hope not to hear this season. I doubt I’ll make it past the first week, but it still sure promises to be a great year so let’s PLAY BALL!

Ken Kaiserman is the President of http://SportsKids.com - a leading sports Internet site for kids and their families. In addition to coaching football, basketball and baseball, Ken serves on the local Little League board of directors and a park advisory committee. Ken and his wife Sheri have been married for since 1991. They have three children: Benji, Bobby and Rebecca (aka Rocky) who all love their sports!

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


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to NOT Be a Youth Baseball Coach (Part 1 of a Series)


How to NOT Be a Youth Baseball Coach (Part 1 of a Series)

By Frank Thompson

The one thing I will always cherish as I get older is the years I spent coaching my sons in the sport that I dearly love... baseball. Now, I am not one of those dads that get involved just to live their shortchanged childhood through their childrens' eyes. I played baseball for years and studied the game. I also, while progressing through the different age levels with my boys, understood the need to adjust and adapt to the respective age level.

Through trial and error, I did experience both good and bad things while coaching my teams. I want to share with you what NOT to do in this series to help make you a better coach.

What is number one on my list?

The top mistake coaches in youth baseball make when the coach, mentor and teach their team is that they run their practices in a manner where they do not most utilize all of their time by keeping the players active during those down times.

What do I mean?

They have the entire team go "shag" balls in the field while they pitch to them one at a time for batting practice.

Practices normally range from one to three hours for youth sports, and utilizing this method for a twelve player team can take up to two hours.

Certainly not the most effective means of practice!

I learned through the years that even though you are the coach of the team, there are generally two or three other parents who would love the opportunity to get out there and be active with their player by being involved. Simply ask them if they would like to help out in practice!

Why do you need the help?

When I ran practice, I always ran "stations" where I had every player active the entire time of practice. Some of my most effective practices in youth baseball lasted only 90 minutes because I had them so well organized.

Here's how I would structure my stations:

Station 1 - Ground ball practice on the infield with three players, one receiving the ground ball, one playing the position of first base for drill purposes and receiving the throw from across the field, and one catching the return throw at home plate for you.

Station 2 - Hand/eye batting coordination with two players in the outfield. This drill is done with a sawed off wooden broomstick and golf wiffle balls. I put the kids on their knees to hit these little balls with the little stick. The object is not how far, but how many they could hit. One player would hit, the other would shag loose balls for you.

Station 3 - Soft toss into a fence with wiffle balls with two players. Use wiffle balls to prevent injury from a ball bouncing back on the player and also to prevent damage from the ball being constantly hit into the fence and rolling up the bottom of the fence. One player hits, while the other shags.

Station 4 - Hitting live baseballs in the batting cage. Self explanatory. Use two players, one actively hitting, the other "on deck" to speed up the process.

Station 5 - Base running techniques. The remaining three would be taught and worked on perfecting stealing, leading off and sliding techniques, as the age level allows.

Coaches would need to coordinate rotations to prevent backing up of one station.

If planned out well, you will have a very productive practice.

Truth be told, the players like being more active as well, and the time flies by. As I said, some of my more productive practices lasted only 90 minutes.

Now get planning!

We will continue to discuss what NOT to do as a youth baseball coach in Part 2 of this series.

Frank Thompson has been writing articles online for over two years now. Not only does this author specialize in coaching and youth sports, but you can also check out his latest website Erie Auto Insurance which reviews and compares Erie Auto Insurance to other auto insurers.

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

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Baseball Swing Grip

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

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

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Batting Fundamentals

Batting Fundamentals

By Eugene Rischall

Batting fundamentals are very important to becoming a good hitter. The 5 basic fundamentals are stance, hitting position, step, swing and wrist action, and follow-through.

You need a stance which is comfortable for all situations. It should be close to the plate to meet outside pitches. Most players turn the front foot slightly toward the pitcher. For hitting position the bat is brought back with the arms away from the body when the ball is being delivered. The hips and shoulder accompany the movement. Most players hold the bat shoulder high to best control hitting high and low pitches.

For step, the planting of the front foot is delayed until the location of the pitch is anticipated. This makes it possible to step forward or away from the plate for some pitches increasing the possibility of perfect timing. Swing and wrist action are very important to becoming a good hitter. Your most driving power comes from quick wrist action with your arms and hips. Keep rear arm bent and close to body. Both arms are extended as your wrists are snapped into the ball. The wrists roll after the ball is hit. Perfect balance is important for a good follow-through. The front foot is solid but only the back toe is on the ground. This puts the entire weight behind the swing and makes for maximum driving power. The actual body turn varies as to when the ball is hit.

I hope this article gives you some idea of important batting fundamentals and how to use them.

Author-Eugene Rischall, Owner, Baseball Training Emporium http://www.baseballtrainingemporium.com

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to Be a Better Baseball Hitter

How to Be a Better Baseball Hitter

By Chris Moheno

Knowing how to be a better baseball hitter begins with an understanding of what you are setting out to accomplish. There is more to it than meets the eye when it comes to baseball hitting. Your mind and body have to work in unison to achieve the better hitting results. You need sharp eyes, perfect timing, sufficient bat speed, and excellent mind/eye/body/bat coordination. Throughout your training you will be seeking to: improve the mobility of your hips and your thoracic spine; increase the loading and explosive power of your hips; and increase the ability of your body to coil up with potential energy.

Since you striving to be a better a baseball hitter, you will want to outfit yourself with the best tools that you can. This means that you want to carefully select a bat size and your cleats. If you aren't wearing the right hitting shoes (cleats) you will be prone to slipping when you take a swing. As far as choosing the right bat, this will take a little bit of time. Swing different sized bats and see how comfortable each one feels to you. See if you can easily move the bat all the way through from your hitting stance to the point where you hit (or would hit) the ball. You want to have a "quick bat" when you are a hitter. You want to generate as much power as possible as well, but not all baseball hitters are power hitters. Bat speed is therefore more important.

Your batting stance is very, very important. The bat needs to be cocked back behind your back ear, but not resting on your shoulder. Never bat "cross-armed" as some new baseball players try to do; your front arm hand grips the bat beneath your rear arm hand--always. You lean forward somewhat and bend at the knees so that you store kinetic energy in your body. These are the basics of all batting stances, but from this point on every baseball hitter is different. Your batting stance will probably evolve over time, and you may try out many different stances before you discover the right combination for yourself. This is where it is very important that you have a hitting instructor. He will be able to objectively see what works for you and what different things you could try to get more hits or generate more power based on your personal capabilities and what makes you comfortable at the plate. For instance, if you are not a power hitter, maybe you'll start choking up on the bat; that is, gripping it farther up the handle instead of all the way down by the knob at the bottom. Choking up costs you some power, but it increases your bat quickness and bat control, meaning it's easier for you to make contact with the ball in the first place and get more hits. Power hitters grip the bat all the way down at the bottom because that is where the most power-leverage is generated, but this also makes it easier to strike out because of a diminished control over the bat.

Form and timing are essential to understanding how to be a better baseball hitter. From your comfortable stance, keep your eyes on the pitcher's pitching hand, and try to pick up the ball from the earliest possible point of his delivery. Watch the ball all the way in to your bat, so that if you hit the ball you will see it launch off the bat and your eyes will naturally follow its path before you put your head down and start running. When you swing, never take your head off the ball; you eyes remain on the ball all the way from pitch to trajectory off your bat. As the pitch is coming in to you, take a timing step forward with your front leg and feel coiled up energy in your back leg. "Pull" the bat "into" and "through" the ball. When you hit it, hit through it--follow through completely with your swing, snapping your hips and driving the bat all the way around in an arc so that before you put it down to run you're holding it somewhere above your forward ear. You are always hitting through the ball, never hitting "at" it. Some hitters have strong wrists and will snap their wrists at the point of contact to get more power; this was the home run hitting secret of Hank Aaron.

The biggest secret to how to be a better baseball hitter is to practice, practice, practice. If you need more practice than others can help you with, use a pitching machine in a batting cage. Listen to your hitting coach, but find a hitting stance that you are comfortable with above all else.

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 secrets on baseballtrainingsecrets.com

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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coaching Baseball Beginner Batters - The Batting Grip, the Bat Angle and Proper Hand Positioning

Coaching Baseball Beginner Batters - The Batting Grip, the Bat Angle and Proper Hand Positioning

By Nick Dixon

Hitting a baseball is a skill that can be learned and improved with proper coaching and instruction. It may be a difficult task, but with the correct fundamentals and techniques hitting can be one of the most rewarding activities in all of sports. There is nothing that is more satisfying and rewarding than hitting a line-drive in the left-center gap to help your team score the go-ahead run. Many kids experience a great sense of accomplishment while others suffer the embarrassment, disappointment, and despair of striking out time after time. They feel that they let their team down and they often feel that they embarrass their coach and parents. The quickest way to achieving hitting success is to identify bad mechanics and correct them as soon as possible.

I will now give a brief overview of 3 aspects of a proper grip, the correct bat angle in the stance, and the process of getting the hands to the proper launch position.

1. The GRIP - knocking knuckles, (not fighting knuckles) should be aligned. This positions the bat handle in the fingers and out of the palm. This allows maximum wrist quickness and hand speed. Coaching Tip: Have kids check their grip by raising and pointing their index fingers. If they point in the same direction, they are aligned, if the point across each other, the grip is incorrect.

2. The BAT ANGLE at the start position. Keep in mind that the hands will move slightly back and away from the pitcher when the batter loads to the launch position. The bat angle will not change during the loading process. The bat should be at a 45 degree angle over the shoulder. The bat should not be wrapped or tucked behind the head, this slows bat speed. The bat should be no more that 2 to 3 inches off the top of the shoulder.

3. The LOADING PROCESS is a simple and slight movement of the hands away from the pitcher. This is a movement that is so slight that many people do not notice it. The hands are the only things that move. If the batter is noticeably shifting weight, moving feet, and moving other body parts, too much movement is occurring. Most times this movement is no more than 2 to 4 inches. It may be more for larger players. LOADING is getting the hands to the launch position from which the forward swing motion starts. Different players use different loading actions. Some batters simply move the hands straight back and batters move the hands back and up at the same time. The loading process adds power, develops important timing and rhythm, and allows the batter to achieve a comfortable ready position from which to launch swing.

COACHING POINT: Make sure that players do not line their knuckles up when you are looking and then move their hands to an "axe grip" when you walk away. One way to teach the benefits of the "finger grip position" is to have the two batters take several swings from shoulder-to-shoulder very quickly using the two grips. Take two batters of similar ability levels and with similar hand speed and do this demonstration. One player uses the "correct grip" and one uses the "axe or incorrect grip". Have the batters take 10 shoulder-to-shoulder swings. See which batter completes the 10 swings first. This shows the kids how much faster the hands move when the correct grip is used. Note: Make sure to move the batters at a safe distance from each other and from other players when performing this illustration.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

7 Tips on How to Become a Better Baseball Player

7 Tips on How to Become a Better Baseball Player

By Jack D. Elliott

Baseball players everywhere want to know how they can get better. The best way to do this is to look at it your training from a comprehensive perspective. Here, are some pointers to help you up your game.

1. Read and Watch Everything Baseball. Scan books, look over hitting and pitching lessons videos, see games, ask for help from coaches and good players.

2. Practice makes perfect. Do your drills daily for at least 5 to 6 days a week. Feel free to mix up your routine; however, make sure you are developing muscle memory with enough reps of your swing and pitching motion.

3. Pick up something else when the season ends. To avoid burnout, choose another sport or physical exercise in the off-season. It is preferable to pick something you are not familiar with. This will allow you to stay fit and appease any creativity interests you have because of the novelty of the new sport. By the time the next baseball season rolls around, you will find yourself avidly looking forward to playing.

4. Strength Train Before It Is Too Late. Do not make the mistake of waiting to build strength until your junior and senior years of high school. Do yourself a favor and start working out in the summer after your 8th grade year and work out each summer thereafter. This will allow you to build a base, plateau, and then, build up to yet another plateau. In this way, by the time you are senior, you will be very physically strong and ready to have a great senior season.

5. Get Lessons. A great instructor will save you time, wasted energy, and ultimately give you better results. By learning from a great instructor from the start, you can develop the best techniques from the start and avoid bad habits. Once you learn the lessons, you can practice them and go back only occasionally when you feel a refresher course is needed.

6. Practice with a tee. The basic hitting tee has improve the swing and hitting consistency of many major league players. Learn from their example and use this tee to perfect your ability to hit to the opposite field and fine tune your swing. This along with some waffle ball toss are great for removing holes in your swing.

7. Maximize your speed and power. Plyometric exercises can help develop your speed and explosiveness. Learn from a trained instructor who can give you a regimen that you can practice several days a week. If practiced sufficiently, you will see your speed and power improve. This added boost will carry over into other parts of your game as you have a new found confidence in your baseball abilities.

All these pointers are geared towards making you a top flight athlete by your final year of high school. By using each of these pointers you can expect to maximize your potential for baseball success.

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/ or Baseball Strategy

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


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coach, Why Does My Arm Hurt?

Now that the youth baseball season is in full swing, we will hopefully see the results of any pre-season work. If your team worked extra hard on defense, you should see the results. You may also notice a drop off in offensive production, due to the extra time on defense. This is normal and will adjust itself over the course of the season. What you don't want to see is any of your players coming down with sore arms as the result of too much off season throwing.

By Chip Lemin

Greetings to all coaches,

Many teams want to get started early in the year,often many weeks before the start of the season. Too often these practices include too much throwing without monitoring the amount of throws by the players. Players are also not properly warmed up,or worse yet, not stretched out enough. Often, coaches will have the players throwing too hard, too early.Coaches need to teach players how to properly stretch out and warm up early in their careers. An 8 yr old may not need to warm up as much,but they should be taught. As these players get older,it will become very important. They must have this ingrained into them before that age. This is YOUR responsibility as a youth baseball coach.

These players that came down with sore arms all had some type of growth plate injury. Their parents listened to the players complaints and went to doctors for exams.The good thing is that none of these injuries were very serious yet. They were the result of overuse. It began with too much pre season throwing.I know that none of these coaches did this out of negligence. They are all good veteran coaches from successful programs.

One parent, who is a good friend of mine, stated that the specialist they saw, told them this fact. No player at 12 years old should have ANY ARM PAIN. If they do, shut them down right away. Then consult your doctor.It is not worth the young player's health under any conditions.

There many ways to run pre season workouts without throwing the baseball so much. Speed and agility drills are one. Foot work drills are another. Fielding drills without throwing full speed is another. You want your players to come out of spring training fresh and ready to play, not compensating their throwing form because of a sore arm. Remember, these young players may not want to disappoint the coaches or parents by getting hurt,so they may not tell you. You must pay attention to your players. If you see any change in their form ask them if their arm hurts. The earlier it is noticed the quicker it can be treated. Many times all it will need is rest.

This just a reminder to keep a close eye on your young players. They are giving it all they have most of the time.You must give quality leadership and instruction as a youth baseball coach. Do your best to protect their health on and off the field. Please abide by pitch counts for your age groups. Thanks for your time and I hope you and your team are enjoying a fun season. Thanks

Coach Chip.

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

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Four Steps to Organize Your Little League Practice

Four Steps to Organize Your Little League Practice

By John R Di Nicola

The only chance you have as a Little League Coach is try and get yourself organized. I have listed out the very basic steps to organize your practice. You have so so many constraints on you it very difficult to get all the practice completely covered. The amount of practice time is limited maybe to 3 days per week. Getting practice fields is a major problem in most instances. The length of practice is another. You cannot hold marathon practices three to four hour practices. Using a planned schedule will enable you to have practice that are fun for the players therefore they will learn what what you trying to teach them.

Scheduling Practice -

You have a such a short time to prepare your team usually about 3 to 4 weeks. It is important you are organized your practices so that you may over come the constraints that come with being a Little League Coach.

Getting Practice Fields

number of times you practices: weather, all players can make to all practices.
practicing to much parents complain
not practicing enough

Fielding, Defense, Pitching and Hitting




Pick off - 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and covering home
Run downs
Out field: Cut off men, short stop, 3rd base, 2nd base, 1st base, Pitcher
Throwing to bases -2nd,3rd, home
Situations - Simulate a game situation with coach hitting and player running

Hitting Stations

Hitting off of a "T"
Soft Toss
Live Hitting - 10 swings


Throwing a bull pen with catcher

You look at this say wow! You just have organize yourself. Make sure self a template (using Microsoft word) for your practice days. Plug in your dates. You can do A, B C, D and rotate them through your practice schedule. It is a must that you get parents to help. You will need at least two to help to run a practice. You will have to do two of these segments each day and possibly a third.

You will find defense is one of the most important segments you must cover everyday. You can never hit enough ground balls to your infield. So fielding must be done just about every day. You may want to have just your infield come and work on ground balls and going over where they positions themselves for cut off from outfield. You can do the same for pitchers. Bring the pitchers and catchers to practice their defense and working on their wind up and delivery.

Best thing a you can do is make sure you are organized! Stick to your schedule and make adjustments as you go. Please do not get frustrated and not follow an organized plan.

Practice Makes Prefect

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

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

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

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Baseball Hitting Instruction - Is Batting Stance Important?

So when you go to the ballpark and watch Major Leaguers up at the plate, do they all stand in the batter's box the same way? NO... and why should they? They're smart, and understand that their batting stance has nothing to do with their approach to hit the ball!

By Nick Demyanovich

So when you go to the ballpark and watch Major Leaguers up at the plate, do they all stand in the batter's box the same way? NO... and why should they? They're smart, and understand that their batting stance has nothing to do with their approach to hit the ball!

Your Batting Stance is Your Unique "Fashion"
A batting stance is really just a natural stance that hitters get into because it feels comfortable to them. Comfort is extremely important, because if you're not comfortable, then you will NOT produce for your team! Everybody stands in the batter's box however they want to. But when they go to hit a baseball, everything comes together to strike the ball in the CORRECT manner. So don't let anyone try to tell you that your batting stance is not conducive to hitting a baseball for power, because that's just FALSE information! Let me give you some examples so you can understand it all a little better.

Hand Placement is KEY!
Hand placement is a critical component of your swing, because most of your power comes from the positioning of your arms and hands when hitting a baseball. To put it simply, where would you want your hands if you were to throw a punch at someone? Would you want them far away from your body, or tightly snug in front of your chest ready to explode. Well you would select the latter choice of course! But then why is it that Major Leaguers hold their hands in all different locations? Well as I said before, it is insignificant where they are originally held. All that matters is how your hands and arms line up when you're bringing them through the strike zone to hit the ball. You must understand this important FACT! Therefore, it definitely would make more sense to hold your hands closer to your body (mainly your back shoulder) so that they are already in position to hit the ball; however this is NOT necessary if you are comfortable in your stance.

Create a Solid Base for Yourself
Another vital aspect of your swing is how your legs are positioned. Essentially, you want to have a fairly wide base during your swing so you can achieve excellent balance for optimal power and performance. So it would be much easier to set up in a stance with your legs about shoulder width, and only have to take a small step towards the ball when attempting to hit the ball. But as you now know, this is NOT necessary. Remember how Ken Griffey Jr. used to stand in his stance in his prime (almost straight up with his legs close together). He was very comfortable this way, and then when he went to swing the bat, his step was much larger so that he attained a wider, more balanced final position.

So don't let anyone try to manipulate your batting stance if you are truly comfortable the way you are currently positioned. But if your hitting mechanics are flawed during your approach to hit the ball, then you have a major problem and will need to investigate that much further.

Learn more Baseball Hitting Drills to obtain a baseball swing with flawless mechanics. Nick Demyanovich runs a Baseball Hitting website that offers lots of FREE advice for dramatically improving your baseball swing mechanics. You'll learn the secrets of hitting a baseball with POWER and CONSISTENCY! So don't just wait to discover these hitting secrets for yourself. Go check it out now at http://www.baseballhitting-training.com

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

T-Ball Lessons

Watching children at play offers valuable lessons for adults. Many years ago I had the privilege of being a coach for my son's t-ball team. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term t-ball, it refers to a form of baseball for beginners.

By John Mehrmann

Watching children at play offers valuable lessons for adults.

Many years ago I had the privilege of being a coach for my son's t-ball team. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term t-ball, it refers to a form of baseball for beginners. The main principles of baseball apply. There is a first base, second base, third base, and home plate. There is an infield and an outfield with all of the same positions. There is a pitcher's mound that is occupied by a player, but the pitcher does not pitch. The baseball is placed on a short pole that is referred to as a "tee". The tee is very similar to an enlarged golf tee, with the notable exception that it rests on a rubber mat as opposed to being pushed into the ground. The baseball is placed on the tee and the young batter gets three swings to hit the ball and, if successful, attempts to run to first base before being tagged out.

The game of t-ball provides an excellent opportunity to teach children the fundamentals of baseball and to participate in a team environment. Watching a successful baseball team is like watching the harmony emerging from a well rehearsed symphony orchestra. The players are aware of respective roles, placement, responsibilities, and the importance of well choreographed coordination with other players. Individual players may be exceptionally talented, but success can only be achieved if that talent is properly integrated with the abilities of the other players. A perfect throw can only be achieved if there is someone to catch. It is as simple as that. For youthful beginners, achieving such harmonious rhapsody of coordination requires a little patience.

An early challenge for first year t-ball players is to learn the rules of the game and position on the field. There is very little or no scientific method to assigning positions in the first year. There are no scouting reports. There are no tryouts. There are no t-baseball cards with statistics and profiles.

Watching the children take their positions on the field, I could not help but imagine how personalities and character are well defined at such an early age. The actions, decisions, and responses of the youth on the baseball field could easily be compared with characteristics displayed by adults. I wondered how much of the personalities of my colleagues had been displayed at such an early age, and how similar mannerisms in the office would be similarly evident if those individuals donned baseball caps and took their corresponding places on the field.

The pitcher stared intently at the batter. Leaning forward at the waist, one hand tucked firmly behind his back as if hiding a knuckleball, the boy clenched his teeth and glowered at the batter. Evidently the pitcher had watched some baseball games and accurately mimicked the facial expressions of a professional. Lacking chewing tobacco or a large wad of gum, the pitcher pushed his bottom lip forward with his tongue. His protruding left cheek and lower added to the intensity of his concentration. He had come prepared to play ball.

The boy on first base stood upright. His arms dangled loosely at his sides. His gloved hand bounced up and down alternately in front and behind him. His other hand adjusted his cap, scratched a runaway itch, and adjusted his cap once more. Each time that the batter prepared a swing, the boy on first base would immediately jump into action. As the bat swung forward, the boy at first base squatted at the knees as if to prepare for something. He was prepared for anything, even though he had no idea what to expect. Ready to protect his base, or chase the ball, or chase the batter. You could tell from the look in his eyes that he was ready to respond, even if he did not yet know what to expect or what was expected of him.

Two young girls had gladly accepted the responsibilities for second base and shortstop. The proximity of the positions on the field made it convenient for them to socialize. As the batter approached the tee with grim determination, the girls giggled and whispered to each other about the latest fashion accessories and the silliness of the boys on the team. Little faces, slightly shielded by the big baseball gloves, could not disguise the chorus of laughter and the tiny fingers pointed at the boys who took the game so seriously. The girls stood shoulder to shoulder. Their legs crossed below the knees, slightly turning side to side, and occasionally extending their arms above their heads to complete tiny pirouettes. They were completely content to be at the center of the field and the center of attention, both fully aware and completely impervious to the stares of the other players.

The young lad on third base stared at the stands and waved to his parents. His glove tucked neatly under his arm, it was rarely on his hand. Being on third base, the lad did not expect to see any action, at least not until after a runner had passed first and second bases. The time for a runner to make it halfway around the diamond was more than enough time for him to put on his glove, or at least so he thought. Having a position so close to the bleachers made it easy for him to entertain the crowd. One moment standing still and searching the faces of the attendees for an attentive audience, and the next moment dancing a small jig around third base. He was the star of his own show, infrequently looking over his shoulder to make sure that his own team was still on the field with him.

Then there was the outfield. The outfield is a very special place in baseball. Despite the fact that in t-ball the ball is placed on an immobile stick, a pedestal at the throne of the batter, the players in the outfield did not expect to get very much challenge. As they each walked away into the calm seclusion of the open field, they quietly enjoyed a lack of expectation. Center field laid down on the ground, arms and legs crossed comfortably. Center field's glove was propped under his head like a pillow. Meanwhile, right field and left field were sitting cross-legged and gingerly plucking blades of grass from beside their respective knees. Right field would throw a blade of grass in the air and try to catch it, or watch which way it would blow in the gentle breeze. Left field cupped a blade of grass in his hands and examined it in thorough detail. Left field picked up another blade of grass, compared them, tied them together, and then tried to fold them in half. As center field searched for animal shapes in the clouds, right field and left field were busy carrying out scientific experiments with grass.

As I reflected on how I could equate each of these wonderful antics with characteristics that I had witnessed in a business environment, my revelry was interrupted by the sound of bat meeting ball. The determined young batter had successfully connected with a swing that would make Babe Ruth proud. The ball sailed in a straight line past the pitcher's mound, skipped up some dust near second base, and bounced merrily into the outfield. By way of response, the pitcher jumped out of the way and then turned to chase the ball after it was safely beyond him. The girls at second base and shortstop clung to each other and squealed with a mixture of fright and delight. The actor at third base spun around like a top to see what the commotion was all about and tripped over third base in the process. The intense young boy at first base squatted nervously, stepping away from his post and back again, unsure of what to do in such an emergency. The entire baseball field seemed to buzz with excitement.

Just then, someone yelled "RUN!" I could see that the coach of the other team was running up to the batter and pointing excitedly in the direction of first base. He shouted, "What are you waiting for? RUN!"

Apparently the shouting of the other coach was exactly what the team needed. All at once they started to run. All of the players dashed madly in the direction of the baseball. The boy from first base was racing the boy from the pitcher's mound. The boy from third base jumped up from the ground and starting in such a hurry that he left his glove next to third base. The girls from second base and shortstop waved their hands in the air wildly as they trotted in the direction of the entire team that chased the ball. Right field and left field scrambled on hands and knees in the direction of the ball as it came to rest. Just as center field discovered the shape of a goldfish in the clouds, he was distracted by the sounds of thundering feet coming in his direction. Center field rolled to get out of the way of the oncoming crowd, the ball coming to rest near his glove pillow.

As I watched the entire team rush from the infield and into the outfield to chase the ball, I was reminded of countless conference calls and meetings that had resulted in exactly the same situation. How often have a multitude of colleagues gathered for meetings and conference calls, consuming the attention and enthusiasm of the masses, but leaving nobody behind to cover the bases? With everyone chasing the ball, who would be left behind to receive it? Certainly there were opportunities to get engaged at the pitcher's mound, or thwart the extent of the offensive rally with shortstop or a play from the preoccupied colleague at second base. With everyone consumed by chasing the ball, nobody was left to cover their own responsibilities and get their own jobs done. Having back-up and helping hands on the play would have been a good idea, but covering the bases and the areas of responsibility were equally important. This was an important lesson for the young players that day, and hopefully one that would be remembered in their adult years.

I smiled to myself and walked in the direction of the other coach, prepared to compliment him on the score of his young player. With no member of my team remaining to cover the bases, it was inevitable that the batter would be free to casually walk the bases and earn the first home run of his career. Yet, the other coach stood sternly with his hands on his hips, and his baseball cap pushed backwards on his head. I followed his unyielding gaze to the crowd of young players that jumped up and down with enthusiasm in the outfield. The children cheered wildly, as if they had all just won first prize. The group ran together from the outfield to home plate. In the middle of the herd of jubilant youngsters, a hand held aloft the baseball that had been retrieved from its place of rest in center field. There, in the middle of the cheering and celebration, was the batter. Upon hearing the command to 'RUN", he had joined the chase and in the subsequent celebration. As far as the players were concerned, there were no teams or rivalry, only the shared excitement.

There were many lessons that season. I only hope that the young players learned as much about teamwork and sportsmanship from their coaches and parents as we learned from them.

Play ball!

Words of Wisdom

"Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical."
- Yogi Berra

"One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork."
- Edward Abbey

"Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand."
- Lou Durocher

- John Mehrmann, Author of The Trusted Advocate: Accelerate Success with Authenticity and Integrity

John Mehrmann is author of The Trusted Advocate: Accelerate Success with Authenticity and Integrity. The book that is changing everything by reawakening personal values in business as a competitive edge

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

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

Eventually all hitters will get hit by a pitch. Most 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, the experience can be somewhat devastating.

By Tony Argula

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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