TeeBall Parent Guide Blog

The Tee Ball Parent Blog features daily posts and updates that provide tball parents with free teeball articles, tee ball drills, and t-ball coaching tips. Our daily posts and archives include hundreds of interesting and informative teeball coaching blogs. Make sure to bookmark or save this site to your favorites so that you can visit us often to gain valuable insight and tips for helping your teeball player learn the game of baseball and improve his skills.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Little League Baseball Drills - Batting Practice

Little League Baseball Drills - Batting Practice
By guest author: Chris Campbell

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

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

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

Choosing The Right Bat

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

Batter Positioning

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

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

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

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Monday, November 7, 2011

5 Disturbing Items in Youth Baseball Today

5 Disturbing Items in Youth Baseball Today
By guest author: Allen R.

I love baseball. I played baseball from the age of 5 to the age of 18. I was in organized baseball leagues starting at the age of 8. After a layoff of 11 years, I played in a men's league for another 3 years and I've been an umpire for the past 5 years.

I've seen and experienced a lot during my time in the game. The last few years as an umpire, dad and coach has been eye-opening in regards to youth baseball. Here are 5 things I find disturbing about youth baseball at this time:

1. T-Ball as a "Level" - Yes, everyone does make contact but it does not prepare the player for the reality that they will miss the ball more often than make contact. I believe that it also retards the development of hand-eye coordination. One of the hardest things to do in sports is to hit a round baseball with a round bat while both are in motion. Why not allow children the opportunity to improve this skill as soon as they can? A hitting "T" removes most of that development by placing the ball in a stationary position. The batting "T" is a tool to improve one's swing or reestablish it after a long layoff or offseason - not a division in a youth baseball league.

2. Games Without a Score - This is prevalent throughout the lower levels of all youth sports. It is supposed to foster higher self-esteem in the players since nobody loses (I think this is supposed to make the parents feel better about themselves). In reality, all of the players lose. Keeping score is essential to charting a team's progress. I must admit that in my first year as head coach of my son's baseball team I succumbed to this regulation. This year, while the official line is we are not keeping score, I will keep it. This way I can see how we are progressing. The kids always ask me anyway!

3. Facemasks on helmets - Fortunately, this is not too common - yet. I understand the intent - to protect the player against injury and also alleviate a fear of the ball. While it will help the player now, these are 2 things they will have to deal with down the line when the consequences are much greater. I'd rather a player understand the mechanics of getting out of the way of the pitch (turn away from the ball) when it is traveling at 30 mph or so vs. 65 - 75 mph and higher.

4. Non-throwing rules for catchers - Again, thankfully, I have not run across this many times. There was a league that I umpired games for that forbid the catcher from throwing the ball to third base on a steal. This went hand-in-hand with the restriction on stealing third base only once per inning. This rule was put in place so the catcher wouldn't overthrow the base. Well, how is a catcher supposed to sharpen his accuracy if he cannot throw in a game situation? This was at a 9 year-old level, mind you.

5. Batting through the order each inning - This one I am torn on. The premise is a good one at the younger levels. Each team bats all the way through without regard for the number of outs. While it doesn't reinforce the importance of making proper plays and getting 3 outs quickly, it does keep the game moving at a good pace.

There are more things that bother me about the youth baseball leagues. These are just some of the most egregious.

Allen. R is a technology professional with over 10 years experience. He's been involved with the game of baseball for over 20 years as a player, umpire and manager. He currently resides in New York with his family.

For more helpful tips and articles, please visit http://www.prudentdad.com

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

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SoftballrUs.com/FastpitchSoftballSupply.com is the ultimate online fastpitch softball online store. SoftballrUs.com has Batting Trainers,Pitching Training, Training Bats,Defensive Training Equipment,Coaching DVDs & Books, Softball Pitching Machines, Softball Complete Net & Frame Batting Cage Packages, Batting Cage Nets, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, and BatAction Hitting Machines, and much, much more. Visit Softballrus.com now!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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

T-Ball University - Batting Drills For Tee Ball Coaches and Parents
By guest author: 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 http://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.

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

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