Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baseball Tips On Hitting: A Totally Bizarre Way To Raise Your Batting Average!

If you coach a baseball team or have a few baseball players in your family you need to read this article. Everyone that has played baseball or is playing baseball has been in a slump at one point. Until players get older and realize that linedrive base hits and getting on base is just as important as trying to hit the ball out of the park every single time resulting in 70% of the time getting out. They will need this tip. Here is the slump buster right here. This article talks about focusing on hitting the baseball right back at the pitchers belt buckle. Which keep you eyes and focus where it should be and not over swinging. The key to baseball is consistant contact and this tip will help. Larry (www.larrybaseball.com) is a great baseball writer with some good tips to improve your game. On his site you will find more great work but start with this article and bust out of that slump you are in. Baseball Tips On Hitting: A Totally Bizarre Way To Raise Your Batting Average!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Funnel

              The Funnel: An open glove for infielders.

 There are a number of baseball players these days bending the fingers of their gloves out during the break in process of their gloves. The infielders bend the thumb and pinky fingers of their gloves outward to keep their glove open, so Akadema has created the Funnel. A glove that stays open, naturally. How? By inverting the thumb and pinky finger. Not only does it keep an infielder’s glove open, it helps them cover more fielding surface to stop a hard ground ball up the middle or that two hopper in the hole. Which sure comes in handy when you’re looking to turn a double play.


Here are two of the Funnel gloves made by Akadema. If you want to purchase yours contact me today at thebattingtee@yahoo.com. I am a independent sales rep that can give you more information and great deals on any of the akadema products.

11.5” Funnel pattern, ProSoft leather, I-web, medium pocket, inverted thumb and pinky funnel design. Right hand throw only. $109.99




11.5” Funnel pattern, Torino leather, I-web, dual-hinge with inverted thumb and pinky finger design, open back, medium pocket. $224.99

You can also customize your own Akadema Glove by clicking on this link:
Akadema Pro Custom Equipment Builder

Thursday, April 25, 2013

BSFTraining Baseball needs you help

Hi Everyone,

I have been writing this blog for a while as my followers know.  I love the game of baseball and everything that comes with it. Sometimes to much my wife ask me the other day if I could live at the baseball field. Well the answer is "Yes".  I know there are tons of baseball sites out there but I want to make this one different. I want you as a reader to want to come to this site everyday. So how am I going to do this? Why will you want to come here? I will be providing top of the line information that will help everyone become a better player. I am a youth coach that volunteers his time to teach players to become better. I have help numbers of kids in my first 6 years of coaching but I need you help too. To make this work I need your help. I need you to sign-up to follow this blog by email. I want you to email (thebattingtee@yahoo.com) me question about baseball, baseball practice tips, baseball equipment. This is a collaborate effort to grow the game and knowledge about baseball. In the coming weeks I will be writing ebooks on Improving your playing level and Ways to become a better coach.  In the mean time look around on my blog site at the equipment I can get you. I think that quality products should be sold on a more personal level. If you have any questions about the products send me a message and let me know. You can also find some tips and drills to improve your game while I work on the books. Enjoy!

Thank You
Mike

Oh, the facebook page is www.facebook.com\BSFTrainingbaseball

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I want to be a better hitter

When we talk about baseball the first question is have you ever hit a homerun. If we are watching MLB baseball games we want to see someone hit a homerun. As batters we want to be the one to hit the homerun. But hitting a homerun is not easy, hitting a baseball for that matter is not easy. So how can we get better at doing something that is hard. Well it takes practice.

We have all heard it said before hitting a round ball with a round bat is not easy. If you want to be a good hitter you need to know your own swing inside and out. A good way to do this is to set up a video camera and record your swing. This will help you study your swing. Checking for problems. If you do not know what your swing looks like or feels like then you can not make the adjustments needed when you need to. Every player needs to make adjustments. Pro players make many adjustment between at bats to help them improve the way they attack the baseball.



As a hitter you have to remain balanced. You can hit a baseball if you are falling down on very swing.  If your foundation is weak you can not  produce strong power. Just like a house with a weak foundation. You will have structural problems if the foundation is not built strong. Start in an athletic comfortable stance. I have said before in other posts that you should be about shoulder width apart. Knees should be inside the foot. When you stride forward you need to start the back knee forward as well but the foot should remain on the ground until the front foot has landed. This creates a strong balanced power shift to the baseball. I good drill to teach you to stay back is the tennis ball bonce and hit drill. Step up in your normal batting stance. Have a partner set up 10-15 feet away. The thrower will throw tennis balls to the batter but they will bounce the ball about half way to the batter so that it bounces up for the hitter to hit. This simulates an off speed pitch but teaches the hitter to stay balanced and back. As for the hitter, you take your normal first stride as the pitch is thrown. Making sure the front foot gets down before the back leg comes up. As the pitch bounces your front leg should be straight. Then the hands, back hip, and back foot explodes on the ball. Make sure you swing through the ball making contact and following through. Hand remaining high through the contact zone to hit a solid line drive.

Hitting is and art. It takes practice to be a great hitter. Study your swing. Get into a practice routine using a batting tee so that you can practice somethings on your own. Work on having a strong foundation to produce power. Finally keep you hand high and back, Keeping the bat head up though the hitting zone. If you would like me to look at your hitting video send it to thebattingtee@yahoo.com. If you want to stay updated with new information signup for emails. Like us on facebook, and twitter.



Monday, April 1, 2013

Improve Your Game

A good drill for keeping your hand above the baseball to hit a high strike is the hit tee drill. This is performed by placing the tee on one of the three spots on the plate inside, down the middle, or on the outside corner. Set the tee height about Letter high if you have to place the tee on a bucket to increase the height. Work on keeping your hand above the baseball forcing you to keep the bat in the hitting zone for the longest time. This also helps you hit line drives and groundball not the dreaded popup. You have to concentrate on weight shift and staying on top the ball. Try to turn every drill in to game situations to help keep things fun. If you add a wooden bat you can work on hitting a smaller sweetspot as well. Message me today for great deals on Akadema wooden bats. If you could only work on one drill what would it be.  #improveyourgame

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Leadership Is Important


Baseball is not an individual sport. There are nine players on the field at all times. If one of those players is having a bad day it usually hurts the whole team. If some decide to slack off and not get it there all you can see the drop off through out the whole team. Whether it is from an error or a bases loaded strikeout, your team can suffer if they are not picked up be a teammate. But if you have a team that plays as one, lives and dies together, picks each other up, then you are headed in the right direction. When you have a team buying into a team philosophy then you will see a difference in your performance.  As coaches we need to encourage and promote an environment  for that to happen. Every team has a leader they just have to be spotted. They are the ones who shouts encouragement or lets someone know what they need to do.They pick a player up when he is done. They lead on the field and off as well. All the players look up to them. I have found a video that drills home this point. You don't have to be big and strong to lead you just need to encourage, believe, and care.


 (For those who want to buy the movie it is great Facing The Giants.)

A leader can be spotted in pro sports most have the C on the jersey. Be the leader of your team, business, or family needs you don't have to have the C per say. Step up and comfort when someone is down give them the will to keep going. It is easy to lead when things are going well but a true leader is someone that can encourage and push when things are not going so smooth. God has given you the ability to lead. Can I count on you? Can you be that leader?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tools of the Trade


Baseball is a funny game. It can be fun and enjoyable to play, but it can make you sad when you lose.  When everything is going right their is no one on the plant that can get you out or can hit your pitching. If things are not going your way then you can't buy a strike or find a hole anywhere. Sometimes it is the way the ball bounces. You can practice pitching, hitting, and fielding to improve your skills. You can run, bike, and lift weights to strengthen your body and Cardiovascular system to stand up to the regor's of the game. But if you don"t have the right baseball equipment then you are setting yourself up to fail. BSFTraining has become an supplier or Akadema baseball equipment.
Akadema isn’t  just another big sporting goods supplier cranking out the same old equipment. Akadema makes innovative gear based on an in-depth knowledge of the game from playing the game. In less than a decade, they've become one of the hottest baseball and softball equipment companies in America for professional, college, high school and serious youth players. And their  just getting started.

Among Akadema’s first innovations was the revolutionary Reptilian – a near fingerless infielder’s glove that allows for a quicker and smoother ball transfer. A new catcher’s mitt featuring “stress wedge” technology, designed with the assistance of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, soon followed. Current big leaguers and baseball legends Ozzie Smith and Carl Yastrzemski have also lent their expertise to Akadema. Resulting in the design of some of the most innovative sports equipment on the market. Gear, a large portion of which is made in the USA, that helps athletes of all ages bring their “A Game” to the field and achieve a higher level of play.

For Akadema, it’s simple. If you want to make the best sports equipment, you consult the best athletes.

You can find more information on the Akadema products on my website or by clicking on this link:
http://www.akademapro.com

Download a catalog

Contact me today to purchase your Akadema products. Teams and Coaches I can save you loads of money to spend on tournaments and travel. message me at thebattingtee@yahoo.com for your pricing.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Going the other way!

As you know by now BBCOR bats are not as hot and explosive as bats in the past. Homerun numbers are down, teams are struggling to score runs. Batters are struggling to get on base or hit for power so now what.

Let's step back and change a few things as a hitter. You go up to the plate thinking about getting a hit. When the bats were hot we pulled the ball and hit it over the fence. I was never a big kid I am now 6'2" 150lbs. So as a kid I didn't hit homeruns. My whole career I hit one wind aided homerun. So I had to adjust. I worked on hitting the ball all over the field.  

Some of the best hitters in the game work on hitting the ball to all parts of the field. John Kurk said, "when he was young he had to work on hitting the ball to the opposite field because his mom had a garden in right field in his back yard." If he bruised the tomatoes his mom gave him some bruises. 

So how can we teach players to hit the ball the other way. You do not have to change anything with your swing. You do everything the same. You just have to let the ball get deep. Instead of hitting the ball in front of the plate you wait till the ball get closer to the middle of the plate keeping your hand in close to your body you hit the ball to the opposite field. We can use batting tees or hit-sticks to teach this point. Set the tee up deeper in the stance making it tough to pull this teach the hitter to push the ball to the opposite field. Hit-sticks can be held in the same position deeper in the batters stance. The batter again takes the same swing and the feed back from the swing you can have instance results.
If you want to teach a team to hit the ball the other way set it up like a game. Keep track of how many hits go the opposite way during batting practice and give the winner a tee shirt or baseball cards.

I am not saying to forget about pulling a baseball I am saying learn to hit the ball the other way to further your baseball career. Just like Kruk said if you keep hitting the ball in to the tomatoes you are going to get bruised. In baseball terms if you continue to hit the ball in to the shift of the defence you are going to keep getting out. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Go To Battle With Warstic


For those of you who like to swing wooden bats. I have partnered with warstic bat company. Warstic Bat Co is an independent Texas based company committed to building a unique brand of wood bat for serious players of any age. We sell Craftsmanship, Design & Performance. Warstic seeks to connect with players who BATTLE.

They believe design matters, craftsmanship isn't a choice, it's part of the job, the only wood is the good wood, and that baseball is better when wood is at the heart of the game. Our Hand Forged bats are made from American White Ash with straight grains, Rock Hard Sugar Maple or Dense Yellow Birch selected for high level performance and durability.  They work hard to offer the finest wood bats that you will ever see or play with because they love to do 2 things: To Play Ball & to Make Things. They get to do both here, so we don't have to much to complain about. They take great pride in making our product entirely in the USA and also supporting US Military Veterans.

Check them out at www.warstic.com. If you see something you like enter the my code at checkout BITTINGERWAR10 for a 10% discount on your purchase.
To download a Warstic Catalog click the click below:

http://www.warstic.com/Downloads/Warstic_BatCo_2013Catalog_hirez.pdf 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Back At It!

Well we had our first practice yesterday with my pinto team. Going to be a very fun year. I have some new faces but kids that want to learn. It was good to get back to the basics. If you start with the fundamentals and teach them the right way to throw a baseball or the basic set up for a baseball swing it makes your job as coach easier. We started with a drill where I lined the kids up across the gym facing a wall. I called out numbers to them 1. being the arms forming a W or L pointing the glove at the wall. Then 2. was pulling the arm in forming a wing and 3. throwing and following through with throwing hand to pocket. After about 5 minutes I paired them up and had them throw to partners the same way.
When I watched each one to correct what needed correcting I teamed them up the length of the gym in separate line for a throwing relay.

1---------2-----------3------------4------------5

1---------2-----------3------------4------------5

The first person started with the ball and I had them throw to the next one in line. The next person had to catch the baseball as they would if they were catching a throw as a cutoff with the glove pointed toward the next person in line for a quick and accurate throw. If the throw got away that person who missed the ball had to run it down get back to the position and continue. We went down and back the kids loved it.

Practice can be instructional but also fun. Remember fun drills lighten the learning but still practices good fundamental. So have fun but teach
the proper ways and your coaching will become alot easier and give you more time to teach the parents to relax and let the kids have fun as well. Well maybe not the last one.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Game Of Seconds

Baseball is a game of seconds.Whether you are trying to get out of the batters box to beat out an infield hit or trying to throw out the runner that is trying for the infield hit. You only have a matter of seconds to react. You can work on agility and speed drills to make you reaction time faster. You can work on footwork so you don't have any wasted movement. You can do some many things to make you a faster more reactive player but their is one thing as a field you can do that is an easy change. It is as simple as hand position. Where are your hands when fielding or catching a baseball. Yes it is simple but overlooked.

Hand position

If you are quick with your hands you will make it easier on yourself to throw out runners that are trying to advance to the next base. Let's start with fielding a ground ball your hand should be placed above the glove hand when approaching the ball. This allows you to field the ground ball pull the hands in to the body and get to the throwing motion quicker. If your hand are not in position, that fraction of a second it takes to get them there after fielding the ball is all the time needed for the batter to beat out the base hit.

 
 
When fielding a fly ball in the outfield hand position is just as important. As you approach the ball you hand should be right beside the glove so that you can transfer the ball to your throwing hand with little to no wasted movement. This gives you the seconds needed to throw out the runners from the outfield.
 
 
So work on getting your hands where they need to be to make a quicker transfer of the baseball. a drill that you can do is stand a couple for feet away from a partner. Take a baseball and roll it or flip it to your partner. As you catch the ball work on your hand position and getting the ball to the throwing hand as quickly as possible. Then move to catching ground balls and fly balls and hand position as well. I leave you with this fundamentals is the key to great players. If you are fundamentally correct in every facet of the game you will turn some heads.
 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Balance Point or 5-7 Degree Leg Angle

Everyone wants to be a pitcher. Everyone dreams of pitching in a big game. I have a child that is wanting to be a pitcher. So as a father I am trying to help. As a coach I am try to teach the proper mechanics easier said than done.

When it comes to teaching pitching mechanics their are so many opinions and not enough facts. I have been reading anything and everything to gain more knowledge of teaching the proper mechanics. The problem is there are so many opinions on just holding the baseball properly. So I am trying to stay positive and this is with I have come up with so far.

In my studying I have watched tons of videos of the like of Justin Verlander, Sandy Kofax, Greg Maddox, Steven Strasburg and Aroldis Chapman. Most coaches teach to come to a balance point before you pitch in viewing the videos a majority of the pitchers do not come to a balance point. They start their windup with a small step to the side or back, tap the pivot toe and bring the front leg up. In a momentum type swing.


As you can see in this video the drive leg is about 5 degrees diagonal to the rubber not coming to a balance point. The momentum created here keeps everything going toward the catcher without stopping. This helps keep all the energy going toward home and not having to regenerate power after coming to a complete stop at balance point.

1. Small step to side or back to start the pitching motion
2. Tap the drive leg toe for rhythm before placing it in front or the rubber.
3. Slightly point the drive leg toe toward home when placing down
4. Bring leg up in a momentum creating swing




 So whether your opinion is to teach a balance point or not. All pitchers, coaches, and parents should continue to learn the game of baseball. I was a coach that taught the balance point before coming to the plate. After reading, listening, and watching I believe that if you can migrate to the 5-7 degree drive leg and keeping the momentum going toward home that you will pitch harder and better success. Remember study the game and always look for areas to improve. Your Competition Is!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sports Injuries In Kids

 
I posted an article on my fitness blog that is important to Baseball player, parents, and coaches take a look.


Playing The Outfield It's Not The End Of The World

Being left handed, athletic, and blessed with some speed I played a lot of outfield throughout my baseball career. I coach youth baseball now and everyone wants to play the infield. I hear things like the outfield isn't fun or nobody hits the ball to me. I am here to tell you that if you learn to play the outfield correctly it can be just as fun as the infield.

Lets take a look at the outfield position it is played by some of the best athletes in baseball today. Players like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Hamilton, and Curtis Granderson just to name a few playing the outfield and do it well. Most little leauger's think that playing the infield is where all the action is and no one wants to play the outfield. But how many infielder can rob a homerun to save a game or make a diving catch in the gap and throw a runner out at second. What I am saying is that the outfield is just as important as the infield. Many Games can be won or lost by the way your outfielders play. More outfielders make Sportscenter highlights making diving catches or leaping up the fence to catch a would be homerun. So go play in the grass and follow these steps to make you a better outfielder.

1. Getting In To A Ready Position
2. Proper Footwork
3. Getting Behind The Baseball
4. Fielding The Baseball On The Outside Of Your Glove Foot
5. Getting The Baseball Back To The Cutoff Quickly

Getting In To A Ready Position

Being ready to catch a baseball makes everything easier. If you are ready to break either to your left, right, or straight back to catch the baseball then you have already made things easier on yourself. When the pitcher is starting his windup take two steps and a small hop landing on the balls of your feet, legs slightly greater then shoulder width apart in an athletic position as shown in the picture.

 
.

Proper Foot Work

After you are in the ready position you are able to break any direction for the baseball. The key here is the your first step is opening up fully to the baseball with the lead foot. That way you can run in a straighter line to the baseball. If you take a half set you create a bad angle to the baseball and have a longer run to get to the ball. Once you have taken the drop step you cross over with the trail foot to run to the spot of the baseball. No sideways running, sprint to the spot then catch the baseball.

Getting Behind The Baseball Once you have gotten to the spot now you want to be behind the baseball waiting for it to come down. Your right your thinking I can't get behind every baseball I run down and you are correct. But if you are there waiting on the baseball you want to be able to catch the ball and step in to your throw. Not Catch it and then take the steps to throw. Less time in the glove the better.
Fielding A Baseball On The Outside Of Your Glove Hand Foot We went over the proper mechanics for a fly ball. What if the ball is on the grown rolling toward you. You want to get behind the ball as well so you can field it. As you approach the ball you want to field it off of the outside of your glove and foot. That way if the ball hopes you can still make an adjustment to the ball and not be handcuffed by your body.
 
 
Getting The Ball Back To The Cutoff Quickly
 
Don't start arguing now I know everyone wants to throw out eh runner trying to score or advance to the next base. Or you hold the ball in the outfield to dare the runner to go. We have all been there and done that. If you want to be a good outfielder then if you work on getting the ball whether it was a fly ball or a groundball back to the cutoff as quick as you can then your team has a better chance of making the play. When throwing to a cutoff you want to throw a hard flat throw to the cutoff about head high if done properly the cutoff will let the ball go or cut it and throw a relay to where the play is being made.
 
If you think your an infielder and the coach puts you in the outfield don't make it the end of the world. As a Baseball player we should learn every position on the baseball field. So look at it as an opportunity to become the best outfielder on your team or in your league. Learning the basics at every position make the game come a lot easier. The best part is if you have the ability to play more than one position than you will have more of an opportunity to play more often. Whether is is the outfield, infield, pitcher, or Catcher. So like I said earlier go play in the grass.
 



















Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Get Out And Watch

The smell of the grass, roar of the crowd, snap of the leather and the crack of the bat. These are the sounds of one of the grandest games ever created. Baseball is just around the corner MLB pitchers and Catchers report in two weeks. College Baseball starts in about 17 days. What stories are we going to see this year. We had Arizona win the world series and Stoney Brook making the world series as the Cinderella story. Getting out to watch some games is a good way to spend time with the family while teaching the fundamentals of the game. So get your popcorn, sunflower seeds, and favorite beverage and get out and watch some exciting baseball in 2013. I have added a list of the top 30 D1Baseball Teams picked by the NCBWA.
1 Arkansas Southeastern 46-22 3
2 North Carolina Atlantic Coast 46-16 15
3 LSU SEC 47-18 10
4 Vanderbilt SEC 35-28 27
5 UCLA Pacific-12 48-16 5
6 South Carolina SEC 49-20 2
7 Stanford Pac-12 41-18 12
8 Oregon Pac-12 46-19 11
9 NC State ACC 43-20 13
10 Oregon State Pac-12 40-20 22
11 Florida State ACC 50-17 4
12 Kentucky SEC 45-18 20
13 TCU Big 12 40-22 16
14 Arizona Pac-12 48-17 1
15 Florida SEC 47-20 6
16 Mississippi State SEC 40-24 30
17 Oklahoma Big 12 42-25 14
18 Rice Conference USA 41-19 18
19 Louisville Big East 41-22 28
20 San Diego West Coast 40-17 NR
21 Georgia Tech ACC 38-26 NR
22 Arizona State Pac-12 36-20 26
23 Cal State Fullerton Big West 36-21 25
24 Texas A&M SEC 43-18 19
25 Ole Miss SEC 37-26 NR
26 Texas Big 12 30-22 NR
27 Baylor Big 12 49-17 9
28 Clemson ACC 35-28 NR
29 Miami (Fla.) ACC 36-23 NR
30 Virginia ACC 39-19-1 24
31 Kent State Mid-American 47-20 7
32 Southern Miss C-USA 32-24 NR
33 UC Irvine Big West 31-25 NR
34 New Mexico Mountain West 37-24 NR
35 Coastal Carolina Big South 42-19 NR

Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically): Army (41-15), Bryant (33-21), Cal Poly (36-20), College of Charleston (38-22), Dallas Baptist (41-19), East Carolina (36-24-1), Florida Atlantic (32-22), FIU (31-26), Georgia (31-26), Gonzaga (34-22), Indiana State (41-19), Long Beach State (28-27), Mercer (38-21), Missouri State (40-22), New Mexico State (35-24), Notre Dame (31-27), Oklahoma State (32-25), Oral Roberts (38-25), Pepperdine (36-23), Purdue (45-14), Sam Houston State (40-22), San Francisco (29-30), South Carolina-Upstate (33-20), South Florida (38-22), Southeastern Louisiana (39-21), St. John’s (40-23), Stony Brook (52-15), Texas State (32-24), Texas Tech (29-26), Tulane (38-20), UCF (45-17), UNC Wilmington (39-23), UT Arlington (36-25), Utah Valley (47-12), Washington (30-25), Wichita State (35-25).
Dropped Out From Final 2012 Poll: Stony Brook (8), St. John’s (17), UCF (21), Purdue (23), Utah Valley (29).
By conference: SEC 9, ACC 7, Pac-12 6, Big 12 4, Big West 2, C-USA 2, Big East 1, Big South 1, MAC 1, MWC 1, WCC 1.
-www.ncbwa.com- com This list was copied from national college baseball writers association

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Lost Art

The bats are playing like wood. Homeruns are down. As a coach its time to bring back the scrappy, hit and run, bunt to advance the runner, and squeeze play.
These are terms that went away for a long time when everyone in the lineup was hitting a ball off the handle of the bat over the fence. Now that the bats have been changed the game is too. Coaches have to build a new team around speed, defense, and contact hitters. Don't get me wrong they still look for the homerun hitter but their not relying on that anymore.
As a player you need to work on bunting it has become a lost art. Two or three years ago having a number four hitter bunting a runner to second or squeeze bunting would sound ridiculous but teams are doing more and more of it.
 I have always liked the suicide squeeze play. It takes the right timing not to tip your hand. As the base runner you can't break to early. As the hitter you can't square to early and show the bunt. If done right is a very exciting play but can win you many close games.
How is it done? You want to be in your normal stance. Rotate at your hips to square up toward the pitcher. The barrel of bat should be above your fingers. To bunt the baseball in different locations bend your knees do not lower the baseball bat. Remember you are just trying to get the ball in play so the runner can score. Nice and soft catch the baseball with the bat. Practice the squeeze bunt and you could help your team win some games.
Everyone except the opposing pitcher digs the long ball but the squeeze bunt and bunting in general will win you some games. Set up some bunting stations at your next practice and your team will improve.


Baseball = Studying

As coaches we come in contact with many kids. At the field, in the stands, or in our schools. We preach about learning the game of baseball. You may ask if they caught the games on TV the night before. Or did you study your own hitting mechanics on the video you made for them. Sometimes we as coaches get caught up in coaching.
As kids we all wanted to make to the big leagues. You dream about playing for you favorite team. So you were always practicing at the field, in the backyard or even in the basement. When ask what you want to be when you grow up you always said I want to be a baseball player. As kids we get caught up in trying to make it big.

In both of these scenarios we are missing one important thing. As coaches we need not only to make our players better baseball players but we need to help them become better students in school. As students we need to not only practice the game of baseball but we need to form better study habits, read daily, and perform as hard in the classroom as on the field. I would never tell anyone that they can not be a major league baseball player but things happen and if you wasn't a good student then you will not have anything to fall back on.

Improving your study habits in school can also help with baseball. You will learn to concentrate more on different tasks, you will become better at time management, and you may even get in to college on an academic scholarship instead of an athletic scholarship or both and not have student loans.

As coaches we need to not only teach the game of baseball but we have to push our players to become better students and people. No matter what level you coach there is someone that looks up to you. You are the coach. You are the one with the guidance that the players are looking for or need. As players you have the responsibility to be good students as well as baseball players. So crack the books and get busy learning.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Arm Strength Is Critical

As a baseball player having a strong accurate arm is critical. It doesn't matter if you are a pitcher or a position player you need to build arm strength. There are some different ways to do this one is lifting weights and packing on lean muscle to gain arm strength. Which we will discuss in later posts. Another way is a long toss program. A such program can help you gain arm strength and condition your body to the stresses of throwing a baseball but that also come with some sessions of light throw to build up to that point. Also remember as baseball players before we pickup a ball or bat we need to warm up properly with dynamic stretches that get the blood flowing and muscles, joints, and tendons ready for baseball. I have a article that talks about a long toss program given to me by Larry Cicchiello called The Long Toss: A Pitcher Will Benefit Tremendously From Long Tossing!
It may help you decide if long toss is for you. The "long toss" is simply a throwing session where you start out fairly close to your throwing partner, then gradually increase the distance between the two of you. You finish the drill by then gradually decreasing the distance until you are back to the distance you originally started from.
Many very good authorities believe that the best way for a pitcher to build arm strength and increase the speed on the fastball is by making very good use of this fabulous drill. It is totally acceptable to take a couple of steps when long tossing.
You can approach it basically the same way as if you are trying to throw a runner out from the outfield. You don't want to be throwing fly balls when long tossing. A trajectory that goes a little bit up and down is okay but try to keep it as low as possible.
How To Properly Long Toss:
First, be advised that you may have to work yourself up to the distances listed below and be patient until you can comfortably work up to these distances. Adjust distances downward for younger pitchers. Be extremely cautious with both the distances and the number of throws. This is not a competition of any type between you and your throwing partner and do not overexert yourself!
You and your throwing partner should be sure to loosen up your arms before doing the drill.
Possible Distances When Long Tossing:
60 feet apart--6 throws 90 feet apart--8 throws 120 feet apart-10 throws 90 feet apart--8 throws 60 feet apart--6 throws
Remember not to overexert yourself and find distances and number of throws that are comfortable for you! I would not recommend long tossing on two consecutive days. If you have a somewhat serious session, I would take two days off before long tossing again.
During the season, I would recommend long tossing only occasionally. Some pitchers don't like to long toss at all during the season and love it in the off season.
It's going to come down to your personal preference as to how often you "long toss" and don't overdo it.
Long Toss In "OFF" Season:
In the off season, many pitchers use this drill every other day and gradually increase the repetitions to develop arm strength. Several outstanding professional pitchers have changed their off season throwing strategy and incorporated more "long toss" and less throwing from the mound. One M.L.B. pitcher actually gained 5 m.p.h. on his fast ball after increasing the amount of time spent on the drill and decreasing his throwing sessions from the mound. The drill has definitely grown in popularity the last several years.
Please remember this is not a competition between you and your throwing partner. Be very careful with the distances and the number of throws. We do the long toss to improve arm strength and not to get injured. If you are not long tossing, do yourself a huge favor and start immediately. Like we mentioned, some excellent baseball authorities believe it is simply the best was to build arm strength and gain velocity on the fast ball and some even go as far as saying it is the only way!
The benefits will be tremendous but remember to proceed with caution.
Larry Cicchiello is the successful author of “Excellent Baseball: 30 Seconds Away.” He unconditionally guarantees that ANY baseball player, coach or baseball parent who wants to help their child will be fully equipped! Some FREE tips at http://www.LarryBaseball.com
In the following days we will be discussing workouts that will help your players gain strength for the upcoming season. I leave you with this "If you are going to play the game of baseball, play it as hard as you can every time you step on the field, in the weight room, or into the training facility and good things will happen."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hustle and Heart

I remember when I was little my baseball uniform was always dirty. I felt that if it wasn't I didn't try hard enough that day. You can teach many fascists of the game hitting, fielding, throwing, and base running but you can't teach hustle or heart. You either have it or you don't. Sure you can make your kids run on and off the field inning after inning. One of my coach would always say run to your position or some one else will.

You know the players that no matter where the ball is hit they are busting it down the line to try to leg out a base hit. Or taking the extra base on a line drive to the outfield. Outfielders who run as hard as they can to every hit diving or sacrificing there body to make a catch. Or the infielder who dives for a ball in the hole instead of letting it roll through without an attempt. You either have it or you don't

Here are a list of the top 30 hustle award nominees of 2012

The 30 individual team winners are as follows:
American League
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia
Chicago White Sox: Alex Rios
Cleveland Indians: Jason Kipnis
Detroit Tigers: Austin Jackson
Kansas City Royals: Jeff Francoeur
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Mike Trout
Minnesota Twins: Jamey Carroll
New York Yankees: Curtis Granderson
Oakland Athletics: Jonny Gomes
Seattle Mariners: Munenori Kawasaki
Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist
Texas Rangers: David Murphy
Toronto Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion

 National League
Arizona Diamondbacks: Willie Bloomquist
Atlanta Braves: Martin Prado
Chicago Cubs: Darwin Barney
Cincinnati Reds: Chris Heisey
Colorado Rockies: Michael Cuddyer
Houston Astros: Jose Altuve
Los Angeles Dodgers: Jerry Hairston
Miami Marlins: Jose Reyes
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Hart
New York Mets: David Wright
Philadelphia Phillies: Carlos Ruiz
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
San Diego Padres: Nick Hundley
San Francisco Giants: Melky Cabrera
St. Louis Cardinals: David Freese
Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper
This was the list of the nominees for the 2012 heart and hustle award from the MLBAA.
Mike Trout was the overall winner of the award and probably well deserved. Hustle is something you have to do for yourself but it will turn the scouts head just as much as hitting homers and pitching 90 mph. I would rather have a team of players that give 100% every at bat or on every play then one superstar that dogs it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fielding a baseball

Fielding a baseball is very important in the game of baseball. If your team is slow on defense you may win some games but not many. Defense and pitching is key to a good winning team. As said throughout history and also in the clip by Brandon Phillips "Defense wins championships. In the clip Brandon will show a couple of drills you can do to get better.

Everyone like to take batting practice, or be the pitcher but if you work on being the best defensive player you can be. Practicing good fundamentals and footwork you will always have a spot on any baseball team. Practice makes you good. Commitment makes you better than the rest.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How It's Made- Baseballs

Making of a Baseball A baseball was is the most important part of the game. If you do not have one you can't play or practice They are not cheap to buy either but if you watch this video you will learn why. Each baseball is hand stitched with care. As kids we went to a game wanting to catch a foul ball or have one given to us and as my kids go to games they have the same feeling. I guess it is part of the game.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Self Control

Hey ump you watching the same game we are? Hey ump you are horrible! On the baseball field things can get out of hand. Umpires make a bad call and the coaches or players scream, kick dirt and throw stuff. The fans take suit and begin yelling and a game that was chugging along just ended up out of control. I recently started coaching a church based basketball program and we were talking able self control. We talked about how people without self control is like a city in the old testament that didn't have a protective wall around their city. Without that walk everything can be stolen, or destroyed in seconds. The same thing happens to us if we lose control. As coaches or players we work hard to protect our game. We practice for hours, watch film, and build up our presents on and off the field. All of which can be taken away with the loss of your self control. Yes all those umpires out there sometimes they do make mistakes but not as often as some of you coaches or players think. If you think an umpire or referee made a bad call it is easier on both if you calmly call timeout walk up to the umpire and discuss the call. It will show respect for the ump, it will help you with your self control, and you maybe able to get an edge in on the call instead of just yelling obscenities about the umps mother. In the end keeping your cool will help you gain respect from parents, umpires, management, and your players. Most may disagree but try it out next time take a deep breath and count to ten on your way to talk over a call and you may get to finish watching the game from the dugout instead of the shower with a changed call on your side.

The Wooden Bat

Wooden bats have been around from the start of baseball. Bats start out as a split of wood whether it is ash or maple. The split of wood is the turned into a billet. image When a wooden bat is made it is turned on a lathe, this allows the billet to spin at a high rate of speed. With the billet spinning the wood is cut, or sheared off the bat against the grain with different wood working tools. image Making a bat on a lathe creates small tears and rough edges in the grain of the wood. The Bat is then sanded to end the processes of producing a wooden baseball bat. Then the bat is cleaned and dipped into the coating of the bat. If you choose an ash bat you can add a process called boning before the coating process is done. This step can harden a bat to make it preform better and last longer. Boning the bat compresses the wood, lays down the rough edges, and smooths the exterior surface of the bat. image If this process is done correctly then the unfinished bat should look like it has a clear coat on it. You can bone a bat by using an old bone, a piece of porcelain, or a hard pipe. You can do this on your own or some of the bat companies are adding this to their process if you ask. The process of making a baseball bat is fun to learn about if you like baseball. I also think that a well constructed bat can get you along way in the game of baseball compared to aluminum counterpart. You can become an all around better hitter using a wood bat. A couple of companies I like are www.Akademapro.com www.Warstic.com (BITTINGERWAR1 in promo code at checkout) image image