By Justin Willman
Today I am going to share with you some of the secrets that have helped myself (a former pro baseball player) as well as many other athletes and players develop their skills and achieve baseball success. The first thing that you need to do is constantly strive to surpass yourself. You don't need to compare yourself with your favorite player or even a player on your team. You just need to worry about always beating yourself and making yourself better. Some athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger than others. Maybe you can't be the leader in sprints or the tallest player on the team, but every athlete can do one thing: HUSTLE. Always work hard and improve every day.
The next tip I have for you is to practice hard. Everyone's heard the old saying, ''Practice makes perfect.'' This is not true at all. If you practice horribly and screw around, do you really think you will play to your maximum potential in the game? The truth is you probably won't. The saying should be, ''Perfect practice makes perfect.'' Always work hard in practice and develop your skills!
The third and final tip that will help you achieve baseball success is to be yourself and develop your own style. Everyone has a favorite player or hero that they look up to, but the worst thing that you can do is try to imitate them. Every person on the planet is unique and everyone has their own way of doing things. If it feels comfortable to do exactly the opposite of what your favorite player does, go for it! Develop your own style and that will help you a ton! Well I hope you've enjoyed these tips. Now go grab your glove, lace up your cleats, and play ball!
Justin Willman is a former pro baseball player, having helped hundreds of people to easy success. He's recently developed an e-book showing you a step by step process for making your baseball goals easier to achieve. To learn how to become a better hitter and maximize your athletic potential, visit, http://www.DynamiteHitting.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Justin_Willman
Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine by SKLZ
Welcome to the Hurricane Hitting Machine Blog for Baseball Coaches, Players and Parents. Our daily posts can help you get the most out of your baseball drills and team practices. Our free baseball articles, baseball coaching tips, and baseball drills can help your baseball player or baseball team improve. Our archive has hundreds of articles related to baseball training and baseball practice.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
By Nick Dixon
Baseball coaching is teaching the big and little details of the game. Every position or location on the field requires a player to observe and to be aware of what is happening. Many young batters on deck often do no pay attention to what is happening. They are often guilty of looking into the crowd or even talking to someone through the fence. On-deck batters that do not closely observe the pitcher and the catcher are missing a greatly opportunity to "scout" the opponent. The on-deck circle is a crucial location from which the observation process should be done. Here are 4 things that the on-deck batter must do and 4 things they not do.
On-deck batters should always:
1) Identify the ARM SLOT of the opposing pitcher? Is the opposing pitchers arm motion, over the top, side-arm, at 1 O'Clock, or 2 O'clock, 3 O'clock or submarine? The on-deck batter must know this before getting into the batting box. Knowing the "arm slot" or pitchers arm angle during the delivery will accelerate the batters ability to "pick the ball up" or see the ball in the pitchers hand before it is released. Picking the ball up early allows the batter to see the ball out of the pitchers hand at the release point.
2) Take practice swings every time the pitcher throws a pitch to the batter ahead of you. Try to pick up the pitchers speed, timing, rhythm, and release point. Time the fastball by taking a stance, loading, and swing in rhythm with the pitching delivery. This timing warm-up exercise should be taken facing the pitcher.
3) Does the pitcher have a tendency to work slow or fast? If the pitcher works too slow or fast, you may want to call time and step out to change the pitchers rhythm.
4) Does the pitcher throw a lot of off-speed or junk pitches? Does the pitcher have below average, average, or above average pop on the fastball? You will move up in the box if the pitcher is a slow ball junk pitcher and move deeper in the box if the pitcher has high velocity on the fastball.
Coaching Point: There are other duties of the on-deck hitter at the high school, college and even travel ball level. If the batter ahead of you gets a RBI hit, you may have to move the bat out of the sliding zone if the umpire does not move it. Only do this if time allows. The on-deck batter will may also coach the scoring runner at the plate by using signs or verbal call to signal "get down", "you are up", or a "needed slide location to avoid a possible tag".
1. Never talk to the crowd, fans or family through the fence. The on-deck batter should be seeing and concentrating on what is happening on the field. This is for performance, concentration, and safety reasons.
2. Never Swing Before looking. For safety reasons, never swing the bat in the on-deck circle without looking to make sure that he is clear of the fence and that other players have not approached him. Making sure that everyone is clear of you before you swing a bat is a rule for all batters, of all ages, to live by.
3. Never talk to the batter unless it is positive praise or encouraging words. "Warning" the batter that he better look out for that curve-ball is not encouraging words. Simply telling the batter that he can do it and to keep his eyes on the ball is far more appropriate and productive.
4. Never take a knee or kneel in the on-deck circle. If a ball is hit toward you, you must be able to move quickly.
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon
Hurricane Hitting Machine - Derek Jeter Series
Friday, April 24, 2009
A Guide to Peak Performance in Base Ball
By Ruth Cracknell
How one faces the pitcher is a very important part of a base ball game. Generally speaking, the back end of the plate should be about even with the middle of the hitter's body. The big end of the bat should extend to one or two inches beyond the outside edge of the plate when the arms are fully extended. The type of pitcher and the situation tells the batter how to adjust. If the pitcher is very fast and relies on his fast ball most of the time, the batter should stand as far back as possible.
If the pitcher uses a curve most of the time, the batter ought to move to the front of the box and try to hit the curve before it breaks. If a runner is on base and the "Steal" sign is flashed, the batter should stand back as far as he can so the catcher will be forced back a few steps, adding to the length of his throw. If the count is three balls and no strikes, the batter should crowd the plate and make as tough a target as he can for the pitcher.
Hit It Where It's Pitched!
Once the pitcher starts his move, the batter wants to stand absolutely still, but relaxed, never taking his eyes off the pitcher. He concentrates most when the pitcher is about to release the ball. It's not a good practice to try to follow the ball all through the pitcher's windup. As the ball comes whistling toward the plate, the batter must get into the habit of watching it all the way-until it actually meets the bat. He must not pull his head away from the plate until after the ball has been hit.
The batter must start the weight forward early! Take your stride as the pitcher's striding foot hits the ground.
When learning to hit the ball in base ball, starting the forward stride and striding in the right direction are equally important. Always step toward the ball, but move so that the ball will arrive near the "meat end" of the bat.
For example: If the pitch comes directly over the center of the plate, the hitter can step along a line parallel to one running between the pitcher and the plate. (He has already made certain, with his practice swing, that the heavy end of the bat would come over the heart of the plate). If the ball is wide, he should adjust the direction of his step accordingly. He cannot possibly hit the ball well if he steps the same way on an inside and outside pitch-he must adjust the step.
In addition, he must adjust the level of his swing if the ball is low. If the batter holds his hands in the position I advocate-just below the level of the Power Shoulder -he need only adjust the hands for pitches in the strike zone that are above the belt line. The Power Shoulder is the one opposite to the shoulder above the arm that guides the bat.
Below the belt line, he should bend his knees so that the bat still remains level with the ground as it goes around. Except when trying to place-hit, always hit the ball in front, or to the pitcher's side of the plate.
Ball players talk a great deal about "pulling" the ball and "hitting to right", or "hitting to left". For a young hitter, he should : "hit the ball where it is pitched." That means this to a right hand hitter (the opposite to a left-hander): If the ball is "outside", hit directly into right field. If it's inside, hit into left field. If it's over the center of the plate, hit into center field.
By doing this you can hit with full power and have a better chance of getting solid wood on the ball. You also keep the defense from "ganging" up on you.
A boy who always hits to the same base ball field is not as valuable to his team as the boy who hits to all fields. Practise hard to be that boy!
Want All The Tips And Tricks To Have You Playing Baseball Like A Pro?
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ruth_Cracknell
CoachesBest.com has great deals on the Hurricane Hitting Machine.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Baseball Blogs for Coaches - Free Training Tips, Coaching Articles and More
Check out these recommended blogs for baseball coaches.
Baseball Coaching and Training Equipment Blog
The Hurricane Hitting Machine - Derek Jeter Series - Training and Coaching Blog
BatAction Machine Baseball Training and Coaching Blog
Batting Cage Information and Know-how: Buying, Building and Using Your New Batting Cage
TeeBall Coaching Drills, Tips and Other Information
Baseball Training Homework For Youth Players Blog
Baseball Parents Guide To Helping a Player Improve Blog
Baseball Coaching, Training and Instruction
Check out these recommended blogs for baseball coaches.
Baseball Coaching and Training Equipment Blog
The Hurricane Hitting Machine - Derek Jeter Series - Training and Coaching Blog
BatAction Machine Baseball Training and Coaching Blog
Batting Cage Information and Know-how: Buying, Building and Using Your New Batting Cage
TeeBall Coaching Drills, Tips and Other Information
Baseball Training Homework For Youth Players Blog
Baseball Parents Guide To Helping a Player Improve Blog
Baseball Coaching, Training and Instruction
Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:10 AM
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Turn Batting Practice Into HITTING Practice
By Jim Moyer
If your batting practice consists of either having your pitcher or a coach pitch to the hitters I am going to change your life forever. Yes, there is a place for this type of practice session but it is RARE. There is no doubt that the more live pitching your hitters see the better they will be able to adjust to different pitchers in a game. HOWEVER, your players need repetition, muscle memory, and enough swings that the coach can determine the flaws in their swing and take corrective action.
The drawbacks of having your pitcher throw batting practice are numerous. Your pitcher probably only throws 50% to 60% of his/her pitches for strikes. That’s a LOT of dead time watching the pitcher throw and the catcher retrieving wild pitches. In a two hour practice each player might get to take ten swings. Hardly enough to build fundamentals or develop muscle memory. You are also faced with having a player get hit by a pitch and thereby become afraid of the ball — WHO NEEDS THAT?!?! And then there is the little problem of all of your other players becoming completely bored while they just stand around waiting and watching. And how about the psychological affect on your pitcher if the batters are hitting the ball…great, now your pitcher feels like a failure.
Okay, then how about if we have a coach pitch? It’s better than having your pitcher pitch but not much. Typically, coaches pitch much slower than what the players face in a game. The coach is relatively distracted from coaching the hitter because he is focused on trying to lob the ball over the plate. How can you watch the batter's feet, hip movement, and arm movement if you are concentrating on making a good pitch? And don’t be fooled into thinking the coach is throwing lots of strikes. Honestly, he’s probably not as consistent as the pitcher.
Enter the Louisville Slugger Pitching Machine. This tool has revolutionized batting practice for the average team. Don’t panic about the cost as it’s only about $150. If you don’t have the money tell the parents you are taking up a collection and everyone needs to chip in $15.00. It is absolutely the PERFECT batting practice tool. It is spring-loaded so you won’t need electricity. It’s very lightweight so it’s easy to carry to the field and it sets up in about 2 minutes. It throws all sizes of balls and you can control the speed from about 20 mph up to about 45 mph. If there is any way possible, you MUST get your hands on this pitching machine.
How is a spring loaded pitching machine going to help my team? You will easily triple the number of swings your hitters get to take. You can have any parent operate the machine which will free you up to stand near the hitter and observe and coach. No more wild pitches and wasting time while the catcher retrieves the ball. They are all strikes. This means your hitters will be hitting and your fielders will stay engaged and have more practice fielding. In case you just glanced over this, let me reiterate these two points: THE COACH CAN CONCENTRATE ON INSTRUCTING THE HITTER and THE HITTER GETS 3X AS MANY SWINGS.
"It’s easy to hit pitches that are grooved right down the middle." I hear that a lot and let me say that argument doesn’t hold water with the Louisville Slugger Pitching Machine and here is why: Ball Positioning. When you load the ball onto the throwing lever you can make the pitch break inside, outside, drop or rise. Yep, it’s true. Just load the ball with the seams rotated to the left or right for a breaking ball and rotate the seams forward or back for a high or low pitch.
For advanced batting practice you might be working on hitting all outside pitches, or all inside pitches. Try that with your girl pitcher or coach pitcher and see how much luck you have! More than likely you will just end up frustrated at whoever is pitching and will not have achieved any of the practice you were hoping for. But with the right pitching achine, you can throw consistently to any part of the plate.
Still not convinced? I use the Louisville Slugger Pitching Machine to divide up my team and play scrimmages. We can usually play an inning in 8-10 minutes. It’s a great way to end a practice. With about 30 minutes left in practice just divide up and play three or four quick innings. The girls love it.
Still need more? I’ve even adjusted the settings on the Louisville Slugger pitching machine to throw fly balls. By the way, this is a great practice drill that can be run by any parent. Set the machine up around home plate, adjust the settings accordingly, throw a couple and go mark where the ball lands. Then from the spot where the ball lands, place a cone about 15’ in front, behind, to the left and to the right. The player stands at the cone and when you shoot the ball she runs to catch it, then she moves to another cone, etc. This is excellent practice for moving to the ball.
I LOVE this little pitching machine. It will increase your team’s batting average tremendously. I have used the Louisville Slugger Pitching Machine with girls age 7 all the way to age 14. It’s going to turn your batters into HITTERS and it’s going to turn your boring batting practice into a time of real achievement and fun.
Oh, did I mention this little rule? In Fastpitch Softball, whoever scores the most runs is the winner. Increase your softball team’s hitting skills and you will most definitely WIN MORE GAMES.
Jim Moyer is the author of http://www.mysoftballcoach.com
Having coached over 500 youth fastpitch softball games, Jim decided to put the information online to allow parent/coaches to draw on his unique experience.
Visit http://www.mysoftballcoach.com/softball-equipment.html for reviews on more pitching machines and other essential coaching tools, and learn many skills, drills and game strategies to make your team a Winning team.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jim_Moyer
Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:18 AM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Examples of Hurricane Hitting Drills
The Hurricane Machine uses specially designed powerbands to return the ball after each swing. The machines action is a “wrapping and unwrapping” process. The batter must allow the machine to unwind between swings to allow the tension on the bands to release. If the batter hits the ball without allowing the machine to “unwrap” the powerbands will stretch too tight, fatigue, and break. Powerbands should last at least one year.
Drill: Hurricane “BP”
The most common and frequently used drill
The batter assumes a position with the ball-rod directed at the middle of the batters body. The batter starts the drill by hitting the ball the first time from the “still” position.
After the first swing the batter will step one step to the right or left. Right-handers move right and left-handers move left. This puts the batter in a position to insure proper contact is made with the ball component.
The batter continues to hit the ball as it comes by every third pass.
The batter must take the time to reset after each swing to insure proper hitting mechanics and fundamentals are being practiced.
When the ball is hit hard with a level swing, the ball will return level at a good speed.
If the ball is missed or miss-hit, the ball will “bounce or bobble” up and down.
When the ball is bouncing, the batter may wish to stop and start the drill over. The batter may choose to hit the ball as it bounces. This is a difficult and challenging task.
Drill: “Streak Drill”
Build skill and entertains at the same time.
The STREAK DRILL is a competitive drill that allows a batter to compete against the best previous score or against other batters.
The object of the drill is to hit the ball as many times as possible, in succession, without a clean miss. The number of times the batter makes contact with the ball, without a clean miss, is the batters STREAK NUMBER for the competition.
If the batter cleanly misses, the batters “time to hit” is over. It is now time for another batter to hit.
When two batters compete, the players take turns batting and competing to see who can build the longest hitting streak. Any bat contact with the ball keeps the “batters streak” alive.
If a batter touches the ball with a hand, a non-swung bat, or stops the ball in any other way, the batters streak is stopped. It is now the next batters turn to hit.
The batter should make sure to make contact with the ball component and not the shaft.
7. The batter must allow the machine to unwind between swings to allow the tension on the bands to release. If the batter hits the ball without allowing the machine to “unwrap” the powerbands will stretch to tight, fatigue, and break.
CoachesBest.com sells new Hurricane Machine and all Replacement parts.
Monday, April 20, 2009
By Nate Barnett
If I asked you to give a five minute lecture on hitting mechanics start to finish, could you do it? If the answer is yes, then you've undoubtedly done some research on the baseball swing. If the answer is no, then there is some work to be done, and you'll want to read on, especially if you're in a role where you provide any type of baseball instruction.
Coaches must be continual learners if they are going to stay in this game for long and attract some success. The most dangerous attitude anyone of influence can obtain is an attitude of arrival. Therefore, be a constant learner.
The baseball swing can be broken down into various parts and movements. The key for any good coach or athlete is to understand first what these parts are, and secondly, to understand the sequence of these moving parts throughout the swing. Without getting into depth on the specific parts in this article, my purpose in writing this is to introduce how energy is created within the baseball swing.
Much like other athletic activities the energy created to produce a quick swing comes from the back side of the body. The lower half of the back side of the hitter's body is responsible for generating momentum directed toward the pitch. This movement does not happen automatically, unfortunately. Most hitters begin their swing with the front side of the body or their hands which greatly reduces the speed of the baseball swing.
The two most common and incorrect swing starters are the hands and the front hip. Here are the drawbacks for using those parts to begin the energy creation process.
Hands: The baseball swing is a movement where energy is created from the ground up. The back knee turns first, back hip second, and hands third. While this sequence happens very quickly, it's important that it remain consistent. The reason is because this process creates torque. It is a core body movement that creates a whip action and propels the bat into the zone. If the hitter's hands are responsible for generating power, little power can be generated comparatively.
Front Hip: As explained above, the back side of the body creates energy. Therefore, if the front hip of the hitter begins to rotate at the same time of the back side of the body, momentum begins to move away from the play instead of being directed at hitting the baseball.
Consistent drill work should be focused on minimizing the above two movements. While Little Leaguers can get away with some of these mistakes and have relative success, athletes in high school cannot. Therefore, the best time to correct these incorrect movements is between the ages of 10 and 15.
About the Author
Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at http://bmibaseball.com/blog
His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.
Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.
Friday, April 17, 2009
By Chip Lemin
Greetings to all coaches,
To help your players develop more power in their swings, you must instruct them to have balance throughout the entire swing. In the previous article,on 2-14-08, I discussed the stance of the hitter. This includes even weight distribution right from the trigger of the swing. In order to generate power, the swing must be compact and short. Yes players with long swings will generate power also, but they generally will not make as much consistent contact.
Many youth baseball players will have far too much hand and foot movement to achieve balance throughout the entire swing. These players could get away with these flaws when pitchers are just trying to throw strikes in younger leagues. As pitchers develop velocity and location these flaws will be exposed.Some young players will resist keeping their hands held up high. They resist keeping their shoulders stacked up over their feet. They may not have a wide enough base in their stance. These players like to stride out at the ball. A small controlled stride is acceptable. Many newer coaches are unaware that a long stride will hamper the player's power base.Many of the top youth baseball hitters will no stride at all. They may use some front foot movement as a timing trigger to begin to "load up' their swing.
I became a student of the baseball swing to learn all I could. When your gets professional instruction (which I encourage) pay close attention,and take notes.Many of the instructors are great sources of knowledge who are willing to help you too. After all, it is in their best interest for your players to improve. It is a reflection on his talent as an instructor.It may mean more business for him.It is the player's responsibility to work on their swing. You can give them the tools and information. You can attempt to inspire them to work harder. Don't feel any guilt about a player's swing if they are not putting in extra work to improve.
Players must look at the pitcher with both eyes. Too often the player's shoulder position will be turned so that both eyes are not on the ball. These batters may have hit the ball well at lower even with these flaws,it may take some strikeouts or weakly hit balls to get their attention. Just be a patient instructive leader. Focus on what the batter is doing right first, then move on to correcting mistakes. Most young players don't get proper extension and follow through on their swings.They may be trying too hard to pull all pitches. This is a common mistake. When players wrap the bat around on their follow through, and it ends up below the front shoulder, it is a sign that they are "pulling off "of the ball. The finish should be up high, with the bat and the hands up near or above the front shoulder.
Power is not always generated just by size. It is a function of bat speed.The quicker the bat head can get into the hitting zone the better. The batter's hands must lead into the zone, and the hips and torso will follow. The player must focus on extension through the entire hitting zone. This will help the player to finish the swing with a nice high follow through. Then the hips and torso will come along also. Professional instruction with a qualified instructor is worth every cent. I believe the coaching staff will get just as much help from it as the players. There will be more articles on hitting for youth baseball players coming up soon. 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
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Chip_Lemin
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Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:22 AM
Thursday, April 16, 2009
By Marty Schupak
In my eighteen years of coaching youth baseball, I am always looking for the most efficient practice methods for every aspect of baseball. It took me only a few years to realize that most youth baseball coaches and myself were running batting practice, not incorrectly, but not efficiently. From what I have seen with the typical batting practice, a coach will pitch a predetermined number of balls for each batter with the fielders fielding the hit balls and throwing them to first base. Usually the coach will yell something like “run the last one out”, and the batter does just that. If the ball is an infield hit, they try to throw him out at first. If it is hit into the outfield, he usually runs until he is thrown out. This is all well and good intentioned, but it is wasting valuable time when a coach wants to run an efficient practice.
Here is the most efficient way of running a batting practice that I’ve come up with. First of all, let me say this. Batting practice is just what it is, batting practice. Batting practice is not fielding practice or base running practice. So all youth coaches and parents should really define what a youth batting practice is and what they want to get out of it.
Most of my youth practices do not run more than one hour. Every minute of wasted time will affect all other aspects and time of any other drills or techniques I want to accomplish. The first thing a coach needs to have is an over abundance of baseballs. The league will provide baseballs but I always make sure I purchase a few dozen extras. I try to work with three-dozen and keep an extra dozen in my trunk. And don’t think I’m not frugal accounting for every baseball at the end of practice. I try to make sure we find each one, and after practice, we comb the field to make sure we got them all. Usually we find extras and end up with more than what we started with.
Now, here is the actual logistics and set up that I do about 95% of the time I run batting practice. I’m a big proponent of bunting. I set up two cones on the third base line, about six feet apart, approximately where the bunt is suppose to go. I set up two empty buckets, one about three feet behind second base and the other one at the far base of the mound toward second. I have another bucket with the baseballs on the mound easily accessible to me. Now, this is a key. As a youth coach who wants a well-run practice and a lot of repetitions for the kids, I move up almost to the front base of the mound to pitch. I do this mainly so I can throw strikes consistently. For safety purposes, an “L” screen would be required from a shorter distance for safety. If your league doesn’t have any, make them get them.
I have the first person up at bat with the 2nd and 3rd player ready to go. I have the 3rd hitter (or double on deck hitter) on the outside of the screen hitting balls on a batting tee using pickle balls (plastic) or wiffle balls with another parent feeding the balls on the tee. I always have the number 2, or on deck hitter, ready to hit.
The batter bunts the first to pitches. For each successful bunt, the player receives an extra swing. I usually give a player five swings besides his two bunts. So if a player lays one bunt between the cones, he get six regular swings. If he lays both bunts between the cones, he gets seven swings (the maximum per hitter). Now, there are certain things that have to happen to make this work. Remember there are two buckets strategically located. After the bunts, when the hitter swings away, wherever the ball is hit, the fielder tosses it into the bucket closet to him. If it is hit to the outfield, he will throw the ball as close to the bucket behind second base. If he hits it to the infield, the fielder will toss it to the bucket behind the pitcher’s mound. Reinforce to the players that they must toss to the bucket on one or two bounces or they will tend to play basketball with the baseball and bucket.
Now the point here is that the fielders do not make a play to first and the hitter does not run the last one out. We get more repetitions in a short period of time. The players are always facing the hitter. One might ask, isn’t this boring for most of the players in the field? Well, not really. Because of the amount of balls hit in a short period of time, the ball is usually hit all over the place. And the coach throwing batting practice will keep one or two extra balls in his glove and is ready to pitch the next ball right away. When out of baseballs, have the players in the infield hustle to gather up the balls, combine buckets, and we’re ready to go again. This works great!
Batting practice is a favorite of any baseball player at almost every level. Do not deny batting practice at any practice. And always look for the most efficient, safest procedure to help enhance your whole practice.
Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills", "Winning Baseball Strategies", "Hitting Drills & Techniques" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is a principle for Videos For Coaches and is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marty_Schupak
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Derek Jeter Hurricane SELF-TRAINER hitting machine is a horizontal-action hitting machine. The patented Hurricane Machine and its patented ancestors, the HIT2WIN TRAINER and the HITTING STICK TRAINER , stand alone in the market place when it comes to rod-controlled, horizontal-action hitting devices.
Coach Nick Dixon pioneered this innovative concept in the late eighties. The products benefits have made it one of the most popular youth coaching tools on the market today. It offers two distinct advantages over the many vertical-action machines that you see frequently advertised.
You should closely review these two features because they are the two main reasons Hurricane MACHINE OWNERS regularly out perform other hitters, game after game, season after season. The two advantages are:
1) ACCURATE FEEDBACK- When a hitter swings the bat, it is extremely important that he or she know the quality of the swing. It is this feedback that allows the batter to self-evaluate and determine the level of performance.
If you swung the bat 100 times and regardless of the quality, power, and angle, of your swing, the ball went up 100 times in a row, would you feel like a better hitter? If you dont think that sounds like much fun, stop to think, that is exactly what you get from a vertical-loop apparatus. On a perfect swing the ball goes up. On a poor swing the ball goes up. Wouldn't that get boring for you?
Could you tell how many line-drives, pop-ups, or groundballs you hit in those 100 swings. With the Hurricane SELF-TRAINER machine, you can read your contact on every swing. You get instant feedback on every swing. There is no better way to learn hitting. Plus, you'll never get bored seeing how many line-drives you can hit. The Hurricane Machine offers fun practice, instant gratification, and true quality assessment. Youll never need anything more out of a hitting machine.
2)MAXIMUM TIME OF BAT-TO-BALL CONTACT-When you hit a baseball, the longer your bat stays in contact with the ball, the better the swing feels. This bat-to-ball contact time, an occurrence that I like to call bang-time is what allows you to get that full sweet-spot sensation. I know you have heard what a hitter often says when he experiences this sensation. He will smile and say, Man, that felt good! I got every bit of that ball with that swing!
The Hurricane MACHINE allows you to get every bit, of every ball, on every swing. If you take a line-drive swing, the ball will travel on a line-drive trajectory off your bat. You will get the full sensation of hitting a real line drive. Only The Hurricane MACHINE, with its horizontally suspended ball, offers the batter this sensation in practice swing.
The vertical-loop machines have a rope, cord, cable, string, or strap that restricts the balls movement off the bat. The vertical connecting cable is going to jerk the ball upward and off the bat as you swing through the strike zone. The cable stops the forward motion of the bat, every time. This cheats the hitter of the ability to judge his swing bang time and prevents him from getting the great full-pull sensation of maximum bat-to-ball contact time. If you want to practice hitting line drives and grounders, buy a machine that will allow you to do so. The Hurricane MACHINE is just such a machine!
A good coaching tool and practice machine allows you to see a little improvement each day as you work and practice. You can only see improvement if you can self-evaluate your performances on a swing to swing basis. It is that feedback that makes Hurricane
MACHINE owners such confidence hitters with high self esteems.
Buy your new Hurricane Machine and Hurricane Machine Replacement Parts at the Baseball Dealz Super Store.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
1. Good balance is a key for everything in sport, so mention the term balance to the baseball hitter whenever they seem to be off balance or out of control.
2. Whenever possible, perform quality batting tee work, or flip drill work, before batting practice begins. Quality is apparent when the hitter hits line drives on the sweet spot of the bat in the direction of where the ball is pitched, or located on the tee. A pitched ball will help the hitter's timing but drill work, done correctly, will improve the hitter's fundamentals. In the long run, cutting back on regular batting practice and doing more good drill work will pay off. Using a lighter bat than normal or using aluminum instead of wood will allow the hitter to save strength, and be able to work longer at their fundamentals.
3. When a batter is in the on deck circle and swinging to loosen up, teach them to swing the bat to different locations. Most hitters take their practice swings in the exact same groove, time after time and then have trouble hitting balls that are not in their groove. Many hitters also swing a heavy bat when on-deck, which tends to slow the swing and tire the muscles. A few swings with the heavy bat are ok, but using the on deck circle to observe the pitcher and practice swinging to different pitch locations would be better use of the time.
4. The hands of the hitter should be the first part of the body to get tired when swinging. When the player's hands begin to tire, have the hitter take a break or wait for another day to work on their hitting. If another area of the hitter's body gets tired first, then the hitter's swing probably needs adjusting.
5. The following are great baseball swing advice that anyone can use and sayings that will make you sound like you know what you are talking about. See the ball, stay back, use your hands, track the ball to contact, and maintain balance.
Finally, the common saying "if it ain't broke, there's nothing to fix" is important to remember. When a player is having success, and in a good groove, let them ride it out, doing just enough to stay sharp. Often, I have seen hitters "practice" their way out of a good groove. Hitters should save the heavy work load for the times when they are struggling with their swing or confidence.
Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte
Thursday, April 9, 2009
By Mike Liberatore
When you are making a recruiting video for college baseball coaches, the most important thing a player can do is to show their tools. This means, how can you show a coach your ability to hit for average, hit for power, run, throw, and play defense? Some of this is difficult to convey when a coach is watching you on video in a workout format as opposed to in-person at a game. Today, we will look at how to incorporate your batspeed in a recruiting video, and why.
First of all, it is important to realize that many coaches and scouts value batspeed for a hitter in the same way they view velocity for a pitcher. It is that important. As it is with pitchers, velocity is not the only indicator of success or ability, but it shows the coach that a player has the necessary tools to develop their talent. The reason a coach wants to see a players batspeed readings is that it is a good indicator of a player's ability to hit for power (one of your 5 tools) at the next level. Again, this would be similar to a pitcher with higher velocity being likely to have a higher strikeout rate. Players love to send coaches their stats or newspaper clippings, especially those regarding home runs, but if that player comes to a tryout and swings a bat 75mph, their likelihood of being a power hitter in college are very low. It does not mean that the player will not develop into a good hitter, but that they more likely project to a top or bottom of the lineup player as opposed to the middle of the order. Interestingly, batspeed and pitching velocity seems to correlate fairly closely. The majority of high schoolers will swing a bat in the high 70's to low 80's. The majority of college players will reside in the mid to high 80's and the elite players will swing in the 90's and sometimes over 100mph. Batspeed of over 100mph is much more common than pitching velocity in that range, which is basically exclusive to the major league level.
There are a few easy ways to illustrate your batspeed for a college coach, and you really don't need a ton of high tech equipment. You will need a wood bat, a ball, a digital video camera, a radar gun, and maybe a tee if you choose to use one. Most high school coaches have a radar gun that a player could borrow, and worst case scenario one could be rented. In order to get the actual batspeed (as opposed to the exit velocity of the ball), you will want to kneel behind the hitter and point the radar gun at them. Assume the position of the catcher. The camera should be pointed at the player with the radar gun in the frame. If necessary, you can zoom in on the reading after each swing. The player can then hit soft toss or off of a tee. You should attempt to hit low line drives straight back through the back of the batting cage. This will also teach a hitter good mechanics, as they will quickly find that a longer swing will typically have lower batspeed. Remember, it is important to get the reading from behind the player as opposed to off to the side or from a pitchers view. Having the radar gun in those locations will measure "exit velocity", which is different from batspeed. Exit velocity measures how fast the ball travels off of the bat, as opposed to how fast the player swings the bat. Generating great exit velocity is a huge plus, but it will be easier to demonstrate batspeed since exit velocity can sometimes be dependent on the velocity of the incoming pitch.
Please check back for our upcoming articles on demonstrating the other four tools in video format, how to properly edit the video, and how to ensure it is viewed by college baseball coaches.
Mike Liberatore is a former college baseball player, AAU baseball coach, and owner/operator of http://www.baseballrecruitsonline.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Liberatore
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
By Brock Gibson
By how much might a typical bat improve with use? A recent Master's Thesis from the Washington State University studied the performance of composite slow-pitch softball bats and the performance gains through various ways a bat might be modified. Three bats that were broken-in naturally by hitting balls. First, the bats were performance tested brand new, right out of the wrapper, in accordance with the high-speed cannon test (ASTM F2219) used by the ASA to certify bats. Then each bat was used to hit ASA certified 0.44 COR 375lb softballs 500 times in an indoor batting cage. Balls were pitched slow-pitch style, and batters were amateurs. After 500 hits the bats were ball speed tested again. Then another 500 hits and another performance check, and so on until 2000 hits were accumulated.
The outcome shows that all three of the bats showed noticeable gains of 2.5-3.5 mph in batted-ball speed after the first 500 hits, followed by a slight decrease in performance after 1000 hits. The evidence seemed clear - the performance of a bat can get better by quite a bit after the bat has been broken in naturally by using it to hit balls. What does a 3.5mph increase in batted-ball speed mean in terms of performance? The difference between a softball launching off a bat at 98-mph and a softball launching at 102.5-mph is about 31 feet in distance traveled. That could very easily be the difference between a pop fly to the outfield and a homer.
This improvement after break in poses a dilema for associations with bat performance standards and certification. All three bats started out meeting the 98-mph criteria tested new. However, after 500 hits, all bats are now above the 98-mph line. The ASA requires that a bat pass the certification test at any time during its useful life. So, from the ASA viewpoint, these bats three bats are no longer legal bats after they have been broken in. This is largely why the ASA has moved to begin breaking in bats prior to sending them out for certification testing - and why very few composite bats are able to pass the 98-mph certification performance standard after being broken-in.
Learn more about rolled bats
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brock_Gibson
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Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:23 AM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
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Monday, April 6, 2009
Pitchers' injuries an `alarming epidemic'
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 JON SOLOMON News staff writer
For 151 pitches, Louisiana State pitcher Derik Olvey refused to give up the ball April 9. He realized LSU's game against Tennessee was on television, meaning his grandfather, dying of cancer in Alabama, might be watching.
"I really wasn't pitching for myself," said Olvey, a graduate of Pelham High School. "I told the coaches as long as I could throw the ball over the plate and they were comfortable with me out there, keep me in there."
Despite a history of elbow problems and having thrown 129 pitches the previous week, Olvey kept going in the 6-2 LSU win. He allowed five runs on six hits on 18 pitches in his next start, and then noticed his velocity drop 6 miles per hour between innings.
Eventually, Olvey felt like a knife was stabbing his pitching elbow, and he could not lob the ball 60 feet. Olvey has no regrets. His grandfather watched the 151-pitch game on tape before dying the next day.
But on May 12, Olvey had the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow restructured - commonly known as "Tommy John surgery" - and became another in the line of young pitchers having surgeries. Dr. James Andrews calls the trend "an alarming epidemic."
Between 2000 and 2004, Andrews, a renowned Birmingham surgeon, performed elbow operations on six times more high school pitchers and four times more college pitchers than from 1995 to'99. Elbow surgeries on pro pitchers only doubled.
"I open up these kids and they look like they have a 30-year-old pitching elbow, and they're 16 years old," Andrews said. "If we try to hide our head in the sand and not recognize these kids are getting hurt more, we're probably not doing our job."
At least 19 percent of pitchers on SEC rosters entering 2006 have had arm surgery, either before or during college, according to a survey of the league's 12 teams. That doesn't begin to count those who have missed extensive time with injuries and will need surgery in the future.
"That's way too high," Andrews said. "What the NCAA coaches should be worried about is with the escalating injuries in high school, all of a sudden, they're not going to have enough good, healthy pitchers to fill their slots."
At today's SEC Tournament will be Kentucky's Craig Snipp, who is three years removed from elbow surgery and among the ERA leaders in the SEC.
And Georgia's Mickey Westphal, who had shoulder surgery in 2004 and is 6-0 with a 4.76 ERA this season.
And Arkansas' Charley Boyce, who had a bone spur removed from his pitching elbow in 2005 and has an ERA two runs greater than his career 3.40 mark.
And, most painfully, eight of South Carolina's 19 pitchers have had surgeries on their pitching arm.
"I know we've been extremely cautious over the years and we still get guys hurt," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said. "I probably would recruit them the same way if I did it again. Because you just don't know for sure. The arm wasn't designed to throw a baseball."
Pitchers and parents carry dreams of winning championships and securing pro contracts or college scholarships. But the kids are also carrying too heavy a workload at young ages, according to some doctors and coaches.
It's happening all over the game. Within the Atlanta Braves' organization, 29 of 119 pitchers (24 percent) have had arm surgery, according to data from the club's front office.
Improved recognition of injuries and the status of popular surgeons such as Andrews certainly factor into more surgeries, Andrews acknowledged. But he has found enough anecdotal evidence of surgery increases across the country to believe improved recognition rates can't be solely responsible.
A study by the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), Andrews' Birmingham-based lab, found college-age pitchers who report throwing regularly with arm fatigue are 36 times more likely to have surgery than rested pitchers. College-age pitchers are also five times more likely to have surgery if they play more than eight months a year.
"Of the college pitchers who come for surgery, none of them looks like a clean break," said Dr. Glenn Fleisig, chairman of research at ASMI. "They all look like their tendon or ligament is frayed. You can tell that's from overuse, one throw after another."
Andrews said the high school pitchers he operates on average one week off (typically between Christmas and New Year's) during a 12-month period.
College coaches are becoming increasingly frustrated about inheriting damaged goods without knowing it. Kentucky coach John Cohen said the sport needs more than the NCAA maximum 11.7 scholarships to account for the rash of injuries.
"In order for us not to abuse arms, we have to have enough arms to go around so you don't have to pitch guys routinely," Cohen said.
Because of overuse, many college coaches say they now prefer pitchers who play multiple sports rather than those who throw a baseball year-round.
"They play too much," Georgia coach David Perno said. "... High school coaches overthrow them because they don't care about summer ball. Summer coaches overthrow them because they don't care about high school ball. It's a vicious cycle."
Thirty years ago, Tommy John surgery might have meant the end of a pitcher's career. A decade ago, the success rate was 60 percent. Today, there's an 85 percent chance of recovery.
Players roll the dice with those odds - too much so for Andrews' liking, even if it is good for business.
"Some of these young kids are jumping up and down when you finally tell them, `Yes, you've hurt your ligament and we'll reconstruct it,'" Andrews said. "Some are not even giving themselves time to get well with a minor injury. They want an operation because they hear Tommy John's operation will make them a better pitcher. That's a misconception."
The majority of Tommy John pitchers will get well and possibly return to form. But if they become better pitchers, doctors say, that's only because of rehabilitation, the natural maturation of the arm, and much-needed rest.
Perno recently concluded that recovering from shoulder surgeries is more difficult than rebounding from elbow procedures.
"The kids who had shoulder surgery have never regained the velocity, unlike Tommy John," Perno said.
Alabama pitcher Allen Ponder, who had a labrum, biceps tendon and rotator cuff repaired in 2004, can relate. Once a big-time recruit as Alabama's "Mr. Baseball" in 2002, Ponder didn't pitch this season due to recurring shoulder pain.
Starting at 14 years old, Ponder rotated from high school to travel league teams. He would pitch five-plus innings in seven-inning tournament games, and then sometimes work in relief the next day.
"I always felt great. I had no idea that what I was doing might have caused wear and tear. But I have no regrets. As a kid, you just want to play."
Olvey remembers his elbow injury escalated the summer before enrolling at Notre Dame, where he missed 47 games as a freshman before transferring to LSU. He essentially went 18 months without a break while adjusting to the rigorous conditioning program at Notre Dame as a freshman.
The high pitch counts this season "might have been the thing that finally said, `OK, I can't recover from it anymore," Olvey said.
Given what they know now, Ponder and Olvey said they wouldn't change how they were used, even though the result is a seat on the bench for this week's SEC Tournament.
Andrews worries many well-intended coaches and parents are not educated about the dangers. He worries a generation of young pitchers could be prevented from participating in recreational sports as adults, much less become the next Roger Clemens.
"At some point you have to figure out whether you want to be a star in the Little League World Series or in the real World Series," Andrews said. "They don't necessarily match."
Friday, April 3, 2009
Great Drill for Hitters, Catchers, and Pitchers!
The pitcher is throwing to a catcher as he normally would in pitching practice or bull-pen work. The pitcher is throwing at his normal pitching distance. The purpose of the drill is to increase a pitcher's level of concentration, to work a catcher, and to allow one batter or two batters learn to "track" every pitch.
Variation #1: One Batter - Right or Left handed
C ---------------- P
Variation #2: Two Batters - One Right and One Left handed
C ------------------------- P
Variation #1 - One batter is standing in and tracking every pitch from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt. The batter does not have a bat. The batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batter will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and eyes on the ball all of the way. The batter must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the second paragraph below.
Variation #2 - Two batters are standing in the batter's box without bats. Each batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batters will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and his eyes on the ball all of the way. The batters must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the paragraph below.
Next the batters will swing away with their "imaginary" bats. The batters will read the location of each pitch the pitcher throws and hit the ball where it is pitched. When two batters are tracking, they will do opposites. One will pull a pitch in a location that his tracking partner will hit to the opposite field.
The coach can call out a count such as 2-0, 3-1, 1-2, and 0-2 to allow the batters, pitchers, and catchers certain mind-sets in different situations.
Note: If your hitters are too young to perform this drill, have a coach to stand in. The coach may wish to wear a helmet and wear a glove for protection. This is a tough drill, but it is great for developing concentration. Make sure all batters wear helmets and other proper protective equipment.
Coaching Point: The hitters do not hold a bat. The batters will swing a "invisible" bat. They must attack and hit every pitch according to its location. This drill is great for teaching hitters to see spin and to teach them to see a pitchers release point.
Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:32 AM
Thursday, April 2, 2009
By Kenny Buford
Simply choosing the right bat for a player can make a huge difference in how they swing and what kind of results they get. The bat determines the velocity of the swing, the strength of the impact with the ball and how far the ball will go. It also controls the aim of the ball and affects the beginning of the batter's sprint to first base. Because the bat affects so many aspects of the game, having the right bat is essential.
There are two main characteristics to look for with a bat: length and weight. A bat that is too short will not allow the batter to hit all the balls in their strike zone, even if the batter knows they should be able to reach it. It might cause them to reach for the ball, which throws off their stance, rhythm, and ability to get behind the ball with real power.
A bat that is too long is often also too heavy. This will make the swing slower and the motion clumsier. A bat that is too long also puts the batter at danger for hitting the ball with the wrong section of the bat, making the ball go in a different direction than intended.
To pick a bat that is the right length for the player, batters should stand in the middle of the batter's box and place the bat against the inside corner of home plate. The knob of the bat should come to the batter's palm. If the bat is too short, it will only reach to the fingers. If the bat is too long, it will go up to their wrist and beyond.
A bat's weight is extremely important to the overall swing and success of the bat. For example, think of the past baseball scandals where major league players have been caught with cork in their bats to make them lighter and easier to swing. There is a reason these things are illegal in the game-they give the batter an unfair advantage by giving them a bat light enough to swing extremely hard, which gives the batter a higher chance of hitting a home run because of the added power behind the ball.
Normal bats are 8-10 ounces less in weight than their length in inches. So, for example, a bat that is 30 inches long will probably weight about 20 ounces. A bat that is too heavy will slow down the swing and make it very difficult for batters to maintain proper form during the stance and swing. Starting with improper form only leads to improper form in swinging, which reduces the chances for a well-hit ball that will result in a base hit.
A bat that is too light will cause batters to swing too fast, which also affects rhythm and keeps the batter from doing their job. A light bat also sometimes causes the shoulders to get ahead of the hips. In an effective swing, the hips should lead the rest of the body. If the shoulders get around too quickly, the swing will not have proper power, as much of the batter's power comes from the action of the hips, which lead the lower body.
Aluminum vs. Wood
The composition of the bat is also worth noting and discussing. Depending on league or association rules, your batters may not have a choice in what type of bat they choose. However, for other teams, this will be a matter of serious consideration.
Aluminum bats are the newest technology in hitting and have changed the way many batters do business. They do not require the same kind of perfect mechanics that a wood bat requires because they are lighter and have a different location of balance, which can lead to poor technique if not taught properly.
The main difference between an aluminum bat and a wood one is the weight. Aluminum bats are much lighter than wood bats and can be a big help in letting batters swing faster and hit the ball farther.
Because the aluminum bat is lighter, players can make last minute adjustments to the swing better than they can with a wood bat. Once a wood bat gets going, it is hard to make adjustments, while an aluminum bat allows this freedom. An aluminum bat is also easier to get moving because of its reduced weight, so players can take more time deciding whether or not to swing, and if so, how to swing.
However, a wood bat has the potential to hit the ball farther because of its density and weight. A wood bat moving at the same speed as an aluminum bat will hit the ball harder because of its composition.
For some, aluminum bats are better because they are generally easier to swing. This does not mean they are lighter; while most are lighter, some heavier aluminum bats are easier to swing than their lighter wood counterparts simply because of how the weight is distributed within the bat. The closer the center of mass is to the handle, the easier the bat will be to swing. In general, the center of mass is much higher in aluminum bats than wood bats.
Wood bats also absorb more of the power of the ball, leaving less to be projected forward as the ball leaves the bat. Aluminum bats have what some call the "trampoline effect," where the ball hits the bat and is thrown back out like a trampoline spring compressing and releasing.
With aluminum bats becoming more popular and allowing batters to hit faster, longer balls, many associations and leagues have developed rules regarding the use of aluminum bats. Make sure that you and your players are aware of all rules governing your team's play so that you do not cause a problem by using the wrong bat.
For most high schools, the length-to-weight ratio determines a bat's usability. The length-to-weight ratio is determined by taking the length, such as 32 inches, and subtracting the weight, such as 29 ounces. In this example, the length-to-weight ratio is a -3. Negative three is the common accepted ratio for high school play.
Anything with a -4 ratio or higher is simply too light for play in high school or equivalent teams. Batters with the ability to swing that fast and that hard pose a risk to other players. Be sure to know the proper ratio for your players based on their age, height, and weight, so that you can find the proper bat for them.
Try Out Bats
No player is going to know right away which bat is best for them. Comfort is more important than almost anything else when choosing a bat, and both players and coaches should recognize the necessity of trying out several bats before choosing a favorite.
Just as hockey players would not choose just any pair of skates, batters cannot pick up just any bat. It must feel right in weight, size, and during the swing. Players should do whatever they can to simulate a real swing so that they will know what bat they are most comfortable with.
Kenny Buford is a baseball coach with over 20 years of experience and a founding member of Baseball Inner Circle. Discover the ultimate source for baseball drills, videos, and coaching tips that will immediately improve your players' skills and win more games for your team:
Baseball Inner Circle
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kenny_Buford
Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:24 AM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
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