Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine by SKLZ

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thinking About Standing Tall For Better Baseball Hitting

By Chris Moheno

Great baseball pitching, of course, is needed to counteract great baseball hitting. But there is some difference of perspective among those who are involved in professional baseball training about one of the most fundamental issues regarding baseball pitching mechanics: whether or not one should "stand tall and stay back" when on the mound.

Now, pitching coaches generally contrast standing tall against pitchers whom they describe as "drop-and-dive". Drop-and-dive pitchers are represented in the Hall of Fame by such greats as Tom Seaver, Robin Roberts, and Sandy Koufax. But, the conventional wisdom generally adhered to by baseball pitching coaches is that a few Hall of Fame pitchers who had unusual capabilities do not a rule make.

"What you want to see out of power pitchers is that once that stride leg starts lowering, the lower body really goes fast, and they land on a flexed leg...The drop-and-drive is definitely something you wouldn't want to teach. Nobody pitches that way anymore, because in the drop-and-drive, you don't really use your body. It doesn't allow the core muscles of your body to get up and over a braced front leg," insists Amherst College's head baseball coach Bill Thurston.

And University of Kansas pitching coach Steve Abney adds, "Tom Seaver was a drop-and-drive guy, but he was a power-armed, 5' 11", 215-pound guy who could get his arm through. By staying tall and not dropping-and-driving, you allow the arm to get out of the glove and get your fingers on top of the baseball."

Another Hall of Fame Pitcher, the all-time strikeout and no-hitter king Nolan Ryan, credited with having thrown the officially-clocked fastest pitch ever (101 mph), is often cited as the exemplar of the mechanical advantage given to the pitcher who stands tall and stays back. It's well known that Ryan said that the most important part of his body when it came to pitching was not his arm--it was his legs. And when Ryan finished his delivery to the mound, he would be standing stork-like on his front leg, the rest of his body curled up around and on top of that powerful leg. "One thing [Nolan Ryan] told me about his delivery was that he wanted to do as much work out front as possible...Pitchers who drop-and-drive need to alter their posture to get that momentum going again. Keep all the energy you've worked hard to recruit," insists Bioforce Baseball's Bill Mooney.

However, this attitude about standing tall is by no means universally held by baseball training professionals.

Indeed, Nolan Ryan is used as an exemplar of what not to do by those who are antagonistic toward the methodology as he is use as a paragon of perfection by those who are its proponents. The point out that for all of his no-hitters, Ryan never threw a perfect game; and while he's the strikeout king, he's also the all-time walks king. Ryan, who is widely regarded as the greatest power pitcher there ever was, did have a human flaw after all: he did not always have the greatest control. And for those who don't like standing tall in pitching, this was because Ryan didn't do enough practice time on the baseball mound. Not because the great one wasn't training: but he had a personal trainer who believed in cross-training and working out pitchers on flat ground. Ryan spent a lot of training time throwing footballs from a flat-footed position. And they say that as great as he was, Ryan was harmed, not helped, by this training approach, even if he gained leg strength from it.

They also point out that in actual fact, Ryan did not pitch from a downward angle. And, nor did Koufax. Nor did Steve Carlton. Neither do Josh Beckett, "Dice K." , or the great heat-throwing closer Pedro Martinez. Instead, they insist that these great, powerful pitchers gain their ball velocity from long strides--not from standing tall and staying back except for at the very beginning of their wind-up. Proponents of this "lean forward" baseball pitching philosophy also point out that by leaning forward the pitcher is releasing the ball at a closer range to the plate--and while it's only a slight difference, given how fast the reaction times in baseball need to be, this closer-range release point does throw off hitters.

In fact, Koufax (whose single season strikeout record was broken by one pitch by Ryan in 1972) wrote in his 2002 book 'Sandy Koufax, a Lefty's Legacy', "If you look at pictures of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, myself, the back leg is on the ground. You have to get your center of gravity low so that when you're throwing the ball, you're throwing it straight out, rather than down. You can't defy gravity."

What all baseball training coaches want their pitchers to do to create great pitching is: improve the mobility and rotational velocity of their hips and thoracic spine; increase their stores of kinetic energy and their ground reaction forces; and improve the coordination they have between their arms, torso, hips, and ball. Does standing tall and staying back facilitate this the best, or no? Maybe it all comes down to the individual; or, maybe many coaches are mistaken.

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.

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Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible bat speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baseball Hitting Like a Pro

By Jack D. Elliott

Baseball Hitting is very challenging. Professional hitters are considered good if they get a hit 3 out of every 10 at bats. This essentially means they fail 70% of the time. With this type of rejection rate, it is easy to see why younger players can get frustrated with limited results. The good news is this will not be you if you are willing to put in some practice and apply our tips.

1. Get Lessons From a Top Baseball Hitting Instructor early in your career. A good hitting coach can help improve your swing and teach you the proper mechanics from the very start of your career. This will save you time and energy by doing it the right way first. Although the cost of the lessons may seem initially high, this will be quickly recouped when you start to see your batting average rise and begin to hit them deep.

2. Practice your Swing daily. Never let a lack of access to the batting cage or batting practice prevent you from practicing your swing. Just simply swinging the bat 100 times each day will provide loads of benefits for you. This repetitive practice will make your swing more natural and automatic in games and you will end up having some additional benefits of gradual improvements in your bat speed and arm strength.

3. Review your Swing regularly. Be sure to videotape your swing and determine if you are picking up bad habits. Also, periodically follow-up with your hitting instructor. This should be an ongoing relationship where he acts your mentor. You can provide him with the tape and he can point what he thinks maybe some things you can focus on.

4. Be loyal to your Hitting Coach. Although it may seem like a good idea to ask for multiple opinions on your swing, it is best to take advice only from one or two people. If you have chosen a top hitting coach from the start, it only makes sense to take your cues from him and follow his advice. Avoid other well intentioned advice from less experienced players and coaches if it is in conflict with your hitting coach. Remember your hitting coach's advice only helps you if you follow it.

5. Practice Bat Speed Drills. Plyometric exercises can go a long way toward developing your fast twitch muscles. This is very important in your batting swing where bat speed is determined by how fast your fast twitch arm muscles respond. By simply swinging lighter bats, you will begin teaching your fast twitch muscles valuable muscle memory. This will translate into faster bat speed when using your regular bat in games.

6. Mental Preparation is key. Much like a pitcher must learn to block out all background noise. You too must learn to block everything else out except for the delivery of the baseball. By simply repeating a simple mantra like "See the ball" again and again while you are batting, you will find your concentration improves and the background noise is filtered out. This improved concentration will translate into more consistent hitting for you.

These tips and drills are a good starting point to improve your hitting. However, to get the maximum benefits out of your hitting, you will need more specific Baseball Hitting Tips To get more tips like the ones in this article, please click on

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Baseball Drills - Offensive Pressure Creates Opportunities

By Nate Barnett

One of the best ways to force long innings (when you are on offense of course) and to win more games is to put added pressure on the defense. There are multiple ways of doing this, a couple of which are outlined here. Understanding the concerns of a defense and exploiting those concerns are valuable techniques any good coach will insert into his baseball drills.

Pressure Cooker #1 - Run Like the Wind:

Don't skip this part because you, your son, or the team you coach has little speed. You don't need any to understand this concept. The more offensive movement is created on the base paths, the more potential there is for defensive mistakes. Create movement the following ways:

A. Bigger lead offs. Most youth baseball players don't get a proper lead off at any base. Because of this, the defense doesn't feel the perceived threat of the runner. How long is a good lead? A runner should be able to rotate and dive (body fully extended) back to the bag in time if he is watching the right movements from the pitcher. Getting aggressive leads will do two things. First, it will force the pitcher to split concentration between the runner and the hitter. This will help out the hitter as pitch location may improve with the lack of focus from the pitcher. Secondly, the more throws drawn by the runner at first base (primarily) can results in potential overthrows as well as an increased opportunity to utilize a stolen base or a hit and run play.

B. Take aggressive turns on the bases. I frequently see many younger players after hitting a baseball, jog down to first base and take a small turn around first. This puts zero pressure on the defense. The first goal on any hit to the outfield is to reach second base. The mentality that every hit is a double will help runners become more aggressive. Obviously I'm not advocating running bases wildly, I'm simply promoting adding some extra heat on the defense to provoke some mistakes.

Pressure Cooker #2 - Have a Pitch Plan

It's quite common to watch hitters all the way through high school swing at pitches quite out of the zone. Most of the time this is caused from a lack of a game plan, or improper teaching during baseball drills. Each hitter should have a specific pitch plan based upon his hitting strengths. Every hitter has a special pitch, or one that is more favorable to hit than others. This needs to be the focus early in the count. No other pitches should be offered at early in the count other than the favorite pitch. The only thing that would change this scenario would be if a coach called some sort of offensive play.

A more selective approach to hitting will put pressure on defensive two different ways:

A. More pitches will be thrown by pitchers which will (hopefully) force a pitching change earlier in the game. Since more relievers in youth baseball are not as good as starters, this is a plus for the offense.

B. Getting better pitches to hit will create more baseballs in play. The more balls hit hard there are, the greater chance there is for a mistake by the defense.

Finally, there is no secret that perceived pressure causes more mistakes. If an offense can manufacture pressure and remain confident in doing so, they will enjoy watching an error filled defense play more timid and give games away.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Tips For Sports Parents Frustrated With Their Child's Effort

By Jack Perconte

In my many years of coaching, parents often stated similar concerns when it came to their young players practice and playing habits. The top ones are below with some quick-fix things that will help alleviate their concerns.

1. "He never wants to work at it" - Practice with player without giving instruction - just play with them - after doing this for a period try giving instruction again and see how player reacts.

2. "I just want her to have fun" - Don't grill her after games about her performance - wait till a later time to talk about game details and to give tips for the next time.

3. "He won't listen to me" - Only use a matter of fact voice when giving advice - use excited voice only when he does something good. Never show negative reaction to player's performance.

4. "My daughter has perfect form but never seems to have good game results" A great-looking action is not always fundamentally correct - have a knowledgeable coach check it out for suggestions.

5. "I want them to get a college scholarship"- Don't set such high expectations - scholarships are hard to attain and the expectations put unnecessary pressure on player.

6. "He can do it in practice but never in a game" - Challenge player in practice more

7. "She can't do it because it's "in her head" - Player needs improved fundamentals and understanding of how to perform skill. Confidence will usually follow and a more aggressive player.

8. "He doesn't want it enough" - Give player time, know-how and encouragement - attitude usually changes when success comes.

9. "She won't compete in a game situation" - May be fear of failure - don't pressure - help her understand fundamentals - needs confidence and knowledge can bring confidence so some good fundamental tips will help.

10. "His coach doesn't know anything" - Don't expect volunteer coach to be an expert - volunteer to coach yourself if you feel you are more qualified.

11. "He wants to make high school team"- Players with this goal should play and practice sport for at least 6 months of each year- with minimum of 3 months break from sport - starting at Age 10. Basic physical conditioning training should be done year round.

Finally, parents should learn to judge effort and not results when commenting on their kids play, as well as emphasizing the importance of having fun while playing. Saying things like "I was proud of your hustle out there" and "I hope you had as much fun playing as I did watching you" are priceless phrases for parents to use.

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

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

20 Minutes of Batting Practice 3 Days a Week Makes a Hitter Dominate

This workout is the absolute best batting practice available today! The workout covers all mechanics and skills required for hitting success. The batter spends just 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week, to become a hitter that dominates the plate.
Directions: Each drill targets a specific part of the body to build strength.
Drill #1- Top Hand Drill- 10 Swings- Batter should work fast taking swings as quickly as possible. Each swing counts whether the bat hits the ball or not.
Drill #2- Bottom Hand Drill- 10 Swings- Batter should work fast taking swings as quickly as possible. Each swing counts whether the bat hits the ball or not.
Drill #3- Hip Turner Drill- 10 Swings- Batter should make sure that the ball is directed at the front side back hip pocket. The batter should take a swing every 10 seconds.
Drill #4- Inside Contact Drill- 15 Swings- Batter should make sure the ball is directed at the batters back foot in the INSIDE CONTACT POSITION. A swing is taken every 10 seconds.
Drill #5- Regular Contact Drill- 15 Swings- Batter should make sure the ball is directed at the batters back foot in the REGULAR CONTACT POSITION.
Drill #6- Away Contact Drill- 15 Swings- Batter should make sure the ball is directed at the batters back foot in the AWAY CONTACT POSITION. A swing is taken every 10 seconds.
Drill #7- Hurricane Hitter “BP” Drill
Drill #8- Hitting Streak Drill
Drill #9- Step-In-And-Hit Drill

Links to other information on the Derek Jeter Hurricane Batting Machine by SKLZ:

15 Reasons To Buy a Hurricane Trainer

6 Questions Often Asked By Customers

Message to Parents From Coach Nick

Examples of Hurricane Hitting Drills

The Highly Acclaimed 20-Minute Hurricane Batting Practice Workout

Hurricane Batting Machine Video Clips

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baseball Training Aids Will Help Perfect Your Skills

By Brandon Bland

With the use of baseball training aids, you should be able to make significant improvements to you or your child's fundamentals. Nowadays there are so many useful tools that every ball player should take advantage of. It is unreal how easy it is today to be able to practice many fundamentals right at home. If you're willing to invest a little bit of money, you should be able to improve your game using these baseball training aids.

The very first training aid, that every ball player should have is a batting tee. They are relatively cheap, and an absolute essential tool for every hitter. You can break down your swing and practice hitting the ball from any part of the strike zone.

Along with the tee, you are going to need some sort of soft toss net to be able to hit into. This will give you something to hit off the tee into. There are a couple different types of nets you will want to look into. The first and most recommended for individual use for your garage or backyard is called a "pop-up" net. This is self-explanatory as they just fold out and "pop-up." They are cheaper than the other style I call a "heavy-duty" net, which are more suited for team use. These are usually made out of aluminum, and feature a heavier, more durable net.

A soft toss machine is also an excellent tool for every hitter. There are styles that sit on the ground, and tripod-like machines that drop a ball out of a chute and flip the ball up into the strike zone. A soft toss machine is very useful for dissecting your swing and hitting balls from every spot in the strike zone. Use a video camera to help out even more for extra analysis. The great thing is that you may do all of this from home, by yourself.

For pitchers, there are many throwing and pitching aids to help strengthen the arm. These include strengthening bands, forearm strengthening equipment, and so on. You may want to look into these if you are trying to strengthen your throwing arm (which all ball players should be doing, not just pitchers).

In summary, good baseball training aids can mean the difference between a professional career in baseball or just being a weekend warrior. Make the investment if you can. You don't have to spend a fortune, but if you are serious about you or your child's career in this game, it should be a no brainer to get all of these tools you can. Not only get them, but USE THEM!

You can learn more about baseball training aids by checking out this page, at my website Baseball Equipment Review.

Brandon Bland is the webmaster of Baseball Equipment Review, a site devoted to informing ballplayers of the quality of today's baseball equipment so they can make informed decisions about their purchases.

Article Source:

Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible bat speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Baseball Swing - A Couple Fallacies

By Nate Barnett

you know why you teach what you teach to your hitters? If I stopped you right now and asked you to tell me a couple advantages of any part of what you're teaching, could you do it? If not, it's time to kick into gear your learning habit and pick up some instructional strategies.

I've picked a couple parts of the baseball swing mechanics I hear taught repeatedly that are incorrect. Don't worry, I'll follow my own advise and explain why. Don't just take my word for it, however, ask around. Get other perspectives. But most of all, build your baseball swing knowledge base. Baseball instruction is a funny thing. You can find information and hitting "experts" everywhere. However, please for your own sake make sure that you are qualifying your sources of information first before you accept it. If you don't, you'll end up spending a lot of money, and changing your philosophy often.

Two Mechanical Fallacies:

1. Keeping your back elbow up is NECESSARY for a proper baseball swing.

I hear this advice mostly in Little League or in some of the younger age leagues. There is no physical advantage or benefit for a hitter to keep his back elbow up (often sometime much above the back shoulder). I'm not quite sure where the idea originated, but I do know it spreads like wildfire. It's like the cure all for a poor baseball swing. When it doubt, it must be the back elbow! And you can be sure you'll sometimes hear from the dugout or the stands, "Keep your back elbow up, Johnny!"

Keeping the back elbow up for younger hitters is often a source of a slow and long swing. When the bat head travels into the zone, the elbow of the top arm on the bat is down and relaxed close to the hitters body (if done correctly). Because of that, it makes little sense for a younger hitter to move his back elbow from a stiff position in the stance to a relax and collapsed position in mid-swing. Extra parts moving during a baseball swing mean less consistency. As a hitter gets older, his preference may be of a back elbow that is raised some. At this point (assuming he understands swing mechanics) he can make the adjustments as necessary.

2. Rolling your wrists as your bat comes through the zone is a must to create bat speed.

I have to bite my tongue (quite hard actually) when I ever hear this advice being offered for baseball instruction. While the back elbow up philosophy can be dismissed somewhat as a youth baseball strategy that does relatively minimal damage, this wrists rolling business can not be ignored in order to create a fundamentally sound baseball swing.

What "Wrist Rollers" can't do:

A. Hit an inside fastball to the pull side (right field as a lefty and left field as a righty).

B. Hit an outside fastball with any consistency to the opposite field (left field as a lefty and right field as a righty).

C. Hit line drives with back spin consistently (you know the kind that get over an outfielders head in a hurry for a double).

Here is why I can make those statements so confidently. In order to roll the wrists through a baseball swing, your arms must be straight at the elbows on contact with the baseball to do so. Youth hitters can get away with this because the velocity of the pitch is not overpowering yet. Add another 10-15 mph to the pitch and those inside pitches cannot be hit (or if they do, it stings) because the bat will be slow to sweep into the hitting zone. Outside pitches will also be difficult because the barrel of the bat will only cover the outer portion of the plate a fraction of the time necessary.

So what to do?

Teach your athletes when hitting a baseball to have their palm facing up on their top hand as they come in contact with the baseball. As the hands stay close to the body through the swing, the hitter will extend his arms after contact is made with the pitch. This proper extension is extremely important for good bat speed and plate coverage.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving the skill of mental baseball

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Be a Great Baseball Competitor

By John Peter Pero

Learning to compete is yet another of the vital pieces to becoming a next-level player. Athletic ability alone gets very few to the top of the pyramid with the exception of names like Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Andrew Jones, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez; guys just born with such amazing skill and size. Yet even they needed to learn to become great competitors.focused and prepared to do battle.

Even Derek Jeter, once viewed as the third best shortstop in the American League (and owner of 4 World Series rings as of this writing), talks about the countless hours of his teen years spent hacking with his SoloHitter Hitting Trainer. You watch how he approaches every at-bat and how hard he competes and you just know that this is how he is wired. it may have started from the head of his dinner table, or a coach, but those who know him say that this guy was always a tough out!

Watching Jeter play, you just have to appreciate how many of the best become their best!

So who & what is a great competitor?

In Practice - He's the guy who knows what he is supposed to do and does it correctly. and not just when coaches are watching. He understands the value of practicing hard & correctly and knows its importance to himself and his team. He practices how he plays! He challenges himself and is interested in becoming his best.not just better!

In Games - He is mentally prepared and has a plan for every at-bat and every situation. Because of his great practice habits, he can kick his game plan into gear with little concern for not being prepared. Coaches know they can count on him!

The Ultimate Competitor is the Ultimate Team Player!

He doesn't care who the hero is.
He's going to compete to help his team win!
He wants his teammates to do well!

Players come in all shapes, sizes & personalities.
but successful players all learn the importance of being a great competitor!

The Young Player

Teach & Learn The Love of The Game!

A competitive nature can start at a young age but first a player must learn to love the game. Without that love, he may never get to that point where the rest even matters. This is overwhelmingly more important.

My own observation is that few 10-year olds are equipped to understand this; maybe half of 11-year olds seem to and most 12-year olds who get the concept are emotionally equipped to do battle and understand the euphoria of winning and the agony of losing. and what it takes to get there.

This knowledge can come from the head of the dinner table, an older sibling, a teacher or coach, older or other teammates, opposing players.anywhere really. What's more important is that it becomes how a player goes about his business on the field.

It's Just Baseball

One 10-year old may love to play every day and will play 60+ games a year while another may be burned out by age 12 with that sort of schedule. Love the game first and the competitive juices will just kick in when they are supposed to.there is no schedule. Know your player(s) and you will know when to prod and when to back off and let them find it themselves. THEY'RE ALL DIFFERENT!

Some Examples of Great Competitors

The 4th best player on my best 14-year old team ever is now a 2nd year pro after a stellar college career and a trip to Omaha as a freshman. He made himself into a ballplayer. He wanted it more than anyone else on that team. and is still playing while those who were his superior are now out of the game or finishing their college careers as their last stop.
A leftie outfielder of mine was drafted in the 38th round out of high school, went to a JUCO (junior college) instead, redoubled his efforts to improve, and is now a 1st year pro. redrafted in the 4th round and, as of this writing, he is rated by Baseball America as having the best raw power in the Anaheim Angels organization!
The Chicago Cub infielder I played golf with recently was kidded by a member of our foursome with a reminder of the pressure putt he was quite testy. I will paraphrase him as he shot back at the heckler. Are you kidding, I love this stuff. referring to that pressure. And believe me, this guy has made himself into one tough Big League competitor.he is a tough out and will battle you with all he has.even at a charity golf tournament!
My buddy Steve Springer played 14 years of pro ball with very little Big League time but he is content with his years in the game. He was 4 foot 11 inches tall and weighed 90 pounds as a freshman high school player. Can you imagine how many times older players tortured him?

He didn't even start his senior year in high school. yet he didn't quit! He grew late. but he grew into an All-Conference college shortstop. and that's how he got seen and ultimately drafted by the New York Mets!

As Spring says, "The great thing about this game is that you get judged every day. So be a great competitor. Be a tough out!"

Baseball tips & youth baseball equipment, training aids & instruction! It's all here for baseball coaching of pitchers & hitters, little league to high school.

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Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hitting Fallacies - Roll Over Your Top Hand

By Sumit Bhatnagar and Parul Aggarwal

Many times, you might have heard coaches asking their players to roll over their top hand at the contact. This kind of a command can prove to be quite detrimental.

In fact, coaches who ask their players to roll over their top hand completely misunderstand what part the wrists play in the swing.

The common myth is that the top hand rolls over the bottom hand at contact while hitting. But, let me tell you that this is not true.

The fact is that rolling over your top hand will prevent you from taking advantage of the power that explodes through your wrists.

Just bear in mind that you should not roll your top hand over your bottom hand until contact is made. Moreover, at contact, make sure that your top hand is facing up and your bottom hand is facing down.

Following are some long term effects of rolling the top hand over the bottom hand:

• You will not be able to create more bat speed as you hit with less power.

• You will hit into more double plays and also, you will hit more weak ground balls.

• You can never impress a college scout as you might not be able to make consistent contact.

• You will become a limited offensive player as you become unable to drive the ball to the opposite field.

So, if you do not want to spoil your hitting career, please do not follow this hitting fallacy. With the help of a good coach, you can recognize and correct these bad habits and learn the correct swing mechanics.

Free Baseball Picks - Baseball Betting!

Article Source:

Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Friday, September 18, 2009

4 Things Baseball Baserunners Should Always Be Taught To:

Baserunners Should Always Be Taught To:

1. Always know the situation.

2. The player's job is to start movement to the next base.
The coach's job is to stop it.

3. Anticipate the "dirt ball" pitch. Expect the ball in the dirt. Read the "dirt ball" and use the off speed or fastball in the dirtto advance or take the next base.
Start yourself! "Make a decision and live with it! Trust your eyes!

3. Take the proper lead depending on the situation and number of outs.

4. Pick up the 3rd base coach early.

Shop for your baseball coaching needs including baseball training aids, training videos, and other coaching supplies. Check out the Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting machine by SKLZ at

See the “Original” Rotational Hitting Machine at Are you looking for the perfect trainer to teach proper timing and swing mechanics? You can stop looking and go to

Players develop incredible abt speed and confidence when they regularly use the Quick Swing Trainer. See it at See the world’s most advanced batting tee at

Are you looking for a great batting cage at discount prices? Are you considering building your own backyard batting cage and training center? If so, you should visit now!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do You Have a "Cheat Sheet" for Your Hitters?

By Chip Lemin

Hello Coaches,

I have posted three drills and a small cheat sheet for hitting. I find it very helpful to catalog all my drills on my computer,print them off and save them.When I want to spice up practice, I get them out and make a new practice planner.

Know the Count drill

Station a coach seated behind an L-screen approximately 30 feet away from the hitter (coach should wear helmet and stay well behind the screen.) The coach can pinpoint the corners and move the ball up and down throwing a high percentage of strikes from this distance. The hitter is forced to react quickly.

To further the effectiveness of the drill we have the coach shout a count just before delivering the ball (i.e. 3-0, or 1-2, etc.). This forces the hitter to think about the type of hitting situation that they are confronted with before offering. For example, in a 3 ball situation the hitter may decide to take a questionable pitch for ball 4 whereas in a 2 strike situation they must guard the dish. Also we will vary the situational hitting by having the coach shout out where runners are as well as out count. This further reinforces the concept of productive at bats while giving a mental focus to what can otherwise become a repetitive drill.

Be sure to have your coaches mix in off speed pitches at anytime in the count. Chang ups are off speed pitches. This helps your hitters to keep balanced so that they hit this pitch. Mix in bunting situations also to work on squeezes and sacrifice bunts.

Bunt Pepper

This is a great drill to develop bunting skills. The drill involves 5 players in each group. The players may use the pivot or square around bunt technique. The batter must bunt the ball to each of the four fielders.

The hitter bunts one to each and then takes the left fielders (facing the batter) place. The right fielder comes to bat and the other move over one place. The coach should emphasize that the batters bunt the ball softly to the fielders. The bat should be keep at a 45 degree angle and the batter should change height by bending the knees.

Fielders should catch the ground ball, bare-handed, out front, then square the feet around and throw the next strike to the hitter. This makes a great warm up drill for the beginning of practice. Defensive skills should also be stressed.

Full Count Game

This is a great game simulation drill that teaches hitters to be aggressive and to hit under pressure. Two teams face off in a 7 inning game with each batter coming into the box with a full count. Action is quick and players must be alert both offensively and defensively. The count may also be changed to 2-2 and each team can be given one out to start the inning.

This game can be done indoors also. Just have coaches determine whether or not it was a hit where the runners would have gone based on the hitter's skill level. It is a great change of pace drill. The kids will love it.

Hitting Cheat Sheet

Coach your players to learn the strike zone, so they don't swing at bad pitches. It sounds like common sense, but don't assume anything. Be sure players select a bat they can handle. It's better for bat to be on the light side than too heavy.

Keep your front shoulder and chin tucked in, and your hands back. Turn your head so that both eyes are on the pitcher - don't look around your nose. Stay on the balls of your feet - keep off your heels. Keep your head still.

In order to get the bat started, move your hands back slightly as the pitcher is getting ready to release the ball. This is known as the"trigger". If you like the pitch, go ahead and hit it. If you don't like the pitch, then hold up your swing.

Take a short step and stride - a long stride will only throw you off balance Use this small stride as a timing step. Many hitters widen their stances and take no stride at all.

Stay on top of the ball. A slight downward swing allows this and is a good way to keep from upper-cutting. Keeping the front shoulder in and down also allows a hitter to get the bat head out in front and prevents dropping the back shoulder.

Learn to hit your strength. Every hitter has strength, just as every hitter has a weakness. Instruct your hitters to look for their pitch to hit. When they get it, don't let it get away. Concentrate on solid, hard contact. Your players do not have to pull the ball if the pitch is middle out

There are many ways and drills to help your young hitters. Always be open to new ideas as a coach. That's one of the secrets that the elite coaches use. They never think that they know it all. I hope you find these quick hitter tips useful.


Coach Chip

Hello, My name is Chip Lemin. I'm a long time youth baseball coach who loves to promote this great game of youth baseball. Promoting sportsmanship in this game of youth baseball is something that is greatly needed. I have a free e-course that will give you some solid coaching information along with great help on the inter-personal relationships we must have to be good youth baseball coaches. Things such as parents, travel baseball, getting parents to help out, how to communicate better to parents and players, just to touch on a few. This course will help to organize practices like an elite coach. How to motivate players and other coaches with your positive attitude. It really is not very hard to be a great coach when you know what to do. Best of all you will learn how to have fun with these great kids that you have the privilege of coaching. Do yourself a favor and check it out, it's free,you will get 1 part every couple of days in your e-mail. Coaching can be fun and rewarding if you have a plan in place first, and you have an idea what you are doing.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Plate Discipline

By Todd Thomas

How important is it to have a good eye at the plate? That is to have an acute ability to know a ball from a strike and to offer mostly at strikes and much fewer times at pitches out of the strike zone. Unless you are Vladimir Guerrero, it can most certainly have an effect on your overall success in hitting. Okay, it affects Vlad too, but to a much lesser extent. The previous statement is a major league understatement. :-)

There's a statistic in baseball called O-Swing%(outside swing percentage). This statistic measures the percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside of the strike zone. It's significance is important because when a batter swings at a pitch thrown outside the strike zone, the chances of success are severely decreased. A hitters O-Swing% is a good measure of true plate discipline.

On the flip side is a Pitcher's O-Swing%. A high O-Swing% is good for a pitcher because it shows how adept a pitcher is at tricking batters into swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.

Major League hitters average O-Swing% changes slightly from year to year, but generally is in the 23-25% range. For example, the average major league hitter who sees 4 pitches outside the strike zone will swing at 1 of those 4 on average.

Texas Ranger fans are painfully familiar with the struggles of Josh Hamilton had this season. Prior to August 2nd, Josh's O-Swing% was nearly 44%. Swinging at this high of a percentage of pitches outside the strikezone points in the direction of why Hamilton struggled so much in 2009. Most people wondered what's wrong with Josh's swing. No doubt the Rangers have been working with Josh for an extended period of time on minor swing adjustments, but a quick look at this number would indicate a problem of more of a mental nature than physical.

In Josh's most recent hot streak, his O-Swing% dropped near the Major League average of 23%. And AMAZINGLY, his swing has "returned". My assertion is that Hamilton's swing never really deserted him. It was his approach at the plate that was the major culprit not a mechanical issue. Since he improved his O-Swing%, Josh hit nearly .500 with multiple extra base hits.

Sometimes you have to look deeper into your struggles at the plate than just to say I must be doing something mechanically wrong so I should go get a lesson. Having a professional hitting instructor work with you and look at your swing is never a bad idea, but if that's all you look at for solving hitting problems and you never consider what may be ailing you in your mental game(or lack thereof), then frustration may follow you when your instructor says your swing looks good.

Do you have a plan going to the plate? Get one. Do you have a solid pre-pitch routine that you follow before every pitch to help you be focused, relaxed, composed, and confident? Develop one. Having a solid mental approach is a huge advantage and can lift any given player closer to his/her true potential. BUT you must have the desire to win at the mental game. Most don't. Do You?

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses as a place where baseball and softball hitters can master the Confidence, Composure, Focus and Consistency of their game so they can reach their full potential.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Derek Jeter Hurricane Batting machine by SKLZ - Video

Video shows the Hurricane Hitting Machine. The Hurricane Machine is a high speed baseball and softball swing trainer that builds incredible skill and bat speed. The horizontal design of the Hurricane Batting Machine allows the batter to read the quality of every practice swing. This instant feedback tells the hitter the power of the swing and what kind of ball was hit. The Hurricane Machine is known for developing powerful linedrive swing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baseball Hitting - How to Improve Your Ability to Be a Clutch Hitter

By Chuck R Stewart

While attending the National Sporting Goods Manufacturing show in Las Vegas, I had the chance to sit down with some heavyweight baseball people. These were people who worked for and represented some of the best names in the game of baseball. They were people who had been around the game their whole life. The conversation started out being about the qualities in a good hitter. We talked about stance, mechanics, quick hands, great eyes, terrific hand-eye coordination, and follow through techniques. This was all great to listen to and participate in the conversation but then one man who had been around the game for more than 20 years said straight out that while all of the prior conversation was correct, the thing that made a great hitter stand out from the rest was confidence.

Confidence is a funny thing among most ballplayers. Most players are subject to ups and downs as they go through a season or even a game. He said that the players who hit the best in clutch situations want to be up in those situations and also have the level of confidence that they can perform. They have practiced their craft enough so that in any situation they are the player who knows they can come through. Confidence is born from repetition and repetition comes from practicing the proper mechanics until it is second nature. Players need to repeat the process of hitting until they are confident that when they swing, they will make solid contact with the ball.

I think this level of desire and confidence is what separates the club players from the recreational players once they get into high school. My son is going through this right now in each of the three sports he plays (football, basketball and baseball). He is watching fellow teammates elect to not play other sports so they can focus on their sport of choice in order to excel. The players who are electing to focus on a given sport are the ones who are spending time, getting the repetitions they need to develop their confidence and become better players. The time to spend on repetition is the key to becoming a clutch hitter.

The conversation then turned to what the right amount of repetition is in order become a great clutch hitter. One coach said it was 200 swings a day. That is was former hitting champ Pete Rose used to take every day so it should work for everyone. The issue that most players face with getting that level of repetition is the reality of who will throw that much batting practice to them during the course of a day, 5-6 times per week. My shoulder aches just thinking about it!

The answer to that question is a pitching machine and a batting cage. Both are needed to become a great clutch hitter. The reason both are needed is that they are the perfect combination. The pitching machine can save the arm of any coaching assistant and the batting cage will keep the balls in a close enough proximity that they can be picked up and reloaded quickly enough to get the workout completed within 30-40 minutes.

Any player who has the desire to be successful can afford to spend 30-40 minutes working on their craft on a daily basis.

Coach Chuck Stewart operates a baseball web site called offering baseball pitching machines, batting cages, training aids and coaching/instructional videos along with lots of free coaching content. Coach Chuck offers a pitching machine for every skill level and budget. He has coached baseball teams for 8 years and enjoys sharing the love of the game of baseball with his players.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Bat Speed Training For More Power

By Alan Bryan

Using bat speed training can help you quickly gain an additional thirty to even one hundred feet in your power. The most common refrain in hitting is that it is not how hard you swing, rather, how quick your swing. Simply, it is the laws of physics that apply to hitting, as the velocity of the bat connecting with the ball determines the distance a ball will travel.

There are many bat speed training methods that can help you increase your velocity. However, despite all the great training out there, selecting the right bat is also a factor. Most bat speed drills should be done with a wooden bat. With the new, technologically advanced aluminum bats allowing for more error in your swing, many hitters have become dependent on technology rather than practice to hit for more power.

Simply, there are no soft hitting zones in the new aluminum bats. A wooden bat, however, has a very defined sweet spot, and when you miss that sweet spot, the wooden bat will let you know by either shattering or stinging your hands tremendously. Learn how to properly get the head of a wooden bat through the hitting plane, and you are one step closer to hitting for more power.

Effective bat speed training involves several components, some of which are not directly baseball related at all. In additional to practicing with wood bats, you should also strengthen your wrist and lower body using light weight resistance. Putting it all together can help you start hitting for more power in record time.

Effective bat speed training can take your game to the next level by increasing your power and average. When used correctly, bat speed training techniques are extremely effective. Learn the best training methods, recommended by professional scouts, by visiting

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tips For Building Batting Cages

By Andy Brock

Backyard batting cages provide a tremendous advantage to baseball hitters of all skill levels. I mean, who wouldn't want to walk out to their back door and take a little batting practice. When deciding to build a cage, there are several things to consider.

The first thing that you want to do is consider how much space you have available in your yard. No matter how much space you have, you can get the most out of any cage with effective hitting drills. Secondly, decide how much money you have to spend. This is really the most important decision as it will drive your planning for which type of frame to use as well as the batting cage net.

Once you have decided how much space you have and settled on your budget, you need to start thinking about what type of frame makes sense for your yard. Frames can be made from galvanized steel pipe, plastic PVC or even treated 4 x 4 posts. Also, keep in mind whether you would like for the structure to be permanent or portable.

Next, think about the batting cage net. Try not to get hung up on how big the cage needs to be. The most important aspect of a net is the gauge not the dimensions. Nets will break down or deteriorate from the effects of the weather and ball abrasion. Think of it this way, the thicker the gauge the longer the net will last. Also, keep in mind the hardware that is needed in order to hang the net which can add up quickly to the overall cost. Parts that may be needed for construction are but not limited to concrete, cables, hooks and clamps.

Another more cost effective option might be to check out batting cage kits that are available from numerous manufacturers and retailers online. There are several to choose from and can provide the biggest bang for you buck. One of the biggest advantages of buying a kit is that many times they are portable and can be taken down in the off season.

Having a batting cage in your backyard is not as a far fetched idea as it once was. Batting cages are more affordable than they ever have been and require less time to assemble. Spend some time planning and you'll enjoy using it for years to come.

This information shows you practical tips for building batting cages. If you have purchased one, learn about ways to maximize your practice time in the batting cage.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Composite Bats - How Do I Get My Bat to Perform Better?

By Mike Carson

Make your bat hotter by having it rolled or shaved by juicing

A juiced bat is just another name for a bat that has been altered in some fashion. Typically a bat is juiced by either shaving or rolling. When you juice your bat you are improving the performance of the bat. When shaving you are thinning the inner walls out. By doing this you allow the barrel of the bat to flex more and this increases the trampoline effect which will increase the batted ball speed and open up the sweet spot. When rolling a bat you are breaking down the glue that binds the fiber together. In both cases the bat may exceed the design specifications of the bat and this could effect whether or not the bat is legal in your particular association. It is recommended that you contact your local association or league official to ensure you are not in violation of any rules. If you participate in any outlaw leagues or home run derbies then you most likely don't have to worry about this.

Risks associated with rolling or juicing

Currently rolling is legal in only 1 slow pitch softball association and shaving is not legal in any associations. Rolling, is legal one association (ISA), they clearly state in their rule book that rolling is legal. In another association (ASA), they have recently adopted a bat certification process that requires all bats to be tested after they have been rolled. This ensures each bat that is certified by them does not exceed their performance factor after being rolling. We interpret this as rolling being legal even though it doesn't specifically say so. In USSSA, they do clearly state rolling is against the rules. My opinion is that rolling your bat is doing nothing more than taking 500 BP swings. You're just doing it in a more controlled fashion and in a shorter period of time. My advice to you is to check with your local association or league and find out what their stance is on this subject. Shaving your bat is without question illegal in ALL associations and you will get in a lot of trouble if you are found out. This includes possible law suits and being banned from the association.

We found a great site with allot of information regarding Bat Rolling and Doctoring and even offer what looks like a well made Bat Rolling Machine

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine - 2 Tips to Solve Potential Problems During use.

I occasionally run across a customer that has a problem with his or her powerbands. The problems are that the powerbands tangle and the powerbands stress and break.

First of all, let to assure you of this. The Hurricane Machine when set-up and assembled correctly will not give you any powerband trouble. Here are the steps to preventing any powerband problem.

Step one: Make sure that all KNOBS are on the same side of the machine. This means that the height adjustment collar knob and the top component KNOB must be aligned vertically over and under each other. This allows the knobs to move together and move out of the way of the bands as the machine rotates.

Step Two: Make sure that all KNOBS are tightened.

Step Three: Make sure that all batters using the machine know that the machine must "UNWRAP" between swings to prevent "POWER-BAND STRESS". If a batter continually hits the ball without allowing the ball to pass, this keeps wrapping the powerbands tighter and tighter around the machines axle. If the bands are continually wound tighter and tighter without being allowed to release tension, they will stress and break.

What is the solution? Batters should simply allow the machine to unwind between swings. Batters should allow the ball unit to pass by a couble times between swings before taking their next swing. This will also allow the batter to work at a smoother pace and rhythm. The optimum pace allows the powerbands to unwrap as many times as the batter's wing takes the ball around.

Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day Holiday,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Is it the Correct Baseball Swing?

By Jack Perconte

Often, a hitter seems to have a perfect baseball swing but their statistics never seem to equal this beautiful looking swing. Looks can be deceiving! There is a way to find out if the baseball swing is as fundamentally sound as it appears. With the use of a batting tee, follow these steps to analyze the swing:

1. Set or draw a home plate on the ground first.
2. Have hitter get set in the spot they normally stand at home, just like in a game.
3. Lower the tee to the height of the hitter's knees and a half-foot in front of their lead leg.
4. The tee stem should be placed exactly down the middle of home plate.
5. Now, place a ball on the tee.
6. Hitter takes 10 swings
7. With the correct swing, at least 8 balls should be hit hard directly back through the middle of the field.
8. It is mandatory that the hitter stands in the same spot each time and does not change to a different position in the batter's box. As mentioned, this must be the same spot they stand in a game.
9. The ideal hits would be line drives knee high back through the middle, but any hard hit balls through the middle are a sign of the correct baseball swing.
10. This drill will show that the hitter's hands and hips are lining up correctly which is necessary to becoming a good baseball hitter.
11. Hitters should practice this drill until they are able to hit at least eight or nine balls back through middle before working on other pitches with the ball on the batting tee.

Finally, the batting tee is a great hitting tool if utilized correctly.

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

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2010 Combat Baseball Bat Reviews

By R. Nelson

COMbat (the company) started in 1998 when they began manufacturing softball bats for other brand name companies. COMbat bats were born in the last few years when they decided to put out the same bats they make for other companies in their own name, including baseball bats.

The big news for 2010 is that COMbat finally is offering their most popular bats, the B1 and B2, in Adult and Senior League models. It's hard to believe it took them so long to do this but at least the light bulb finally went on. Also in 2010, they'll finally get to push the B2 which had a delayed introduction last year because it initially did not meet regulations.

Another change for 2010 is COMbat's introduction of a 100% alloy bat. They've been exclusively focused on composite bats since their inception and this is a big move for the company.

COMbat needs to make a name for themselves in high school and college baseball to become a true player in the industry, and offering all their bats in Adult and Senior League models is a giant leap forward. We'll see if the emphasis on big barrel bats can get them some traction in 2010.

Here's the COMbat line-up for 2010:

COMbat Composite Bats

COMbat B2: As stated, the 2009 B2 had a slow start because of approval issues. This is the same design as the "redesigned" version that was finally approved for the 2009 model year. It a one-piece, single wall bat with a stiff handle and a low swing weight. The difference between the B2 and B1 is that the B2 has COMbat's "Variable Stiffness Technology is said to allow for lower barrel wall stiffness on both sides of the normal sweetspot, resulting in an enlarged sweet hitting area." It also has their "Blended Fiber Technology, where Arimid fibers ( found in bullet proof vests ) is combine with carbon and glass fibers in varying proportions and precise angles to get more trampoline effect and absorb vibrations resulting in more energy transfer to the ball and greater distance."

Did you get all of that? My favorite is the bullet proof vest comment. My opinion is this doesn't amount to much and that it's not much different than the B1. The B2 Adult -3 model retails for $369 putting it just below the other top tier composite bats. There are better options in this category and price range.

- COMbat B1: This bat has had the same design for several years; the only news is the introduction of the big barrel models. It's a one-piece, single wall bat with a stiff handle and low swing weight. The B1's claim to fame began in the 2007 Little League World Series when the U.S. team won the championship game on a walk off home run off a B1 bat. Not that it wasn't exciting and a plus for COMbat but is this really that big a deal? First if you're playing in the LLWS championship game you're probably a pretty good player.

Second the fences in Williamsport are only 205 feet from home plate! In the world of 12U travel baseball this is a F7, F8, F9 or double. This is just a bunch of hype based on one dramatic home run and nothing else. I'm sure the folks at COMbat did their best to stoke this magical story. The truly intelligent move by COMbat was pricing the B1 as a second tier composite bat ($299 for the Adult -3 model). Why they didn't do this last year when the B2 was introduced is anyone's guess. The big barrel option and new price might get some Middle and High School players to use it and give them much needed exposure above the age of twelve. It's one of my two recommendations for second tier composite bats.

COMbat Alloy Bats:

- COMbat Exit: COMbat goes metal with the introduction of their first 100% alloy bat, the Exit. It's a one-piece, single wall bat with a stiff handle and balanced design. The bat has "PowerMetal" alloy which is supposed to have been "Developed for Nuclear, Defense and Military Applications'. Once again a bunch of hype but at least they're being creative. Other than that, the bat claims to have a "unique look" and increased durability. The Adult -3 model retails for $199 where it competes with the Louisville Omaha and Easton V12 alloy bats. My recommendation is to go with those options rather than the Exit.

Take a look at Baseball Bat Reviews Blog for all my recommendations.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Understanding Baseball Strategy

Understanding Baseball Strategy

By Brian Schofield

I can't tell you how many times I've had someone tell me how boring baseball is to watch. People tell me all the time that they fall asleep during games and can't stand it. I'm thinking to myself, how can anyone hate baseball? But then it hit me. I hate to watch soccer and car racing because I think those sports are boring, but most of my boredom results from my lack of understanding of the rules, strategies, etc. So, to help you develop a further love of baseball I've decided to cover some of the common strategies of the game. My hope is that by understanding these strategies you will begin to enjoy watching the game as much as I do.

Hitting Count

I get really annoyed when I'm watching a game in a public venue and a fan yells out "Why did he swing at that pitch with a count of two balls and zero strikes (2-0)?" It kills me. I force myself to take a deep breath and remember that I to have made similar comments. It is lack of understanding. Pitchers don't want to walk batters. It's that simple. If they don't reach the base, they can't score. So, when you see a batter swing and the count is 2-0 or 3-1 you have to realize that the batter is expecting a good pitch. The batter knows the pitcher doesn't want the walk so he assumes the pitch will be where it can be hit. This is called a hitter's count. Watch how many home runs are hit when the count is 2-0, 3-1, or 2-1 and you will start to recognize the pattern.

Most Important Pitch of an At Bat

Clearly the most important pitch of any at bat is the first pitch. If the first pitch is a strike, the hitter is in a hole. Hitters don't want to strike out or "fall behind" in the count, so if the count is 0-1, you'll see a lot of batters swing at the second pitch. When facing an 0-1 count, most batters will hit .100 points below their typical average unless they are an amazing hitter. For example, if Alex Rodriguez gets behind in the count he usually ends up being a .200 hitter for the game instead of .300 which is his normal season average. When you are a player, that makes a big difference. Being behind in the count also forces the hitter into a more defensive at bat. In an attempt to not strike out, many hitters will simply try to make contact with the ball rather than trying to drive the ball. Again, that is typical of most hitters.

Advanced Scouting

Advanced scouting can be an amazing tool for baseball teams because it helps identify a player's strengths and weaknesses so they can be exploited in a game. Recently, Rick Ankiel of the St Louis Cardinals has burst onto the scene hitting home run after home run. As a result, other teams have issued scouting reports aimed directly at stopping the home run spurt. Teams have discovered how to pitch to Ankiel and it is working. They've learned to throw him hard fastballs inside so he can't extend his arms for home runs. Knowing a player's weakness isn't rocket science, but exploiting the weakness can prove quite tricky. I might know Barry Bonds' weakness, but just one slight mistake on my part and the ball is on its way out of the park. That's what I love about baseball! It's a dual out there and the best players are "the best" because they take advantage of mistakes when they happen.

Brian Schofield is the Sr. writer and editor for a baseball training website called Check out the site for more baseball tips and instruction.

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