Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine by SKLZ

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule

Baseball Practice Planning Tips and Sample Baseball Practice Schedule
By Nick Dixon

The word is PLAN

There are many four letter words that baseball coaches know, but few are as important as the word for today, PLAN. There are very few volunteer jobs more challenging, time-consuming or rewarding than being a coach in your local league. There are many four letter words used by coaches that I can not use here. Here I want to discuss the 4 four-letter words that can and will determine the amount of success a coach has during the coming season. The four words are Goal, Plan, Work and Time. In part one I discussed the important of the word Goal and the importance of setting a goal to drive a team toward success.

The Baseball Coaches four letter word of today is P-L-A-N:

Planning is one of the most important responsibilities of a head baseball coach is planning. Planning is organization. Planning is delegation of duties and responsibilities to your assistants. You must plan every practice. You must plan your season. You must have a game plan going into every game. Planning practice after you start is a sign of bad coaching. If the team has practice at 3:00 PM, and the head coach turns to the assistant coaches as the team is warming up, and says, Well, guys what do you think we need to do today? A team with a coach like this is destined to have a difficult year. The coach is not organized and does not have the dedication to do his coaching homework at home before he arrive at the field. Have a plan and a schedule before you arrive at the field. The practice plan should be in the can! Planning as you go will waste valuable practice time that will never be recovered. It is extremely important to have a daily practice schedule written down. You must decide on each practice activity for that day, the assigned amount of time to be spent doing each drill or activity, and the objective or reason for doing the activity. A written practice schedule is a must! You practice plan must be detailed, easy to read, and easy to understand. Your practice plan begins with the first minute of practice and ends with the last minute. Every minute is scheduled. Include breaks and transition times from one activity to the next. You should write out the practice plan, run copies, and give each coach a copy. The schedule will have time slots, each coach drills and duties, and location of each activity.

A sample practice plan:

3:00 to 3:12 Team Stretch and Warm-up

3:12 to 3:27 PFP (Pitching Fielding Practice)

3:30 to 3:45 Outfield Drill Work & Infielder Drill Work

3:45 to 4:00 Team Defense, Infield, and Outfield Cuts

4:00 to 4:45 Team Batting Practice

(4 Groups, 4 Station, 12 Minutes and Rotate to the next station

-Station 1 On-field Batting Practice -Station 2 Batting Cage Work -Station 3 Bunt Station -Station 4 Tee & Soft-toss

4:45 to 4:55 Break

4:55 to 5:15 21 Outs Drill

5:15 to 5:25 Base running Drills/Conditioning

Coaching Note:

6 Pitchers will throw after practice bullpens. List Names. The greatest difficulty in having a practice schedule is staying on time. You must have a set rule that when drill time is up, the drill ends. If the drill was performed so bad that it needs to be done again, it will be done over after practice. Always have a coaches meeting after each practice to discuss what the staff has to say about the day practice. You also need to ask what they think the next practice schedule should cover. Listen to your assistants and consider what they say when you make out your next practice plan. Another part of having a plan is the delegating of responsibilities. You can not do it all. Recruit some good volunteer coaches to help you.

Good coaches always delegate task and duties to assistant coaches. Let certain coaches work with certain positions. One of the crucial assignments on every team is the position of pitching coach. You must have a coach that oversees pitching practice, bullpen work, and that calls the pitches during the game. Another important role is that of the team hitting coach. The hitting coach is often the offensive coordinator and 3rd base coach. This coach oversees all batting drills, batting practice and base running practice. Organize you pregame routine. Plan it, write it down, and make sure every coach know it by heart. Have a set time when you start stretching and warming up. Have a set time that you take pregame defensive infield and outfield warm-up. a set time that players may have 3 minutes to go to the restroom if they need to. Have a set time that you have a team huddle. Plan what you are going to say during this team moment. Having a plan is having a purpose, a time, and a place for everything and everyone.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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

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The Categories they have are: Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

3 Baseball Hitting Instruction Tips For Better Hitting Mechanics


Baseball Batting Trainer - Derek Jeter Batting Machine

Article Title: 3 Baseball Hitting Instruction Tips For Better Hitting Mechanics
By Rob Bucher

Baseball hitting instruction comes in many forms and from many different people. Dads bark out instructions to their sons and coaches do the same.

As a player and a coach all this terminology not only confuses the hitter, but is usually wrong.

Let me explain...

Most of the time coaches instruct using the same coaching they received as a player. If they had a great coach then they teach proper hitting mechanics...usually.

And players have to listen to the coach or they fear getting lodged in the dog house for a season.

It's why I want to share three baseball hitting instruction tips to help players and coaches.

First I want you to throw out all your terminology and if your a player, erase them from your memory.

A good coach does not instruct a player without showing him the correct way and the wrong way. They also put the player into swing mechanics positions so he can feel what's right.


Never throw your hands or arm at the ball. The further your arms get away from the body, the less strength you have in your swing. Get in a strong position by keeping your hands closer to the body. Think of a ice skater, they spin faster with their arms closer to the body.
You don't swing with the arms first. You allow the hips to trigger the swing and pull the upper body through the hitting zone.
You make contact with the ball with your arm closest to the pitcher slightly bent and the other arm in a L position slotted next to your side. You should not cast your bat out and make contact with the ball with your arms extended.

Hopefully these tips will help both player and coach when looking for better baseball hitting instruction.

Want to become a better hitter? Click here - Rotational Hitting Mechanics. Because your current mechanics are lack pop and consistency at the plate.

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

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mental Training Tips to Improve Baseball Performance



Mental Training Tips to Improve Baseball Performance
By Luke Woodard

If you or your kid have played baseball long enough, I'm sure you have heard the phrase "mental toughness". In fact, you probably have heard those words used plenty of times in other sports and even outside of sports. But what exactly is it and how can you improve your mental toughness? We've all witnessed the guys who strike out, throw their helmet, and are obviously angry for the rest of the game. In the field, they make an error on an easy ground ball. Then, next time their up, with a chance to win the game, they swing at bad pitches and hit fly out to end the game.

Compared that to someone who is considered "mentally tough". Yes, he strikes out the first and he appears angry for a while, although he doesn't throw his helmet. As soon as he steps on the field to play defense, it appears that he has washed it away and he has. He makes a good play on the same ground ball, and when it comes time for him to hit again with a chance to win the game, he hits a line drive base hit up the middle.

So what is so different about these two example? It wasn't the amount of time they worked on their swing, the work they put into their fielding, or that one was better than the other physically. The difference was that the second example was better mentally. So if the mental aspect plays such a large role, how can you improve it? Here are some simple tips to getting better mentally.

1 - Clear the mind

Yogi Berra also said "I can't think and hit at the same time". While he may not have been the brightest fellow around, he was definitely on to the mental aspect of the game. When you step on the field, whether pitching, hitting, fielding or running, you have to totally clear you mind. I found that repeating to myself "ball, ball, ball, ball.." helps me focus. A game is NOT the time to think about mechanics. Tell yourself your mechanics are perfect and think only about the ball.

2 - Flush it

We've all seen it happen and probably it's happened to you. A player makes an error in the field, which leads to a second error because their mind was still on the last play. They then come up to bat and strike out. What where they thinking about? They were still thinking on the previous inning and the errors they made. When something doesn't go the way you want it too, take a second to think through what happened and how to fix it so you can work on it later and "flush it down the toilet". Re-focus on the task at hand with a clear mind.

3 - Think Positive

Especially if you're in a slump, or not having success on the mound, it is so easy to go to "Don't strike out this time" or "Whatever you do, don't walk this guy." Guess what, you're probably going to do what you are telling yourself not to do. Instead walk up to the plate saying to yourself "my mechanics are perfect, I know I WILL hit this guy hard" or on the mound "I have all my stuff today, this guy has no shot, and I am in control."

4 - Relax

You have to remember that you are playing baseball here and that failure is going to happen. We are all humans and any human will make tons of mistakes. The key is not to worry about mistake or anything else. To relax when you are feeling stressed, breath deep, and don't be afraid to take a mental "vacation". For me, I find that whistling any random tune helps me relax tremendously. Also, take deep breaths pushing your stomach out helps relaxation as well. This also provides your body with more oxygen, which is essential in anything athletic.

5 - Visualize

Take time everyday to visualize yourself succeeding on the baseball field. Visualize yourself with the perfect mechanics just absolutely drilling that curve ball the other way or yourself on the mound throwing your dirty change-up for strike three. Visualization can happen a number of ways. You can see yourself from the outside or see things through your eyes. You can do it pretty much anywhere, and you'll be amazed out how much this can help you prepare for when you are actually playing. Just remember to see yourself doing the right thing, just like you practice your swing the right way.

I hope this helps. The mental side of baseball is often overlooked and is such an important part of success on the field.

If you found this helpful, here is an awesome program that goes much deeper than this article:
Mental training for baseball

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


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HurricaneMachine.com - Links

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little League Baseball Drills - Batting Practice


Little League Baseball Drills - Batting Practice
By Chris Campbell

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

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

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

Choosing The Right Bat

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

Batter Positioning

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

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

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

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Ten Tips on How to Identify Who Can Pitch


Ten Tips on How to Identify Who Can Pitch
By John R Di Nicola

Coaching Little League Pitchers

Coaching little league pitchers is every coaches night mare. I will be discussing the level which it is right after T-Ball or coach pitch depending on when the player comes into the league. There are variation of the coaching experience in little league. Regardless of the coaches experience he will be faced with finding pitchers.

Three Types of Coaches:


Has coaching experience and has at least two assistant either moved up from coach pitch or T-Ball
First year coaching but has some experience but never a Head Coach in Little League
Never coached before
Drafted Coach, this is the coach who's team was picked for him and given to him

Each division will have approximately 8 to 12 teams depending on the size of the organization. The majority of the league will be combination of 2 and 3. The larger the division the greater chance there will be one drafted coach

Most leagues have a try out and a draft. You get your players list and first thing you ask yourself is how many pitchers do I have? You go home and call the parents one by one. You have your list of questions:


Has your son or daughter every played before?
How long have they played organized baseball?
What positions have they played?

You might get lucky and have one that has played in another league and has had some experience pitching.

How to identify players who can Pitch


How do they Grip the Ball?
While players are warming up watch how they throw the ball
How they bring their arm back. Is it short armed or fully extended?
Do they fall off to side when releasing ball
How is their follow through?
Do they snap their wrist downward when releasing the ball?
Does the ball go in an Arc or does it go more on a straight line?
How accurate is the throw? Does the receiving player have to move to catch each ball?
Watch their feet see if they stay flat footed and don't move as the ball approaches
Is the player aggressive while playing catch?

There are so many area's to cover when you trying to get your team ready for the first game. While pitching is one of the most important areas of the game you still have to be working on Defense, Hitting, and Running the Bases.

I found that if you work with the pitchers after practice or have a practice just for pitchers and catchers it works best. Pitching is too important to just rush through and give it only 20 minutes twice a week.

http://www.easypitching.com, http://twitter.com/easypitching

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

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Coaching Baseball - 4 Things the On-Deck Batter Should Always Do and 4 Things He Should Never Do



Coaching Baseball - 4 Things the On-Deck Batter Should Always Do and 4 Things He Should Never Do

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.

Baseball Pitching - Coaching Pitchers to Succeed by Starting With the Basics

The coaching of baseball pitchers does not require a degree in "pitchingtology". There is no such degree to my knowledge. I just made that up. My point here is that coaching baseball pitching is not rocket science. However, having a basic knowledge of the terms and mechanics is a must.


Coaching Baseball - 12 Things That 3rd Base Coaches Should Say to Baserunners

Fewer things in baseball are more embarrassing for a young baseball player than to make a base running mistake that cost his team a run. Some of the most devastating and demoralizing mistakes in baseball are made by baserunners at 3rd base. When a runner gets to third, the team momentum and confidence is increased. The team and the player, and the fans feel like they are going to soon score a run. But, to have that chance of scoring removed by a blunder by the runner or coach can take the momentum completely away from the team.

Coaching Baseball Pitchers - The Use of Visual Anchor Points For Curve-Ball Accuracy

The skill of throwing a good curve ball accurately is a skill that must be taught and coached. Teaching curve ball control and accuracy is vital to a pitcher's success at any level. Here I discuss the method I use to teach and coach our high school pitchers to vary their curve ball location and to accurately control the spot to which the ball will break.


4 Baseball Pitching Drills For Little League Players

Teaching, training and developing young baseball pitchers takes a lot of time, patience, and practice repetition. Many young pitchers need to practice pitching skills daily. To keep the interest level high, it is best to use a variety of drills on alternate days to prevent boredom. Here are 4 baseball pitching drills that can be used to train youth and beginner pitchers.

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The Categories they have are: BatAction Hitting Machines, Hurricane Hitting Machines, Batting Cages, Pitching Machines, Jugs Equipment, Game and Practice Baseballs, Protective Practice Screens and Nets, Portable Pitching Mounds, Baseball DVDs & Books, Clearance Items on Sales, NEDCO Bataction Replacement Parts, Baseball Training Equipment, Youth Baseball Training Equipment, Training Bats, Pitching & Throwing Trainers, Defensive Trainers, SKLZ Hurricane Replacement Parts and Much Much More! Visit Baseball2U.com today!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Derek Jeter and His Baseball Psychology



Derek Jeter and His Baseball Psychology
By Nate Barnett

I'm not a Yankees fan. There, I said it. I know that half of you are now finished reading this article, and I'm ok with that. I guess I should explain my opening sentence a bit more thoroughly. While I'm not a Yankess fan, I AM a fan of good, solid baseball. I consider good solid baseball players those who have a firm grasp on both the physical as well as the mental game of baseball. One of the first players I think of who has both components under control is Derek Jeter.

As with most years in his professional career, 2009 was an outstanding year for Jeter. First and foremost, he was a major contributor in the Yankess winning the World Series. Some of his 2009 personal accolades included:

1. Appearing in his 10th All-Star game
2. Winning his 5th World Series Ring
3. Has become the Yankees all time leader in hits wit 2,747
4. Won his 4th Gold Glove
5. Won his 4th Silver Slugger with a.334 batting average and.406 on base average
6. Won the Hank Aaron Award as the best hitter in the American League

If you get a chance to read Derek Jeter's book, The Life You Imagine, you will quickly learn what makes him tick. The mental game of baseball is high on Jeter's list of reasons why he has become a highly successful baseball player. I've added a couple quotes by Jeter below with some of my own commentary following.

"You have got to have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we are playing a game. It is a business, it is our job, but I do not think you can do well unless you are having fun."

Derek Jeter

* Hard work, competing, and winning are what make baseball fun. Once in a while I hear younger players mutter under their breath about not having fun any more with baseball. Sometimes coaches can remove some of the fun from the game, however, I think typically players can regulate their own fun-meter while playing ball. Those who enjoying working on developing their hitting mechanics or pitching skills over and over again think baseball is fun. They know at some point they will enjoy the benefits of their hard work. Those who go head to head with tough competition think baseball is fun. And finally, those who continue to work through mistakes and achieve great things think baseball is fun. Fun doesn't always have to be easy. I tend to think Jeter would agree.

"We just want to win. That is the bottom line. I think a lot of times people may become content with one championship or a little bit of success, but we do not really reflect on what we have done in the past. We focus on the present."

Derek Jeter

* Getting stuck in what you did or did not do in the past will destroy your forward momentum. Lingering too long on your accolades from a couple years ago does nothing productive for you or your team in the present. I think Jeter has nailed this by saying that he doesn't reflect on what he or his team has done in the past. A new year is a new year. Another athlete who has talked about this quite a bit is Albert Pujols, who by the way won the Hank Aaron Award for the National League last year in 2009.

If you are looking for a couple good resources for developing the mental game, I'd suggest picking up the following books for starters. Both are fairly east to comprehend and will help you out in the baseball psychology department.

The Life You Imagine - Derek Jeter

Mind Gym - Gary Mack

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball. His website is devoted to teaching the mental game of baseball and hitting mechanics. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career.

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

Sponsor Links:

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HurricaneMachine.com - Links

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---20-Minute Hurricane Batting Practice Workout
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Be a Three Hundred Hitter - This Single Tip Can Turn Your Child Into an All Star in No Time



How to Be a Three Hundred Hitter - This Single Tip Can Turn Your Child Into an All Star in No Time
By Jay Granat

Believe it or not this tip has nothing to do with grip, mechanics, balance, head position, weight transfer, open stance, closed stance, hitting to the opposite field,watching the ball, knowing the strike zone, hitting in the cage, bat speed, following through, or where your elbow is when you get into the box.

This tip is a vital thing for parents, coaches and young players to understand and remember the night before the game, the day of the game, in the dugout, in the on deck circle and in the batter's box.

Every week, parents contact me because their son or daughter is in a hitting slump.

Now, I have dozens of interventions which I use to help baseball players to break out of hitting slumps and to start to drive the ball with confidence, conviction, focus and optimism.

I work closely with a number of hitting coaches and we make sure the player is mechanically and physically sound.

One tip that I have told many parents and coaches over the years is very simple but it is exceedingly important. Realize that many kids and parents who seek out my help are struggling with their relationship with their child around their sport. In this case, it is baseball. And specifically, it is about hitting with more consistency, especially in pressure packed situations.

So, here is the tip: Your child needs to know on a deep and sincere level that that you love them whether they hit two hundred or whether they hit four hundred." Once your child believes this and feels this kind of unconditional love, he or she is set up to perform better at the plate. Make sure you communicate this message to your young player consistently and frequently. This will build confidence. It will help your child to relax and allow him to have fun at the plate and at the game.

Give it a try now.

Dr. Jay Granat has recently released 101 Ways To Break Out Of A Hitting Slump With Sport Psychology and Self-Hypnosis. You can get this program with lots of hitting tips and a free sports psychology book at http://www.stayinthezone.com/shop-stay-in-the-zone.html?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=21 Dr. Granat is also the founder of http://www.stayinthezone.com

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

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Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine

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Monday, April 19, 2010

See our latest ad in the Jr. Baseball Magazine

Baseball Coaching Digest - What Are the 3 R's of Baseball Success?

Baseball Coaching Digest - What Are the 3 R's of Baseball Success?

By Nick Dixon

There are three R's by which every baseball coach should be judged. The main three indicators of baseball success are RESULTS, REPUTATION and RESPECT. This article discusses each and how important each is.

The three R's by which every baseball coach should be judged are:

RESULTS - The number one criteria by which a coach's proformance should be judged is results. Has the coach produced tangible results? Has the baseball team or program improved since the coach came on board? Positive results are an indication of a coach's effectiveness. Positive results includes increasing number of wins, winning at a level never before achieved, signs of improving player and team performance, and an overall increase in player and team pride.

Athletic directors and league officials look for coaches that they feel can take their baseball teams to a higher level of performance and competition. They want to see improvement. They want to see results.

REPUTATION - Every coach always earns a reputation. Reputation is one's overall personal and professional character and quality as judged by the people of the community. The only way to earn a good reputation is to work hard enough to earn it. The only way to maintain a good reputation is to continue working hard. A coach's behavior on and off the field plays a huge role in building a good reputation.

RESPECT - Respect is not given, it is earned. In coaching, you earn respect one day, one game, and one player at a time. To be successful in coaching, you must have respect. You must first earn the respect of your players. They must see you as a good leader and teacher with knowledge, drive, and skill. You must earn the respect of your parents. They must feel that you are qualified, dedicated and committed to your job. You must earn the respect of your administration. Your superiors must see enough positive results from your efforts to respect you as a coach and teacher. You must earn the respect of the community. Your fans will begin to respect you when they see a good product put on the field year after year. They want a team that will make them proud. They want a team that always competes. You must earn the respect of your peers. What other coaches think about you is a true indicator of what you have achieved and accomplished. There is no better measure of a coach's performance than having the total respect of opposing coaches.

I hope that you found this article to be informative and useful. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Have a great day, Nick.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the Hurricane Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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




The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of 1400 Baseball Products. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Baseball Tips - The Lost Art of Switch Hitting


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Baseball Tips - The Lost Art of Switch Hitting
By Tom Read

My son, who is in high school, recently attended a baseball showcase with four hundred other invited players. To stand out in this large crowd, you had to put up some great stats. My son was performing well, in the upper ten or fifteen percent of each category, but he was not turning heads. The last baseball drill was hitting.

Each player got ten swings from the pitching machine. My son did good from the right side of the plate. Then the professional scout who was running the showcase told him, "OK, switch to the left side". All the college recruiters and pro scouts standing behind home plate looked up and took notice. They grabbed their pens and started making notes. This was what turned heads for my son. He was the only switch hitter out of four hundred invitees.

Switch hitting is such a valuable tool; almost everyone will agree. Yet there are very few switch hitters because it takes a lot of work and time. Most hitters feel they need to work on their natural swing, not start something new from the other side of the plate. They might switch over and try a few swings, but they feel awkward, and seldom have success at the start. No need to waste anymore time tiring this they think.

A few college and minor league players suddenly realize what an advantage there is in switch hitting. They give it a shot, trying to save or jump start their careers. If you are a right handed hitter and move to the left side, you are automatically two steps closer to first base. And if you have ever been at bat and seen a nasty curve ball coming in, you know you would be better off on the other side of the plate. Those are the two main advantages, and I mean big advantages, of switch hitting.

Mickey Mantle is the greatest switch hitter to have ever played the game. His dad taught him to switch hit at a young age. The Mick did not want to do it. He tried to talk his dad into just letting him hit from the right side, but his dad would not give in. In his major league career, Mickey had 164 home runs from the right side, and thanks to his dad, 372 from the left side.

Obviously, starting to switch hit at a young age is the best time. But like those college and minor league players, it is never to late to start. And it will help you turn heads.

If you want more tips on how to turn heads, please visit this site http://baseballtip.info

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

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Develop a Compact Baseball Swing


How to Develop a Compact Baseball Swing
By Jack Perconte

All major league hitters have compact swings. They could not get to that level without one. What separates hitters at this level is their degree of bat quickness and bat speed. Bat quickness determines how quick they can get the bat to the ball once they decide to swing. This is one of the ingredients needed for being able to wait on the pitch as long as possible and for making contact. Bat speed determines the amount of power that a hitter will produce if solid contact is made when the ball is hit. Once again though, all major league hitters have compact baseball swings. This is vital in order to hit the speeds that major league players face.

You might ask, "If they all have compact swings, why do some strike out so much?" There are three reasons for that and one was mentioned, bat quickness. A compact swing does not guarantee a quick bat. Two, some players put more tilt in their upper body with their swing. When players collapse their back side creating un-level hips, they create more up-swing, leading to greater lift on the ball, but more misses too. Three, some players simply have better hand-eye coordination.

Developing a compact swing should be the goal of young baseball hitters too. This will be necessary if they wish to consistently hit as they move up the baseball ladder.

First, a definition of a compact swing is necessary. Compactness implies a short, tight area and this would define a good baseball swing. A compact baseball swing is one in which the bat barrel goes from hitting position (above hitter's rear shoulder) directly to the ball as the hands descend into a palm-up, palm-down position approaching the strike zone. The bat barrel stays relatively close to the hitter's head on the way to the ball, without taking a detour to the contact area. Why is this so necessary? The more compact the swings, the longer hitters can wait on the ball which is a huge advantage when making decisions on different speed pitches.

Following are the drills that will lead to a compact baseball swing, giving ballplayers the best chance of having baseball hitting success:

1. Place a pad under the hitters lead arm and take some swings without the pad falling out till the follow through. Hitters will develop strong quick hands and forearms with this drill and not a long arm swing.

2. Have hitters stand belly button away from a net and take swings with the edge of bat just grazing the net with a full, fast turn. This will force hitters to keep the hands close to body to avoid casting the bat.

3. Have hitter stand with net close behind them (toward catcher) and take swings missing net on way toward ball. This drill is best done with no stride and will not allow hitters to drop the bat barrel

4. Set a batting tee hip high and even height with hitter's rear hip. Hitters take swings while missing the tee and hitting balls at any level, even knee high - best done with dropped ball drill or soft toss flipped balls.

5. Dropped ball drill - coach holds ball up in air and drops ball into the hitter's strike zone after the hitter takes their stride. A compact swing is necessary to make solid, consistent contact.

6. Alternate fast and slow pitches until hitters learn to have the same quick swing on all pitches - when players make good contact on both speeds while hitting balls in the direction of where the pitch is located is the goal.

Finally, hitters can perform a few of these drills in combination with the other drills to challenge them further. For example, combining the glove under lead arm (# 1) and the dropped ball drill (#5) with the tee hip high(#4) at the same time can be done.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball.
Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

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

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baseball Swing Mechanics - The Rotational Swing



Baseball Swing Mechanics - The Rotational Swing

By Todd Thomas

Rotational hitting...What is it?

My simple answer is that it is simply the big league swing. Prior to 2000, no one even knew what rotational hitting was. Now there are experts on every street corner. The facts are that Mike Epstein in his diligent study of the art of hitting isolated the core movements of the game's greatest hitters and defined their baseball swing mechanics in a term he coined Rotational Hitting.

You can call it what you want. Call it the rotational swing. Call it a hybrid swing. Call it weight shift hitting. There are many "names" now that other people have come up with, but I call it the big league swing. After all, that's what it is. Rotational hitting as Mike Epstein defined it encompasses and engulfs ALL of those other names that some are calling it. It IS the big league swing and that's what Mike Epstein Hitting teaches.

The bottom line is that there are really only TWO methods of hitting. A hitter is either Linear or he/she is Rotational with their swing mechanics. Now both techniques have elements of the other in them. Linear has some rotational and Rotational has some linear. The fact that each has elements of the other makes all of the other "techniques" or really names that people are calling baseball swing mechanics simply irrelevant and fictitious.

So let's define the Rotational Swing and the Linear Swing.

A rotational hitter establishes a stationary axis with the dropping of the front heal and with the front leg and they rotate around that stationary axis. This hitters "stays back" with their upper body. The head and chest do NOT come forward. They a very steady and do not lunge forward in the direction of the pitcher. You will occasionally see this happen when a hitter is completely fooled by a pitch and they break through their axis lunging forward in an awkward attempt to make contact. So the rotational hitter rotates around a stationary axis and stays back.

The linear hitter does not establish a stationary axis and they do not stay back. The linear hitter continues moving forward throughout their swing in a straight forward(linear) movement finishing their swing out over the top of their front foot or even slightly forward of it. The linear hitter typically swings in a downhill plane while the rotational hitter is typically taught to swing on the plane of the pitch because those swing planes match each technique. A linear hitter trying to swing on the pitch plane is very awkward and doesn't work well with all of the moving parts of this technique. Likewise, the rotational hitter swinging on a downhill plane is also an awkward unproductive swing. Staying back and swinging down do not match.

So to summarize the two basic baseball swing mechanics...The rotational hitter stays back and the linear hitter comes forward. See it's not as complicated as many desire to make it out to be. And remember, Rotational Swing Mechanics are simply the Big League Swing.

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is http://www.HitItHere.net. Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses http://PlayMyBestBaseball.com 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.

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

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Monday, April 12, 2010

How to Analyze a Baseball Swing


How to Analyze a Baseball Swing
By Jack Perconte

Many people who have a basic knowledge of baseball can look at an inexperienced hitter and figure out what they are doing wrong. Certain things like stepping out, over-striding, swinging early or late, upper cutting, pulling off the ball and taking their eye off the ball are fairly obvious flaws. The solutions to these problems are not as obvious, and certainly not as simple as just telling the hitter what they are doing wrong. Muscle memory can be very tough to change and it is important for hitters and adults to have patience with players who are trying to make changes to their muscle memory. However, I am getting ahead of myself. The swing cannot be fixed until it has been analyzed correctly. Analyzing a swing when the flaws are not as obvious takes a much more experienced coach.

Following are pointers for coaches who are not as experienced to know what to look for when analyzing a baseball swing:

1. The best angle to watch a hitter is the side angle, as from the on deck circle.

2. The main thing to watch from this angle is the path of the bat barrel.

3. The ideal is when the bat barrel settles above the hitter's rear shoulder with the knob of the bat pointing down just as the front foot lands with the stride. A slight tilt of the bat barrel where it settles anywhere between 11 and 1 o'clock is best.

4. From this settled position, the ideal is to see the hands and barrel begin on a downward path towards the ball, while never traveling too far from the hitters head on the path to the ball. This is known as a compact swing.

5. The swing is begun by a break of the back knee allowing the hips to open, and with a pull of the lead hand.

6. The bat barrel starts on a downward path but will begin to level off quite quickly, especially on the lower pitches. As the back knee rotates towards the ball, the back elbow lowers and remains very close to the body on the initial portion of the swing. This prevents the hands from casting away from the body, another common flaw of young hitters.

7. This leveling off is accomplished by the hands forming a palm-up (top hand) and palm-down (lower hand) position before and after contact. The hands will end at about the same level they began the swing, at shoulder level height.

8. After leveling off, good hitters will keep the bat mostly level for an extended period until well after contact when it will begin an upward path till finishing behind the back.

9. As the bat barrel comes through, the hitter's hips have completely opened with the belly button facing the pitcher.

10. The area between the legs should form a capital A at contact, with the hitters head located above the rear hip.

11. The rear foot has pivoted towards the pitcher as the weight has shifted from the rear leg towards the front foot, and the hitter will finish up on his back toe.

12. All of this is ideally done with the hitters head and eyes tracking the ball all the way till contact.

Often, it takes a great deal of observation of the baseball swing to pick up on these little intricacies of the swing. These actions of the swing happen very quickly. Picturing an airplane landing is a good mind illustration that describes the bat barrel swing path. As mentioned, paying close attention to the path of the bat barrel is the key to analyzing the swing. Watching video of good hitters, especially in slow motion, can be very helpful in learning to analyze the baseball swing. Good swings involve excellent balance, even though there is an explosive opening of the hips and an aggressive "throw" of the hands. In all my years of teaching hitting, I found that if I could correct the hitter's bat path, the rest of their problems began to disappear or were much easier to correct.

After watching a hitter from the side angle, it is beneficial to analyze the swing from the angle of the pitcher or directly behind the hitter. From these angles it is easier to notice the hitter's front side, mainly the stride direction and front shoulder. It is important that the hitters stride is towards the pitcher and that their front shoulder stays pointed at the ball until the swing begins; when the front shoulder will start its rotation open.

Obviously, there is a great deal to the swing, as this just covers the basics. I guess it explains why I needed 200 pages to discuss all the aspects of hitting and "teaching hitting" in my book.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons, books and advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball. Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog and books can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com.

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

Sunday, April 11, 2010

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Proper Baseball Swing - Swinging on the Pitch Plane


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By Todd Thomas

What should players, baseball and fastpitch alike, be focusing on improving going into a new season? I say it should be on the key element to the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing which is to match their swing plane with the plane of the pitch. Swing LEVEL...to the ball. The BALL, not to the ground. You know, like the best players in the game do?

If you swing down on the ball, then you are "intersecting" the path of the ball giving yourself a small window of timing for contact. A more productive swing would be to attempt to match the plane of your swing to the plane of the pitch. Having the bat on the same plane as the ball as long as possible opens up your window of timing for making contact. Why would any hitter consistently give themselves the smaller window of contact? It simply makes sense to swing on the pitch plane.

Swinging on plane IS the proper baseball swing. Albert Pujols, one of the games great hitters, has shown he is on plane on many of his swings for up to 5 and 1/2 feet. That's awesome. Being on plane that long gives Albert or any hitter a much larger window to make good contact with the incoming pitch.

Can you be on plane perfectly every time you try? No. That's why you see various types of hits. But attempting to swing level to the ball increases your line drive rate which in turn raises your batting average. Line drives equal a high batting average.

How do you teach players to swing on the pitch plane? You have to understand and show them how to put the bat on the pitch plane. Take a rope and secure one end. Stretch it out and teach players to put the bat on it in their swing and swing along the rope. You should hold the loose end slightly lower than the secured end in order to more closely simulate the high to low path of the ball. Take a 3 to 4 foot piece of PVC pipe and hold it where players can put their bat on it and swing along it. If you are holding the pipe, I don't recommend letting them swing at full speed.:-) It should be a slow practice swing. Get creative and teach your players the proper baseball swing and the proper fastpitch swing by teaching them to swing on the plane of the pitch.

Play Ball!

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is http://www.HitItHere.net. Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses http://PlayMyBestBaseball.com 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.

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

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Baseball & Softball Swing Training - Is Muscle Memory a Myth?


By Todd Thomas

Exactly what is muscle memory and how do you create it for a specific thing you want your body to learn to repeat? The term muscle memory is thrown around so loosely, but do those who use the term really know what muscle memory is and how to create it? So many have just heard the term and simply repeat it because it sounds good. First off let me ask, do your muscles really have cognitive power in and of themselves? Do our muscles have brain cells embedded in them? I think even those who throw the term around as if they really understand it would even admit the simple answer to that question. That answer being No. Our muscles do not have the ability to remember anything. So where does the term muscle memory come from and how does one actually create it?

Muscles really only have two capabilities. They can either be constricted(to varying degrees) or they can be relaxed. That's it. So again, where does this "muscle memory" come from? Well, it's really BRAIN memory. The brain is what is really "remembering" moves or has the "memory" of certain performed activities. The brain sends electrical impulses to the muscles causing them to either be constricted or relaxed in order for the body to perform what it is being asked to do. So it's really the brain that needs to be programmed for memory of desired muscle movement not the muscles themselves. They just perform what the brain tells them to.

So with this in mind that we really need to train the brain not the muscles in order to learn and repeat a desired athletic move, that begs the question of exactly how to do it. To understand the answer, just think about the sensory inputs that the brain receives in order to learn. Yes, the senses...Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Feel(Touch). And of course, that sixth sense, Emotion. The two most important here for programming "muscle memory" is sight and feel. Sound or Hearing factor in here too from the instruction of what a coach may be telling a player to do, but hearing by simply being told how to perform an athletic move is a far distant second(if you will) behind sight and feel in training the brain for muscle memory.

It is important for a player to "feel" what they are doing in their swing. Feeling the swing as a whole and feeling what different body parts or muscles groups are doing is a powerful step forward for any player. The ability to feel the "hands" for instance and how they are working in the swing is important. Knowing where they(the hands in this example) are at each moment of the swing is important. "Feeling" where they are and feeling what they are doing IS KNOWING their performance in the swing. I tell students a lot to draw their attention to a certain body part and to "pay attention" to what that part is doing in their swing. Paying attention to it(whatever it is) is to "observe" it without trying to change it. Pay attention or observe it as I, the instructor, am observing it. Feeling is important and is a powerful way to make mechanical changes or adjustments and to promote muscle memory.

Then there is sight. Baseball and softball players being able to see themselves and what they are doing, be it in a mirror or on video is extremely important as well. Seeing what they are doing helps them to feel what they are doing. However, the players seeing what they are doing is not the only important visual sensory input to the brain that will help develop the much desired muscle memory. It is also extremely valuable for players to take in the visual input of other players they want to emulate by watching video of that player(s) over and over and over perform at their best(or performing their best swing). Don't sell the value of this short. I'm telling you, it is a scientifically proven fact that watching the best players perform at their best is a great(and in many ways untapped) way to train a player's brain in their desired athletic endeavor. Remember, it's the brain that is trained for "muscle memory" not the muscles themselves. The brain stores and recalls this information to send to a player's muscles when it is time to perform. Does just watching a little bit of video do it? No. It should be a regular "practice" of a player wanting to train their muscle memory. Just like physical practice isn't a one time(or few times) thing either. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Oh yea, that brings me to physical REPETITION. Physical repetition of course is critical. Does physical repetition train the muscles? No. It trains the brain on the impulses necessary to send to the muscles to perform the desired athletic activity.

So technically, muscle memory is a myth. It's the brain that one needs to train to perform the desired muscles memory. Remember that!

Todd Thomas is a Baseball Coach and Professional Hitting Instructor for Mike Epstein Hitting. Coach Todd's personal hitting website is http://www.HitItHere.net. Coach Todd also enthusiastically endorses http://PlayMyBestBaseball.com 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.

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

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Batting Average - How to Increase It


Batting Average - How to Increase It
By Bryan Ciconte

So you want to learn how to raise your batting average as a hitter. Well you came to the right article. I will keep it short, simple and to the point. I will cover a few tips and topics to raise your average 50-100 points.

Tip 1) Develop a game plan. So what do I mean by developing a game plan. I want you to develop an approach that you use every single time you step up to the plate. A good approach would consist of understanding how to count hit. By count hitting you will be able to anticipate what type of pitch you may see roughly 80% of the time.

Advantage Counts: 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-1, 3-0
Approach: In these counts your goal is simple, look for something you can hit hard. If the pitcher throws you a pitch in an area that is not in your hot zone, don't swing. Do not swing at off-speed pitches during these counts, look for fastballs. Reality is if the pitcher throws an off-speed pitch during these counts more often than not it's going to be a ball and put you in a greater advantage. Of course there are exceptions. The only time you may want to swing at an off-speed pitch during this count is if relates to one of your strengths or the pattern percentages anticipate one.

Neutral Counts: 1-1, 2-1, 3-2
Approach 1: In these counts neither the hitter nor pitcher has an advantage. As I talked about earlier this is where having a good game plan is going to pay off. In these counts you should be able to anticipate what you may see. So trust your percentages and instinct in these counts.

Approach 2: If you are comfortable in hitting with 2 strikes you can treat these counts as an advantage count, hitting to your strengths. Both approaches are great, but which one you choose is your personal preference.

Defensive Counts: 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, 2-2
Approach: This is where you need to develop your 2 strike approach. In these counts the pitcher has you at his mercy leaving you with about a 20% chance of getting a hit. Your goal here is to battle at the plate by putting the ball in play or working the count neutral. A good mental approach for hitting with 2 strikes is thinking about hitting a pitch which speed is between the pitchers fastball and off-speed stuff. By doing so, your reactions will take over and adjust to the movement or lack of movement of the pitch. A good physical approach would consist of shortening your swing or choking-up on the bat.

These are just a few ideas on how to hit in an advantage, neutral, or defensive count. Throughout your career as a hitter you may find something else that works for you.

Tip 2) If your a good bunter and have speed utilze it, By either showing bunt or by bunting, more often than not you will put the 3rd of 1st basemen in a position that will create more holes in the infield creating a better chance for getting a hit.

Tip 3) Hit to your strengths not your weaknesses. Understand that by doing so you will enable yourself to be more confident at the plate and be more aggressive. Leave your weaknesses at practice.

I hope the few tips helped improve your game!

Thanks and good luck Bryan @ [http://www.hittingmadesimple.com Hitting Made Simple]

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

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