Coaching up here in Northern California, Little League (10-12 year olds, Majors). The one thing I have the biggest problem with is kids pulling their heads as they swing and not keeping their eyes on the ball. I've tried a lot of home remedies, but nothing works consistently. Any hints?
You are correct this is a problem and you're correct until he can once to stay in and look at the ball while he swings it will not happen.
The first and foremost thing is that they have to get in the right sequence: have to step and get their foot on the ground, rotate their hips,then bring the bat through the strike zone hands first.
The best drill that I've found for this is a version of the soft toss drill. Get a screen (probably a pitcher L-screen) and have the batter stand at the plate (preferably in a cage) and soft toss directly at him both underhand and overhand just like your throwing pitches over the plate, using a screen to protect yourself. This will allow him to concentrate on the three steps and not worry about how hard he's going to hit it or if he's going to get it and he can keep his head down and see the ball all the way and even trying to see it come off the bat.
Hope this helps and if we can help you more with getting DVDs or conversation please just let me know.
Coach Arnald Swift
thoughts on breaking pitches, when should players start opinions, age breaking pitches are appropriate, general thoughts on age and breaking pitches
how do we get the boys ready to play or practice. Frame of mind, Before, drills, attitude, organization,
Parents, as your boy or girl gets better and progresses into the sport of baseball and/or softball they're going to be faced with tryouts. Where a coach or set of coaches trying to determine if he or she can play on their team regardless of whether it's elite travel or just regular league many times were faced with the try out. If the tryouts are well-run you should be able to see comparisons between your player and the other players and how they can hit, run, throw, field, and at times how well they understand the game through situations.
All tryouts try to create measurable's so that they can validate their choices both to themselves and the parents. Many times parents don't see, in fact most always, their child/player in the same light as the coaches that are doing the evaluation. By measurable's we mean something that the player can do that we can physically and mathematically major.
Typically these are: running speed how fast over the distance from home plate to second base, arm speed how fast does he throw the ball from the pitcher's mound and from the shortstop position to first base -- this is measured with radar almost always. On the batting aspects New technology is allowing for a measurable on the bat speed, bat angle, exit speed of the ball off the bat all these things are done using a machine or a batting T so that little or no difference between one boy/girl to the other.. Something we always try to avoid is the human element in a tryout,
you should note as a parent or try out administrator that there needs to be opinion place for somebody that knows the game and knows athletes to be able to comment on athletic ability, quickness, correctness of throwing motion, correctness of hitting technique,, awareness of the situations when placed into the field or at the bat and a situation is simulated.
But that human element does enter into when we determine if the player has a good attitude, hustle, pays attention, will be a good team player and that the parents and the player understood what they're trying out for and most the time with the costs going to be both in time and in money.
All these are things that you as a parent and as a coach trying out need to consider, this article is a long ways from inclusive but I would hope it gives you some thoughts of what you're going to be faced with or what you have to do in tryouts.
Coach Arnald Swift
Baseball tip Some Coaches Notes On Baserunning
I wish I knew why so little time is spent on baserunning in practice.
Maybe there’s just so much to do coaches are less comfortable with their knowledge, and as I said, I don’t know.
But what if it were true that you could actually steal a few extra victories in a season? Would you feel it was important enough to rethink it? I hope, yes. But where would you start...and how would you implement it?
Some quick thoughts:
Decide how much time you would dedicate, then DO IT. Now they can get better, quicker and it becomes a habit for the entire team.,Explain to the team about a new weapon they will be using: baserunning! Let players know that all players can help, not just Johnny Fast-Guy. Be prepared for your 2nd practice drills to go 20-30% better than the 1st! Be prepared to get excited (as will your players) as this happens.
Make it a part of your practice routine. You’ll even come up with more ideas that I PROMISE you’ll “get” as your interest peaks!.
Thoughts on each base:
Second base is called scoring position for a reason.
It takes one hit to score most runners from here...and has the added bonus of eliminating the force or double play and pressures the defense and your opposing coaches further.
There are 9 different ways to score from 3rd base! Can you name them?
Wow! You just have to attack this base and get yourself there. It puts so much pressure on opposing coaches, pitchers, catchers and infielders that you could steal an extra game or three over the course of a season!
This is a little bit out of my normality of posting but had a situation that I thought would be worthwhile talking about. It's one is old as coaching and is always going to come up there is no true solution. However I do believe there's one question that we can ask and press the person complaining for their answer.
I help coach my son's team and is a 10 under team, kind of an ordinary team the place in a recreational league in our town but we try to do the best we can and make the boys better because we do know what shape the ball is in of got some legitimate background in coaching and baseball. Which is a nice way to say we pretty much know what were doing.
After a game last week the one parent that doesn't want to coach but doesn't like the way were doing came to us and said he just had to get off his chest. What he had to talk about was that he thinks the coaches lost that game. (Not sure how we gave up the 10 hits, five errors in eight runs while only scoring two runs but it was Coaches fault). then of course after he talked a little bit the real truth came out that he was upset that his boy who happens to be left-handed and not that fast had to play right field sum as well as first base. Now most the time he plays first base but in this particular game he pitched and played right field and didn't play first base. He immediately compared it to my sons boy, and the other coaches boy who play second in short and that's the only position they played.. You
his statement was at the end of all this complaining that he was grooming his boy to be a first baseman and that we were doing a misjustices to his boy by not playing him at first base all the time where he wants him to play as that's going to be his position and that's what were grooming there's that word again him for.
Both the coaches listened very patiently and really didn't respond,, really not all they just said thank you and will consider everything you said. Now as the coach of 50+ years that just helps a practice and doesn't have anything really to say about the lineup I only help with the skills. I believe they handle it very well as he left Calm but I'm sure is not satisfied because there were no guarantees made about how where his boy were going to play.
Now this is the real reason I write this any coach that listens to any parent, fan, and it's having a semi-rational discussion about what you're not doing should always ask them this final question-- WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE US DO AND WHAT KIDS SHOULD WE LEAVE OUT. If he can't answer that what he would do, and how he would handle it then the conversation really over.
I knew the winningest basketball coach in college basketball, he coach for North Dakota State Don Meyers, and he was speaking at a clinic one time and said I will talk to anybody about anything I want the best for my players except I will talk to anybody especially parents about playing time. My answer is always the same tell me what player you don't think should be playing, and I will get you his phone number so you can call his parents and discuss it with them. Granted it was a non-realistic answer but it certainly brings forward very good point very clear that not getting enough time there has to be a player is getting too much time so who's decision should that be --THE COACH'S.
That is my 2 cents and opinion.
Coach Arnald Swift
thank you for the question would be happy to come in on as I've been faced with this very problem with my two boys and, so the kids that I've coached over the 40 years. This is going to be my coaches/dad answer.
There is no doubt in my mind you play for the team that is not highly ranked in your description. It has zero value for player development, player enjoyment, player advancement to sit on the bench. If you're not playing you're getting behind in a 10% playing time, top team really is nothing is nothing but late inning appearances, games that don't mean anything, games that are already lost or one that he would be getting in.
The only value playing with the team is the social interaction, and the prestige with that similar very thin when you're not getting to do anything to contribute. The one thing I can't see is how good he is and why he's only a 10% player, if there's a reason that he can overcome to become one of the 90% players and that's what he needs to do but he's going to do it by playing6 not sitting on the bench.
Then finally let me say one thing is a coach and a the may sound a little harsh this is 13-year-old baseball there no scholarships, there's no real glory outside of what you give it to yourself, there's going to be at least five more years of trying to become a player. When it really counts is in the high school, or the 17 and up summer teams. But he'll never make those sitting on the bench. He needs to be playing. Now if a boy or girl is a player and they are playing and they should be moving up within their age brackets play the top competition that's available. But they have to be able to play and succeed.
Let me ask you a question when I was coaching basketball in a very small high school I was the JV coach. We had a senior that was not very good in fact he was going to get cut as a player but he was a super kid is a person so we gave him the choice, a rare choice of high school, that as a senior he could play on the JV team and play not to set. He chose to be the 13th man 12 man squad at the high school level instead of to play at the JV level. So in reality he didn't play at all and all the games that season he probably got on the floor maybe a total of five minutes. So my question is was he right or wrong. To me that's the same question you're asking here is better to sit or better to play. It's always better to play in my mind and in my advice.
Coach Arnald Swift
34 years of teaching, 40+ years of umpiring, 40 years of coaching at all levels from youth to D1, coached almost every sport there is one point of the other.
I would like to say a few words about young players or even older players concentrating on the single sport to early in life. This is going on because my grandson all of a sudden is decided he didn't want to play basketball this year that he only want to play baseball. I was in particularly in favor but he is 10 years old and he's going to change his mind more than once that's a guarantee. What's happened on a practical level is that there is no baseball for him to concentrate on so the only thing he's doing is going to the cage once in a while it hitting with that's not really practice. But more importantly I think it's a matter he's not getting the life experiences that he would enjoy playing all the games with all his friends. I encourage parents to really get their kids to try many different things. Sports aren't any different than food, entertainment, academic interests, arts and science, all that kind of thing. I don't think there's a parent out there that doesn't hate when their kid just sits in front of the TV or in front of the videogame. But I really don't see that much difference between those two activities only doing one sport during the developmental years.
I'll even add a second story of a young man I know in California that only play baseball up until the time you said during his freshman class, 2016, at that point he decided he didn't like being left out social circle so he was going to play football. As it turned out he was relatively good enjoyed it and says he's going to do it again, now he's playing freshman basketball again doing very well, and then in the spring he will play baseball. The real point of this is that he tried to stay with baseball only up until the time he was 14 years old all of a sudden he decided that he would like to try these other things, you did and he's turned out to be good at it and enjoying all the benefits. Therefore I think the take away would be it's never too late to start doing other things.
If we as parents, grandparents think they were going to build an athlete it's going to get college scholarships, pro sports, or in any way have sports be part of his life from a financial side then were fooling ourselves. The mathematical odds of these things happening are extraordinarily high and then the truth is we spend more money trying to get this accomplished that we never spend on the scholarships if we didn't have the sports. Sports and competition are for enjoyment in the real benefit comes from playing the sport, being part of a group, and having your family be with you while you're doing it.
I wrote this both from first-hand experience with my boys, my grandkids, and what I believed as a coach for over 40 years. What are your thoughts?
My name is Trevor, and I have been catching for 7 years. Over the summer, I made sure to study all the footwork of a catcher and everything I could think of. I am currently a freshman in high school playing in open off season to prepare for tryouts in February. I keep telling my coach that I know how to catch, but he won't let me catch at practices or in our scrimmage games. Instead he puts in me in the outfield and plays everyone that he knows in the infield. What can I say or do to make him let me catch? I know I am a good catcher, but every time he asks for catchers, he ignores me, or says that I can catch in a game and forgets I am a catcher. What do I do?
Trevor: Yours is an interesting question, because it has several elements in it that are inferred and are direct questions. Let's handle the direct question: if you have worked that hard catcher for seven years then you really should be pretty decent, but never to get a chance to catch is a little odd. You indicate that you'd be willing to catch batting practice, or even just in practice I would certainly encourage you to go directly the coach and say your willing to catch BP or in the bullpen just so show that I can do it. Would you please give me that opportunity. When you ask it directly like that then he will be forced to give you a direct answer and no coach the world pass up a catcher wanting to work in those two jobs. Now you infer that you tried to and tried to catch and your coach put you out in the outfield with the vague promises he will catch you in a game. Something is wrong there no coach would put the player into the game as a catcher without have watching him go through practice, drills, and all the things of the catcher is required to do. Second question comes about how well are you in the outfield are you more valuable out there defensively along with your hitting skills. As a coach I have to make that decision. Then the other question that you didn't ask but a coach has to decide how good are the players in front of you, as much as you want to work at it has much you have worked at it are you still not as good in all the skills in a catcher takes.
I'm a long ways from saying don't continue to work because your letter indicates that you're willing to work, do all the hard jobs to show you can catch and then in turn try to get into the games as a catcher and you must just continue down that road. But be honest with yourself when you look at how you helped the team the best and maybe the coach is looking at it from that direction not just what you would like to do. Hang in there and continue to work at catching but at the same time to your job when you're playing the game at all those other elements that are involved.
Best of luck let me know how it turns out.
Coach Arnald Swift
Well, it’s been 3 years since I sent this email to you. You said to let you know how things are going. I took your advice and found an academy for my son to attend. It’s a four hour round trip to Springfield, MO to Midwest Baseball Academy. Kyle plays on the USSA 14U majors team. He just turned 14 a week ago. He’s 6’1” 182# and built like a brick school house. They put radar on him in August and he was throwing 87 mph. He carried a .470BA with 18HR.
After summer travel ball we asked the local high school coach if Kyle could practice with the high school team while they played fall ball. Needless to say Kyle was a little intimidated being in eighth grade and playing with juniors and seniors. Before their first game we told him not to be surprised if he didn’t get to play much, if at all. He started the first game at SS and had a fantastic performance. He batted third. His first AB, first pitch, 350’ HR. Second AB first pitch also 350’. He finished 4/5 with triple and single. The high school played 10 games in fall ball. He had 32AB, 8HR, 21 hits, 2 SO. He got to pitch in 5 games, 15 innings, 27 strikeouts.
For my wife and I here’s the best part. Kyle is a straight A student, is loved by all his teachers and class mates. He is a leader in class and sports. We spend so much time on the road together it gives plenty of time for “life’s lessons”. He’s very humble and is not always comfortable with the attention he seems to get from players, coaches, and even umpires.
I know this probably sounds like somebody’s bragging Christmas letter, but I try to listen to people like you when advice and cautions are shared.