Baseball Coaching Questions & Answers

When Should Pitcher Start with Breaking Pitches? September 03 2018, 0 Comments

thoughts on breaking pitches,  when should players start opinions, age breaking pitches are appropriate, general thoughts on age and breaking pitches

Warm-Up Exercises Before Game Or Practice January 04 2018, 0 Comments

how do we get the boys ready to play or practice. Frame of mind, Before, drills, attitude, organization,

Tryouts and what to look for August 16 2017, 1 Comment

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


Practice and Baserunning June 18 2017, 0 Comments

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:
2nd 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.

 3rd Base
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!




How Much is to Much December 28 2016, 0 Comments

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?


Parent asking about Pitcher Responsiblity December 26 2015, 0 Comments

Coach

My son pitched to one batter in his last game.  The bases were loaded when he came in and he unfortunately walked in the winning run.  How is this counted against him since none of the runs were his.  Is he credited with anything except the walk?


Larry

You are correct, the walk is all your son, pitcher, get placed on his score sheet for that game.  The other 3 runner and there actions were the responsibility of the original pitcher.  Though I know internally your son feels like it is his fault, but he did not put those 3 runners there, and how would he feel if they scored in some other way EX: pass ball, error, steal those things that he had no control over the result would have been the same and your son (the pitcher) did his job and other did not, that is why it is a team WIN OR LOSS, a single act did not cause this result.  Take up an individual sport like, golf, wrestling, tennis, track where you have total control over the situation.  He will be fine and I ask you don't worry about statistics, just as the team of which your son is part of to do things right then winning and losing will take care of itself.

Coach Arnald Swift


Discipline vs Punishment October 12 2015, 0 Comments

Dear Coach

I am coaching a 9 year old baseball team and have been discussing coaching techniques with my assistants.  My assistants think we should make players run laps and do push up when they constantly make the same mistake.  I am of the opinion that repetition and showing proper technique is the proper way to break habits and correct mistakes.  What is your opinion and when should discipline such as laps and push ups be used on the baseball field?  Should lack of effort or hustle result in laps and/or push ups and if not what is your recommendation?

Thank you
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Dear Mark

I coached nine-year-olds and laps or out to the fence and back does have its place but in my opinion that places only to get their attention not in any way shape or form for mistakes. Your coaches along with yourself need to teach technique and do the drills that allow the techniques to be used, and reinforce what's correct in what you're trying to teach and running laps and doing push-ups does not do that. Now the separate question is lack of hustle or lack of effort I found that setting against the fence is the worst punishment of all if you don't want to hustle you don't want to try then we don't need you bothering the other people make them sit up against the fence and just watch. So I can answer your question in three ways yes you can make them run to get their attention, but you don't make them run or do push-ups for mistakes in skill technique work, then isolate them if they don't want to pay attention or hustle they're just taking away from your time and the players that are trying to work and learn .  You have to distinguish between discipline and punishment.  Discipline is the ability to concentrate and do what you are asked to do at the time it needs to be done.  Punishment is running, push-ups, isolation and they're meant to get a players attention and teach him the value of paying attention and learning discipline.  As a coach you need to distinguish between the two of them with your players.

Best of luck.
Coach Arnald Swift

Follow up Answer to Dads Question September 10 2015, 0 Comments

From Greg
Hi Coach,

   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.

Thanks again,
Kyle’s Dad
Greg Fincher

Mixing Sports August 31 2015, 0 Comments

Dear Coach

I have coached baseball for years and have told my kids that baseball and golf do not mix. A lot of golf can be a detriment to your baseball swing. Am I off base with my teaching.

Coach

I can't really agree with you to give the short answer.  I see athletics as all independent.  When I first started out baseball players did not lift weights, but now we know how to do it and the increased strength has not be gained at the loss of flexibility (that was the worry).

I don't believe one skill takes away from another.  We have too many good and very good golfers with in baseball some of  them almost PGA caliber.


I understand what you are asking but I think it fallen in the categories of  "It sounds like a good idea" but in truth no factual basis.


Sorry to disagree but you and I are two coaches talking.

Coach Arnald Swift


Player Can't Hit the Ball August 18 2015, 0 Comments

Dear Coach

My 8 year old has a good swing but does not hit the ball in the game.  We play in a coach pitch league so the pitches are normally very good.  Can you give me some suggestion for us to work on.
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I do understand your problem with little kids. As a matter of fact I do have a couple of things that you can do that will really help.
First and foremost you need to find yourself a protective screen for in the cage and place it in front of home plate. Then get you a 5 gallon bucket and turn it upside down and set behind the screen set up about 10
feet away from the batter. Now what you need to do is reach around the outer edge and underhand toss the ball to your batter. This is called front toss in it works with little kids better than soft toss from the side. You
will notice very quickly that for some strange reason, it must be the physics, that little kids can hit a ball thrown underhand. Then after you've done at for a couple of rounds give each kid like five swings have them
hurry in and out so they keep moving like you said the attention span is a big deal. Then in the third or fourth round flip it over hand from the same position so that you're down to there level and not standing above
them. You will be surprised how much better they hit I wouldn't even worry about the pitching machine until the game. What you're trying to develop his hand eye coordination.