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

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!




Prestige Versus Playing Mom question January 18 2017, 0 Comments

Jeannie

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.


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?


Radar Gun and Speed July 28 2016, 1 Comment



Darryl to Coach Arnald Swift

I was holding the radar gun (Striker (sic) STALKER but I don’t know the model number) for my nephew. Being a physicist rather than knowing anything useful about baseball, I noticed it read to one decimal point from which I inferred it was measuring speed to the nearest 0.01 mile per hour and the rounding to the nearest 0.1 mile per hour. I asked him if he knew what the accuracy of the gun was and its precision and he didn’t so my 1st question is what is the accuracy and precision of your guns. My second question is how close to parallel to the balls flight path must the gun be pointed before it begins to reads wrong due to the misalignment and does anyone ever worry about that? I think he is very happy with the gun, I was just wondering about these things so thought I would ask.
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Darryl

I apologize for not getting back to you with my thoughts and comments on your letter, somewhere other this got send it to spam and I just discovered it today I had no means or way meant to slight you because the question is interesting. I taught math and computers and so I also think a little bit like yourself.

As far as the accuracy of the guns even the most accurate of guns don't actually read in the hundreds of a mile, it's common to see 10th of a mile but when we use the professional guns made by Staker (most popular among professionals) they read in miles per hour not hundredth or tenths from a radar gun on a baseball or any other sports ball.  

A radar gun reads in a direct line best so when doing baseball to set up behind the pitcher or behind the catcher in a straight line to get the absolute most accurate reading. Then also remember that the radar field measures about 30 feet away from the location where the ball started or stopped. It's interesting to note that the speed of the ball out of the hand at 30 feet is faster than the ball at the catcher 30 feet away into his glove. Simple physics in a way the ball is actually slowing down on its way to the plate and perception but it is a little bit slower as it reaches the plate. For baseball people the most accurate is at the plate because that's where the batter has to hit it.

Now the angle of reading the flight of the ball is ideally 0 to 10° but you can get relatively accurate readings up to about 20° of variance the good guns have the ability to do some math internally and get an accurate reading from off a direct line.   And one other factor that you did mention is how far away there are some smaller versions, cheaper versions, that need to be within about 20 to 30 feet to have any accuracy at all then the professional type guns are accurate through screens, batting cages, that kind of material from up to 300 feet. I've always found it interesting that the manufacturers of police radars, have the same exact radar guns available to the sporting industry. They just change the recording devices to meet the needs.

Hope this helps in your thoughts and your curiosity and I certainly appreciate your interest and sorry about the time lapse.

Coach Arnald Swift BATCO

Stalker Radar Gun Sport 2


Covering Bases When Runners Steal February 21 2016, 0 Comments

Dear Coach

    I coach baseball at the 13-15 Babe Ruth level. We work hard with our pitchers holding runners on to avoid giving up really easy stolen bases. At this point, I think our pitchers are doing well at this task. I have a question or two about the second baseman and shortstop and their jobs of helping hold runners on at second base. I feel if we are going to give up a steal of third base, the runner that steals should at least be held on 2B properly before he earns that stolen base on us.

1) Are there different responsibilities for the two positions in regards to holding the runner at 2B vs. a left handed or right handed batter?
2) What should the footwork for the short stop and second baseman involve?
3) Should they be saying anything, tapping their gloves, or etc.?

Thanks for any tips you can offer me in regards to answering my questions.

Dear Kelly
You have this pretty well in hand and I answer that because of your suggestions and thoughts.  The decision on who holes a runner at second with distractions, playing close to him, are all dependent upon the batter and where he's most likely at the ball. The general answer is whether he's left or right handed but there certainly can be exceptions as you get to know your opponents. There are several ways simply bluffing, going always a bag, living in front of the runner and backing away, moving up directly behind the runner so he knows you're there. All these things have to be done in synchronization with your pitcher so that you don't get caught out of place. Now your pitcher can help you with bluffs every once in a while, second and third looks (very is looks at the runner), pickoff plays even when there not successful which is second are pretty rare but they keep a record closer.  But you are right you got to do a combination of things and you need to make sure a runner knows you're there otherwise he'll become very comfortable and get an extra step or two when the balls hit, we wants to steal, distracting your pitcher, so is a variation of what I've said and above what you said.

Coach Arnald Swift

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

Hits in Cage but Not Live Pitching August 21 2015, 0 Comments

Dear Coach

My son is 8 years old, he has been playing baseball since he was 4 and I've worked with him since he was 2. My question is he kills the baseball when I throw him BP and when I pitched to him last season in coach
pitch but now he has to hit off of player pitchers and he is pretty much not swinging the bat at all. He just stands there and when I ask him about it he says that the pitches were not strikes. How do I remedy this? He just made a 9 year old select team and I have to fix this before the season starts or he is either going to lead the league in walks or strike outs via looking.... What is frustrating for me is he has a ton of power, he is
4'9" 100lbs and hits lefty, I know how to fix mechanical issues but this one is mental.

Thanks!
Sam

Dear Sam

Let's make sure of one thing first off the bat does he have good mechanical skills and does he batting practice pitching, tee work, soft toss work well and consistently.   My guess is you're going to answer yes then I have to agree 100% that it's all mental. What your boys doing is he thinking way too much and not just seeing the ball and hitting it.  I don't know if you have control on are not but if I was his coach and I saw these things I would start to correct it by telling him that he has to hit the next pitch no matter what and if there are runners on base and we can collect hit-and-run, but in reality what were trying to do is take the decision-making out of his hands and make him swing at the next pitch the matter where it is.  You will actually need to do this for an entire game and yes he may swing at some bad pitches anyway make an easy out or two but he will swing the bat he will make contact I promise you that.  It's a very odd thing when you take away the decision-making, batter that actually is pretty decent they almost always get the ball the matter where it is in the strike zone out of the strike zone it doesn't make a difference they will make contact because their swing is good and they're not deciding if I should or shouldn't swing they know that already so they're just trying to get the ball and they will.  Now if you can't do that a game because you don't have the control and what you need to do is go in the cage and tell him swing of this one no matter what don't swing at this one no matter what and start to take away the decision-making.  You're just trying to get him comfortable with looking at the ball coming at him and swinging at it not whether it's a ball or strike not whether it's a curve or fastball just see the ball and hit.  You will be amazed at how effective that is.

Please let me know how turns out.

Coach Arnald Swift