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
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?
Question from a coach: We have players that are constantly late to practice, one boy in particular. What is the best way to handle it. He is one of your best players. Should we not start him, not play him, punish him by running. What do you think?
Frustrated Coach Schmidt
Coach this is a constant problem with coaching, and every coach that is actually coached more than one day he has had this problem. The first time you might talk to him and his parents if there are involved but with the ongoing problem there needs to be some kind of discipline. And you have to balance it between penalizing the entire team, being fair getting your point across to the player. So really it probably needs to be a hierarchy of what you're going to do. This first one may be a little late but I found if you make them stay after practice even if it's just for a few minutes telling them you need to make up some work they really don't like that and the parents will take notice also. If you have a young enough team that may work very well as parents get to be nervous that you're eating into their time.(Not to mention your eating into your time by staying after). The second level to just send the player home or exclude him from practice. This works very well with school team player then the next practice have him to physical drills as punishment. What we want to do in all this is not have him quit or harm the team. BUT the last deal is missing playing time or a game.
Explain that he took time from the other players, the coach's, parents all those that are supporting him Now we have to take time from you to impress on you the importance of being there all EVERYONE not just yourself.
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?
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
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.