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!




Unhappy Parent May 01 2017, 0 Comments

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


Play Only 1 Sport March 12 2017, 0 Comments

I've been reading a lot about travel baseball here recently and how much time and effort spent the dedicated to it. For my own personal experience my grandson has now devoted since December until probably September/October  to baseball. They been having practice  once or twice a week  since after Christmas and as of today March 12th 2015 they've only played one game both of those in a practice tournament.

now that you have the picture the question is is that good for him, as a coach 34 years at the high school level in a coach for well over 40 years I question it. Every study you read there has been much of it recently  indicates that players become better athletes, begun better people, and are just better off all the way around in their life if they have diversity. Now I'm not saying there's not a time to start to dedicate to single sport that time is not when you're young by my definition young means actually under 18, though I'm sure somebody will argue there but I believe were kidding ourselves if we think we can make players starting at  8 or 9 years old and do nothing but a single sport.  I would be willing to bet a lot of money that for every one athlete that goes on it becomes very good in that single sport they dedicated all their time to  there are probably close to 100 that quit or find another sport.

So I'm going to offer this piece of advice you know you're doing your right by your player when you do what the player asks, there's the keyword what the player asks not what you thinks good not what you thinks should be done but what the player wants to do. Now  don't get me wrong  once you start doing something  do it right, and even do a hard  but please don't make your player become dedicated to a single sport at a very early age  or even up to high school. The odds of them becoming a better person are enormous compared the odds of them becoming a professional player. Think about it you and your kids will be happier if they diversify and enjoy and have fun.

Coach Arnald Swift's--  69 years a dad 45 years umpire and 50 years as a coach


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?


Late to Practice September 16 2016, 0 Comments

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

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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.


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