Baseball - Softball Knowledge

Infield Bucket Drill March 01 2019, 0 Comments

Bucket Drill

by Randy Huff
(Darien, CT)

Coach sits on a bucket behind pitchers mound (Honey Hole). He will roll slow rollers to either SS or 2nd base.


The drill is designed to have the middle infielders roll a double play, with each player doing a little hop after they throw the ball to first base, signifying a runner sliding into them.

The coach gets to watch how the play unfolds, like watching how the fielders field the ball, flip or throw to 2nd base and watching the small hop after the ball is released.

The coach can have a lot of fun with the drill by putting the middle infielders on a stop watch to see who can do it the fastest, kids love the drill.

Then move bucket and coach by home plate and have players go to 3rd base. Have a coach on 3rd base as a runner.

Roll ball to the players at 3rd base, make sure they look the runner back before firing ball to 1st base. Then make sure 1st baseman catches ball for out and pops off base to look at home for the play.

If the player forgets to look coach back, have coach score from 3rd. This is all explained with less than 2 outs of course.


Work Alone on the Wall July 06 2018, 0 Comments

When no one around, improve by yourself, one man drills

Pitch Count and Thought August 07 2017, 0 Comments

One of the biggest concerns that coaches and associations have these days is with pitchers and the care of their arms. Ultimately it really is the coach that needs to watch this but parents, associations, leagues, all have different thoughts and recommendations. I ran across this article from USA Today  that has some nice information, and while it's not the only thing it certainly is something to consider.  One side note in this conversation you as a parent must be aware  of how much your son or daughter is pitching because many times  a really good pitchers is playing on more than one team  and therefore can accumulate  more pitches than he/she should throw within a time. Because it's league is only keeping track of that one so you could even get caught up  and throwing double what the boy/girl should be allowed. He was a parent need to monitor this.

 I have a grandson that played in California, there league went so far as to count 35 pitches against the catcher  if he came into pitch. And there league which was 14 and under if a catcher came into pitch  he automatically had 35 pitches against out of the 70 possible so this is even a case of a league going a little further  toward pitch count and arm care.

It is interesting to note that because of the arm motion softball pitchers can and do pitch huge number of  pitches with no arm problems while we should be cautious  there are no recommendations for softball, the pitcher will tell you by just looking, listening, and using common sense.

 This one came from US a baseball medical and safety advisory committee:  and published with their permission.

USA Baseball Medical And Safety Advisory Committee Guidelines
Age     Max Pitches Game     Pitches Week

8-10       50       75
11-12     75       100
13-14     75       125
15-16     90       2 Games Week
17-18     105     2 Games Week

Ages To Learn The Different Types
Pitch Type     Age To Learn

Fastball           8
Changeup      10
Curveball        14
Knuckleball     15
Slider              16
Forkball           16
Splitter            16
Screwball       17

Survey Of Types Of Balls Thrown ~ Ranked Least To Most For Pain Caused

    Fastball
    Changeup
    Curveball
    Slider

Survey Conducted By Dr. Joe Chandler, Team Physician, Atlanta Braves on 101 Braves Hurlers In 2000

 

 


New softball field requirement January 04 2017, 0 Comments

We just came across to the new rule that's going into effect for the 2017 softball season at the NCAA level.

The dugout faces must be completely enclosed with netting or protective material all the way up to the roof line. This is for the player protection from foul balls, thrown equipment, thrown balls anything that could cause an injury entering the dugout.

I don't know that there been that many cases of injury, but there must've been something that precipitated this move and rules and move like this are not normally preventive their reactionary. I don't know what did it for my guess is there is one. Baseball and softball players are known for hanging on the dugout fence, being over it, even being outside of it and having to duck out of the way of balls flying in there.

I'm an umpire and have seen it along with being a coach for over 40 years so I don't know that it's a bad rule. The question I have for your comments is should all dugouts be protected from the ball getting into that dugout whether it be baseball, softball, no matter what the league.

I may be dating myself but I can remember dugouts that were ground-level and had no protection in front it was like sitting on a bench in a shed watching the games. Then the normal progression was to put up fences about 3 to 4 foot high to protect, then bring down lips from the top of the dugout have become standard. Now is this the evolution of dugout protection that's the question?  Agree or disagree


Myth and Recruiting December 29 2015, 0 Comments

Recruiting Myth

 If you are good enough, college coaches will find you

This is an age-old adage that is often heard throughout the recruiting process and is both out-dated and incorrect. These words are often spoken by an older coach who wishes to dismiss any thoughts by the student-athlete or parent that they should market themselves to institutions by sending out their information. The fact is that this statement is true if you are one of the top 100 players in the country, have already received a great deal of accolades by your sophomore year, and most likely already have several scholarship offers in hand. This is simply not true for most college baseball prospects outside of the top 100. The only way they will know about you for sure is if you send them your profile and express your interest in them.  Recruiting is now a global process and despite your skills or success in high school, it is extremely easy to be overlooked by college coaches who have thousands of athletes to scout and hundreds of potential venue’s to scout them at. College coaches don’t read your local town paper and they probably don’t attend your games and only the top 1% of high school athletes are truly discovered.  Your performance on the field or court will go a long way toward determining whether or not you get a scholarship offer. You need to be getting results that place you near the top of your competition if you want to get noticed.  However, there are other factors which will determine whether or not you get an offer including; grades, character, work ethic, coach-ability, etc.  Market yourself with truth, determination, follow up, and stay after it.

Motivating a Young Team August 07 2015, 0 Comments


We are a new team and not all that good, how do I create a positive atmosphere and keep the players motivated and enjoying the game as they play.

The biggest deal here is that you don't worry and you make a huge deal out of the score not being important. What is important is each accomplishment is what you celebrate and just like hitting the ball and running or picking it up and throwing. Your letter indicates that your worrying about motivation, when in truth just playing to be all the motivation they need not sure hundred percent what you mean by motivation. But little kids like that normally just love to play, let them play in different positions and set goals that you know they're going to accomplish. Just like this past Sunday we had three goals---  for six out of the 12 players to hit the ball, to make one out in the field, and scored one run and we were able to do that because of the way the league is built  - inning consists of three outs, seven runs, or batting through the order when we change. We know that were going to accomplish almost every one of these and this week we will have a little different set of goals, but that's what were you tell them are going to try to do and have fun. Then after the game we will make comment immediately away from the parents. So is just you and the coaches and the players talking to each other about what you got accomplished today and how much fun it was.  Make no mistake about it all you're doing is creating organized play with this age group you're not creating baseball players you're creating social skills, fun, and organizational aspects that they will need to work with. But winning and losing is the last thing that needs to be even brought up.  

The very first year I coached we were eight year olds in a 10 under league we were 0-44, and the thing they remember to this very day is that we went to Pizza Hut and celebrated a rainout. but by the time they were 12 years old we were 2nd in the BABE RUTH WORLD SERIES for 12 and under.

Let me know what you think and hope that I've created some thought process.

Coach Arnald Swift

Helping the Young Player with Skills August 04 2015, 0 Comments

Below is a stock answer for concentration and pitch recognition along with being confident at the plate.
Try it and I believe that the player will start to hit and catch better.


For catching take way his glove and play catch with a foam ball or plastic ball then get a baseball and do the
drill I talk about below.  We have to get over any fear and use to the ball.  Believe it or not when they first
start the glove just gets in the way so eliminate it most of the time.

As simple as this sound get a piece of plywood, prop it up at and angle, have him or us throw the ball up the
board and then field it as it rolls back down.

The for fly balls or high throws, throw the ball onto a roof and catch it as it comes off, it is fun and teaches
throwing and eye hand coordination.  Use a rubber ball or tennis ball gives a safer aspect to it if you so
desire.
 
Coach Arnald Swift


Helping the Youth Player July 24 2015, 0 Comments

Common Issues With Young Baseball Players & What To Do As a Coach

If you are coaching young baseball players these will undoubtedly be three issues that you will encounter quite frequently. Hopefully these tips give you a good idea of how to correct things and get your young troops back headed in the right direction with their skill development. If you have any of your own coaching techniques or other common issues you encounter, please share them with us in the comments section below. Thanks for your time!

There are many different technical issues that young baseball players have when starting out but some seem to be a lot more common than others. Here are a few problems that are consistent with most kids and what you can do as a coach and/or parent to help steer them in the right direction.

Throwing

Every person that’s ever thrown a ball has their own technique that is slightly different in some way than everybody else’s. However, even though everyone throws differently, many still have the same problems. The most common problem that I see with kids throwing the baseball is the direction their body is going in when they throw. What typically happens is players will direct their momentum towards their glove side, instead of having it all going towards their target. This can happen for many reasons but typically it has to do with their glove getting away from their body during the throw and pulling them away from their target instead of towards it. Once your glove starts moving away from your body as you throw, it’s likely that your momentum will follow in the same direction. The consequences for your momentum being directed in other places than your target are typically a loss of velocity as well as accuracy. So make sure that your youn baseball players are directing momentum towards their target whether it be a catcher or a teammate in the field.

Hitting

There are very few techniques in sports that are debated more than hitting a baseball. But one consistent technique that’s taught is that when a player strides, it’s best for the stride to be going straight. A problem with a lot of younger hitters, however, is they will step away (usually opening up). Once you step away, your front shoulder will open up and allow your head to pull off, which will also increase the likelihood that your bat will not be in the strike zone as long as it could be. So before adjusting any technique of a hitter, make sure their stride is at least going forward to give the rest of their body a chance to do other things efficiently.

Fielding

A very common mistake that kids make while fielding a ground ball is where they position their glove when picking up the ball. What most kids like to do is put their glove straight down between their legs. The problem with this is when the ball is on its way, you cannot see your glove and watch the ball at the same time, meaning you can't see the ball into your glove (or as close as possible...sometimes it can be too fast to track right in). So you have to get your glove out in front of you so that you can see the ball in (like Dustin Pedroia in the picture above). This technique will also help you adjust to bad hops by giving you the opportunity to move your glove back to your body if necessary. It’s a lot easier to adjust bringing your glove in than adjusting it out.

Kevin Hussey

Baseball/Softball by Yourself July 16 2015, 0 Comments


Hitting (Hitting off a Tee)

Favorite part of practice is batting practice, where they get to see how hard and far they can hit a baseball. The problem with batting practice is how kids handle it. A lot of kids see batting practice as a homerun derby with the ball perfectly placed each time (or waiting for a perfectly placed one) and swinging for the fences. When you hit off a Tee, your goals can be made more appropriate for trying to become a better hitter and can be made more realistic to game situations when done correctly. The goal of hitting the ball off the tee is to try and square up the ball as much as possible because almost all results will be the same anyways. Hitting off a tee allows you to forget about your surroundings and concentrating on increasing your strength and using proper technique. Placing the Tee in different locations that represent where an actual ball may be pitched to you - raise and lower the Tee, place it closer to you and further away - can help you learn what adjustments your body will need to make to square up on a ball based on the pitch location.

Ground balls (Using a Wall)

Taking ground balls seems like it would be at least a two person activity but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re in a position where you can only practice by yourself, try throwing yourself groundballs off the wall (among other ideas). You don’t need to have a hard ball to practice this. If you have any type of ball that bounces you can work on almost all the skills involved with picking up a ground ball. You can still learn to read different types of hops while regulating your speed to the ball allowing your body to be in a good fielding position. The best part of throwing a ball off the wall is you can adjust every throw to cater to your defensive needs. The only thing you can’t really simulate is being able to read a ball off the bat, but learning how to get your body in a good fielding position will ultimately help you with that as well.

Pop ups (Using a Tennis Racket)

This is a little easier with a partner, but catching pop ups generally requires a coach that’s capable of hitting pop flies to their target and this can be very difficult for inexperienced coaches and an inefficient use of time. It can make pop ups a lot easier if you try it with a tennis ball and racket. Using a tennis racket and hitting the ball up in the air is a great way to consistently hit pop ups at your target. Along with being able to hit them extremely high and accurate, the tennis ball will be influenced by the wind making it a challenge for the person receiving them. This drill works great for catchers pop ups.

All of these drills will help you practice your skills on your own and are just a few examples of many ways you can work on your own. When trying to become a better athlete, all of your most important work will get done on your own so don't wait for a team practice or a bunch of teammates to get together. Try and find different ways that you can become great at practicing baseball without relying on anyone else.

I'd love to hear about your favorite "solo" drills. Please feel free to share them in the comments below so others can benefit from them.

Kevin Hussey

Throw and Care of the Arm June 23 2015, 0 Comments

JIM R0NAI
DIRECTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY AND SPORTS MEDICINE AT REHABILITATION ASSOCIATES, INC., STRATFORD, CT


Although baseball is not traditionally considered as a high impact or collision sport, many players between the ages of 10 and 18 who participate in baseball suffer from some degree of musculotendinous contusion, strain or ligamentous sprain.
       In organized situations, the majority of these injuries are initially managed utilizing appropriate basic first aid strategies. These include a primary assessment, immobilization of the injured body part, the application of compression to the injured area, elevation of the injured body part when applicable and finally the application of ice.
        Many strains, contusions and sprains sustained in baseball are not severe enough to require long term management of a physician or medical professional.
After an initial first aid evaluation, most soft tissue injuries are managed conservatively without further professional medical advice. In these instances, parents, coaches and athletes are left to progress activities and implement the use of thermal agents (ice and heat) as important adjuncts to the healing and recovery process.
       During this process, questions and concerns regarding the proper parameters for the use of ice and heat and the transition from one to the other often arise. It is essential that the decision-makers understand the proper use of ice and heat and the effects, both positive and negative, associated with them.
       The use of cryotherapy (ice related products) in the management of acute ligament sprains, muscle and tendon sprains and contusions, is a widely accepted method of treatment by sports medicine professionals.
       Although most individuals perceive ice and associated cooling agents as uncomfortable, they have been proven effective in decreasing swelling and spasming associated with musculoskeletal injuries.
       Pain reduction as a result of the application of ice or other tissue temperature reducing agents often allows the initiation and return of early joint range of motion. Early, normal joint motion patterns promote the realignment and repair of damaged tissues at the cellular level.
       The consensus among sports medicine professionals is that ice is most effective when it is applied to injured tissue two to three times per hour during the first 48 to 72 hours following an injury in 12 to 20 minute increments starting as immediately close to the time of injury as possible.
       This initial two to three day period or acute phase of the injury is the most critical time when the application of a cooling agent can limit harmful effects of the immune related inflammatory response to injury. This creates a positive impact on an athlete’s overall recovery while decreasing time away from play. Conversely, the application of a heating agent during the 48 to 72 hour acute phase of injury can serve as an irritant and exacerbate a resolving condition.
       To avoid the risk of damage to superficial tissues or in stances where an individual is extremely sensitive to cold, use of a thin cotton barrier between skin and ice should be considered. It is also important to take extra precautions when applying in proximity to the ulna nerve, which is located in the medial elbow, and the peroneal nerve located in the lateral aspect of the knee. In both instances, the time of ice application should be closely monitored and the use of an ice barrier is advised.
       The range of varieties and prices for ice and ice related products are wide. In most cases, double bagged crushed ice or frozen vegetables conform nicely to most body parts and are inexpensive. Refreezable gel packs are also a good choice. They are relatively inexpensive and easily obtained at most local pharmacies.
      Heat and heating agents are not applied to injured soft tissue in an acute situation. Heat is extremely effective during the rehabilitation phase of injury after acute signs and symptoms have resolved. Heating pads, warm whirlpools and moist hydrocolators have been documented as excellent methods of increasing local musculotendinous circulation, promoting muscular relaxation, while enhancing healing of tissues at the microscopic cellular level.
     Muscle, tendon, ligament and overall joint flexibility are also increased as a result of higher tissue temperatures. Once an injury has progressed beyond the acute phase, increased blood flow to damaged soft tissue as a result of the application of heat provides them with oxygen and nutrients that are vital to repair and healing.
     Safe parameters for use of heat in the absence of any acute signs and symptoms include application in 15 to 20 minute increments as a stand-alone intervention or prior to any gentle range of motion activities. Heat may be utilized one or two times per hour and should not be applied directly to skin except in aquatic situations.
     Skin should be draped with a towel or barrier and closely monitored in order to avoid development of excessive redness, mottling or blistering associated with various degrees of thermal burns. There are many easily accessible and inexpensive forms of heat. Warm, moist compresses, microwaveable gel packs, warm soaks or showers and electric heating pads (models with built-in timers recommended), safely and effectively provide the increases in tissue temperature necessary to achieve positive therapeutic effects on healing soft tissues.
      As a baseball player’s practice time, game time and overall intensity of play increase, so does their exposure to minor sprains, contusions and strains. In acute situations where injured soft tissue signs and symptoms include redness, swelling, localized temperature increase, pain and loss of function, ice and related cooling products are safest and most effective as mediating these characteristics.
     Following the first two to three days of injury when sub-acute injury management and rehabilitation have begun, a transition to the application of heat is beneficial. Should an injury not progressively resolve, the advice of a medical professional should be sought?
     Proper use of thermal agents like ice and heat in preventative, acute and rehabilitative situations is an integral component of sports injury management and can ultimately make a difference in when and if an athlete returns to practice and competition.