Baseball - Softball Knowledge

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

 

 


coach question holding runners on April 04 2017, 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

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


Pine Tar on the Bat September 29 2016, 0 Comments

How to Apply Pine Tar to Your Bat

The old adage a little goes a long way has never been truer than it is with pine tar. Regardless of whether you use the pine tar stick or liquid and a rag, you're only going to need a very small amount.

Applying pine tar to your bat is rather simple. You will only need:

    Bat
    Pine tar stick (or container of liquid pine tar)
    Application rag (if using liquid pine tar)
    Duct tape
    Rosin bag

You can find many of these items in our Bat Accessories section of our online store. Or, you can create a pine tar rag yourself at home without having to pay a premium price. Follow these steps to create your own rag:

1. Use a flat and clean cloth rag and cut into a 9x9 inch square. Avoid terry-cloth towels.
2. Cut the duct tape into 11 inch strips. Cover one side completely, keeping 1 inch on either side to overhang on the front of the rag. This will allow you to apply pine tar to your bat and not get any on your hands.
Now that you have your rag, you'll want to properly apply the pine tar to your bat. Follow these steps to ensure you are doing this correctly:
1. Take your rag or pine tar stick and apply to the area of the bat on your handle that you want. Make sure you check with your league to see how far up you can apply the tar.
2. The handle will be sticky, so use a rosin bag to make it more "grippy."


Coaches that are Loud and Bullying February 26 2016, 0 Comments

Parents you need to kind of look at your kids coaches. A lot of coaches are just loud and still have the best of intentions for your players/children. Never allow volume to be equated with bullying,  volume usually has little to do with it what you really need to know is what he says to the players and how he treats them then we may be looking at bullying.

This article could help anybody that reads it understand what is  meant when bullying is talked about.

Bullying is a growing epidemic in sports. As sports parents, it's critical for you to be prepared to protect your young athletes. If you think this issue won't ever come up in your kids' sports careers, think again. Bully coaches are the number one topic parents write us about at Kids' Sports Psychology.

Have your kids ever had a coach who yelled at, insulted or intimidated them? It's possible they have, but were too embarrassed to tell you. It's important for you to be on the lookout for bully coaches and to take immediate action if you suspect your young athletes are being bullied.

Bully coaches target all kinds of young athletes. They can set their sights on kids who are overweight, small, or who lack confidence, for instance. These coaches also target gifted athletes because they believe their approach will "toughen up" their athletes.

It's important to keep in mind that most volunteer coaches are not trained. Many of them use teaching techniques that their coaches used with them. Some of them don't understand they're acting like bullies. Many coaches will change their behavior if you approach them in an appropriate manner. We've received letters of confession from coaches who say that once they understood how much their words and actions hurt their athletes, they changed their style.


Whether a coach's bullying is intentional or unintentional, your job as sports parents is the same. If your athletes are teased, excluded or otherwise treated badly by coaches, you need to take steps to help keep their confidence intact, stay focused under adversity, and remain in sports.

The bottom line, for you as parents: Be on the lookout for bully coaches and arm yourself with the information you need to take action.


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.

Youth Coaching Myths (maybe) December 01 2015, 0 Comments

Tip No.1: Don't Bunt With Two Strikes

This is a tough one when it fails. We have all seen it in youth baseball when the third baseman plays in close anticipating a bunt.

When the strike count gets to two, the coach will yell to the third baseman something like this: "Two strikes on the hitter. Move back so you are even with the base."

When the fielder moves back, depending on the ability of the batter, I love to give him another chance to bunt, given that the defense and opposing coach are sure the batter will not bunt. I have been successful with this and at other times it has failed.

One warning, if you try this. When your batter does fail, you will hear from all the "General Managers" in the bleachers.

More: 4 Biggest Mistakes Baseball Teams Make in Practice
Tip No.2: Catch Everything With Two Hands

I know most coaches and parents will hold me to task on this one. When my players are moving laterally reaching for a fly ball, I just want them to catch the ball any way possible.

I don't want my players thinking they have to catch everything with two hands if some catches are easier one-handed. If the shortstop is sprinting for a pop-up behind the third baseman, and has to reach for it, a one-handed catch works best.

When catching a pop-up hit right to a player, with little or no running, a two-handed catch works best. But too many coaches and parents overemphasize catching everything with two hands. Coaches need to have youth players practice catching balls with one and two hands.
Tip No.3: Don't Make the First or Third Out at Third Base

Tim McCarver won't invite me over to dinner on this one. I send my runner to third most of the time not worrying about how many outs we have.

I have my teams run the bases aggressively. We get thrown out at third and home more than other teams. But we also win more games than we lose.

More: Drill of the Week: Baseball Catching Drill for Kids

In youth baseball, every game has its share of wild pitches and passed balls. From my many years coaching third base I know that we have a great chance getting the runner home on a wild pitch or passed ball.

I hate ending the inning with a player who doesn't score from third base when some aggressive baserunning would have landed him on third and he would have scored.

Tip No.4: Bigger Baseball Gloves are Better

I was guilty of this when my oldest son played Little League. Every year I wanted to get him a bigger glove figuring the larger the glove, the better chance of the ball landing in the pocket. I was 100 percent wrong on this.

I remember going to Yankee Stadium with a close friend who had an "in" on everything and knew a lot of people. We had front row seats and before the game one of the Yankee infielders came over to say hello to my friend.

As they were talking, I could not keep my eyes off the player's glove and was amazed at how small the glove was. It just about outlined his hand.

I then learned that "glove control" is key for fielders. So, smaller rather than bigger gloves are better, especially for infielders, except the first baseman.

More: 5 Ways to Get Noticed at a Sports Camp
Tip No.5: Bat Your Best Hitter Third or Fourth

Years ago I remember in a few All-Star games, Willie Mays batted leadoff. I know the theory is that you get a couple of batters on base and the big guns will drive them in. I don't agree with this all the time.

I found that in youth baseball sometimes there is a large disparity with the talent of the players. Many times teams have one or two excellent players.

In youth baseball I prefer to bat my best hitter first or second. I cannot tell you how many times my team was down by a couple of runs in the last inning with the bottom of my batting order up.

If my best player batted third or fourth, I'd be doing everything I could to get him up but many times games ended up with my best hitter on deck. Now I like to bat my best player first or second. (I know you might think I'm sacrificing some runs but I love the idea of him getting an extra at bat a game.)

Like everything in coaching your talent at the moment will determine your move as the manager or coach. The term "thinking outside the box" has been overused in many instances.

But when coaching, you do want to think outside the box if it will give your players and team an advantage to succeed. Unpopular decisions may be the best decisions at the time you make them.

 Marty Schupak

Arm Strength Drills October 16 2015, 0 Comments

Whether you're throwing out base runners from the confines of Fenway Park or turning a 6-4-3 double play on a local Little League field, throwing is one of the most important, and physically demanding, aspects of baseball
Just as major leaguers can get a dead arm during spring training, younger players also risk injury as they begin throwing regimens in the spring. The Seven Ball Drill below is a great way to increase arm strength and prepare players for the various throws they will make during the season.
Note: Perform the drill's seven separate steps in sequence to ensure proper arm development.


Baseball Arm Strength Drill
    Stand shoulder- width apart, with throwing arm placed upwards at a 90- degree angle. While holding elbow with glove, throw ball to partner using just the wrist.
    Sit with legs spread and arm in same position as exercise above. This time use the area from the elbow up to throw ball to partner.

    Remain sitting and throw ball by rotating hips and turning upper torso. (Focusing on follow- through is not necessary.) Use the glove arm or elbow to direct throw.
    Go to one knee. Throw ball by rotating hips and turning upper torso, as in above exercise. This time emphasize follow- through across the raised knee.
    Stand with glove arm closest to partner, and feet shoulder- width apart. Repeat the above steps, concentrating on follow- through. This time throw without moving your feet.
    Use all the steps above, this time add a crow hop and throw ball to partner. (Crow Hop: A technique in which you hop forward on your front foot during the wind up of your throw.)
    Long toss is the last step. Stand approximately 10 feet apart and toss the ball to partner as quickly as you can for one minute. You can even keep track of the number of catches to turn this into a competition. Emphasize a quick release and concentrate on the ball entering and leaving the glove. Note: For infielders, you can turn this last step into a quick toss by reducing the distance.
By following the steps above, players will find it easier to make all the necessary throws in a game, as well as keep their arm healthy throughout an entire season. A good goal to have, no matter the league, when opening day rolls around.


Catching Drills Flyballs September 21 2015, 0 Comments

Baseball Fly Ball Exercise

A dynamic drill used for both infielders and outfielders to work on their jumps and reactions while accelerating to fly balls. The fielder starts from the pre-pitch position. He then uses a quick drop step to open his hips. This creates a direct line toward the ball. A line is formed with 3-4 players. The coach will stand approximately 10 feet in front of players with a ball in his hand. The first player faces the coach and on a command, breaks on the run at a 45 degree angle while looking back at the coach. The coach will then throw a ball slightly ahead of the player which leads to a running catch. After the play, the player returns to the end of the line. The next player in line repeats the drill. This drill can be done to the left, to the right, and straight over the head.

Key Teaching Points

Drop step

The first move for an infielder reacting to a fly ball is a quick drop step. This helps create a direct line to the ball. When the ball is hit directly over your head, it is best to drop step to your glove side, which gives you a little longer reach when catching a ball.

Acceleration

Have the player make his first 2-3 steps as quickly as possible and accelerate to the ball. Remind players to run on the balls of their feet.  Pre-Pitch Set Up: Both infielders and outfielders always begin each drill from the proper pre-pitch set up. This means a good athletic position, knees flexed, hands in front of chest, and eyes on the ball.