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Keeping your hands inside the ball

 

Rolling over on pitches is something that will happen to every player throughout the course of a season. Chances are if you rolled over on a pitch, the pitcher did a good job of keeping you off balance. You either were fooled on a breaking ball pitch or you just simply failed to stay inside the baseball. Rolling over isn’t the worst thing you can do, but allowing it to become a bad habit will be detrimental to your batting average. So how do you keep from rolling over on pitches?! It’s actually pretty simple.

Here are five simple batting tips.

1. Keep your hands inside the baseball.
2. Allow the ball to get deep in the zone.
3. Recognize off-speed early in the zone
4. Cut the field in half and have a completly oppisate field approach.
5. Focus on throwing the knob of the bat toward the ball.
6. Understanding the concept of the inside-out swing.

Many hitters, especially power hitters have been called “pull hitters”. This means that majority of pitches they hit are contacted in the front of the hitting zone. Hitters like this tend to be great fast ball hitters, but struggle with off-speed and breaking ball pitches. Being a pull hitter and rolling over can be ideal for left handers who are in situational hitting situations. Certain situations may call for you to get a guy from second to third with less than two outs.

Batting tips #1

Practice the inside out swing. Take a few practice swings at about 30%. Yes I said 30%:) Focus on pushing the knob of the bat as far forward without releasing your top hand foward and allowing the bat head to come through. Take 20-25 swings then move to the next drill.

Batting tips #2

Stand parallel to a wall or net. The distance between you and the wall should be about the length of the bat that you will be using. Get in your stance an attempt to take controlled balanced swings, while focusing on keeping your hands inside. If the bat hits the net or wall , your not keeping your hands inside enough, so adjust accordingly.

Batting tips #3

Place a Hitting tee not on the inner half but middle in half of the plate. Focus on keeping your hands inside and hit to the back of the net. The ball should be hit middle away even though the pitch is slightly in. If you pull the pitch, your not keeping your hands in for long enough so adjust accordingly.

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6 Reasons Why He Should Not Play Tournament Baseball

 


During the past 10 years or so tournament style baseball, or more popularly known as travel baseball, has quickly become a main stay in the culture of little league baseball.  Nowadays it is not unheard of  for a 12-year-old child to play over 80 games in a year. This has already and will continue to bring about negative influences and setbacks that could have been avoided.

Consistently playing a game where the “results” are emphasized as the main focus is a devaluing of sports development and an undermining of what is most natural and pure about baseball.

One positive that travel ball has to offer is playing experience. I have to admit that it is priceless but it can be acquired in other ways which I will go over soon. In the big scheme of things, a young player who is consistently competing in tournament style baseball, will experience positive benefits. These however, will undoubtedly be outweighed by the compounding negatives over the course of the young player’s baseball career while playing in travel baseball:

1. Doesn’t learn about the “Process” of the game

The majority of little league tournaments last no longer than a couple of days and mostly over the course of a weekend. Games are scheduled so that each team will have at least a chance to play each other once; given that the tournament is designed as a double header.

During the course of a league season, a player experiences the process of teamwork, makes adjustments throughout the week, and develops a relationship with the coach who’s sole intention is the welfare of each player.

In league baseball, a player will more than likely learn to value quality practice rather than the results of a game.

2. Coaches place very little importance on a kid’s development

It is no surprise that the majority of coaches in this culture of baseball have lost a lot of insight on what is most important. I don’t care how organized the tournaments are, how talented the kids are, or how experienced the coach is. When it comes to organizations dealing with the youth, that’s precisely what it should be about, the kids!

I have seen many times where coaches have put great expectations on their players often with very little vital feedback. Yes, even in the MLB. Since the tournaments are so short, the value is placed on tangible results such as making it to playoff rounds.

3.Coaching skills are poor

Another sad aspect of tournament ball is the lack of effective coaching. This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault. You can give me nine players that have above average athletic ability and I’ll run the table against local teams. I’m sure my coaching decisions would be less polished as well.

Basically you could give my roommate(who has never played baseball), the Yankee’s lineup card, and I’m sure we could win a few games…right?

4. They forget to have fun

When I was younger, playing baseball was such a significant activity for me that I wanted to do it everyday. There wasn’t an adult conducting my decisions between the lines. I played for fun, and that was the key to my development.

I truly feel that a major part of my athletic development (hand-coordination, stamina, strength) came from playing stick ball every day over the course of a summer. The games were unorganized but very competitive!

5. Injuries increase

This is probably the most disappointing point concerning the negative aspects of tournament ball.

Injuries are sky high and it has a lot to do with the lack of moderation by tournament officials.

If a player pitches pitches a large amount of innings in a particular tournament and then pitches in another tournament, they are unaware of specific pitch counts of players and, in some situations, they don’t care.

Yea there are rules but are these rules really followed consistently? I’ve heard of many loop-holes and other malpractices which contradict the very existence of any tournament regulations in the first place.

When playing in a league, you know you’ll have some form of structure. Monitoring players (mostly pitch counts to avoid injuries which are already difficult enough to avoid in the first pace) will be much more effective.

The structure of league style baseball is catered to help players stay healthy.

6. Coaches don’t have the best intentions.

I have heard of parents who have gotten calls from coaches to have their kid fly over to play in a weekend tournament.

Does this coach really have the kid’s future in mind?

No, he just wants to win and is willing to do it with anyone who is “talented” enough to contribute. In a league, you will more than likely find a coach with commitment. This is every baseball parent’s dream.

I can’t deny the few benefits that competing against elite players in a weekend tournament provides but being a weekend warrior (a freelance/mercenary baseball player who plays for the teams with the best reputation) can only benefit a young player for so long before those pros begin to be outweighed by the cons.


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My mother and me

While Growing up, my mother had the tenacity or should I say the audacity to remind me every day of how special I was. How compared to my teammates and class mates, I was much different and because of this I was destined to accomplish great things in baseball.

So from an early age I believed this to be true and can admit that it was the catalyst for my ability to have made it as far as I did. Consequently as I grew older I realized that the luxury of having a mother who was willing to invest her self into my development, was a huge responsibility on my part.

For one, I had to develop and cultivate an awareness about the type of person I was becoming. What influences I had, needed to be positive ones, so that I could better implement the life lessons that my mother conveyed. This experience was at many times tumultuous, but the reward for mastering the values taught, I can say I’m still benefiting from to this day.

For me baseball was the medium for my participation in personal development. It has given me a lot to be grateful for, and it”s this that inspires me to share with you all the benefits of sacrificing everything you have for something larger than yourself.

What ever passion or hobby you think of.

I’m assuming it”s baseball. Whether for your career or your child’s. When I think of all the challenges that a career in baseball has had for me I”m constantly reminded of an interesting quote from my high school days.

“Baseball gives you every chance to suceed. Then turns around and puts every ounce of pressure on you to prove you don’t have what it takes. It never lifts off the pressure and never takes away the opportunity”

-joe garagiola

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Developing your baseball instincts

Baseball asks for you to do a lot in order to be successful. You have to know the right mechanics, remember bunt plays, know the tendencies of your opponent  and make sure you have the correct fielding mechanics to compete every day. This can be a lot to handle and for some people overwhelming.

I remember myself trying to make sure while hitting that I stayed back, my foot was getting down , my hands were getting extended, all while trying to remember the coaches signs, and what the situation called for. I was like a madman trying to do a million things at once. Really all of these things should have been instinct. They would have been had I been able to let go and just react.

When you are trying to “try” to play baseball, when you are forcing things instead of letting it happen, you will find yourself second guessing yourself and worse, the game speeds up.

One of the first aspects of turning baseball into an art form is listening to your inner voice that knows exactly what to do in any situation.

Some call it an inner voice or  instincts, but learn to let this guide you, and see what miraculous changes occur on the field.

You will find yourself always in the right position defensively, hitting will be simplified now that your instincts have taken over and you’re now on auto-pilot.

Becoming a great player is part of a process, and you have to be willing to pay the price to achieve new heights in baseball.