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Archive for the ‘Baseball Training Tips’ Category

Youth Hitting Mechanics: Keep It Simple

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

After observing countless young hitters in our demo-batting cage I have noticed several trends that seem to be the main problems why many kids struggle with hitting. There are many aspects involved with hitting. I am going to concentrate on the bad mechanics I have observed.

The first problem is the stride. Kids get in there and immediately want to kill the ball leading to a huge stride planting their front foot 16-18″ from it’s original position. The next problem is initial hand positioning being too low. If the hands are too low at the start, critical time is wasted getting them up into the loaded position. Then comes dropping the barrel and dragging the bat through the zone with a painfully long swing. Each of these problems compounds each other starting with the long stride. The stride is in sync with the loading phase of the swing, the long stride and low hands struggling to get into position leads to problems with timing and takes away any chance to adjust to the ball. When you combine the dropping of the barrel and being completely extended by the time the ball arrives, the hitter is usually behind and under the pitch.

The mechanics of a baseball swing are a controversial and complicated topic. Thousands of books have been written and millions of arguments/discussion have taken place. For young player’s I feel that simplicity is the key. A shortened stride, and less movement in the hands will almost always help a struggling young hitter. These are simply observations I have noticed and may not work for all players. I have had many coaches which all have a different philosophy on the swing, but one thing all of them agree on is a short, quick swing is the way to go. Young players have enough to worry about, including being cool, looking good in front of friends, and keeping dad happy. Keep it simple and let them have fun.

Two Ball Soft Toss Drill

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

This drill will teach the hitter to concentrate and keep their weight back.

  1. The coach will toss two balls
  2. The coach will then call out top or bottom after the balls are released
  3. The hitter will hit the called ball into the fence or screen

Two ball soft toss is a great way to help a player who is getting out on their front foot, and will also help develop bat control, and hand-eye coordination.

Long Toss to Strengthen Your Arm

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Long toss is a great way to get your arm in shape, increase your throwing power, distance, and accuracy. With a teammate throw at a normal distance until you are loose then every toss you make step back two steps so the distance becomes greater between you and your teammate. Don’t over do it; the whole point is to condition your arm and it will take time. Use good form and throw the ball on a line, over time you will be able to increase the length and accuracy of your throws with more power.

Taking Care of Your Baseball Glove

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Taking care of your glove is important at all levels and there are some important facts to know when it comes to taking care of your glove and making it last. Leather is similar to your own skin, so treat it like you would your own. There are all kinds of crazy ways you’ll hear about how to break in your glove. Don’t put a baseball glove in the oven, and don’t run over it with your car.

The first step is to soften your leather, any number of oils, creams, and foams will do the job. Most pros prefer Neatsfoot oil, but no matter what you use don’t over do it. Nokona Leather Treatment is an outstanding leather conditioner that will protect and help break in your glove.

The next step is to form the pocket. The key to this is stick a ball in there, wrap it up, and let it sit for a couple of days. Patience and dedication is important when it comes to a new glove, so get out there play some catch, take some grounders and slowly work your glove in and make it your own for years to come.

Oh yeah, and don’t be the kid to leave it in your dugout after the game!

How to Choose the Right Baseball Bat

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Choosing the right baseball bat can be a very confusing process.
Today with all of the different options and technologies being offered what seems like an
easy process can become a daunting task. With some key knowledge and a little research,
buying the right bat can be an easy and rewarding experience. We have created a “bat buying guide”
to help you find the bat that fits your needs.

Starting with the basics: Different Types of Baseball Bats

High School/College/Adult Bats

Otherwise known as adult, these baseball bats are designed for players
age 13 and up. Specifically for high school and college players, the sizes of the bats will range from 30″ to 34″.
The barrel diameter is 2 5/8” and a – 3 weight drop (for example is you have a 32” bat the weight will be 29 ounces).
All of these bats will have the size and barrel diameter stamped somewhere on the bat and needs to have
a BESR (Bat Exit Speed Rating) certification to be legal for most leagues.

Shop for High School/College/Adult Bats

Senior League/Big Barrel Bats
Senior league bats are those designed for the intermediate youth players generally 10 to
13 years old. The lengths of these bats can range from 27″ to 32″ and will either have a barrel diameter of 2 5/8″ or 2 3/4″
known as the big barrel. The weight drop in these bats will vary from -5 all the way up to -11. Baseball leagues will
vary in rules whether they allow the 2 5/8″ or 2 3/4″ barrels, so make sure you check with your league rules before you
decide on your bat.

Shop for Senior League/Big Barrel Bats

Youth/Little League Bats

Little league bats are geared for players approximately age 7 through 12. All of these bats
will have 2 1/4″ barrel diameters; the lengths will range from 27″ to 32″. Youth league bats will have the largest
weight drop of any bats available, -7 to -13.5. Generally the bats will be labeled with the leagues in which they
are used, Little League, Dixie Youth, Babe Ruth, Pony, and AABC.

Shop for Little League/Youth Bats

As a general rule, bigger, stronger players usually prefer a heavier bat for maximum power.
Smaller players usually benefit from a lighter bat that allows greater bat speed. To determine the weight that’s
right for you, swing a variety of bats and see how much weight you’re comfortable with.

Length and weight combine for peak performance. A longer bat gives you greater reach, allowing you to hit balls on the other side of the plate. But remember that a longer bat may be heavier, and the extra weight could slow you down. Like checking the weight, you need to swing bats of different lengths to decide what length best suits you.

Little League (8-10 yrs)
Player Height Bat Weight
48-50″ 16-17 oz.
51-54″ 17-18 oz.
55-59″ 18-19 oz.
60+” 19-20 oz.
Senior Youth League (11-12 yrs)
Player Weight Bat Weight
70-80 lbs. 18-19 oz.
81-100 lbs. 19-20 oz.
101-120 lbs. 20-21 oz.
121-140 lbs. 21-22 oz.
141+ lbs. 22-23 oz.
High School & College
Player Height Bat Weight
66-68″ 27-28 oz.
69-72″ 28-29 oz.
73-76″ 29-30 oz.
77+” 30-31 oz.

Different Bat Materials

Today almost all bats are either made of High grade aircraft alloys, or recently
composite bats have emerged. This is where things start to get confusing, in the last 5 – 10 years high
grade alloys have always been used in the construction of these bats, recently composite and hybrid technology
have changed the way the leading manufacturers are making their bats.

The options available:

  1. 100% Alloy bats – made completely of aircraft grade alloys
  2. 100% Composite bats – made of composite fibers
  3. Half & Half bats – bats that have a composite handle, and aluminum, alloy, or hybrid barrel
  4. Hybrid Bats – Bats that have combined two different materials, such as alloy with carbon

Composite Baseball Bats
The new composite bats on the market are different from the alloy bats.
A composite bat has different features, which require a “break in” period before the bat reaches
its optimal performance. With composite bats a player will need to hit approximately 200-300 real
leather baseballs while rotating the barrel to completely break in the surface area of the barrel.
The composite bats will also sound more like you are hitting a wood bat than an alloy one. Once the
composite bats are broken in they will greatly increase the sweet spot and durability, which some
studies have shown surpass the ability of standard alloy bats. The composite bats will carry a higher
price tag, but with the correct break in and care will be worth the price.

Hitters Tip – Pitcher’s Body Language

Monday, August 18th, 2008

To be a good hitter it is always a good idea to watch the pitcher and try to pick up small changes in body language when different pitches are being thrown (curveball, fastball, changeup). In high school there usually are small signs that can tip off what pitch is coming. A common one is the angle that the pitcher holds the glove at.

Bunting Drill

Monday, August 18th, 2008
  1. Place two cones, one 20 feet out from home plate and 10 feet from the left foul line.
  2. Do the same with the other cone from the right foul line
  3. Work on bunting the ball towards the line so that it rests in fair territory between the foul line and the cone
  4. Do this for both sides of the field
  5. Bunting many times is the difference between winning and losing games. This drill will help you determine the bat angle and technique required to bunt down the lines

Great Short Hop Drill

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

This drill is very helpful in teaching you to field short hops cleanly.

  • Grab a partner and stand 40 feet apart
  • One partner will throw short hops so the ball is hitting within three feet of the other partner. Do twenty then switch
  • When you’re fielding, concentrate on having your hands out in front of you and accepting the ball with soft hands using your top hand as well.
  • Field the ball then use good footwork and make the throw back to your partner who will be presenting a target.
  • Once you master the short hop in front, work on moving the ball around using your backhand and forward hand.

Why Should You Swing a Wood Bat?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Woods bats are generally thought to be used by Major League players only, but woods bats can be very useful to youth players, high school players, and college players as well.

Wood bats or wood composite bats are great for batting practice and taking reps in a batting cage. Wood bats are ideal because they are a lot cheaper than aluminum and will save you the wear and tear on your aluminum bats. Batting cage balls are hard on your aluminum bat because they are dense and heavy which will take the life and pop out of your bat. Wood bats don’t loose their pop and will take the punishment of the batting cage balls.

Another advantage of using wood bats is bat control. Wood baseball bats are heavier and have a smaller length to weight ratio, which is in a scaled down way like weight training. Once you have been in a cage and practiced with wood, it will be make a world of difference when you get on the field and hit your aluminum bat. The ball will fly off the barrel and your confidence will be sky high.

Take a look at wood bats as an excellent training option, and you will be happy with the results. Check out these wood baseball bats at Baseball Rampage.

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