A Good Strategy to Coaching

June 16, 2010

A Good Strategy to Coaching

Most people appreciate other parents stepping up and volunteering their time to help coach a team. Coaching a team takes a lot of time, patience and dedication. As a coach, it is important to remind yourself that you are there for the kids and not everything is always about winning but more importantly making it a fun experience. Obviously the kids have more fun when they do perform to their ability and win. The best way to get players to perform is to make sure they feel comfortable. Yelling and screaming at your players when they are not performing is not recommended. In most cases, this will make the players pressured and nervous and most players do not perform when nervous. If you want to make a point to a specific player, embarrassing them in front of the whole team is not the answer. Fingers do not need to be pointed.

Yes there are players that come up clutch when the game is on the line but that is a different story. This is a different type of pressure. Players that are scared of their coach often fail. Make sure that as a coach, you have a good relationship with each and every player on the squad. This can sometimes lead to untalented teams beating the very best.

It is rare that freshmen and sophomores in high school or college actually step up and perform, this is usually due to comfort level. After a player gets a year or two under their belt, they usually play much better. This is because the player is used to everything going on around them. This also happens in professional baseball. Most rookies don’t always put up impressive numbers, but rather do so a couple years later. So as a coach please remember to be patient with your players, especially the hitters. And just because someone is not performing, it does not mean there is something wrong with their mechanics. Usually it is because of a weak mental approach. Confidence, Concentration and Relaxation are all key parts to being a successful baseball player. Try to find out what your player is thinking and how they feel while on the field whether it be hitting or pitching, then go from there.

Loading Your Hands

March 10, 2010

Loading your hands is extremely important if you want to maximize bat speed. If you start with your hands already loaded, all your doing is slapping at the ball. Hand position is crucial when developing your mechanics. The hitter’s hands should start in front of their rear shoulder. So for right handed hitters, their hands should start by their right ear or right shoulder when looking at the pitcher. For left handed hitters, it should be their left ear and left shoulder. This allows room for their hands to load back. You have to be careful when you load your hands though, you don’t want your front arm to get straight when your hands go back. Your arms should stay bent all the way through to contact and then get extension while the bat is on the ball.
If you don’t think going back before going forward is important, try hitting a golf ball. Try starting with your club in the air and just come forward. How far can you hit the ball? The answer is, not as far as if you go back before coming forward. Another example would be to try throwing a punch by just coming forward or try throwing a ball by just coming forward. Again, both results prove weaker.

The Importance of a Baseball Player’s Vision

February 3, 2010

Most baseball players that train for perfect mechanics forget about other aspects of the game. Vision is considered the most important. If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it. Before getting started with eye training, it is recommended to check your vision with your local eye doctor, so you understand what your working with. Some of the best baseball players in the world obtain solid 20/10 eye sight. Many local ball players carry 20/20 eye sight and those with worse sight usually wear glasses or contact lenses. 20/40 is worse than 20/20. Therefore your goal is to improve your vision closer to 20/15 or 20/10. You may not reach your goal but you can always improve. Peripheral vision is vision that occurs outside the center of gaze. Along with that comes Far-Peripheral, Mid-Peripheral and Near-Peripheral vision, all of which can be improved through various training exercises. When compared with other animals, peripheral vision is weaker in humans, especially when trying to distinguish shapes and colors. This is caused by the receptor cells on the retina being greater at the center and lesser at the edges. Various eye training exercises may improve and make the receptor cells greater throughout the entire retina creating sharper vision. The Al Roach Vision Training Series will teach baseball players different exercises to try at home where they can work on strengthening their vision and reaction which may help them track the ball better while hitting and fielding.

Multiple Positions Can Make You More Valuable

June 3, 2009

Many young players while growing up have the dream of playing professional baseball, one way to ensure you get a better look is to play multiple positions. You become more valuable to scouts and managers when you have more to offer. This is often due to some teams carrying two dominate hitters who play the same position. Sometimes players will come into camp and battle at the same position and both of them will have tremendous power or hitting abilities. A prime example would be a corner outfielder, 1st basemen or 3rd basemen. Two first basemen play for the same team and both are great offensive players, well with at least one or two of the players being able to play the outfield, it allows the manager to have the option of moving one to either left field or right field. I have even seen players be converted into playing another position after they already started playing professional baseball. Look at Pat Burrell for instance, he played in college and was drafted as a third basemen, however he ended up playing left field his whole major league career. This was good because at the time, Scott Rolen was the third basemen and it ensured both of their bats in the lineup.

So even once Pat Burrell got into professional baseball he still had time to learn another position, however this does not go for 99% of the players who even make it professionally. Only first round draft picks or big investment players get this extra time to be worked with. So therefore I encourage you to learn multiple positions at an early age so it doesn’t take you as long later on when you need to make the transition to another position. Below I have included a few good multiple position combination’s for you.

1st base – Pitcher
1st base – Left & Right field
1st base – 3rd base

Catcher – Left field
Catcher – Right field
Catcher – 1st base

2nd base – Shortstop
2nd base – 3rd base

Shortstop – 2nd base
Shortstop – 3rd base
Shortstop – Centerfield
Shortstop – Pitcher

3rd base – 1st base
3rd base – Left & Right field
3rd base – Pitcher

Left field – Right field
Left field – 3rd base
Left field – 1st base
Left field – Pitcher
Left field – Catcher

Center field – Shortstop
Center field – 2nd base
Center field – Pitcher

Right field – Left field
Right field – 1st base
Right field – 3rd base
Right field – catcher
Right field – Pitcher

Pitcher – Any position

Double Major – Baseball and School

May 4, 2009

For those of you still in school who admire and play the game of baseball, the combination of both can be a handful. First things first, school is priority and baseball is second. If you can’t pass your classes you become ineligible and being ineligible keeps you sidelined and miserable. If you become a professional, then things are different, the game then becomes a job. I can remember while growing up that all I wanted to do was hit baseballs over the fence and in to the treetops hoping that the next ball I hit went even further. With that, there were a couple times I let my school work and studies slip. I could have gotten an A in a couple classes but instead settled for the B. I feel that it is my job to remind all young baseball players or athletes to pay attention in school and do what you can to educate yourself and keep your mind working hard. The more your mind works, the more successful you will be mentally on the field. Once you obtain the skill, the game becomes 90% mental. So with this, having a strong mental approach to the game of baseball will allow you to battle out of slumps, hit the best pitchers and have tremendous amounts of confidence. Becoming mentally tough as a baseball player determines whether you will survive in the game long enough to achieve your goals.

Player Enhancement Drugs

March 9, 2009

Steroids or Player Enhancement Drugs (P.E.D.’s) have held many conversations when talking Major League Baseball. Players targeted in conversation have been Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and recently Alex Rodriguez. Whether or not there is actual proof that any of those players did use steroids that were illegal in Major League Baseball can, but may not, lose credit for any of their accomplishments obtained in their professional careers. First we need to understand what steroids actually are. Anabolic are actually a synthetic version of a man’s hormone testosterone. Now testosterone is known to boost muscle growth and development. Now when this is supplemented with steroids, it tends to create large muscle mass which helps in reducing body fat and enhancing endurance. It is believed by many people that if you take steroids you can hit the ball farther and longer. This is not necessarily the case. The main thing steroids do during the season is keep a player’s body from breaking down with injuries and keeping their strength maintained. Injuries are a player’s worst nightmare and in fact many players have struggled through season after season with multiple injuries preventing them from performing at their best. So steroids help, but they don’t swing the bat. Many players barely lift weights at all during the season. Lifting is recommended to really get steroids to kick in and maintain their purpose. The steroids do most of their work for the player during the off-season lifting.

Sure there are some good rewards with taking steroids, you get increased muscle mass and endurance. You basically feel invincible which I am sure is great, however the cons outweigh the pros. Many look at Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire’s magical home run season’s as being attributed to steroids. Was it possible that Greg Anderson supplied Barry Bonds with an untrackable steroid during his prime years which was sometimes called “the clear” or “the cream”? The answer is yes. Is it possible that Barry Bonds could have done it on his own? Again the answer is yes. Look back at Roger Maris in 1961 when he hit his magical season with 61 home runs. No one looked back at his statistics from the year before where he hit 39 home runs. Big difference, but no one suspected him of doing steroids. Until the evidence has appeared, we can’t really say what happened. Even so, how can we be so sure unless they admit it. Each year there are people who go to jail for murder and yet didn’t commit the crime. The bottom line is they still have to make solid consistent contact and hit it out of the park. What makes the ball travel so far is bat speed. Bat speed is generated based on how loose your muscles are. If you are tense and you have a tight death grip on the bat, then you will swing the bat slower and not hit it as far. So hitting all these home runs still takes talent.

Side-Effects and cons of using steroids (not just in baseball) are depression, mood swings, rage and health problems such as acne, hair growth or loss, testicular atrophy, liver damage and cancer. Now I would say, those are all things a person would want to stay away from. Depression, mood swings and rage can hurt relationships with other people and can even lead to suicide. Acne, hair issues and testicular atrophy are not the worst side effects, however I can’t see how anyone would want them. The liver damage and cancer speak for themselves. The bottom line is Steroids have a lot more cons than pros, so why do them? Why not show everyone you can do it without cheating. If you have to work harder, then work harder. Do whatever you have to do to get it done. It’s called HEART.

The Advantage of Choking Up

February 24, 2009

Choking up on the bat can benefit you more so than not. Many players think the bigger bat you swing, the more of a man you are. Don’t hold your breathe quite yet. The guy that hits the ball farther more consistently is more of the man. Now the bigger that bat you use, the larger sweet spot and the more weight behind the ball on contact. This definitely helps however the ball travels farther based on a faster bat which is harder to obtain with more weight. A faster bat can be acquired with a shorter bat. The bottom line is, choking up gives you better eye / hand coordination and a faster bat which both will speak for themselves when you obtain them. Try this in your next batting practice session.

The Magic of Super Glue

January 20, 2009

Every baseball player out there at some point gets a blister or blisters on their hand. It obviously comes from swinging the bat excessively. Once your baseball season gets rolling, your hands will obviously get tougher forming what we call a callus. At that point, there are usually very little issues with blisters. However in the mean time, if and when they do appear, your best solution is to use Super Glue. You can have 3 blisters on your hand and be ready to swing in a couple hours. Super Glue should be applied in layers, place the first layer on and then shortly after it dries, apply the second layer and repeat again for a third layer. This is an old trick I learned when I decided I wouldn’t wear batting gloves anymore. Not wearing batting gloves may help with your eye hand coordination, as it allows for a better bat feel in your hands during your swing. Once you get used to hitting with no gloves and using the pine tar, you may start to see a slight improvement in your batting average.
I am not a doctor, however I am just sharing my experience with super glue and how it has held up for me. I have used this for a few years on my hands and it has worked quite well.

Instant Replay

January 16, 2009

The 2008 MLB baseball season became a huge success with one simple change. For the first time, they were finally able to install instant replay for umpires to review a questionable call. Was it fair or was it foul? Did it stay in the park or did it go out? The main purpose of the instant replay is to get a second look to see if the hit was actually a home run or not. For years many home runs that were hit fair were called foul by poor eye sight from the foul line umpire and some that went foul were called fair. Well managers are tired of this and now is their opportunity to make sure the right call is made. There were even questionable calls to judge whether the ball was hit over the fence and out of the park or whether it hit an object that was still in fair play. The game is so fast and sometimes as an umpire, it can be hard to view the baseball if your not in the correct position.

Instant replay is only used in this situation, however if an umpire wants to re-look at other plays, they should have that option. Unfortunately, they do not. The only calls that are eligible for instant replay are home runs. In my opinion, if an umpire wasn’t 100% sure on his call, he should have the right to go back and look at the replay to see if he was correct or incorrect. No one is perfect and therefore error is expected. The only problem is, the other side of the party wants redemption or if at all possible, a changed call.

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