Archive for the ‘Baseball Training’ Category

The Catcher’s Role

In youth baseball training, the role of the catcher is often overlooked. But the catcher is a very important position and should be trained just as thoroughly as the pitcher. The catcher is the only player on the field that can see everything going on at all times. The catcher should and can be the team leader.

When coaching youth baseball, the coach should identify players that have a thorough understanding of the nuances of the game as well as leadership potential, and then train these players to be catchers. There isn’t much glory in being a catcher, but this is probably the most important position on the field.

Once identified, training catchers should include:

-How to give signs effectively. The pitcher must see the catcher’s signs from the mound. The catcher needs to know how to make his signs so the pitcher can see them but the batter can’t.

-How to properly set up on the plate. How the catcher sets up depends on the pitch being called for and whether the pitcher is up or down in the count. And the catcher should never give his position away to the batter too soon.

-Working on the proper catcher stance.

-How to watch the field so that appropriate decisions can be made once the catcher has the ball.

-Throwing. The catcher should have a fast and accurate throw to get players out at base. Overthrowing during a steal at third can be brutal.

-How to stop the ball with their body and not get hurt.

These are just the basics. Once a catcher gets good, you can move into more advanced training. In coaching youth baseball, training effective catchers can mean the difference between a killer team and one that won’t be seeing the playoffs.

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Using Resistance Bands to Increase Strength, Flexibility and Prevent Injury

There are many ways a youth baseball coach can increase flexibility and strength, and reduce the risk of injury, in his players. One way is to require that players perform exercise routines on their own time. Youth baseball players may not be ready for a serious weight lifting routine as their bodies are still forming. Large rubber resistance bands can be used instead of weights to increase strength and flexibility.

The bands can be purchased at any sporting goods store or on the interent and come in different sizes and thicknesses. Each type of band will have its own resistance. If training is for flexibility, less resistant bands can be used. Higher-resistance bands can be used to build strength.

Different band routines can be used to accomplish different goals. Here are some examples of specific objectives for which band routines can be established:

1. Pitching
2. Batting
3. Running speed
4. Flexibility and injury prevention
5. Long Toss

The specifics of each routine should depend on player age, strength and skill. The coach should work with each player individually to determine the youth’s goals and the specific areas where improvement is needed. A resistance band routine can then be created to accomplish the desired changes. The coach should encourage the player to record his routine in a notebook so progress can be tracked.

Working with resistance bands is easy and can be done anywhere with minimal preparation. A player can keep his bands in his bat bag so they are always with him. This type of exercise will significantly reduce the chance of injury, improve baseball performance, and lead to healthier kids overall.

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Three Tips to Increase Baserunning Speed

Youth baseball coaches spend a lot of practice time focusing on batting, throwing, and fielding skills. Speed training often consists of just having the kids run the bases as fast as they can a few times. Coaches that take the time to work with their players on their base-running speed will make their teams more competitive.

Here are some specific tips to use to help your players run faster. Working with each player individually to help him increase his speed will have the most benefit, as each player will need different improvements.

1. Arm position. The runner’s arm position should be close to the body at a 90 degree angle and about waist high. As the player runs, the arms should be moving front to back. Sideways movements will slow the runner down. The shoulders and hands should be relaxed. Have players practice the correct movements in slow motion until they develop the appropriate muscle memory.

2. Focus. The runner should be looking at his destination, not at the ground in front of him. For baseball players this means the next base. However, the player does need to be aware of what’s going on around him, so he doesn’t get tagged on the baseline or run into another player.

3. Foot position. Keep runners OFF their heels. The proper foot position for the fastest speed is to land on the ball of the foot and push off, rolling forward to the toes. Professional running shoes have the cleats only on the front of the shoe, because this is where a runner’s power comes from.

If a coach spends a few minutes every practice working with his players on their running form, his team will be faster overall. And a faster team wins more baseball games!

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Six Things Players Can Do To Get Ready For Spring Baseball

There is not much going on in youth baseball training during the cold winter months.  And everyone needs a break from the game.  But in order to arrive at spring training prepared, there are some things you should do during this time.

1. Stay in shape.  What you do to stay in shape will depend on your age.  Watch what you eat and do some physical exercise every day, even if you just walk around the block.  If you are a teenager, work with your parent or a coach to establish a workout routine that is appropriate for your age and body type.  Keep track of your progress in a journal.

2. Visit the batting cages at least once a week.  Just a few trips to the batting cages can really improve your baseball hitting.  It also qualifies are physical exercise….and will help you keep your hitting muscles in shape.  Work at hitting different speeds, not just fast balls.  Sometimes hitting slow balls is harder, and hitting slow balls lets you work on your form.

3. Throw the baseball with friends or family.  Playing a simple game of catch keeps your skills up as well as works out your throwing muscles.  Plan to throw at least fifteen minutes every day.  Many professional coaches feel that kids just don’t throw the ball enough.

4. If you like to play a particular position, take a few private lessons or go to a clinic.  One private lesson with a good coach can lead to the correction of some simple errors that can make a huge difference in your game.

5. Work on your form at home.  Watch professionals in slow motion and mimic their moves.  Practice your moves over and over as well.  If possible, have someone video tape you so you can review your form for improvement.

6.  Get involved in another sport, such as football or basketball.  This will help you stay in top shape as well as work different muscles.  And, you will get your regular exercise!

It is nice to take a break from baseball during winter, but if you are really serious about your game you will make baseball training a part of your life all year.

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Gain a Competitive Advantage With Baseball Training Aids

Are you looking to take your baseball skills to the next level? Do you dream of throwing harder, batting better, and fielding with ease? These are skills that can be learned, honed, and perfected and baseball-training aids can make it possible.

Practice is the key to success in any athletic endeavor, and baseball is no exception.
The old adage “practice makes perfect” may be cliché, but it is true. Unfortunately, many sports, specifically a team sport like baseball, typically require a group of people to practice effectively. Conventional wisdom tells us that effective baseball training requires at least two athletes. Fortunately, this is no longer true as baseball training aids allow athletes to perform effective and efficient training without a partner or team.

Baseball and softball training aids are athletic training tools designed to develop and improve baseball specific skills. There are a variety of different training aids, each designed to perfect a specific area of your game. Each training tool improves skill-specific muscle memory; so effective training with these tools will vastly improve game performance.

Muscle memory is a form of procedural memory that stores the physical mechanics behind a specific task inside the brain. Muscle memory training is a very important part of athletic success. While it is always great to get faster and stronger, an athlete should really focus on getting faster and stronger in a way that is relevant to his or her specific sport or even his or her specific position.

Baseball training aids not only improve strength, conditioning, and hand-eye-coordination, they do so in a way that directly correlates to baseball success. For example, the Swift Stik lightweight training bat allows hitters to practice hundred of swings in one training session without the injury risks of a heavier bat. This type of repetition is the most important factor in building effective muscle memory.

Another training tool, the Arm Strong, improves throwing strength, accuracy and speed by combining light resistance training with a natural throwing motion. The benefits of this type of training are plain to see. In order to see the same results with an outdated training regimen, an athlete would have to spend hours in the gym, followed by hours playing catch and taking batting practice. That’s not exactly efficient.

While no training tool can ever replace real-game experience, there is no reason to risk injury and waste time by treating skill and strength conditioning as different types of training. With baseball training aids, all of these necessary training steps can be combined into one simple program.

That’s not all. The best part about these types of training tools is the fact that they can be used alone. There are no more excuses to slack off in the off-season. These training tools put success squarely in the hands of the competitor. It is time to gain a competitive edge with professional baseball and softball training aids.

Louis Seeley is an expert in the area of baseball training aids. For more information on top-of-the-line baseball training aids, visit: http://www.pikproducts.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Louis_Seeley

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Improving Pitching Performance

One-Two-Three — you’re out!  Pitching a perfect series of strikeouts involves strategy and form.  The pitcher and catcher are a critical team in baseball.  When a pitcher is “hot”, he is pitching the right pitch at the right time.  Good pitching training can improve pitching performance so that the pitcher hears “strike” from the umpire, rather than “ball”.

Not all players desire to pitch – being a pitcher means you are the main focus of the game.  But for those who do, extra training is critical.  And it must be the right kind of training, designed to reduce the chance of permanent injury to a growing boy’s arm and shoulder.  All pitchers like to “burn them in,” but accuracy is as important, if not more important, than speed.   Pitching training  can give a boy the confidence he needs to pitch a great game.

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Improving Hitting Performance

Who doesn’t like feeling the magic of the perfect hit?  The bat meets the ball at just the right time and speed – CRACK -  and the ball goes flying into the outfield while all the players on base run home!  The crowd is cheering and the player feels great!  His confidence soars and his love of the game increases.  Proper hitting training can drastically improve hitting performance.

Hitting drills can be boring but the payoff is worth it.  With just a few adjustments, a player will be able to hit the ball farther and more consistently.  And he can begin to “pick” where he wants the ball to go AND perhaps avoid the dreaded pop-fly to the infield!

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Teaching Good Nutrition to Your Youth Baseball Players

Eating the proper foods is a key element of youth baseball training. When coaching youth baseball, the coach should encourage players to be well hydrated when they show up to practice and to bring snacks so they don’t get hungry during practice. You should also encourage proper nutrition while at home and emphasize to the players that this will help them play better baseball.  

When kids are young, their food choices are mostly made for them.  As they grow up and begin to make their own choices, they need to be taught about food and its impact on the body.  This way they can make better choices for themselves, to be healthier and stronger.  Parents’ nagging often falls on deaf ears.  But most players listen to their coaches!  A coach can be a great ally for parents in helping their sons eat better.

Here are some basic nutritional facts that should be taught to youth baseball players:

1. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle.  Kids must eat protein to build up their strength.
2. Carbohydrates provide quick energy.  Kids should understand the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates and be instructed to choose complex carbohydrates.
3. What types of food provide protein?  You would be surprised to find out that many kids don’t know the answer to this question!  Make sure your players can tell the difference between a protein and a carb.
4. Explain that there are bad fats and good fats.  Some fat is essential to the body’s well being.  If kids maintain a well balanced diet of healthy foods, they will most likely get the fats they need.
5. Let kids know that the less processed a food is, the healthier it is.  Fresh fruits and vegetables and unprocessed meats should be their first choices. 
6. It is becoming more widely accepted that eating more, but smaller, meals is a healthier way to eat.  Have kids try to plan to eat healthy six times a day. 
7. Breakfast.  This is the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped.  Breakfast should include a healthy protein and well as some carbohydrates.  A multivitamin is beneficial as well.

If kids understand some basic facts about nutrition, and these are emphasized by their coach, they will be more likely to follow a healthier diet.  It may not be perfect, and given they are kids it won’t be, but if they end up chosing a banana over a candy bar just a few times a week it will make a huge, long-term difference.

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Coaching Youth Baseball – Preventing Injuries

Youth baseball coaches have many duties. An important one is to reduce the risk of injury to players during practice and games. There are several things a youth baseball coach can do to help prevent injuries to their players. Some involve practice and pre-game routines, other involve teaching the players what they can do on their own time to keep their injury risk low.

The coach should require the following before all practices and games:

1. Significant stretching. The coach should establish a stretching routine for his team early in training so that players will know what to do before practices and games. The coach should ensure that adequate effort is put into the stretching routine by all players.

2. Running. The coach should require a certain amount of running at every practice and before every game. This cardiac warm-up will get the players ready for the physical activity that is to come.

It is important that the warm-up routine be well defined and communicated to the players. All players should start at the same time. The coach needs to be involved in these activities, not spending this time visiting with parents.

During practice, the coach should always watch a player’s form in all activities. Improper form should be addressed and worked on until corrected. Proper form in pitching, hitting and throwing the ball will substantially reduce the potential for injury.

The coach should encourage, and perhaps require, the players to do some training on their own. This could involve the following:

  • Age appropriate weight training or band work.
  • Calisthenics, such as sits up, pull ups and push ups.
  • Cardio work, such as jumping rope or bicycling.
  • Yoga. Most kids will think this is silly, but yoga can increase flexibility and therefore reduce the risk of injury.

If a coach is diligent, he can reduce the risk of injury in his players significantly. This will lead to more enjoyable games for all involved – players, coaches and parents!

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