This week, there were great tips from a variety of sources - tips for coaches, hitters, fielders and pitchers, some advice for dealing with coaches, fitness tips, motivational psychology and even a discussion about the importance of sleep. Here are the top 10 baseball and softball tips from the past week ...
Tee Work With A Purpose - Similar to golfers on a driver's range, far too many people treat a hitting tee as a warm-up instead of working on specific aspects of their swing. A good golfer takes the time to execute each swing on a driving range with purpose - working on a fade, draw, distance or height, or working on their timing or backswing extension. Baseball and softball players should be doing the same - treating a batting tee as one more tool to improve their game. Matt Antonelli explains what most people do wrong in tee work and how they can use a batting tee to improve their mechanics.
Positioning Players For Tee Work - Speaking of tee work ... far too many players - especially younger ones - do not stand in the proper place when doing tee work. Typically, they stand too far from the tee, casting the bat. This can lead to bad habits that are extremely hard to break down the road. Coach Lisa shows you how to line players up to a hitting tee so that they learn the proper position of their arms and body in a good swing.
How To Avoid The Most Embarrassing Error You Can Make - It's happened to everyone but still, nothing is more embarrassing than having a ball squirt under your glove. You just know every single eye is looking at you with disappointment - your coaches, teammates, parents in the stands - maybe even the other team. Coach Justin discusses 3-4 tips (I think tip 1 & 4 are pretty close to the same thing) for avoiding the most humiliating error in the game.
Don't Let This Podcast Put You To Sleep! - Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is one of the most important things for your physical, mental and emotional health. Being properly rested can make all the difference between a great game or a disastrous one. Unfortunately, having a consistent sleep routine can be nearly impossible in upper level ball - especially once you make it to the professional level. Everything in baseball is about routines and schedules and sleep should be no different. In this podcast, Eric Cressey interviews Dr. Brandon Marcello about effective sleep strategies for ball players.
Push Ups For Baseball Players - Sure, we all know what a push up is and doing them can lead to more chest and arm strength - things that certainly can help improve your overall game. Dan Blewett enlists the help of Coach Andrew Sacks to demonstrate two ways of doing push ups - designed just for baseball players - that will lead to even more power, speed and arm strength.
Do A Little A Lot, Not A Lot A Little - Tyler Thompson briefly mentions one of my favorite books - Darren Hardy's The Compound Effect - in this article about becoming a better player by incrementally and consistently doing the little things that cumulatively lead to bigger success. Not only do I highly recommend reading the article, the book is a must-read for everyone - ball players, accountants, CEOs, construction workers or stay at home moms.
Simple Drill For Teaching Young Players For How To Throw Properly - Whether they are a pitcher or a position player, learning to throw properly is essential for velocity, accuracy and preventing injuries. Coach Duke and Coach Chris demonstrate the "High Five Drill" - something coaches, parents or teammates can easily do to help a young player get behind the ball, putting their hand and arm in the proper throwing position.
Ditch The Curve - This Works Just As Well - Not everyone can throw a consistent, good curve ball. If you just can't get yours to locate or curve with any consistency, maybe it's just not your pitch. Instead of fighting a losing battle, Brad Kirsch recommends switching to a slider - a pitch that he says is easier to throw because it uses almost the same same mechanics as a fastball. Equally important, it can be just as effective as a curveball. Check out his article, The Slider ... It Just Fits!
3 Tips For Dealing With Dumb Coaches - Got a coach who tries to get you to do things that you just KNOW you cannot do or that you will fail at because you have tried them before (like trying to throw a curveball maybe)? Matt Antonelli provides three ways for dealing with a dumb coach, although I might add a fourth - get another coach on the team to side with you.
4 Secrets To Hitting Success - Coach Justin goes over four things that batters should be doing every single time they step to the plate - whether it is the first at bat of the season, the middle of a scoreless game or the bottom half of the last inning with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.