The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Apr 14, 2014 6:03:00 PM

26 Points for Excellent Verbal Infield Communication

What does the verbal communication mean in the infield?

Throughout the history of baseball, both verbal and nonverbal signs have been delivered as a form of communication to and from players, coaches and managers from the same team as a way to disguise or hide various types of strategy and intentions. When communication comes from a coach or manager it is usually done in the form of nonverbal signs or a sequence of signs to a hitter, baserunner or the defense. This type of language or form of communication is the most obvious form of interaction that the average fan is able to see when watching on TV. It certainly does not mean the transmission of the sign will be known to the fan, let alone the 

opposition, but it is a well known practice to most who watch the game. This nonverbal system is primary approach that is used most, similar to one learning sign language or reading lips.

There is, however, a very standard form of verbal communication that is used in the infield by each infielder when situations apply in games (and failing to do so is my top pet peeve of infielders). The following is a look at some of the primary verbal cues infielders need to communicate when the communication is necessary.


Topics: infielding, infielding tips, team Defence, baseball communication, bunt defense, defensive baseball, infield play, infield communication

Tammy Kovaluk | Mar 6, 2014 11:07:00 AM

3 Reasons to Perform a Movement Preparation Baseball Warm Up

This post comes from our colleague, Tammy Kovaluk, owner of Kovaluk Sports Conditioning in Victoria, B.C. If you are an athlete on the Island, make sure you see Tammy.


Most of the athletes I work with are high school to collegiate male athletes. I love ‘guy sports’ and in particular love working with this age group. Typically, these guys are eager to get stronger, faster, and more powerful, and are willing to put in the work to get there.

However, there is one common theme amongst these athletes. Despite their efforts and enthusiasm when eating iron in the weight room, this is not the case with the dreaded warm up. Lack of focus, doing it half-heartedly, and rushing through it tends to be a common theme.


Topics: warming up, in-season strength training, baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, off-season strength training, baseball pregame, baseball warm up, baseball conditioning

Jeff Overholt | Feb 27, 2014 1:30:00 PM

Peak Height Velocity & Its Implications for Youth Baseball Players

This blog comes from our colleague Jeff Overholt, Co-Founder of Golf Performance Coaches and PGA of Ontario 2013 Coach of the Year. This entry was initially published on the Golf Performance Coaches' blog under the title of "'Growing Up' - Acorns Becoming Oak Trees". Please visit their site for more excellent junior athlete development information.

Can you guess which of these junior golfers is the oldest? Which player would have an advantage if they were all competing on a golf course which was around 5500 yards?

Believe it or not the player on the left is actually the youngest (chronological age), but he is the oldest from a development age standpoint. Developmental age refers to the child’s age of physical, mental, emotional or intellectual maturity as opposed to chronological age, which represents the number of years and days which have elapsed since birth.

These concepts are very important for coaches and parents to understand if they have athletes of any sport between 10 – 15 years of age. During this time, children typically go through their growth spurt and hit a critical marker in their development called Peak Height Velocity (PHV).


Topics: baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, baseball exercise, baseball skills, Motor Skills, physical mistakes, LTAD, peak height velocity, Long term athletic development

Graeme Lehman | Feb 25, 2014 8:53:00 AM

Throwing with Over the Top Arm Slot Is Faster But More Dangerous Pt. 2

This post comes from our colleague, Graeme Lehman, in Kelowna, BC. Graeme has a great blog which you can find at If you are from the area, make sure you see Graeme.

Quick recap of Part 1 since I wrote it 3+ months ago. This article talked about a study which reported that pitchers who threw with excessive contralateral tilt could produce more velocity than those who didn’t tilt as much. This extra velocity came with a price which was more joint forces at the elbow and shoulder which could lead to an injury. The amount that each pitcher tilt’s is going to dictate which arm slot they use since the arm should always be at 90-100 degree angle from the trunk in order to maximize force and minimize injuries.


Topics: baseball injury, pitching, elbow injury, shoulder injury, pitching injuries, pitching skills, pitching mechanics, contralateral tilt, Arm slot

Rick Johnston | Feb 20, 2014 9:26:00 AM

Are Bad Looking Hitting Mechanics Always Due to Bad Mechanics?

Theory: If any player were to meticulously heed to the optimal biomechanical principles of hitting they will be successful, correct? 


Certainly following these principles will maximize the chances that a hitter has put the bat on the right path of a pitched ball with maximal force (if there is intent to match), but it certainly does not always equate to success. If it were that easy, then few hitters would ever fail at the rate of over 70%, like they do now.


Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, Hitting plan, hitting strategy, hitting approach, hitting, baseball coaching, pitch recognition, vision, hitting mechanics

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