The Baseball Zone Blog

Courtney Plewes | Mar 18, 2015 6:25:35 PM

8 Reasons for an In-Season Baseball Strength & Conditioning Program

Spring training camps are in full swing, which means baseball season is right around the corner! But don't be too hasty to ditch the gym in place for the field. In-season baseball strength and conditioning is an often over-looked and neglected aspect of a player's in-season routine. BIG MISTAKE!!!! Here are 8 reasons why you should make strength and conditioning a priority this in-season:

1. Reduce Your Chance of Injury

The baseball season is long and hard on the body.  Baseball is also, primarily, a one-sided activity (hitting and throwing). This repetitive motion on an athlete’s dominant side can lead to disaster if they are not prepared for the season or do not maintain their strength, mobility, and function throughout the season.  A properly designed in-season baseball training program can take a proactive approach to avoiding common injuries and breakdowns throughout a playing season.

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Topics: in-season strength training, baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, baseball functional training, off-season strength training, baseball speed, injury prevention, mobility, sports performance, myofacial release, flexibility

Ryan Armstrong | Mar 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The "Inside" Pickoff Move to Second Base

With a runner on second base it is essential to hold the runner close. Holding runners close will serve to decrease the chances of the opposition scoring on a single from second and also serve to give your outfielders a chance to throw them out at the plate if they do indeed attempt to score. If we hold the runner effectively it will decrease the distance they can reach on both primary and secondary lead offs thus making it less likely they score. Holding runners at second can also decrease a runner's jump making it harder for them to steal third base. If they reach do third base, especially with less than two outs, it is much easier for them to eventually score.

At the high school and college/pro levels, runners are coached to be aggressive and to put pressure on the defense. Pitchers must be able to combat aggressive runners by developing the ability to hold them close to the base they are at. This is skill is essential at higher levels as runs are harder to come by, but don't wait until you are there to develop it - get ahead of the game and work on it. One of the most essential moves you can develop to help you in this regard is the "Inside" pickoff move (or simply the "Inside move") to second base. Here is a brief video demonstration and explanation of it:

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, pick off moves, controlling the running game, inside move

Kevin Hussey | Feb 26, 2015 6:00:00 AM

4 Basic Approaches to Building a Batting Lineup

One of the more frequent requests we get for blog ideas is how to go about building a batting lineup. This is an interesting request as while there are many standard philosophies to building a lineup, there have also been a number of computer-generated simulations that have produced the same conclusion - that the make up of lineups has little to no effect on wins over the course of a season. 

So having preambled with that, let's say that it does matter and matter a lot. So now what? When building your lineup, there are many different approaches to what is the best method. Every team is made up of different players and different situations which mean there are no right answers, there are only different perspectives. Here are 4 approaches you can take when filling out your own batting lineup:

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Topics: baseball coaching, batting order, coaching, batting lineup

Rick Johnston | Feb 22, 2015 3:00:52 PM

6 Key Factors Affecting Your Baseball Team Defense

Some baseball team defenses will be fairly standard and universally accepted in how they are deployed. Yes, there could be slight variations or deviations to each defense based on abilities or lack of abilities of defensive players. For example, if one player is more fleet a foot than another, or one has better arm strength or one player lacks lateral movement, then having a contingent plan in the deployment is always acceptable.

However, when deploying a particular defense, such as an aggressive bunt defence or a particular first and third play, an array of variables must be considered before entertaining the defensive scheme for your team. Situations always vary from game to game and indeed, from inning to inning, hitter to hitter and frankly pitch to pitch or count to count. Consider this then, there are numerous ways a defensive situation can change, but largely it will be based on the following influencing factors.

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Topics: baseball strategy, bunt defense, defensive baseball, baseball team defense, team defense, Defense

Ryan Armstrong | Feb 20, 2015 10:05:21 AM

How Pitchers Can Vary Their Looks On the Mound

In the second part of this series on Controlling the Running Game, we talk about varying looks. Varying looks can be thought of as varying your timing to the plate with runners on base, not necessarily how many times you look at a runner, although that can be considered an element as well.

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, holding runners, Defense, pitcher's defense, controlling the running game, varying looks

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