The Baseball Zone Blog

Ryan Armstrong | Jan 18, 2017 9:41:00 AM

A Glimpse at The Four Pillars of Baseball - Part I: The Technical Game

 

The four pillars of baseball performance are Technical, Mental, Tactical, and Physical. If one of these pillars is weak, the structure will collapse!

Part I: The Technical Game

baseball-1478289 Resized.jpgThe technical area is where we as coaches teach movements and concepts to enhance athletic performance. Skill specific drills are often used to promote development or efficiency in a certain technical area. An example might be setting up a tee in a particular location to work on hitting the ball to a certain field. However, we must remember as coaches that we are not teaching a certain look, or creating an army of robots that all look and move the same.

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Topics: baseball instruction, baseball coaching, baseball, mastery

Kevin Hussey | Oct 16, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Why Did John Gibbons Pitch David Price in Game 4 of the ALDS?

There are only a select few people who know why David Price came into pitch in Game 4 of the ALDS for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. Everyone has their own theory on why it happened, although most likely no one outside of that select circle will ever know for sure.

Now, it all worked out for the Blue Jays. They won Game 4. Then they won Game 5 in an epic battle. But the Game 4 moves remain an interesting debate and story that has kept me thinking. After trying to figure out all the different scenarios that made that decision make sense, I've come to the conclusion that John Gibbons didn't want to publicly choose Marcus Stroman over Price without having an acceptable reason to.

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Topics: baseball coaching, pitching, Toronto Blue Jays, mlb, Texas Rangers, Jake Arrieta, John Gibbons, Marcus Stroman, starting pitching, Chicago Cubs, David Price, R.A. Dickey, relief pitching

Ryan Armstrong | Aug 6, 2015 11:02:49 AM

My Thoughts on Cressey Sports Performance's Elite Baseball Mentorship

I was fortunate enough to have attended Cressey Sports Performance's Elite Baseball Mentorship program this past June in the Boston area along with fellow team members here at The Baseball Zone / SST Mississauga, Courtney Plewes and Rick Johnston (pictured L to R with Eric Cressey). This program has provided me with insight that gave me a better understanding of how the body works from a biomechanical perspective. This particular workshop was focused on the upper extremities, especially the elbow and shoulder, two areas that go without saying are extremely important to pitchers - and all throwers - in terms of performance, injury prevention & rehabilitation.

Here is a brief outline of the program and some of my own thoughts:

Day 1: We examined how the shoulder complex should function by looking at movement and symmetry with various athletes. Later that day we went onto the floor and watched assessments performed by Eric Cressey and Eric Schoenberg. Although this may not be my particular area of expertise I learned more about how the body moves so I can better serve our throwers here at The Baseball Zone as well as share this information with our staff.

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Topics: baseball coaching, rehab, pitching, elbow injury, shoulder injury, pitching injuries, injury prevention, elbow strength, baseball warm up, weighted balls, shoulder strength, biomechanics, pitching preparation, sports performance, notre dame, elite baseball mentorship, cressey sports performance, eric cressey, eric schoenberg, matt blake, athlete assessments, boston college, oklahoma state, cape cod league

Kevin Hussey | May 20, 2015 10:27:27 AM

Common Issues With Young Baseball Players & What To Do As a Coach

There are many different technical issues that young baseball players have when starting out but some seem to be a lot more common than others. Here are a few problems that are consistent with most kids and what you can do as a coach and/or parent to help steer them in the right direction.

Throwing

Every person that’s ever thrown a ball has their own technique that is slightly different in some way than everybody else’s. However, even though everyone throws differently, many still have the same problems. The most common problem that I see with kids throwing the baseball is the direction their body is going in when they throw. What typically happens is players will direct their momentum towards their glove side, instead of having it all going towards their target. This can happen for many reasons but typically it has to do with their glove getting away from their body during the throw and pulling them away from their target instead of towards it. Once your glove starts moving away from your body as you throw, it’s likely that your momentum will follow in the same direction. The consequences for your momentum being directed in other places than your target are typically a loss of velocity as well as accuracy. So make sure that your youn baseball players are directing momentum towards their target whether it be a catcher or a teammate in the field.

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Topics: hitting instruction, baseball coaching, pitching instruction, fielding instruction, baseball skills, fundamentals, throwing skills, fielding skills, baseball fundamentals, pitching skills, fielding issues, throwing issues, throwing instruction, pitching issues, technical issues, hitting stride issues

Kevin Hussey | Apr 15, 2015 11:00:00 AM

3 Ideas for Coaching Youth Baseball Players

When developing younger baseball players, there are different techniques that can help you with different aspects of the game. Here are three tips that may help you with a youth baseball player's development: 

1 - Practicing different positions  

Most competitive young baseball players will have a primary position that they will stay at throughout a whole season or even their career because it’s what they’re best at (comfort for them) and what gives their team the best chance of winning (comfort for the coach). However, just because a player plays one position doesn’t mean they can’t and shouldn't practice others. It also doesn't mean it will be their best position later on after they have finished with their growth spurt. When they practice different positions they get the opportunity to use their bodies in different ways. The value of this is their body gets put in different situations which can allow them to develop different techniques - good for both long term athletic development as well as simply being more versatile. For example, if you have an outfielder, they will typically throw the ball with a long arm because of the importance of a strong throw rather than a quick release. If an outfielder spends some time practicing middle infield play however, they will have the opportunity to develop skills involving a quick release which may come in handy in some outfield situations...or if they have to play a game in the infield...or if someday a coach wants to see what they look like in the infield. In general, it would be a good idea for every player, regardless of primary position, to practice middle infield play because of the consistent opportunity to use their athleticism and put their body in different positions.   

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Topics: baseball coaching, long term development, coaching, Arm slot, Long term athletic development

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