The Baseball Zone Blog

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

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

Mike McCarthy | Feb 5, 2015 6:00:00 AM

4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Private Baseball Instructor

As baseball players, we can all probably use some one-on-one time with a coach now and again. But baseball teams are large and there are many positions--it can be difficult to get personal attention during practice. As a result, there are times when it may be worthwhile to look for a private baseball instructor, whether just for a few sessions or for the long term. But if you're interested in hiring someone for private lessons, how do you choose? 

Here are 4 factors you should take into consideration when you're looking for an instructor:

1.  Experience

This doesn't just mean experience as an instructor, it also means experience in the particular area in which you're looking to improve. Are you an infielder or outfielder? Pitcher or catcher? Are you going through a bit of a hitting slump generally or having a hard time with a particular pitch? 

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Topics: hitting instruction, baseball instruction, baseball coaching, pitching instruction, fielding instruction, coach player relationship, private lessons

Rick Johnston | Jan 18, 2015 6:30:00 AM

Who Is To Say What Body Type a Baseball Player Is "Supposed" To Have?

"Big and imposing"

"Shows athleticism"

"Long frame"

"Broad shoulders"

"Thick trunk"

"Runs like a gazelle"

"Easy and fluid"

"Long and lean"

"Strong as a bull"

These are just a few scouting terms that are constantly used when players are being evaluated, whether considered draft potential or possible college type. Truly, though, who really knows what type of body can play the game? Who would have ever thought in the day of the big man, that you would ever see a Dustin Pedroia on the same field with a Frank Thomas? Now think about this for a moment, Pedroia, standing all of 5’8, 165lbs and Thomas, otherwise known as the Big Hurt, standing an imposing 6’5, 275lbs on the same field together, competing at the highest level of baseball.

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Topics: baseball coaching, myths, baseball scouting, baseball myths

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