The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | May 20, 2017 6:53:12 PM

Get Sweaty to Get Ready - If You Want to be a Better Hitter

HEY HITTERS!!! As we've discussed in previous posts, "Show & Go" with no warm up simply does not work. It is a recipe for disaster and injury. The key to an effective warm up is simply this:

"Get Sweaty to Get Ready"

How do we do this? It is actually easier than you would think. Implement a system of exercises to WAKE UP the body and get it ready for action. If you don’t WAKE IT UP, then don’t expect it to be ready for the toughest task in all of sports...hitting a baseball. A sweaty body is a heated body with muscles able to fire. Cold bodies can’t fire with any type of explosiveness. A cold car in minus temperatures when started, barely turns over and sputters. If you immediately drive away, it will sputter until the engine warms up, then presto, it runs like it should... smooth and fluid, just like a hitter's swing should be... smooth and fluid, with no choppiness, sputters or hesitations.

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Topics: warming up, hitting instruction, baseball exercise, baseball pregame, baseball injury, baseball fundamentals, injury prevention, baseball warm up

Kevin Hussey | Jun 3, 2015 2:57:54 PM

3 Fundamental Baseball Plays That Are Often Taken For Granted

Throughout the years in baseball, teams have practiced many different aspects of the game. Most practices consist of the three main components of baseball; hitting, defense, and pitching. Although baseball is based around those three aspects, there are a lot of little things in baseball that get overlooked in practice but need to be worked on if one is to expect them to be committed flawlessly in a competitive situation. Every coach should have a rule that you cannot put a kid in a situation they haven’t practiced. Here are three of those situations that get overlooked in practice but will get used in games, often making situations worse off than they could have been.

Pitch Out

A pitchout is a technique that seems like it should be easy, but it needs to be practiced. Pitchers often have issues throwing this pitch where it needs to be. The location of this pitch is so important because every inch the pitch is off is an extra inch the catcher has to make up for in their release. This needs to be practiced by the catcher as well because it’s different than a typical throw to second base. The catcher needs to worry about getting their body over in time, but also worry about not leaving the catcher's box before the ball is released.

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Topics: hitting, baseball communication, pitching, baseball practice, baseball fundamentals, catching, catching fundamentals, practicing under pressure, infield communication, baseball team defense, team defense, pick off moves, team practice, pitch out, intentional walk

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

Rick Johnston | Nov 29, 2013 6:02:00 PM

Where Has All of the Baseball Instinct Gone?

I remember as a kid, getting on my bike, hooking my glove to those old rounded and curved handle bars, jamming my bat under the banana seat and wedging a baseball in between the frame of the forks and the upper bar. Then peddling as fast as I could to the nearby field, school or open area and joining my buddies for a game of sandlot baseball. That’s right, just like the movie, The Sandlot. Spending hot, sunny summer days running, hitting, throwing, catching, making up silly rules as the each game had an effect on your team’s outcome.

These days never appeared to end; they were days that seemingly made summers feel like there was no end in sight. It was what we lived for all day, then, dash home, get some food, change out of your grass stained, dirt covered street clothes and throw on your team's uniform and head to the yard for a structured, do it this way, don’t think for yourself game.

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Topics: baseball instruction, baseball coaching, baseball fundamentals, baseball instinct, playing with instinct

Rick Johnston | Nov 1, 2013 3:41:00 PM

14 Mental Errors in Baseball That Get an Offence in Trouble

Many baseball coaches will say that the thinking or the understanding part of the game is the most vital to success for a player. This part of the game is sometimes called the mental pillar and is one of the primary pillars that support the structure of the athlete within the game of baseball (and any sport - these being mental, physical, technical and tactical).

In general terms, a baseball player will commit two types of errors, but one more than the other can have long term effects - mental and physical. Coaches have no problem for the most part accepting physical mistakes; players will clank ground balls, butcher fly balls and look like a bag of hammers searching for a tool box as a hitter. Players will have bad days, where physically all that happens. No problem, we are all human, all make mistakes. In baseball, it is the mental error that has harsh effects both short and long term on players and teams and will often manifest themselves as physical errors (i.e. what looks like a physical error was actually born a few seconds earlier as a mental one).

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Topics: hitting preparation, baseball strategy, baseball psychology, baseball coaching, mental performance, hit & run, suicide squeeze, baseball fundamentals, mental mistakes, physical mistakes

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