The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Jul 9, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Practicing Baseball On Your Own - 3 Ideas For You

Baseball may be known as a team sport but it’s not a sport that needs to be practiced with a team. The best way to enhance your skills is to practice by yourself. Team practice is for understanding things like cut offs, bunt defense, pick off plays and other team activities. Practicing these different plays will help your team get better but will not necessarily make you a more skilled baseball player. To get better as a player it’s important to practice on your own. Here are some ways you can practice on your own or with one other person.

Hitting (Hitting off a Tee)

Everyone’s favorite part of practice is batting practice, where they get to see how hard and far they can hit a baseball. The problem with batting practice is how kids handle it. A lot of kids see batting practice as a homerun derby with the ball perfectly placed each time (or waiting for a perfectly placed one) and swinging for the fences. When you hit off a Tee, your goals can be made more appropriate for trying to become a better hitter and can be made more realistic to game situations when done correctly. The goal of hitting the ball off the tee is to try and square up the ball as much as possible because almost all results will be the same anyways. Hitting off a tee allows you to forget about your surroundings and concentrating on increasing your strength and using proper technique. Placing the Tee in different locations that represent where an actual ball may be pitched to you - raise and lower the Tee, place it closer to you and further away - can help you learn what adjustments your body will need to make to square up on a ball based on the pitch location.

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Topics: baseball drills, hitting drills, baseball practice, bunt defense, fielding drills, infielding drills, catching drills, Outfielding drills, pickoffs, pick off moves, team practice, tee drills

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 12, 2015 8:16:46 AM

How to Handle Your Catchers in Practice Without a Dedicated Coach

Some teams do not have the luxury of having a coach at baseball practice for every position. Often times what happens is the coaches will be with the pitchers, infielders and outfielders, while the catchers are stuck catching balls for the infielders. If this is the case, you need to teach the catchers how they can coach themselves.

When catchers practice their skills, they shouldn’t practice anything for more than 10 minutes unless they‘re learning a new skill. The best way for a catcher to practice individual skills is 5-10 minutes at a time. Catchers can work on receiving, blocking and throwing, all for 5-10 minutes a practice. All of these skills can be practiced without the assistance of a coach. All that is needed is two or more catchers to work with each other.

Here are some drills that can be practiced every day:

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Topics: baseball practice, catching, practice organization, catching drills, catching skills, catching tips, team practice

Mike McCarthy | Nov 27, 2014 3:25:31 PM

Private Baseball Lessons For Hire - When Is It Right for You?

There was a time when youth baseball consisted of one or two practices a week and maybe a couple games. If you wanted to get in more work, it fell to you and one of your parents to head out to the diamond. But youth sports has become big business over the last ten years or so. Anymore, it's not uncommon to hear other parents on your child's team talking about how much they are shelling out for some one-on-one baseball lessons. You may find yourself wondering if that's the key to getting your child to the next level, or if they are just a waste of money.

So what is the bottom line? Is it worth paying extra money in addition to what you already may be paying for someone to spend some extra time with your child? That depends a lot on where your young athlete is at, not only in age and development, but talent level and dedication.

Are Baseball Lessons Worth It?

There's no doubt that all the extra attention and specialized training kids get today is having an effect on the game, even at the highest level. But that doesn't make it an open and shut case.

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Topics: baseball coaching, baseball practice, coach player relationship, private lessons

Rick Johnston | Feb 14, 2014 6:15:00 AM

6 Steps to Owning First Base as a Baserunner

Baserunning, as most know it, is a skill that is usually left to the end of practice to work on. And often the work done in baserunning is more as a conditioner to complete the practice rather than as s stimulator to actually learn how to run the bases. 

Since more baserunners get to first base more than any other base, it would only seam prudent that each baserunner work on taking more responsibility for their actions once they get to first base, ensuring they are prepared to take advantage of any opportunity to move up a base, two bases or to score. 

Think for a moment…look back up to the first paragraph, and ask yourself "what does that paragraph actually say?" It is very straightforward, in that, the practice of the practice of baserunning usually occurs at the end of practice. The end of practice! The end! Well by the end of practice most kids not only are physically tired, they are also mentally tired. So, if the practice of the practice of baserunning, whether low impact or for conditioning (which I think is a waste of time), is fashioned at the end of practice, what really are the players getting out of it? Most likely not much! What should you then do?

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Topics: baserunning, lead offs, baseball practice, baseball skills, practice organization, baseball warm up

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