The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Jun 18, 2015 6:30:00 AM

3 Tips for Young Catchers on Throwing to Second Base

Throwing the ball as a catcher takes a very unique skill set to be successful. Catchers need to have athleticism, arm strength, and great accuracy to be able to throw successfully. Without these skills, it’s very difficult to consistently throw runners out. Here are some tips that will help young catchers with their time to second.

Moving Forward

A problem that most kids have is that they have a tendency to step out towards their glove side with their initial step. This technique can have a negative effect on two things - accuracy and arm strength. When you start allowing your momentum to move in directions other than the direction you’re trying to throw, you’re displacing the momentum needed to throw the runner out. Your first step should be with your throwing side foot and straight towards second base.

Transfer

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Topics: baseball skills, throwing skills, defensive baseball, catching, throwing power, catching skills, catching fundamentals, catching tips, throwing issues, ball transfer skills, throwing accuracy

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 | Feb 17, 2015 1:22:00 PM

4 Simple Tips for Young Catchers to Follow

So you made the decision to become a catcher. The catcher position in baseball is a physically and mentally demanding position. A great way to try and deal with the different demands as a catcher is to learn some different aspects of the game and try and learn from other catchers' experiences. A lot of times there are no right or wrong answers but here are some tips that may be able to help you in the future as a catcher. Here are 4 simple yet essential tips for young catchers as they start out in the game.

1 - Heels on the Ground 

One common misconception for catchers is they’re supposed to be on their toes while in their catcher’s stance (doing so while giving your signs is ok). If this is something that you do, try catching with your heels on the ground. It may be uncomfortable at first, but once your body is used to this technique, it can make being in your stance a whole lot easier and keep you more stable, balanced and athletic to react to the outcome of the pitch.

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Topics: baseball skills, catching, catching skills, catching fundamentals, pitch selection, receiving skills, catching tips, pitch location

Jeff Overholt | Feb 27, 2014 1:30:00 PM

Peak Height Velocity & Its Implications for Youth Baseball Players

This blog comes from our colleague Jeff Overholt, Co-Founder of Golf Performance Coaches and PGA of Ontario 2013 Coach of the Year. This entry was initially published on the Golf Performance Coaches' blog under the title of "'Growing Up' - Acorns Becoming Oak Trees". Please visit their site for more excellent junior athlete development information.

Can you guess which of these junior golfers is the oldest? Which player would have an advantage if they were all competing on a golf course which was around 5500 yards?

Believe it or not the player on the left is actually the youngest (chronological age), but he is the oldest from a development age standpoint. Developmental age refers to the child’s age of physical, mental, emotional or intellectual maturity as opposed to chronological age, which represents the number of years and days which have elapsed since birth.

These concepts are very important for coaches and parents to understand if they have athletes of any sport between 10 – 15 years of age. During this time, children typically go through their growth spurt and hit a critical marker in their development called Peak Height Velocity (PHV).

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Topics: baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, baseball exercise, baseball skills, Motor Skills, physical mistakes, LTAD, peak height velocity, Long term athletic development

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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