The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Oct 1, 2015 6:30:00 AM

Why I'm Bad at Golf and How It Relates to Hitting a Baseball

I'm sure a golf expert would give me a lot of reasons why I'm a bad golfer. But there's one reason in particular that's also a reason why baseball players struggle. The reason I'm so bad at golf is because I look to see where I hit the ball before I actually hit it. As a result of trying to look where the ball goes, I pull my head off the ball causing me to mis-hit it. This concept is the same concept that affects young hitters, but it goes way past just pulling off the ball; it's a mental adjustment that needs to be made rather than a physical adjustment.

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting approach, hitting, batting cages, vision, mental mistakes, physical mistakes, golf

Rick Johnston | Nov 6, 2013 2:31:00 PM

3 Reasons NOT to Ask to Speed Up the Pitch in the Batting Cages

How many times do you think a coach has heard this before:

Hey coach can you crank it up?

Crank it up?! That is exactly what hitters don’t need...a machine set up so fast or faster than what a player really needs to work at to have any type of success. It really amazes me that many hitters, coaches and parents think that the faster the speed of the machine, the better the hitter will become. Truth be told, a machine set up with speeds beyond the capabilities of the hitter will actually do more harm than good.

Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn't get too ahead of yourself and thus keep the speed of the machine from mimicking Nolan Ryan:

1. Just Poor Contact - In analyzing variable speed changes or increasing the speed of the machine, the primary observation that one should first look at is if the hitter can consistently make square contact with the ball, no matter what the speed is. I am not saying just contact, as in a foul ball, I am speaking of square contact, where the ball is being driven with authority to all areas in the cage and preferably to the sides and back of cage on a line. If balls are barely being hit or there are many swings and misses or the hitter is making contact occasionally, but contact is late...yes, that's right, the speed of the machine is too fast!

2. Sacrificing Mechanics for Contact - 

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting, baseball parents, hitting drills, baseball practice, batting cages, batting practice

Mike McCarthy | Mar 11, 2013 4:22:00 PM

6 Ways Indoor Batting Cages Can Be Used for More Than Just Hitting

Indoor batting cages may seem on their face to be focused on one use, and that of course is digging your heels in and hitting off a pitching machine over and over and over with that juicy pitch coming right down the middle, belt high. However, there are so many more things that you can do with indoor batting cages besides taking batting practice to halp make your workouts more varied, and ultimately more productive.

Here are 6 basic ways you can get more out of your time in an indoor batting cage:

  1. More Than a Machine - Besides just stepping up to the plate and hacking away, the cage can be used for soft-toss, focused hitting drills or bunting practice. Or instead of standing in the same place all of the time, move up and back to simulate faster and slower pitches; or move left and right to simulate inside pitches and outside pitches. You will not get perfect BP pitches all of the time in games, so you better make sure you get some practice on variations in the cage. 

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Topics: hitting tips, baseball instruction, defence, infielding, infielding tips, Ontario Terriers Baseball, fielding instruction, baseball clinics, PFP's, first baseman, first basemen, Outfielding, catching, batting cages, indoor batting cages

Rick Johnston | Nov 26, 2012 7:44:00 AM

7 Important Points For Using Indoor Batting Cages

We have previously written on the Top 5 Reasons To Use Indoor Batting Cages.  In this blog I would like open up discussions on how to use a batting cage to get the most out of it for swing development.  For many, commercial batting cages are used recreationally and not used for the actual development of the swing.  For those that wish to use batting cages for actual swing development, the following is a breakdown on how to functionally use a cage to their advantage.

1.Speed of machine

When selecting the speed of a machine a common problem is the speed or velocity is far too advanced for the player. Often times, I will hear kids say “the speed is too slow” or asking “to speed the machine up”.  Well let’s first look at what the hitter is trying to accomplish...that is, to refine the swing and the necessary movements associated with the swing. Pitching machines that are set to fast DO NOT promote efficient movement patterns in the swing. In fact, they promote poor swing habits, causing players to rush their timing; or failing to get the body into a good solid hitting position; or if their timing is so bad, they get frustrated with all the swings and misses and lose confidence in their swing. The speed is critical and should be set approximately 60-65 percent of the speed at which they will see in a game. Now, one can argue this percentage does not actually duplicate true game like speed, but the argument can also be said for those that truly want to work on swing development...it must be done at a speed substantially slower than what they would face in a game (how fast is the ball travelling on a tee??!!).  Case in point...What do you think the average pitch speed of MLB batting practice is? It is certainly not near the speed of what hitters face day to day, it is approximately 60-65 percent of the actual velocity each hitter will face in a game.  Furthermore, have you ever watched Home Run Derby? Granted, the concept of the Derby is Home Runs, but I would be surprised if the speed in the Derby comes close to 65 percent!  So now why do MLB hitters take batting practice at approximately these types of speeds? Because the primary focus of their cage work is total swing development. It would be very difficult for the MLB player to work on the honing of their swing when facing a machine that is delivering pitches at speeds at or near the actual game like velocities. 

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting, baseball coaching, baseball practice, batting cages, indoor batting cages, situational hitting

Mike McCarthy | Nov 21, 2012 7:37:00 AM

Top 5 Reasons To Use Indoor Batting Cages

Baseball is one of the world's favourite pastimes, connecting millions of avid fans from numerous nations to one single, shared passion. Many of those fans are regular players of the sport and spend a large amount of time practicing their skills on the field, but what they might not know is that the use of an indoor batting cage may be more suited to their needs. If you're looking for a way to push your skills further, check out the following top five uses of indoor batting cages -- they may be exactly what you need.

1. Weather and Practice No Longer Clash

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Topics: hitting, baseball off-season, baseball practice, batting cages, indoor batting cages, batting practice

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