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 | 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

Rick Johnston | May 16, 2013 6:17:00 PM

Where Have Catching Fundamentals & The Good Catchers Gone?

Where are all the good catchers (of the baseball)?

Infielders take routine ground ball after ground ball working on angles, hops and reads. Outfielders chase down fly ball after fly ball working on simple routes and angles. Pitchers throw bullpen after bullpen to as they try to sharpen their command of one or more pitches. But what do catchers do? They catch for pitchers in the bullpen and usually follow the coach's order to get loose and assist the pitcher in getting his work in. Well, if this game is built around preparation, then where is the prep drudgery for the catcher? After all, it is pretty tough to play baseball without a catcher…that’s right a catcher. A player, possibly nuts to say the least, who squats behind the plate over a 100 times a game, donned in protective gear, preparing to receive some unknown pitch being thrown in his direction at speeds approaching 100 mph. 

Catching fundamentals are complex to say the least and achievement to any degree of excellence demands the mastering the simple ability to catch a pitched baseball. At younger ages, it is alarming the lack of emphasis being placed on catching a baseball. Instead, the emphasis is put on these young catchers to throw runners out or take charge on the field as the field general, because every book says the catcher must do so. Where is the emphasis on the simple skill of receiving or just catching the ball?

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Topics: baseball instruction, baseball fundamentals, catching, catching drills, catching skills, catching fundamentals

Ryan Armstrong | May 2, 2013 10:06:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Wall Transfers"

This Week's Baseball Drill of the Week is "Wall Transfers"

Wall Transfers is a drill used to help develop hand eye coordination and to improve the consistency and speed of transfer from glove hand to throwing hand. Improving this transfer will increase our chances of getting the first out on a double play and in turn increase our chances of turning a double play. This will also help our catchers have more chances to throw runners out. As your level of play progresses upward, the speed of the game quickens as well and areas such as transferring the ball from glove to hand need to be economized with respect to time spent executing them.

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Topics: baseball instruction, infielding tips, baseball drills, fielding instruction, fielding drills, infielding drills, catching drills

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