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

Rick Johnston | Jun 5, 2014 9:59:31 AM

Ground Ball Pursuit...Just How Fast Should An Infielder Move?

Good infielders usually spend an inordinate amount of time working on the fundamentals of how to field a ground ball as far as their physical mechanics, footwork, glove action and making the throw. However, what is often left out is the need to work on developing the feel for how an infielder really needs to approach a ground ball. In other words, just how fast or slow should an infielder approach a ground ball. This is one of the biggest fundamental areas that often gets left out or falls by the way side when working the art of fielding ground balls

Anytime a ground ball is hit, it is generally imperative each infielder moves toward the ball at a controlled rate of speed. This type of movement or momentum achieved by the infielder helps to cut down distance of the play and also assists in the elimination of fielding balls on the bad or middle hop. The middle hop is the tweener, the hop that must be avoided at all costs. The best infielders in the game always seem to get the good hop, they have the uncanny or instinctive ability (or seemingly so - the truth is it is developed via 1000's of reps) to flow with the hop and actually find a way to control the speed of the ball with their movement and make the play seem effortless.

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Topics: infielding, infielding tips, fielding instruction, fielding skills, infielding errors, fielding drills, infielding drills, infield play, short hops, ground ball pursuit, fielding hops, bad hops

Rick Johnston | Jul 3, 2013 10:22:00 PM

20 Common Pitfalls You Need to Avoid as a Baseball Coach

Everyone that has ever had a chance to coach baseball has undoubtedly realized that you can’t please everyone. It also seems that these people you can’t please also seem to know more about the game than you do - maybe it is true sometimes, but it can't ALWAYS be that way. However this is one of the realities that any coach will have to come to terms with as they don the uniform. 

A coach can do himself a lot of good in the eyes of many if he is able to avoid certain coaching pitfalls throughout the season...and stay out of the crosshairs of the know-it-alls. These pitfalls are part of coaching and unfortunately sometimes are not so apparent to see - something like missing the forest for the trees kind of thing. And best of all is that avoiding them should help result in a more fulfilling and fun experience for the players that we are serving.

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Topics: baseball coaching, team Defence, baseball communication, baseball practice, fielding drills, pitching rotation, batting order, practice organization

Ryan Armstrong | May 23, 2013 8:53:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Playing Better Catch"

Last year we posted a blog by Rick Johnston titled "Developing Infielding Movements Through Playing Better Catch". In it, Rick opined that the number one method of improving natural infielding movements is simply by playing catch. But not the poor "catch" you will see so often at diamonds during pre-game. Instead, it is catch with a purpose - every catch, every throw, every movement through to catching and through to throwing. It is about being efficient with your time and focus.

Today we will give you a better visual of one aspect of what Rick means which can even be done while by yourself (and is demonstrated as such in the video). 

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Topics: baseball instruction, infielding, infielding tips, baseball drills, fielding instruction, baseball skills, fielding skills, fielding drills, infielding drills, playing catch, playing better catch

Ryan Armstrong | May 9, 2013 7:51:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Short Hops"

This week's Baseball Drill of the Week is "Short Hops".

Who: Especially useful for middle infielders but can be done by all infielders.

Short Hops is a drill used to get infielders comfortable with receiving the ball on the short hop. Most fielders tend to want to get a long hop vs. a short hop as it is typically easier to catch. As the game progresses time may dictate that the long hop may not be available, and to record an out it may be necessary to take the ball on the short hop. So infielders need to get themselves more comfortable with being aggressive to get the short hop or they will simply run out of time to make the throw and subsequently extend the inning.

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Topics: infielding, infielding tips, baseball drills, fielding instruction, fielding drills, infielding drills, short hops

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