The Baseball Zone Blog

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

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 | Sep 24, 2013 9:20:00 AM

15 Baseball Pet Peeves Inspired By Infielders

Ok Infielders it’s your turn!

In the two previous Pet Peeve blogs the focus was on coaches and players and some of their pointless or irrational thoughts or actions on and off the diamond. This blog will be dedicated to position players, specifically the infielders and some of the unwise and sometimes ridiculous decisions they make and do that will drive any coach up the wall. Again, like many of these Pet Peeves that have been mentioned previously, lacking the thought processing for what they are doing, lacking experience or simply not ever been taught what to do can lead to these Pet Peeves never ever being changed. Each one of these Pet Peeves is and can be changed and altered, if time, thought and practice is brought into the equation. This may sound easier said than done, but the reality of it is if we as coaches want to eliminate these types of Pet Peeves then attention to detail is a necessary evil. 

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Topics: baseball coaching, team Defence, baseball communication, throwing skills, fielding skills, baseball fundamentals, throwing errors, baseball pet peeves, infielding errors

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

Rick Johnston | May 22, 2013 5:20:00 PM

The "Do or Die" Play in the Outfield

To Do or Not to Do…That is the Question!

Believe this - many of the errors that outfielders actually make are not on balls in the air, but instead they are on balls on the ground. Why this happens is very simple - because outfield defense is thought of as second tier in its true value of team defense. Most of any type of its vocation, is centered on fly balls, not ground balls. What outfielders lack is the clear comprehension of and ability to field a ground ball and where to make a throw to once the ball has been fielded. Similar to a routine ground ball on infielder fields, an outfielder should strive to field every ground ball in the exact same fashion an infielder will field it. That is, with true infield style patterns and working hard to field the ball on big or long hops, while avoiding the tweener hop. The outfielder must make every effort to create the correct angle to the ground ball, similarly like they would in the pursuit of a fly ball. But, because most outfielders rarely work on ground ball defense, it is no wonder the defensive process of outfielders significantly falters when trying to make a play on a ground ball.

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Topics: baseball instruction, fielding instruction, fielding skills, Outfielding, do or die outfield play

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