The Baseball Zone Blog

Ryan Armstrong | Jan 7, 2017 3:20:16 PM

Drill of the Week Videos - Self Toss & Step Behinds

Hitting - Drill of the Week

 Self toss is a drill we use to promote synchronization and connection in our athletes, in other words getting the parts in the right order. This drill is also useful in creating momentum as well promoting a strong visual process. Self toss is a drill that is used by all of our hitters but is especially useful to our hitters who struggle to get the parts in the right order. 

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Topics: video, hitting, baseball, baseball drills, hitting drills, baseball off-season, Sports, connection drills, connection, sports performance

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

Ryan Armstrong | May 13, 2014 8:53:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Self Toss"

This week's Hitting Drill of the Week is "Self Toss"

Self toss is a drill we use to promote synchronization and connection in our athletes - in other words getting the parts in the right order. This drill is also useful in creating momentum as well promoting a strong visual process. Self toss is a drill that is used by all of our hitters but is especially useful to our hitters who struggle to get the parts in the right order. We love to use it as a warm up drill.

When doing the drill we start the hitter facing their target (which can be the back of a cage or centerfield...or wherever). From here, the hitter simply walks into their hitting position, tosses the ball out in front to roughly their front foot, and swings, all the while continuing movement and maintaining connection and synchronization of their moving parts. It is a great baseball drill with immediate feedback.

Check out Coach Army (@tbzarmy) with a demo below

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting preparation, hitting, baseball drills, hitting drills, momentum drills, hitting mechanics, synchronization, connection

Ryan Armstrong | May 6, 2014 6:30:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Quarter Turns"

This week's Hitting Drill of the Week is "Quarter Turns"

Quarter Turns is a hitting drill we use to promote rotation and weight transfer through the swing. We do this by starting the drill in a "quarter turned" position, thereby already getting the hitter into a position on the way to rotation and transfer.

When doing the drill we just need to start in a regular stance and, as stated, just start the lower half into its rotation and weight transfer or "pinching" of the backside to the front side. From here, the hitter can simulate an at bat, either off a tee or with a partner doing front toss. We find that the Quarter Turn drill can help the hitter more naturally get better rotation and transfer after being artifically placed in a quarter turn start. Obviously the intention is that by working on this it will then help transfer to their regular swing. Coaching cues would be to watch for the hitter's finish to include full rotation as well as transfer to the front side with little to no weight on the backside while maintaining a balanced hitting position. 

Check out Coach Army with a demo below

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, rotational power, hitting, baseball drills, hitting drills, hitting power, hitting rotation, hitting mechanics, bat plane, weight transfer

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

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