The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Jun 13, 2017 3:27:34 PM

Fly Ball in the Sun - Yikes!!!

How many times have you been at practice working with your outfielders on tracking fly balls only to have one of them asking the coach to change position because “the sun is in my eyes”? Unfortunately, the game of baseball, if we're lucky, is played in the sun. Believe me, one of the best times for any outfielder to work on tracking fly balls is on bright sunny days, with the sun in their eyes and lots of wind. To work on sun balls, use the sun as a mechanism for a drill. Additionally, on windy days, vary the position in the outfield so that outfielders can work on tracking with the wind at their backs, in front and from side to side with the cross wind. Too often, days with bright sun, high sky and wind are not used to the advantage of working on tracking balls in the air. Coaches, when you have these days, use them to assist the outfielders in turning tough catches into routine catches.

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Topics: baseball, baseball drills, Outfielding, Outfielding drills

Rick Johnston | Nov 5, 2013 8:10:00 AM

10 Baseball Scenarios Where You Need to Expect the Unexpected

Life is full of so many unique occurrences every day. Events, issues, incidents and matters unfold countless times right before our eyes. Sometimes stranger things occur or are said and instantaneously a light goes on and presto, we react with little or no thought and great things happen or on the contrary not so great things happen. Either way, these types of day to day instances do occur and do affect us. There is no avoiding them. But how we were prepared for them and how we reacted to them is they true key to how they will affect us both short and long term.

Think back to an evening you have had in the past. Did it play out the way you wanted it too? In some cases it may have, while in others it probably wasn’t even close to how you thought it would go. In fact, it would be safe to say that factors came into play that you had no control over, yet you were able to overcome. . Imagine what life would be like if everything was expected? Hey, what about baseball? What about a game? What if every ground ball and fly ball were fielded or caught (yes for a pitcher that is great). It is not going to happen. What if every hitter got a base hit of some kind? 

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Topics: baserunning, hitting, pitching, Outfielding, catching, dealing with failure

Rick Johnston | Oct 7, 2013 4:16:00 PM

21 Baseball Pet Peeves of Coaches - Outfielder Edition

Don’t worry outfielders, I have not forgotten you!

As previously tapped into, I have blogged on Pet Peeves about coaches, players in general and most recently, infielders. It is time to move on to the players that patrol the outfield; the players that have to cover the most range; the players that people often disregard; the players for many reasons that get left out in practice as far as their development goes.

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Topics: baseball coaching, team Defence, baseball communication, baseball pregame, baseball practice, baseball fundamentals, throwing errors, baseball pet peeves, Outfielding

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

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

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