The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Oct 1, 2015 6:30:00 AM

Why I'm Bad at Golf and How It Relates to Hitting a Baseball

I'm sure a golf expert would give me a lot of reasons why I'm a bad golfer. But there's one reason in particular that's also a reason why baseball players struggle. The reason I'm so bad at golf is because I look to see where I hit the ball before I actually hit it. As a result of trying to look where the ball goes, I pull my head off the ball causing me to mis-hit it. This concept is the same concept that affects young hitters, but it goes way past just pulling off the ball; it's a mental adjustment that needs to be made rather than a physical adjustment.

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting approach, hitting, batting cages, vision, mental mistakes, physical mistakes, golf

Jeff Overholt | Feb 27, 2014 1:30:00 PM

Peak Height Velocity & Its Implications for Youth Baseball Players

This blog comes from our colleague Jeff Overholt, Co-Founder of Golf Performance Coaches and PGA of Ontario 2013 Coach of the Year. This entry was initially published on the Golf Performance Coaches' blog under the title of "'Growing Up' - Acorns Becoming Oak Trees". Please visit their site for more excellent junior athlete development information.

Can you guess which of these junior golfers is the oldest? Which player would have an advantage if they were all competing on a golf course which was around 5500 yards?

Believe it or not the player on the left is actually the youngest (chronological age), but he is the oldest from a development age standpoint. Developmental age refers to the child’s age of physical, mental, emotional or intellectual maturity as opposed to chronological age, which represents the number of years and days which have elapsed since birth.

These concepts are very important for coaches and parents to understand if they have athletes of any sport between 10 – 15 years of age. During this time, children typically go through their growth spurt and hit a critical marker in their development called Peak Height Velocity (PHV).

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Topics: baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, baseball exercise, baseball skills, Motor Skills, physical mistakes, LTAD, peak height velocity, Long term athletic development

Rick Johnston | Nov 1, 2013 3:41:00 PM

14 Mental Errors in Baseball That Get an Offence in Trouble

Many baseball coaches will say that the thinking or the understanding part of the game is the most vital to success for a player. This part of the game is sometimes called the mental pillar and is one of the primary pillars that support the structure of the athlete within the game of baseball (and any sport - these being mental, physical, technical and tactical).

In general terms, a baseball player will commit two types of errors, but one more than the other can have long term effects - mental and physical. Coaches have no problem for the most part accepting physical mistakes; players will clank ground balls, butcher fly balls and look like a bag of hammers searching for a tool box as a hitter. Players will have bad days, where physically all that happens. No problem, we are all human, all make mistakes. In baseball, it is the mental error that has harsh effects both short and long term on players and teams and will often manifest themselves as physical errors (i.e. what looks like a physical error was actually born a few seconds earlier as a mental one).

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Topics: hitting preparation, baseball strategy, baseball psychology, baseball coaching, mental performance, hit & run, suicide squeeze, baseball fundamentals, mental mistakes, physical mistakes

Rick Johnston | Oct 15, 2013 11:37:00 AM

Practicing Performance Under Pressure - Do We Do It In Baseball?

When was the last time you truly saw a baseball player or team actually practice under massive amounts of pressure? In general, I can tell you they spend very little time performing under pressure. Honestly, just try and think back to this past season, whether you were practicing as a player, coach or observing as a parent. Can you candidly say that most practices were carried out with pressure, intent and conviction? In a majority of these instances I would venture to say little or no emphasis was actually put on performing under pressure, but instead the emphasis was technical or mechanically based.

What are we potentially doing to our players by practicing this way? I think it is pretty evident...when a critical moment arrives in a game, such as a sacrifice bunt or 3-2 count with bases loaded, either as a hitter or pitcher, due to the lack of exposure to these pressures it could perhaps be not so surprising that performance can vary or falter (As Sports Psychologist Dr. Rick Jensen suggests, pressure will always find your game's weakest link so find it and work on it). In short, do baseball skills learned in non-pressure situations, with nothing on the line transfer to pressure situations? Not necessarily! So, for that reason, maybe it is time to review the way in which practice tactics, mechanics and philosophy is delivered? 

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Topics: baseball psychology, baseball coaching, mental training, mental performance, baseball practice, mental mistakes, physical mistakes, practicing under pressure

Rick Johnston | Jun 27, 2013 7:57:00 AM

Throwing Errors as Mental Mistakes and 3 Tips to Avoid Them

Physical mistakes are NOT always physical ones

As I have written in a few other blogs, the single most critical area of defensive baseball is throwing. Throwing errors contribute more directly to a negative end result, or simply put, more lost games than all other mistakes combined. Although the throwing of a baseball is a physical action, the control of where the ball is eventually going is very much mental. When players are conditioned to think about where to throw the ball to, versus how to throw the ball, fewer defensive throwing lapses will occur, throwing errors will dramatically plummet and, believe this, more wins will appear in the win/loss column.

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Topics: mental training, baseball communication, mental performance, baseball skills, throwing skills, baseball fundamentals, throwing errors, defensive baseball, mental mistakes, physical mistakes

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