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

Ryan Armstrong | Mar 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The "Inside" Pickoff Move to Second Base

With a runner on second base it is essential to hold the runner close. Holding runners close will serve to decrease the chances of the opposition scoring on a single from second and also serve to give your outfielders a chance to throw them out at the plate if they do indeed attempt to score. If we hold the runner effectively it will decrease the distance they can reach on both primary and secondary lead offs thus making it less likely they score. Holding runners at second can also decrease a runner's jump making it harder for them to steal third base. If they reach do third base, especially with less than two outs, it is much easier for them to eventually score.

At the high school and college/pro levels, runners are coached to be aggressive and to put pressure on the defense. Pitchers must be able to combat aggressive runners by developing the ability to hold them close to the base they are at. This is skill is essential at higher levels as runs are harder to come by, but don't wait until you are there to develop it - get ahead of the game and work on it. One of the most essential moves you can develop to help you in this regard is the "Inside" pickoff move (or simply the "Inside move") to second base. Here is a brief video demonstration and explanation of it:

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, pick off moves, controlling the running game, inside move

Ryan Armstrong | Feb 20, 2015 10:05:21 AM

How Pitchers Can Vary Their Looks On the Mound

In the second part of this series on Controlling the Running Game, we talk about varying looks. Varying looks can be thought of as varying your timing to the plate with runners on base, not necessarily how many times you look at a runner, although that can be considered an element as well.

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, holding runners, Defense, pitcher's defense, controlling the running game, varying looks

Ryan Armstrong | May 15, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Rev Ups"

This week's Pitching Drill of the Week is "Rev Ups"

Rev Ups is a baseball drill we use to promote a strong arm action and connection to the body. We do this by simulating separation from glove, ensuring we start our action from the middle of the body as opposed to having the extremities take control.

When doing the drill we just need to start from simulated foot plant in an athletic position, with our lead elbow pointing to the target and our throwing elbow at shoulder height. We simply rock back and forth keeping the throwing elbow at or below shoulder height and making sure the throwing arm is loose and relaxed and doesn't get too long. When the athlete is ready to throw they want to take a short step to the target, finish with a complete follow through and focus on maintaining connection to the body. Coaching cues would be to watch for the arm getting too long and for the athlete to maintain athleticism through the drill to a full follow through on delivery. Rev Ups can be done at varying intensities.

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

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Topics: baseball drills, pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, throwing drills, pitching drills, pitching skills, pitching mechanics, pitching advice, connection drills, connection, arm action drills

Graeme Lehman | Feb 25, 2014 8:53:00 AM

Throwing with Over the Top Arm Slot Is Faster But More Dangerous Pt. 2

This post comes from our colleague, Graeme Lehman, in Kelowna, BC. Graeme has a great blog which you can find at lehmansbaseball.wordpress.com. If you are from the area, make sure you see Graeme.

Quick recap of Part 1 since I wrote it 3+ months ago. This article talked about a study which reported that pitchers who threw with excessive contralateral tilt could produce more velocity than those who didn’t tilt as much. This extra velocity came with a price which was more joint forces at the elbow and shoulder which could lead to an injury. The amount that each pitcher tilt’s is going to dictate which arm slot they use since the arm should always be at 90-100 degree angle from the trunk in order to maximize force and minimize injuries.

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Topics: baseball injury, pitching, elbow injury, shoulder injury, pitching injuries, pitching skills, pitching mechanics, contralateral tilt, Arm slot

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