The Baseball Zone Blog

Ryan Armstrong | Apr 30, 2014 11:27:32 AM

4 Things Pitchers Can Do the Night Before They Pitch

One question I often get asked by pitchers here at The Baseball Zone is "I have a practice the day before my next start - what should I do or avoid doing?" This is a great in-season baseball training question. I love when it is asked and will soon share the options that I give to them.

However, unfortunately I am not asked this question as often as I wish I was. So I have to go on the offensive and ask pitchers what THEY are doing the night before they are scheduled to take the mound - and the answer I sadly get most often is "NOTHING". Well in my opinion, that is an opportunity missed to get better for the next night and for the long term. There is often - at the heart of it - a "concern" for being "too tired" for the next night which is...well...kinda funny. We are not suggesting anyone climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro the day before, but simply takes the opportunity to put in productive work for both the short and long terms. You wanna get better? Then work at it. Don't get me wrong - I don't expect people to know this. That is why there are coaches and instructors - to help provide answers and guidance. But when you don't ask the question and assume you know the answer already, you are likely missing out on at the very least educating yourself on options for your own best path.

So back to the question of what to do the night before a scheduled outing, here are 4 options I would give to pitchers when they ask (and when they don't ask!):

1) Play productive catch: 


Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching velocity, playing catch, playing better catch, batting practice, pitching advice, cool down, long toss, flat ground

Rick Johnston | Sep 16, 2013 6:35:00 PM

21 Pet Peeves of Coaches - Baseball Players Listen Up!

The previous blog I wrote I devoted to pet peeves of coaches inspired by other baseball coaches. Well, now it is time to pick on players and identify numerous baseball pet peeves that irk coaches to no end, and in spite of these, often times nothing is ever done. While nothing is ever done coaches will continue to condemn players amongst themselves without taking more responsibility to clean up and fix many of these pet peeves they find fault with. (So maybe I can add that one to the last post!)


Topics: baseball coaching, baseball pregame, baseball practice, baseball pet peeves, playing catch, baseball warm up, bullpens

Rick Johnston | Jun 5, 2013 12:50:00 PM

Throwing and Catching…Quintessential Defensive Baseball

Make it a field or dreams or a field of nightmares (errors) - your choice

Spend your time around enough ball parks or indoor training facilities and there is one thing you will soon find out…most kids struggle with playing simple Catch and Throw. Think about this - all defensive aspects of baseball revolve around the ability to perform two fundamentals…Catch and Throw. But what happens? Most commonly, the mistake is made trying to teach kids complicated, intricate techniques and skills before they have been able to master the fine art of catching and throwing.

Take for example, an extra base hit that gets past an outfielder. This is a true example of a retrieval, a throw (to the right player), a catch, another throw, another catch and maybe a tag play on the runner. That’s two throws and two catches. Yet how many times have you seen this sequence go askew?


Topics: baseball coaching, defence, team Defence, baseball practice, baseball skills, throwing skills, baseball fundamentals, playing catch, defensive baseball

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). 


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 14, 2013 2:38:00 PM

How Simple Defensive Baseball Skills Can Minimize Big Innings

Big Inning Baseball - Minimize the Trouble

For years, baseball has been a sport that many people actually don't like to watch, for one major reason…it can sometimes seem to drag. Unlike many other mainstream sports, such as hockey, football or basketball, baseball seems to get the tag that it drags. In recent years from MLB to amateur baseball, there have been numerous attempts to make changes to speed up the game or make the game feel like it doesn’t drag. 

In some ways, the dragging on of a game can be controlled to some degree by coaches letting kids play and not over-coaching, by pitchers working faster between pitches, hitters being more aggressive and umpires calling more strikes. Of course these have been preached over and over, but still the game does linger on from time to time. Having made this statement about the length of games, how about we now try and diagnose how to prevent one of the biggest contributers to the dragging of games - big inning baseball - and how to minimize the trouble that makes these games seem like an eternity, especially at the lower levels where it can often get out of hand and a mercy rule gets invoked.


Topics: baseball coaching, baseball practice, baseball skills, throwing skills, fielding skills, playing catch, catching skills, pitching skills

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