The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Sep 24, 2013 9:20:00 AM

15 Baseball Pet Peeves Inspired By Infielders

Ok Infielders it’s your turn!

In the two previous Pet Peeve blogs the focus was on coaches and players and some of their pointless or irrational thoughts or actions on and off the diamond. This blog will be dedicated to position players, specifically the infielders and some of the unwise and sometimes ridiculous decisions they make and do that will drive any coach up the wall. Again, like many of these Pet Peeves that have been mentioned previously, lacking the thought processing for what they are doing, lacking experience or simply not ever been taught what to do can lead to these Pet Peeves never ever being changed. Each one of these Pet Peeves is and can be changed and altered, if time, thought and practice is brought into the equation. This may sound easier said than done, but the reality of it is if we as coaches want to eliminate these types of Pet Peeves then attention to detail is a necessary evil. 

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Topics: baseball coaching, team Defence, baseball communication, throwing skills, fielding skills, baseball fundamentals, throwing errors, baseball pet peeves, infielding errors

Rick Johnston | Jul 3, 2013 10:22:00 PM

20 Common Pitfalls You Need to Avoid as a Baseball Coach

Everyone that has ever had a chance to coach baseball has undoubtedly realized that you can’t please everyone. It also seems that these people you can’t please also seem to know more about the game than you do - maybe it is true sometimes, but it can't ALWAYS be that way. However this is one of the realities that any coach will have to come to terms with as they don the uniform. 

A coach can do himself a lot of good in the eyes of many if he is able to avoid certain coaching pitfalls throughout the season...and stay out of the crosshairs of the know-it-alls. These pitfalls are part of coaching and unfortunately sometimes are not so apparent to see - something like missing the forest for the trees kind of thing. And best of all is that avoiding them should help result in a more fulfilling and fun experience for the players that we are serving.

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Topics: baseball coaching, team Defence, baseball communication, baseball practice, fielding drills, pitching rotation, batting order, practice organization

Rick Johnston | Jun 26, 2013 7:28:00 AM

In and Out Baseball Pregame - Open Up Some Eyes, Infielders!

Someone is always watching

As the game of baseball has progressed, so has the way in which coaches get the most out of their in and out baseball pregame. The purpose of the in and out prior to the game is for the defense to look sharp, professional and enthusiastic as the team makes final preparations for what each player hopes will be high quality performance. Additionally - and maybe even more important as players get older and competition becomes tougher - the primary objective then becomes more of an opportunity to show off the “tools” each player has in their tool box. That means showing off their arm strength and fielding ability to professional scouts, college recruiters, coaches and the opposition.  

One of the most awe-inspiring features of any in and out baseball pregame is watching fluid, sharp and crisp throws being made effortlessly around the infield with extreme pop and accuracy. In baseball, there is truly nothing more stimulating than witnessing perfect throws on line, with carry, promoting a smooth transition from the catch phase to the throw phase, as the ball moves efficiently around the infield. The impact of a brisk, high energy in and out can send riveting meaning to the opposition prior to any game.

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Topics: team Defence, baseball drills, throwing drills, baseball skills, throwing skills, infielding drills, defensive baseball, pregame drills, baseball scouting, in and out drill

Rick Johnston | Jun 18, 2013 9:33:00 AM

12 General Mental Tips for Better Infield Play

Where is YOUR mind in between pitches???

Baseball is without question very much a game of thoughts and has been referred by some as a “thinking man’s game”. Unlike other sports like hockey, basketball or soccer as examples, there is a tremendous amount of downtime in a baseball game. During these downtimes or rest phases of each game, the minds of each player, coach or manager will constantly be shifting and swaying with each pitch, each out and each complete inning played. Players try and out-think other players; pitchers and catchers try to out think hitters; and coaches and managers try to out think opposing coaches and managers. Sometimes, however, infielders (and outfielders) do too much thinking and fail to hone in on simple, yet general mental aspects of infield play...or sometimes let their minds wander to never never land.

The following is a short list of 12 mental considerations for more consistent infield play.

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Topics: baseball instruction, baseball coaching, defence, infielding, infielding tips, team Defence, mental performance, fielding instruction, baseball skills, defensive baseball, infield play

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?

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

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