Cart for Clinics and Camps          Twitter   Facebook   RSS


In this Category




Using the Home Plate Angles to Improve your Bunting.

First, second and third base bases are all square.  But home plate is a square with a triangle.  The triangle is where we as a bunter  can find one of our greatest tool for improving our bunting ability.

The golden rule of bunting is to not bunt the ball directly back at the pitcher.  We want to bunt the ball effectively down the first or third base side.  So how do we do this?

The angle of our bat is the key. The instruction for this will be explained for a right handed batter.  If you are left handed then you simply do the opposite.

If we want to bunt the ball down the first base side then we can use the angle of the triangle closest to us to create the bat angle.  When we set up in our bunt position – set the bat angle directly above that angle.  You can check to see your angle by simply bringing down the bat and making sure it is on line with the triangle

If we want to bunt the ball down the third base side.  Simply set your angle on the triangle farthest away from you.

At first glance – this might seem like too much angle but if you trust it – you will see the bunted ball will consistently go down the first or third base side and away from the pitcher.

If this description is confusing then simply go out on a baseball field where you can see a plate and then experiment with your angles.

This is a simple guide to improve your bunting.

Until Next Time.

 

The Best pitch for a young ball player to learn? The Changeup

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, the most effective pitch is and always will remain the fastball.  But there comes a time when a young pitcher will want to start to expand his pitching repertoire and experiment with off-speed pitches.

My recommendation is to teach the changeup.  There is a myriad of reason to teach the changeup.

  1.  It is an effective pitch at any level
  2. It can be thrown in different ways to suit the size of hand
  3. It can be thrown the same way a fastball is thrown and does not put more strain of the shoulder, elbow and forearm of a young players whose muscles, ligaments and bones are still growing.

There are three simple ways to throw a changeup depending on the size and comfort level of a young pitcher.

  1.  The circle change – simply make a circle on the side of the ball with your thumb connecting with your index finger.  The middle of the ball should be gently held with your middle finger and possibly your ring finger depending on the size of your hand.  Then simply throw the fastball and because of the circle change grip, the ball will go slower and with gravity the ball will drop lower in the zone.  It is important to finish each circle change pitch with a good follow through.  The circle change is often difficult for a young person with really small fingers but it can be taught at any level.
  2. A three finger change-up.  A four seem fastball is held across four seems with your index and middle finger.  A three finger changeup simply adds your ring finger to the grip allowing the ball to come out slower and mess up the hitter’s timing.  Throw your three finger changeup like your fastball.  It is important to finish your follow through to pull the pitch down in the zone.
  3. A four finger change-up or a palm ball.  This pitch is simply held more in the palm of the pitcher’s hand.  All five fingers are actually on the ball, with four fingers being on the top of the ball.  With the same mechanic as your fastball, with a proper follow through – this pitch can be effective off-speed pitch.

Try and avoid throwing the curveballs and sliders early in your career.  Learn to love the fastball and changeup.

Until Next Time

 

What is the best pitch in baseball?

The answer is quite simple and one never needs to overthink this question.  The best pitch is and always will remain is a well located fastball.  It is the first pitch you ever learned.  The first time you picked up a ball and threw it – it was a fastball.  We have been practicing the fastball since we were two and if we are lucky, we get to practice this same pitch our entire career.

The more you throw your fastball with a proper mechanic, the more effective your fastball becomes.  The more you throw your fastball with a proper mechanic, the more trust you develop in that pitch.

Young players become fascinated with off-speed pitches at an early age.  They are new, foreign and mysterious.  There is a certain aura to the off-speed pitch that illuminates and colors the game.

“Did you see his curveball?  It drops off the table?”

“Did you pick up the dot on his slider?  It slid right out of the strike zone.”

“His splitfinger looks like a fastball and then dives into the dirt.”

Young people and adults alike forget about Old Charlie – the traditional four-seamer. The fastball.

If you can locate a fastball, it is the most effective pitch in the game and it isn’t even close.

  1. A fastball low in the zone
  2. A fastball on the outside corner.
  3. A fastball in

These three fastball locations set up other pitches while still recording out after out.

Although the aura and mystery of the off-speed pitch might be alluring, never forget the importance of the fastball.

It was the first pitch you learned and it should be your favorite.  It is the root of all good pitchers.  The roots give the tree strength to withstand the storms and winds.  Off-speed pitchers are the leaves, flowers and branches of the tree.  They are important but not essential.  The fastball is the root of any pitcher.  So stick to your roots.

The Best Pitch to Hit:

What goes through the mind of a hitter during the split second from a pitcher’s release to the pop of the catcher’s glove has to be one of the most misunderstood, complicated, paradoxical, yet simple milliseconds in human history.

In an average baseball game in 2010, almost three hundred pitches were thrown per ballgame.  That means upwards of three hundred times a game this split second decision must occur when a hitter needs to decide to swing the bat or watch it go by.

So the question is – what is the best pitch to hit?

The answer is quite simple – the best pitch to hit is the next pitch being thrown.  A hitter’s mentality has to be ready for the next pitch.  I am not advocating swing at every pitch by any means, but I am advocating a simple approach that trains the mind to be ready for the next pitch.

A simple “Yes – Yes – Yes” approach and a simple “Yes – Yes – No” approach.

Let me explain.

1st Yes: When the pitcher starts his windup the first yes should occur within the hitter’s mind.  When he loads he is a yes position.

2nd Yes: As the pitch is released the hitter’s load and front foot should be down and the second yes occurs.

3rd Yes or 1st No:  When the hitter recognizes that the pitched ball is in a good hitting spot the third yes occurs and he fires his swing. At the same time when a hitter recognizes that the pitched ball is out of the zone or not a in a good hitting zone, then the no occurs.

What this is and always will remain is a mindset.  An analytical approach to decision making.

We must always start our hitting approach in the yes position.  We have a split second so we cannot start our swing believing it will not be a strike. We have to want to hit if we are ever going to be successful.  We can’t have a mindset that is in a no position because it is harder to switch that mindset into a yes position.

We never know when the pitcher will make a mistake and lay the ball in the middle of the plate.  We have to expect him to make a mistake.  We have to want him to make a mistake and if and when he does we have to be ready to strike.  We can always change our mind into a no position and even if we do not and we swing at some bad pitches, all hitters will tell you that they get more hits on bad pitches than they get hits on pitches not swung at.

We cannot expect success 100% of the time but if we are not ready to hit then we can expect failure 100% of the time.

Every Hitter needs a mindset of a Yes I want to succeed.  This occurs within the mind and a “yes, yes, yes” approach is a simple yet effective way to implement this into your game.

 

Happy 4th of July Weekend:

On this celebratory weekend where we honor our independence and freedom, it is important to remember our national pastime.  Baseball games will be played this weekend throughout our country.  Players will play with a freedom and independence that symbolizes our great country.

People from all over the world will join this weekend by taking off their caps and saluting our country and our National Anthem.  Every 7th inning will be filled with sounds of Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Gold Bless America.  Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters will sing these songs with pride.  Grandsons and Grandfathers will connect in a bleacher seat or from the comforts of their couch.

The smell of burgers and hot dogs on the grill might fill the air as we drift towards afternoon and the setting sun.  Baseball games filled with national pride and history will play out in front of us as we wait for night to fall and fireworks to fill the night sky.

On our greatest day as a country, isn’t it appropriate that our greatest game is on full display.

I encourage you to sit down and take in a ballgame.  I encourage you to sit down with your family, young and old, and take in one of our nation’s great treasures.

However you plan to spend your Holiday weekend – we are just happy that baseball is part of our celebration.

God Bless our Country and God bless our game

As our greatest American Poet Walt Whitman once said “I see great things in baseball.  It is our game, the American game.  It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.”

Happy 4th of July Weekend.

 

 

Password Reset

Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.