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The Impact of Baseball and Softball Coaches

The Impact of Coaches

The impact a coach has on his or her player may have effects lasting a lifetime.  As a player, I had coaches that would build me up and I had others that simply tore me down.  Both coaches wanted to win but these are two different angles trying to achieve the same end result.

For me, I would stop listening when I was being torn down.  I’m not talking about constructive criticism; I’m talking about something closer to abuse.  The sign of a good coach is someone who gets the most out of their players while instilling values such as selflessness or team concepts.

Baseball or softball is a sped-up version of life.  There are ups and downs like in life, but they happen much quicker, like striking out with the bases loaded only to be the hero in the next at bat.

The coach has an opportunity to use these critical moments to teach kids to never give up, never stop working to achieve a goal, and how to deal with failure and success.  All too often this gets missed in the heat of the game because of a sole focus on winning.  Trust me, I wanted to win every game I have ever played but I learned the most in my defeats and difficulties.

Coaches: Don’t lose focus because in many cases the winner and loser of a certain game will not be remembered in a month or a year, but the sharp word of criticism may have lasting effects. Use the opportunity of coaching not just to teach players the fundamentals of the game but also the fundamentals of life.

 

Until Next time

Chad

The Mental Game of Baseball – Dr. Ken Ravizza – Sports Psychologist

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Baseball Hitting Timing Drill

Baseball Hitting Drills For Timing

 

Rhythm and timing are so important to a hitter. For a hitter to get loaded, we need him to get back.  We need to him to be in a good position.  The timing of that, and when does it take place.

I have a drill that can help with that.  It can take place in a cage or on a field, like we are right now.  But the idea behind the drill is that I am going to load back.  As I go back, Coach Casey is going to toss a ball into the air.  From here I’m going to drive down through the ball.  It’s really important that I get a good load, that I get behind this ball because you will see, as the drill goes on, the speeds will change.  Much like they do in a game.

So, let me show you what this is going to look like.

BALL HIT

That simulated a fastball with his toss.  They are down and away.  He’s not going too high with it.  I’m loading as his hand goes down.

BALL HIT

You could see that he tossed the ball a little higher right there.  That would simulate a change up.  As time goes on and you get better at this drill, you mix it up.

Kind of like what the pitcher does to you during the game.  Let’s take a look at a few more.

BALL HIT

That would have simulated a fastball.  The toss was low.  I got back in time.  I’m in position, and I’m driving down.  Let me show you what it looks like when you don’t know what’s coming.

BALL HIT

You could see that was a change up.  The toss was higher.  I have to be ready for the fastball still, and how I’m going to drive down at the ball, depending on the pitch.  It is so important that we get back behind the ball and be in a position to always hit the fastball number one, and we can react to a change up.

Let’s take a look at another.

BALL HIT

The lower pitch was the fastball.  We got to be back in time.  We got to be in position to hit the fastball every time.

Use this drill.  It’s a fantastic timing drill.  Tony Gwynn swore by it.  It saved seasons for me.  Use the timing drill.  It’s going to help you become a more complete hitter.

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WHY PRACTICE BASEBALL FUNDAMENTALS?

Why Practice Baseball Fundamentals

 

To the naked eye, baseball is not all that complex. You “catch the ball,” “throw the ball,” and “hit the ball.”  Not all that difficult, until you start to play the game.  It is then that you realize you are constantly “learning,” but never achieving perfection.  The more you practice, the more you improve, and the more you improve the more you realize there is so much more to learn.  One never achieves perfection.  That is why we continually practice the simple things in this game.  Normally it’s not the trick play, or the great play that makes the difference; it’s the routine play that puts the game in the win column. 

-Did the pitcher cover first on a ball to the right? 

-Did the infielder take a step to the right to set up for an accurate throw?

-Did the batter put the ball in play, even with two strikes?

-Did the batter move the runner over even if making an out?

-Did the batter get the bunt down to advance the runner?

The list of routine fundamentals is endless, yet the routine plays should be made nearly every time.  Yet, that won’t happen unless they are practiced over and over.  If you watch a major league game, where the players are considered the best in the world, you will see these plays often screwed up.

Here’s an example: One of the jobs of the catcher is to remind the pitcher to cover first on a every ground ball to the right side.  Simple, right?  Pitchers, often pitching since Little League, mess this play up more times than one can count. This simple play that’s practiced endlessly in spring training, as well as during the season, is messed up nearly every night.

The key is to be mentally and physically prepared to play the game.  Before a play happens, one has to know all the possible options.  Ask yourself before each play what could happen, and what would I have to do to make the play turn out right?  Practice the routine fundamentals so they become natural.  Only then is the brain ready to make that split second decision.  If one stops to think, it is too late.

Take the fundamentals seriously during practice thus giving you the best chance to succeed. 

Sure, mistakes will still happen, but less often with more repetition.  Remember, practice makes better, not perfect. 

 

Until next time,

Chad  
 

 

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