Baseball tryout advice for younger hitters

Wednesday, Feb. 6th 2013

Today’s blog may be more appropriate for our youth hitters, but it can also be applied to our first year high school hitters. This time of the year, for our young baseball players, means tryouts. There may be a sense of apprehension, nervousness, and butterflies when you go to your team’s tryouts, but our blog today will look to help relieve your anxieties. SKLZ.com’s most recent article is entitled How to Evaluate Players During Tryouts. While the article is generally meant for coaches, it can also serve a purpose for players, and give them an inside edge to see what coaches look at the most in these periods of evaluation.

The article tells coaches to look at four aspects of a player’s game: hitting, fielding, athletic potential, and intangibles. Hitting: don’t abandon your mechanics and swing at bad pitches to show coaches your contact or power potential. They will be able to recognize if you didn’t get a good pitch to hit. Remember, plate discipline is a valuable tool. Fielding: show positive body language, always pay attention to what is happening on the field, don’t be lazy at getting to ground balls/fly balls, and always use two hands. Athletic potential: this is something that you either have or you don’t, but you need to be able to show off whatever athletic potential you do have. Dive after fly balls/ground balls. Sprint out to your position. And if you get walked, sprint to first base. It may be the only chance you get to show off your speed. Intangibles: just show that you love to play baseball.

Most importantly, when it comes to any aspect of your game or the categories listed above, show confidence and have a good attitude. Yogi Berra always used to say, “ninety percent of the game is half mental.” If you can show the confidence, and believe you can make the play, odds are the coaches will see your attitude, and reward it. Coaches don’t want some kid with a bad attitude that they will have to pacify through the long summer months. They want kids with upbeat attitudes that want to win baseball games, and are coachable enough to fix whatever flaws in their game they may have.


Lessons for linear hitters

Monday, Jan. 28th 2013

I found a hitting exercise that I though would be helpful for all of our readers, regardless of their age. Then I remembered that we have not discussed the difference between a linear hitter and a rotational hitter. And, while we will not discuss the difference between a linear and a rotational hitter today, we will discuss this divergence in school of thought tomorrow, our blog for today—January 28—will discuss a drill that is meant for the linear hitterBeABetterHitter.com has been the source of conversation on this blog before, and I have yet again found a simple and effective method to improve the hand path in a hitters swing.

The drill itself is simple and here is the description from BeABetterHitter.com:

Here’s a drill to emphasize the importance of the hands to the ball. This drill can be incorporated with a soft toss or a short screen. It is very effective even without the luxury of hitting a ball during the drill. Find yourself an old plastic chair, or a bucket with a lid and sit on it. Lock your ankles around the legs of the chair or base of the bucket; This is to anchor yourself into the chair. We want to eliminate the lower body action in this drill. The only thing moving will be from the waist up. Take your bat and get in the hitting position. If you have the luxury of a practice partner, have him toss a ball up into the hitting zone. You should be rhythmic and rock the hands back slightly on time with the tosser’s initial move so that you can properly load the upper body. As the ball reaches the hitting zone fire your hands inside the ball, concentrating on the proper wrist action into and through the hitting zone. You want a Top Hand ‘UP” and Bottom Hand “DOWN” position for your palms at the point of impact. Hit “through the ball” as flat as you can to create a line drive flight.

0423chairdrill

This drill emphasizes what it means to be a linear hitter. The drill places an importance on bat path—a direct A to B motion from your hands starting position to the ball—and builds wrist strength, which is integral in the a linear hitter’s approach. Consequently, this drill is not meant for all types of hitters and needs to be reserved for the right hitter. Once you find that hitter, this drill will prove to be advantageous.


Staying Back…What Does it Really Mean?

Monday, Aug. 16th 2010

Here’s a video that was made to demonstrate what is meant by “staying back”.   It’s a bit technical and a little long but there are some good points here.

I would also add that if you can “stay back” and not lunge at the ball, you will be able to keep you head more still, which allows you to better see the ball. You will also have a much better chance of hitting an off speed pitch.


Another Cool Insider Bat Video

Saturday, Aug. 14th 2010

Here’s a cool little video showing a young player using the Insider Bat. Looks like the Insider Bat batting trainer is working for this kid.   Notice how he is quick, directly to the ball and then extends through impact.   Nice stroke!


New Informational Video – The Insider Bat

Friday, Aug. 13th 2010

Here’s a new video from Justin Ruchti, a member of the 2003 National Champion Rice Owls and former member of the Seattle Mariners. It’s a little long at just under ten minutes but if you are curious about what the Insider Bat is all about, you should check it out.

He gives an in-depth breakdown of what it’s good for, how and why it was designed, which hitting problems it solves and which drills you can do with it.

He also clarifies how to size the Insider Bat to know which model is right for you or your hitter.


Hitting Off the Tee

Thursday, Aug. 12th 2010

Here’s a nice video from Ripken Baseball talking about using the Tee for batting practice. We all know that when you bring out the tee at practice the kids start to groan. But as we learn in this video, even the major leaguers hit off the tee every day. The key in this video is focusing on practicing the coil and weight shift. Since the ball isn’t moving, you can really take your time and practice getting your weight through the ball for more power. Enjoy!


Taking the Proper Stride

Saturday, Jun. 12th 2010

For a young baseball player, one of the most difficult parts of a swing to master is the stride. The stride, however, is one of the most important aspects of the swing because not only does it help with the hitter’s timing, but it also helps to generate power. Therefore, it is vital that a baseball coach helps the hitter to isolate each part of the stride and understand what the most important aspects of the stride entail.

For this drill, all that is needed is a bat and a helmet. This is a great way to start off a batting practice because you can coach the player before any balls are thrown. You can then incorporate balls into it once the hitter has mastered the stride, which will allow him or her to see the results of taking a proper stride immediately.

To start this drill, have the hitter line up in his or her batting stance, just like he or she would do in a game. The coach will then go into a windup and throw a simulated pitch. The player will then coil and stride, without completing the swing. He or she is to freeze once the stride has been taken to see where his or her body ends up during this process.

The first thing that you are looking for in this case is a proper distribution of weight. If too much weight has gone forward at this point, the hitter will end up lunging for the ball, which will lead to a weakly hit ball or a swinging strike. The weight will come forward when the hips are turned but during the stride, most of the weight should still be back.

Secondly, you will want to look at the hitter’s hands. At this point in the process, the hands should still be back and they should not have dropped. The hands will come through the strike zone as the hips drive through but at this stage, the hands should still be back.

The body should also remain in the same alignment as the original stance. Many players begin bending their knees at this point in the swing, which can throw the body’s entire alignment off. This leads to the player swinging through the ball, as he or she cannot readjust to make up for the bent knees.

The player’s head should also be at the same height, which goes hand in hand with not bending the knees. In addition, the back should remain in the same alignment, so you are basically attempting to keep the body as still as possible while you take your stride. The more movement that they player has, the more likely he or she is to end up misaligned, which will produce an ineffective swing.

Have your players repeat this drill until they are able to produce the exact stride that you want to see. Have the players step out of the batter’s box before each stride and receive a sign from the third base coach. That way, a proper stride will become a part of their routine and can be incorporated into every swing.


New Hitting Trainer

Saturday, Jun. 6th 2009

Revolutionary New Baseball Batting Trainer

The great new batting trainer aid is helping players from age 5 all the way to the professional level.  The key to its effectiveness is immediate feedback and muscle memory.  You can’t hit the ball straight without proper mechanics.  And the best part is…you don’t have to think about it.  Which makes it not only effective…but fun!   Check out these videos..