Youth Baseball Coaching Clinic Official Blog

Welcome to the official blog of the Youth Baseball Coaching Clinic. Our blog features free youth baseball articles and daily posts on every aspect of coaching youth baseball including youth baseball practice organization, youth baseball practice drills for youth baseball, youth baseball coaching tips and baseball strategy for coaching kids. Make sure to save this site to your favorites. You will want to visit our site regularly because we update daily. Good Luck to You and Your Team!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Youth Baseball Coaching Clinic - 5 Stations During Batting Practice For Little League

It has been stated many times that pitching and defense wins ball games. We all know that it would be real boring if that is all teams did. It has been proven time and time again you can win without hitting.

By John R Di Nicola

However we do have to address the issue so we have to practice hitting. Listed below are 5 stations that will help get your hitters ready for the live action of a game. You will need assistant to carry out these drills. It is important you recruit help. How much help you get will determine how many of these stations you will be able have in a practice.

Hitting off 'T"
Soft Toss
Batting Practice

Hitting off the "T"

You will for sure have to have hitting of a "T". This is mandatory. You will be limited to the amount of pitches you will throw each hitter. The more swings that get hitting off the "T" the better they will be prepared for batting practices and the game. The first few times through this stations have them hit the as if it were down the middle. Make sure the "T" is no higher than the players waist. Working on the following:

important that the feet are shoulder width apart and player is balanced
when hitting the ball the top hand always on top of the ball
hit the top of the ball driving it downward
pivoting back foot raising heel as the hands follow through hitting zone

As they get comfortable you can position the "T" for the inside pitch and out side pitch. Important when working on outside pitch to position the "T" behind home plate so as to illustrate to players they have to wait on the out side pitch. Also teach them to bring their hands back so their front shoulder turns in toward home plate. This will bring front foot in so they can drive the ball. Most players will open up the front shoulder and hit the ball off the end of the bat or completely miss it.

Soft Toss

The soft station is an extra in Little League. You may want to wait till later on in the season to use this station. Basically a coach on one knee positioned beside player and tossing ball to different zones of the plate. Players swings through ball using all the proper techniques from "T" drills. Hands on top of ball driving through the ball.


This an an excellent drill to teach the Little League Player on keeping their eye's focused on the ball. Your above average hitters always work on tracking. Most of them will take pitches just to get the feel of how the pitcher is throwing. They always make the pitchers throw a lot of pitches. Teach them to follow the ball all way to the catcher mitt. This something they should do during batting practice and the game. The more they see the ball the bigger it looks. You can use a rag ball or a whiffle ball.


The art of Bunting is so important at all levels of baseball and most neglected. In this day and age of baseball the Home Run is king. It has been proven in recent world series that small ball will win more championships than the Home Runs. Have them bunt at least five balls, down first base line and third base line. Later on you can work on bunts for base hits.

Batting Practice

Because you have so much do and trying to get all the players to hit you have to limit the amount of pitches to each batter (15-20). Have players first work on making contact. You will have the seasoned Little Leaguer who knocks the cover off the ball and then you will have the ones that you really have to work with to get them to make contact. This is why if you have the luxury of having the help to run the stations it would greatly speed up the learning curve.

Most likely you will only use the "T" and Live Batting Practices. Using this model will afford you to run a practice without having a marathon practices. Do not try and do all 5 stations the first practice. As you become comfortable you can adjust your practice schedule and add stations. Most likely you will never do all five in one practice.

Practices Makes Perfect

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Two Situations Drills For Little League Pitchers

Once you have had a couple of practices and have had infield and outfield practice you can venture to the next step work on game situations. You set your 9 players in their positions. Have your spare players as base runners. The biggest thing is you cannot have marathon practices. By keeping the practices short and crisp you will keep players motivated.

By John R Di Nicola

Once you have had a couple of practices and have had infield and outfield practice you can venture to the next step working on game situations. You set your 9 players in their positions. Have your spare players as base runners. Have them stand behind home plate and you hit ball. This is so important it enables you to practice your pitchers and position players real situations. You will have to have patience. At first they will throw the ball around and be out of positions. Below are two drills that are very important in teach the fundamentals of defense.


Backing up 3rd base and home plate.

With nobody on base and ball is hit into gap pitcher should line up in between third base and home plate.
With base runners on first base and ball hit into gap they should do the same and watch and see where the play may be and make their decision which base they should back up.
With men in scoring positions and ball hit into the gap they should back up home. You have to make sure the pitchers have good distance from the foul line so they are not to close and have a good angle to go between third and home. The Pitcher must have depth behind the base so they get overthrown ball.
The mistake they all make is getting to close to base. Explain, they are backing up to get the overthrow. If they are to close they can't make adjustments. This defeats the purpose of them backing up the base.

Covering Home Plate on Pass Ball

This drill is very important because you will have passed balls at this level. Providing the backstop is not to far back it is an excellent way to get what I call a cheap out.
You can have signals for the pitchers to call out to the catchers. Most of the time the catchers will not be able to pick up which directions the ball has traveled.
You can use one, two and three. One being right, once he has turned to retrieve the ball. Two would be middle of backstop. Three would to the left.

Organizing your practice set up your schedule and rotate your days you do the drills. You will find that some of the drills they will pick up quicker than others. The biggest thing is you cannot have marathon practices. By keeping the practices short and crisp you will keep players motivated. I found if you have a practice schedule and post it will show the players approximately how long each drill will be and what to expect.

Practice makes perfect.

By: John R. Di Nicola

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Coaching Baseball - Two True Base Running Blunders That Teach a Lesson

By Nick Dixon

We all know the importance of good base running. We know that "solid" base running scores runs and wins games. We also know that poor base running can easily cause a team to lose a game. The following two stories are true stories of base running mistakes that cost the team a win. All the team had to do to win was to have the base runner advance to the next bag. These two stories are great stories that you can tell to your players to teach young players two important rules of base running:

1) Always hustle and run everything out and never assume anything when you are running the bases.

2) On a game winning base hit, always advance to and touch the next bag.

Coaching Baseball Base running: The stories of two base running mistakes that teach a lesson

It was a high school game. The home team was batting, down 3-1, with bases loaded and two outs. The #6 hitter, with average speed was at third, #9 hitter, a fast runner, was on 2nd and lead-off hitter, a super speedster, was on 1st. The count was 3-2, with bases loaded and all three runners were moving on the pitch. The #2 batter was the batting for the team trailing by two runs. He was expecting a fastball on the outer half of the plate that and he got "all of it"! He ripped a hard line drive right at the second baseman. The second baseman leaped into the air and the ball hit his glove. The batter seeing the ball go into the glove immediately slumped in disappointment about a 3rd of the way to first. He goes down to his knees with his face in his hands. He was basically "feeling sorry for himself". In the meanwhile, he was unaware that the ball went completely through the webbing of the glove of the second baseman and landed 15 feet behind the fielder. The second baseman had to go get the ball and make the throw to first for the out. The second baseman was quick as a cat so it did not take long. The batter realized what had happened, tried to beat out the throw, but was out by a step at first base.

However, if the batter had he been running, he would have been easily safe at first. The saddest fact of all is that the runners on 3rd and 2nd scored easily what would have been the two tying runs. Plus, the runner at 1st, the super speedster, crossed the plate during the play to score what was the winning run. But, the team lost the game. If the batter had simply run the ball out, his team would have won the game. A hard lesson learned and one that will never be forgotten.

The Great Base running Mistake in Baseball History

The following is the story of what is commonly called Merkle's Boner. It is the most costly mistake ever made by a baseball player running the bases. It happened in September of 1908, in NY City. The Cubs were facing the Giants with the pennant on the line. Each and every game was a must-win situation. The score was tied 1-1, in the bottom of the 9th inning; the Giants had runners on the corners with two outs. Fred Merkle, a 19 year-old rookie, was the runner on first. The next batter lined a single. The runner at third came home. It appeared to be a Giants victory, they had won the game and taken the lead for the pennant, and the cheering fans swarmed the field.

Merkle looked toward home plate and saw his teammate cross the plate. Merkle was startled as he saw the huge crowd pour out of the stands and onto the field. In his excitement, he simply stopped half-way to 2nd base. Thinking the game was over, Merkle sprinted off the field. But, he had forgotten an important rule of baseball; he did not go touch second. With him on first, there was a force out at second if the defense can get the ball to second base before he touches second base. The Cubs retrieved the ball, went and touched second. The game was declared at tie because order could not be restored because the fans could not be removed from the field. The two teams went on to finish the season in a dead tie for the pennant. They had to play a one-game playoff. The Cubs won and went to the World Series. One loss, the loss, that day knocked the Giants out!

Merkle was never forgiven by the NY fans for that blunder. He went on to have a solid career of 14 years and a lifetime average of 273. However, everywhere he went he always was reminded by fans of his terrible mistake on that day of his rookie season. This is a major league mistake that will always be called, Merkles Boner.
I hope these two stories are useful to you. I appreciate your interest and you taking the time to read my writing.

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL HITTING, COACHING and TRAINING DVDs. Check out for more great articles on coaching baseball.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach

Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Little League Baseball Coaching

By Joe Brockhoff

If we hold our hands up and pop our wrists, we can do that over and over again very quickly. If someone were to throw a punch at us, our hands would quickly and automatically pop up in defense.

As an infielder, we don't have to think about a ball thrown to us. Our hands will react to the direction of the ball and make the catch without having to think about it.

Think of the catcher after he gives the sign. He is taught to frame the pitch. His hands automatically go to the pitch without any thought or direction.

So the hands are auto reactors. Is this good for the hitter? The answer is: No! The hitter who allows his hands to react automatically as his first movement towards the pitch will never have full body support.

When the hands go too early, this is when we hear the coach yell out, "Wait on the pitch!"
Now, let's apply this to our baseball hitting mechanics.

These are the steps:

1. Coil (Load): The hitter collects his weight on the backside
2. Stride: a linear step towards the pitched ball (30-40% of weight transfer)
3. Body Rotation: Hips rotate toward the ball
4. Hands will then, and only then, execute the stroke

Here is one of our best little league baseball coaching tips: "HIPS TAKE US TO THE BALL. HANDS TAKE US THROUGH THE BALL."

So, when we are leaning how to hit a baseball, do we trust the hands? The answer is:

Don't trust the hands. Then, trust the hands. In other words, discipline the hands to wait until we get into the launch position, which is with the hands inside the ball and the hips rotated.

Our hands do not initiate the stroke until we rotate to the pitch. They travel in rotation with the pivot, but they do not commit to the pitch until the rotation is complete. This rotated position with the hands still back is what we call the DRIVE position. It is at this time that the hands will launch.

NOW we can trust them. Let them explode the bat to the ball.

One final note. Remember that when we hit, the hands are in a double lever system. That is, they don't personally go to the ball. They are holding the bat, which goes to the ball. The hands always end up in front of the body. They are responsible for directing the bat to the proper cut line on the pitch.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Youth Baseball Coaching Tips

By Trevor Sumner

There are many ways to ensure that your players perform better on the baseball diamond. It is important that baseball coaches are aware of coaching tips that they can impart to their players. You will see that these youth baseball coaching tips will make a difference in the performance of your team and your enjoyment of the season.

Here are a few youth baseball coaching tips that will improve the team's play:

Defensive Mentality -One of thepremier youthbaseball coaching tips concerns itself with your team's defensive mentality. You must ensure, as a coach, that your team is prepared defensively on what to do with the ball on every pitch to the plate. The best preparation is to instruct your players to ask themselves these questions prior to every pitch when they are out on the field, and the opposing team is up at bat. The question is: "What do I do if I get the ball on the ground, in the air, and on a line." Your players should also remind themselves about the number of outs, often talking on the field to make sure the team is on the same page. These defensive mentality questions will keep your players more alert and prepared to make the correct play if the ball is hit their way.
Pitch to the Target -One of the better youth baseball coaching tips concerns pitchers and their focus. One of the keys in pitching is to throw to the catcher's target. You must instruct your pitchers to key their eyes focused on the catcher's glove throughout their windup and through the release of the ball. Many pitchers lose eye contact with the catcher's glove, accounting for their inaccurate pitches. Similarly, a catcher should practice giving the right target for the pitcher and learn how to frame the pitch to help his pitcher be successful. Often catching technique is overlooked and it is wise to prepare a good array of youth baseball catcher's drills.
Focus on the Release Point - One of the best youth baseball coaching tips concerns itself with the discipline of hitting. A key to hitting is the ability to pick up the speed and spin of the ball as it leaves the pitcher's hand. As a coach, you must instruct your hitters to focus on the release point of the pitcher. The focus needs to concentrate on the ball as it comes out of the pitcher's hand. Batters must not allow themselves to be duped by a fancy windup or other deceptive attempts on the part of the pitcher to hide the ball from the batter until it is released. The later that the ball is picked up by the batter, the less time for the batter to identity the type, speed and location of the pitch as it travels to the plate.
While this is just a quick distillation of basic youth baseball coaching tips focusing on fielding, pitching and hitting, it is surprising how often baseball coaches lose focus of these basics. There are many elaborate baseball drill libraries on the Internet such as those at Weplay. While a coach should select a variety of age-appropriate drills for coaching his team, focusing on these basics and making them fun for the team will often lead to greater success.

By Trevor Sumner who works for, a youth baseball community dedicated to providing parents, coaches and athletes the tools and information they need to celebrate the love of the game. Weplay has one of the most comprehensive baseball drill libraries in its active baseball community.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Baseball: Teaching the Figure-4 or Bent-Leg Slide

The easiest and safest sliding technique is the Bent-Leg or Figure-Four slide. It involves sliding to the base feet-first with arms up and one leg bent inwards beneath the other.

The first step in teaching this technique is to determine which leg should be tucked beneath the other. This bent leg is also the take-off leg - the last leg to touch the ground before going into the slide position.


It doesn't matter which leg is bent under. However, most players will favor one or the other, so work on this leg first. Here's a drill to determine which leg that is.

Have your athletes and assume a crab-walk position. Instruct them to fall backward while tucking one leg under the other. They will tuck the leg that feels most natural for them, and this is the leg they should use when first learning the Figure-Four slide.


You can use the crab-walk position to teach the Figure-4 slide.

Repeat the above drill, in which your athletes fall backwards from the crab-walk position, and incorporate the following techniques:

1. The top leg will make first contact with the base. As a result, its position should be extended forward with the toes pointed up and bent slightly at the knee to cushion the impact.
A teaching cue for leg position is that the legs will form a perfect "4" when the lower leg is bent under (hence the name Figure-4 slide).

2. The hands should be thrown back over the head instead of dropping to the ground to support the upper body. If the hands contact with the ground, they'll slow the momentum of the slide.

3. The head should be kept up so your players can see the base.


The bent leg slide can also be used to initiate two other sliding techniques:

A. Pop-Up Slide
The first variation is the Pop-up Slide, in which the lead foot hits the base and momentum is used to carry the player back into an upright position. This allows the athlete to quickly get into position for a sprint to the next base on bad throws and broken plays.

B. Hook Slide to the Weak Side or Backdoor Slide
The other variation is a hook slide to the weak side, also called the Backdoor Slide. A hook slide is a technique in which the baserunner slides to the side of the base instead of straight towards it. This puts greater distance between the baserunner and the fielder, allowing the baserunner to avoid the tag.

The traditional hook slide involves bending the bag-side leg in a hurdle-stretch position and tagging the bag with the toe as the runner slides past the base.

However, just as players are right or left-legged in the bent-leg slide, they also have a good and bad leg in the hook slide. Most players have a difficult time hook- sliding to their weak side, often getting their footwork mixed up or slowing down as they try to remember which leg goes where.

This is where the bent-leg slide can be used. The runner slides to the side of the bag using the bent-leg technique and touches the bag with an extended hand instead of the foot.


When teaching sliding techniques, it's best not to use cleated shoes that may become caught in the turf and cause injuries. Instead, used flat-soled shoes.

You can also lay sheets of cardboard on the ground that your players can slide upon. The cardboard is more slippery than the ground and will simulate the feeling of an actual slide without the same risk of injury. They can also be used for indoor sliding practice - for example, by placing it on top of firm wrestling mats.

If you want to have a really fun sliding practice, lay a sheet of plastic on the grass and wet it with a water hose. This improvised waterslide will allow your players to slide a long distance. It won't be a simulation of actual game-conditions (unless you play and monsoons), but it can be a good way to have some fun and break up the regular routine.

About the Author
Dick Moss is the publisher of PE - a website that keeps physical educators and coaches up-to-date on over 40 PE topics. The website also provides a free newsletter, blog and sample articles. Check it out at:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baseball Basics: How to Field

A team that has players who can throw and catch fly balls and grounders better than its opponents, and can come up with the clutch fielding play, is going to be hard to beat. The team that has the most agile fielders - those players who have fast reflexes and can change direction in a split second - will also have the better fielders. Thus, if the pitching and batting of the two opposing teams are of equal strength, the better fielding team will then be more formidable.

Good fielders, like good hitters or pitchers, do not require special physical qualifications. However, the player with the sharper reflex action will usually develop into a better fielder in a shorter space of time than a player of normal reflexes. This does not mean that the player of average reflex action cannot become a quality fielder.

The player of normal reflex should not be discouraged because he sees other players who seem superior to him as fielders. Better reflex action can be obtained by constant practice and proper conditioning of the body. By leaping, twisting and lunging for grounders, fly balls and throws, the fielder of normal reflexes will soon sharpen his reflex action and will in time work himself into a better than acceptable fielder.

Fielding in reflex action means the player performs his movements without thinking about them. His movements become natural and graceful and he is able to twist his body in any direction. Ground balls take many unexpected bounces; fly balls get caught in wind currents and may take sudden drops or carry farther than the fielder anticipated. The good fielder can adjust himself to these sudden hops and changes of ball direction.

Choosing a Position. - In choosing a position a player should select one he thinks he can play best; then concentrate on learning all the techniques involved in playing that position. Do not pick a position because your favorite major-leaguer plays it. That's not mature reasoning and you will only hurt your chances of making the team if you can play better at another position.

Try to analyze your strong and weak points and then try out for that position where you can fit in, and also, at the same time, convince the coach that you are the best candidate for that specific fielding spot.

A player who is below average height and who can field any position equally well, should not try out at first base. It's common sense that if you can catch a grounder while stationed at second base, shortstop, third base, just as well as at first base, you should concentrate on trying out for any of the latter three positions. This is because you would not be able to use your limited height to any advantage if you tried out as a first baseman. A first baseman must stretch high for high throws and well into the diamond for low throws. The coach would be more inclined to use a fielder at that position who has more height and reach than a player of limited height.

Infielders' Stance. - There is a basic fielding stance for all infielders.
The infielder has good stance when his body is in a squat position, bent at the waist, knees turned out. His arms and hands are between his knees, enabling him to touch the ground without any undue strain. From this position, he is able to field a ball that hugs the ground, and he is in proper position to straighten up and grab a ball that may take a sudden bounce upward.

With practice and determination, you can become a great infielder.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is it the Correct Baseball Swing?

Is it the Correct Baseball Swing?
By Jack Perconte

Often, a hitter seems to have a perfect baseball swing but their statistics never seem to equal this beautiful looking swing. Looks can be deceiving! There is a way to find out if the baseball swing is as fundamentally sound as it appears. With the use of a batting tee, follow these steps to analyze the swing:

1. Set or draw a home plate on the ground first.
2. Have hitter get set in the spot they normally stand at home, just like in a game.
3. Lower the tee to the height of the hitter's knees and a half-foot in front of their lead leg.
4. The tee stem should be placed exactly down the middle of home plate.
5. Now, place a ball on the tee.
6. Hitter takes 10 swings
7. With the correct swing, at least 8 balls should be hit hard directly back through the middle of the field.
8. It is mandatory that the hitter stands in the same spot each time and does not change to a different position in the batter's box. As mentioned, this must be the same spot they stand in a game.
9. The ideal hits would be line drives knee high back through the middle, but any hard hit balls through the middle are a sign of the correct baseball swing.
10. This drill will show that the hitter's hands and hips are lining up correctly which is necessary to becoming a good baseball hitter.
11. Hitters should practice this drill until they are able to hit at least eight or nine balls back through middle before working on other pitches with the ball on the batting tee.

Finally, the batting tee is a great hitting tool if utilized correctly.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teaching Baseball Players How to Throw

In the play of the baseball the correct mechanics of launching is of primary importance. If a jet of the can'T of player with exactitude it makes its team little good outside in the field. The players must constantly try to improve their mechanics of launching. Few players take time necessary to become the really good launchers. The great pride should be taken when a player can uniformly throw to a target.

Key points in launching

The Handle

Many young players seize the ball with their distant too broad of fingers. This affects exactitude reduces the speed of the jet severely. The fingers should be about 1/4 inch with share (about the width of a yellow pencil #2). The index and the average finger should extend through the broad seams from the ball. This handle is also known as 4-bend the fastball. The trimmings of the index and the average finger rest on the seam of the ball. If you think of the ball like clock, the average index and fingers should put back each side of the clock of 12'O and the inch would rest directly under the ball with the clock of 6'O. There should be daylight between the ball and the palm of the hand of launching. It is the best handle to carry out the backspin right and to avoid tailing ball.

Action Of Arm

The action of arm is reported to the way that the arm of launching travels of the separation of hand at the release-point and follow-with through. The launchers of baseball must concentrate on breaking the hands and making a great fast movement with the arm in order to remain long with the arm going again to a good position of power. The position of power is referred to the position where the player has the arm of launching behind, of level with the shoulder or higher, and folded with the elbow. The index of throw-hand and the fingers average should be not forming to the top a V . the back of the hand of launching should face the launcher while the palm of the hand of launching should face far from the launcher. As a practitioner a good power place is essential while becoming a good launcher. The front shoulder should always move to the target and remain closed. While the player turns to the jet, the elbow on glove-side should be like top or higher than the shoulder on throw-side. The fingers of launching must upwards remain leaders by the release to obtain the good backspin right. While throwing with a associate, the young players should imagine to paint a vertical line with their hand of launching of the letters on their hat'of the associated S with their loop'of belt of the associated S.

Launching With The Circle

The players of baseball should always practise to throw on a from top to bottom plane to their target. While throwing with a associate, the player should concentrate on throwing downwards in the circle of the . the circle is a sector of the hat'of the associated S, right shoulder, loop of belt, and left shoulder. A player who can throw downwards in the circle uniformly is a good launcher.

Note: A player receiving a ball should always have the two hands in front of the specifying trunk with fingers and rise. This made a large target in the center of the circle.

To remain On The Line

The launchers should imagine a line to run of their foot of pivot directly by their target. While they throw, they should separate their arms on the imaginary line paying attention not leave the arm launching pass behind the line. The step should also be on the line. Any variation of the line will decrease exactitude. Because the player releases the ball it should concentrate on keeping his body on the line. Many players demolish line when they throw instead of follow-with through worms their target.

Note: The chin MUST be directed towards the target. Where the chin deals with the eyes will face and the body will follow.

To adjust the foot of pivot

The foot of pivot (hand-side of launching) must be square with the target. If the player starts by facing the target by throwing the foot of pivot should be open 90 degrees towards the target to hold account of the closing of the former part (of the hips and the shoulders). The lack to do this can have like consequence low exactitude and the speed. Many young players do not turn their foot of pivot by full 90 degrees to their target. To adjust the foot of pivot should be underlined with all the players to ensure the correct mechanics of launching.

It was known as much time that the baseball is a play of hook, and equips it which hook of plays the best of will victory usually. As a trainer of baseball, teach with your players the adapted fundamental principles of launching and you will gain more plays and will develop your players.

In the play of the baseball the correct mechanics of launching is of primary importance. If a jet of the can'T of player with exactitude it makes its team little good outside in the field.

To read about baseball pitches and baseball salaries, visit Baseball Tips.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Become a Better Hitter - Have a Hitting Philosophy

By Scott M. Thompson

The best way to increase your average happens before you even step in the batters box. I am not talking about your swing either. It would be way to difficult to teach somebody to swing over the internet, so this article is assuming that your coach has taught you the fundamentals of a good swing.

What I am talking about are things you can do before the game. Watch the opposing pitcher warm up. How many pitches does he throw? How hard is his fastball, curve ball, etc? Is he around the plate, up or down? Is his curve ball a 12 to 6 or more like a slider? These are the things that will help you prepare for your upcoming at bat.

The game has started, watch how the pitcher holds his glove, moves his fingers, changes his arm speed. Does he dig in his glove every time he throws a curve? Look for the slight differences between his motion and demeanor depending on the pitch he is about to throw.

Be aware of the other players in the field also, especially the catcher. Do infielders move over a step or two on off speed pitches? Does the catcher change his stance when a curve ball is coming? Do not turn your head and look where the catcher is. You can though sneak a quick peek through your peripheral vision to see if he is set up inside or outside. If the catcher is giving away the off speed pitch, come up with verbal code words with your on deck batter. First name, last name, number, something not to obvious.

Pick out the tendencies of the pitcher. Pitchers and catchers have patterns. Notice what his go to pitch is when he needs a strike, when he is going for a strikeout, when he is ahead in the count. Does he like to throw inside, outside, high, low, all these things you can pick up before you even step into the batters box.

The bottom line is, if you want to be a better hitter pay attention to details that may give you an advantage. There will be plenty of time to catch up with your buddies or play grab ass with your buddies after the game.

It's your turn to bat, you know how hard he throws, the shape of his curve, when he likes to throw the curve, and what he likes to throw on the first pitch to a new batter. The exception to this situation is if you are the lead off hitter. If you are lead off, you have a job to do. Get the pitcher to throw as many pitches as you can. Hopefully you can get him to throw them all. But at least the fastball and curve. This method should not only help you, but your teammates as well, if they pay attention.

Another key is not to think too much, but know the situation. Is there a runner on first, no outs. Look for something to hit to the right side to advance your teammate into scoring position. I can't go over every situation, but I think you get the picture. Do what works best for your coach and team philosophy.

So how do you increase your average? I believe you look for the situation that gives you the best chance for success. You have studied the pitcher, but do you know yourself?

What pitches do you hit the best? Do you like the ball inside, outside, up a little, down in the zone? Do you hit fastballs better than curve balls? I hope 95% of you said yes with the other 5% lying. Well that is the pitch you are waiting for until you have a strike. Let's say you hit the outside fastball the best. The pitcher throws a curve ball, don't swing. If it is a ball you are still looking for the outside fastball on the next pitch. The pitcher throws a fastball inside, don't swing. Cut the plate into thirds and make the ball be in your favorite third before you swing.

Something to avoid is what I call players pride. Players pride is when a batter wants to show the pitcher he can hit the pitchers best pitch. For what reason you ask, stupid pride. Yes a hitter will make contact with the ball, but is it solid contact, usually not. Along the same lines are the hitters that are so afraid to strike out they swing at anything they can reach with their bat. If you are a coach, nip both of these problems in the bud as soon as you can.

Let's say that the second pitch the pitcher threw, the fastball inside, was a strike. The count is now 1-1. Expand the zone you are going to swing at to 2/3 to 3/4 of the plate, the outside part since that was where we hit the best according to our scenario. Now you can add the hanging curve to swing at. It must be in the zone and you must be in a position to put a good swing on it, otherwise let it go. Never guess curve ball, always be ready for the fastball and adjust to the off speed stuff. Use this mentality whenever you have 1 strike and 2 balls or less. This is also the perfect time to go back to studying his tendencies. What does he usually throw with a 0-1, 1-1, or 2-1 count. Did I mention to always be ready for the fastball.

With a 3-1 count, a hitters dream count because of the percentages of knowing a fastball is coming, you are in the drivers seat. Go back to the 0 strike approach, maybe increasing the zone to half because of the probability of getting a fastball. Do NOT over swing. Do NOT be late. Put a good aggressive swing on the pitch, one that is in your ability. When you over swing you get long, slow, and probably jammed on the best pitch in baseball.

Just because it is 3-1 don't assume it is automatic you are getting a fastball. Go back to knowing the situation. What point of the game are you in, the score, runners on base, a base open, and how is the hitter behind you hitting today. The pitcher may want to avoid pitching to you and take his chances with the next batter. The opposite holds true, are there base runners on? Does the pitcher have to throw a strike? What are the tendencies?

With two strikes, your job is to put the ball in play. Do not swing at anything and everything. Stay calm, you hopefully have prepared yourself in practice. All those swings off the tee, all the batting practice swings, you know where the head of your bat is. Have confidence in your abilities. You can put the bat on the ball.

Always be ready for the fastball, I don't know how many times I have said that already, but if you only go away with one thing, you guessed it, always be ready for the fastball. What are the tendencies with 0-2. Does he waste a pitch to see if you will chase? Does he set you up with up and in before he goes low and away? You should already know these things and expect them.

With 2 strikes we go to a defensive mode. We expand the plate 2-3 inches on each side as well as up and down. Cut your swing down to a more controllable swing. Whatever it takes to foul off pitches or put the ball in play. It is a good idea to practice this zone in batting practice for about 8-10 pitches. The idea is to protect the plate. Anything close to the plate, you need to swing. Do not leave it up to the umpire, he gets paid by the out not the hour.

That is a good point to bring up when we talk about umpires. You need to know the umpire's zone that day. Does he love to ring people up? Does he reward the pitcher for making good pitches just off the plate but not in the strike zone? Is he consistent? If any of these answers give you doubt, swing at anything close.

Don't give in. Be what they call a tough out. Somebody that battles and wears a pitcher down. Take pride in not striking out. Anything can happen when the ball is in play. At the very least make the pitcher throw as many pitches as you can.

In the event the pitcher does get the better of you and strikes you out. Tip your hat and say you got me this time. I may not have won the battle but I am going to win the war. I know how you pitch, I've seen you before, you got me once it won't happen again. Keep your confidence. Don't let 1 at bat change your philosophy or your approach to hitting.

In closing I would just like to stress the importance of self evaluation. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Look for opportunities to use your strengths. Know the situation you are in at all times. Have a keen sense for details. Anything that may give you an edge. Prepare yourself in practice. Challenge yourself, don't just go through the motions and think you are going to get better. The harder you work the more confidence you acquire. The more confidence you acquire, the better player you will become. The saying goes baseball is 90% mental.

Have faith in your philosophy. And last but not least be ready for the fastball !!!

Good Luck

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Common Mistakes of Youth Baseball Players

By Tim Willman

Many young athletes lack the fundamentals necessary to reach their full athletic potential and become great hitters.

When hitting, you must remember to use the fundamentals and have good technique. I see so many players try to develop their skills, and they actually end up getting worse. This is because they lack the essential fundamentals to reach their full athletic potential.

One of the most common mistakes I see in youth hitters is the grip. When you are learning the proper grip, you should try to align your door knocking knuckles. Many players wrap their hands around the baseball bat and this causes them to roll their wrists. It also makes them have less power. If you align your door knocking knuckles, this will allow you to have a nice level swing and most likely have a better batting average.

Another common mistake that youth hitters have is the load and stride. A lot of young athletes believe that the load is a big sway for power. This is actually false. The load is simply a timing mechanism. Think about it this way. You load when the pitcher loads. The stride is also a part of timing. When the pitcher pus his foot down, most of the time that is when you should take your stride. A lot of young players will also try to have a big stride. This is going to make you land on your heel in spin out. Try to take a load that is around four to 6 inches long. This way you will stay balanced.

The last big mistake that I see youth hitters make is swinging for the fences. Of course every kid wants to hit a homerun, but if you try to more times than not you will end up popping up or striking out. Try to make contact with the ball and hit hard ground balls and line drives.
If you have some time please check out the resource box below.

Tim Willman is a former professional baseball player, having helped hundreds of people to easy baseball success! He's recently developed a hitting system showing you step-by-step how you can hit like a pro! To learn how to become a better hitter, visit,

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hall of Fame Coach Reveals Baseball Hitting Tips, Drills

By Joe Brockhoff

Personally, I have seen this happen over and over again during analysis of players in their front view hitting videos. They took beautiful contacts of the ball and turned them into ground balls because they rolled the bat head too early.

Does it seem logical to roll the wrists at the point of contact when we are trying to attack the ball? Answer: Absolutely not. The only time the wrists should roll is when the bat is brought back to the opposite shoulder following the forward extension of the bat after contact.

We must keep the bat head in line with the stroke and not allow it to roll. When making contact, the barrel of the bat must be kept constant before, during, and after contact. Otherwise, the ball will escape.

So, to learn how to hit better in baseball, here is a great rule: It's called "UNDER - UNDER".

Check out your little league baseball coaching drills. The top hand on contact, should be UNDER the bat. Open up the hand on the bat when it is at the point of contact. It should be under the bat with palm up.

Following contact, the bat head should travel to its forward extension, and the top hand should still be UNDER the bat. Check it out. Open up the hand. It should still be under the bat with palm up.

So again, here is one of our best hitting tips: Use this: The UNDER - UNDER rule.

One final note: Here is another way to keep the hands in check. The knocking knuckles of the top hand always face the pitch on contact and never face down as the bat goes into extension.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting tips with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average.

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Little League Baseball Drills

By Chris Campbell

If you've been lucky enough to have an opportunity to try and hit a fastball pitched by a professional, or semi-professional pitcher, then you know how hard it can be.

There have been a few crossover athletes, that move between baseball and other sports, that have tried their hand at doing just that. Micheal Jordan for instance was only able to bat around 200 when he played for a professional farm team. I don't think he ever performed that low on a basketball court for even 5 minutes.

While some drills can make you batting more effective, there's no substitute for quantity over quality in this scenario. It's simple, the more time junior can spend with a bat in his hand, the better. That means, hitting with mom, hitting, with dad, hitting with friends, or even older brothers / sisters. Have a bag of balls near that door, that makes it convenient to grab on the way out for a little practice time.

During a game of baseball, there's only one hitter at a time. And, during practice, there is also usually only one hitter at a time. So, if you do the math, it becomes pretty apparent, how little time your kids will get with a bat in hand during practice. Getting some practice time at home can make a huge difference in the early years.

Don't if your going to put in the time for extra hitting practice, there are a few things you can do to make practice more effective.

Get The Right Piece Of Wood

A bat that fits the player, is just as important as having baseball shoes that fit your feet. The weight of the bat is most important for good feed, as it can greatly influence the speed and timing of your swing.

There is a simple test for sizing a bat for your kids abilities. While standing, simply have them hold the bat out perpendicular to their body. If they can do that for at least 15 or 20 seconds, then the bat should be fine.

How A Batter Stands

While it may seem painfully obvious to most of us, make sure your kids have a solid understanding of where the strike zone is. it's fundamental to reaching all pitches, and is both a simple thing to do, and simple thing to forget to do.

It's pretty simple to ignore, but if your hitting a ball, you really should have a home plate to stand next to, and to pitch over. Even if it's just a rock, or an extra glove, make sure you use one whenever your having batting practice.

These Little League Baseball Practice, are meant to make practice fun. If your a coach looking for Fun Baseball Practice Drills, you've come to the right spot.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

A Dozen Things That I Feel Every Youth Baseball and Youth Softball Batter Should Remember

By Nick Dixon

1. "Think YES, YES, YES, On Every Pitch" Be ready and prepared to hit every pitch. Convert to NO or "hold off" only when you see that the pitch is a ball.

2. Track the baseball from the time it comes out of the hand of the pitcher until it reaches the catching mitt.

3. Expect the fastball and adjust to off speed pitches. Expect the ball away and adjust to the ball on the inner half.

4. When the coach gives the runner or runners a steal sign get deeper in the batter box. This extends distance for the pitch coming in and the throw by the catcher. This slight movement may give the runner a little more time.

5. Move up in front of the batter box when the bunt might be on. Moving up in the batter box gives you more fair territory to work in when bunting the ball.

6. Never look back at the umpire after a "called" strike. Trying to show-up the umpire, or the show of any displeasure at a call, may only hurt you when you come to bat again.

7. Never speak or exchange words with the catcher. You should be concentrating on hitting the baseball when you step into the batter box. Anything else that draws your attention away from that task may cause you to get out quicker.

8. Know if the pitcher has above, average or below average velocity on his fastball. The slower the velocity, the farther you should move toward the front of the batter box.

9. Get ready to hit, now. Look for a first-pitch fastball and rip it. Be ready to attack a first pitch fastball because often times it may be the best pitch that you get.

10. Know the performance history of the pitcher facing the last several batters. If he is having trouble throwing strikes, be prepared to take some pitches. If he is struggling to throw strikes, the last thing you want to do is to go to the plate swinging at the first pitch.

11. Coaches may sometimes call a color to represent the approach they want their batters to have at the plate. Green means swing away, Red means swing only after a strike has been called. If the color is "green" attack the first pitch that you like. If the color is "red", do not swing until the pitcher throws a strike. "Red" is called when base runners are needed badly or when the pitcher has walked two of the last three batters. Green means the coach is giving you permission to swing at will. If you like it, hit it. Red means the coach wants you to take some pitches.

12. Know how tight the umpire is on the strike zone. If he is calling everything strikes, you better expand your swing zone to adapt. If he is calling the zone extremely tight, you may want to look to hit only the perfect pitch down the middle. Teams and hitters should always know how an umpire is calling and adjust.

I hope these 12 points are useful to you.

Good Luck till next time, Nick Dixon

The CoachesBest Baseball Store has a great selection of BASEBALL HITTING, COACHING and TRAINING DVDs. Check out the Bat Action Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baseball Hitting Drills - "Land the Plane Drill"

By Joe Brockhoff

This will never allow a hitter to maximize his ability. He will hit lots of ground balls. To correct this, while in contact with the ball, the bottom hand should be facing down and the top hand facing up.

For hitters who use a wrist roll, in order to get the hands to perform correctly, using word pictures, we say that the bottom hand "lands the plane" and the top hand "crashes the plane".

Here is the drill: The bottom hand (lead hand) starts at the shoulder point, palm open and facing down, while in the stance position. Other hand is on hip. Front heel lifts and the player loads. As hips rotate square to the pitch, the hand at the shoulder moves straight to the front of the body, where hands would be while the bat is in contact. Hand remains palm down. This is "Landing the Plane". Do this several times, starting with the hands back at the shoulder in the stance position.

The top hand (power hand) is next. It starts at the same position but with palm open and facing up and forward. As hips rotate square to the pitch, this hand will move to the same location, but with palm up. This is "Crashing the Plane". Do this several times.

Now do the drill again. This time put both hands together, but with the bat added, starting at the shoulder area. Now move the bat into contact. The hands should be in the same position as before. Open them while in the contact position. The top hand should be open, palm up, under the bat. The bottom hand should be open, palm down, over the bat.

Note: The proper action to complete the stroke is that the top hand continues under the bat through contact and first extension. The bat will finally roll as it comes to the second extension position, just before the stroke is complete.

By repeating these baseball hitting drills, with the pictures in mind, hand action is improved. The batter is not swinging to contact. He is snapping at the point of contact. This will increase bat speed, quickness and the ability to make contact with the ball.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to Hit a Baseball - Is the Stride Necessary?

By Joe Brockhoff

An instructor during my pro days who was teaching me how to hit a baseball told me that if the pitch is straight down the middle, step forward. If the pitch is outside, step toward the outside, and if the pitch is inside, step inside. The problem is that against good velocity, there is absolutely no way for a hitter to wait until after he determines the direction of the pitch before he takes his stride. He will always be late getting to the pitch and will have extreme difficulty with his timing.

Another method made famous by Kirby Puckett, is to raise the front foot in an exaggerated hop-step stride. Many hitters who try this method struggle because they cannot get the front foot down in time to start the stroke.

Super 8 Hitting System techniques are simple, easy and repeatable.

Here is a very important principle: THE STRIDE DOESN'T HIT THE BALL. It merely gets us in position to hit the ball. This means the hands are still back at the completion of the stride. The stride overcomes inertia and supports the hitter against the fastball.

If the pitch is a fast ball, the action would be "stride-stroke". If the pitch is slower, there would be a momentary pause. Example: "stride-(pause) stroke".

The stride is initiated by the large muscle in the upper leg (hip thigh area), which keeps it consistent.

Here are the rules:
1. The stride travels only 6 inches, directly forward, in the same place every time.
2. It occurs at the time of pitcher release.
3. It distributes approximately 30-40% of the weight to the front side, and lands on the ball of the foot, which remains closed, open no more than 45°, which usually happens during the pivot. Some players stride in a "toe tap", with no significant weight on the front foot. If a player places only 10% of his weight down on his stride, how will he get 90% more of his weight off his back side when he rotates to the pitch? He can't.
4. It happens quickly, getting the batter into position to hit.
Finally, never underestimate the importance of a good stride. It is part of the hitter's timing. When he's striding, he's deciding.

The hitter must work on his stride in his baseball hitting drills, using either live or pitching machine practice, so that he can drill "stride and take", just concentrating on technique.

These techniques are fully explained in our baseball hitting tips web site for the "Super 8 Hitting System", completely demonstrated in eight baseball tips which include many tips on how to hit a baseball.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his baseball hitting drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting drills to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coaching Baseball Pitchers - Multi-Purpose Baseball Pitching Drills to Improve Control

By Nick Dixon

Learning correct baseball pitching mechanics are the first step in the making of a pitcher. Once proper mechanics are mastered these two drills can be used to hone skill, increase concentration, build confidence, and improve control. Here are two drills that can bed used to help improve a pitchers control. The two drills are "Pitch Tracking" and the "20 X 4" Pitching Drill.

"Pitch Tracking"

Great Drill for Hitters, Catchers, and Pitchers!

The pitcher is throwing to a catcher as he normally would in pitching practice or bull-pen work. The pitcher is throwing at his normal pitching distance. The purpose of the drill is to increase a pitcher's level of concentration, to work a catcher, and to allow one batter or two batters learn to "track" every pitch.

Variation #1: One Batter - Right or Left handed

C --------------------------------------- P


Variation #2: Two Batters - One Right and One Left handed


C --------------------------------------- P


Variation #1 - One batter is standing in and tracking every pitch from the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt. The batter does not have a bat. The batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batter will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and eyes on the ball all of the way. The batter must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the second paragraph below.

Variation #2 - Two batters are standing in the batter's box without bats. Each batter will assume his regular stance and imagine that he is holding a bat. The batters will "track" or watch the first three pitches out of the pitcher's hand until they hit the catcher's mitt, making sure to keep his head down and his eyes on the ball all of the way. The batters must have a batting helmet on. The next steps to the drill are explained in the paragraph below.

Next the batters will swing away with their "imaginary" bats. The batters will read the location of each pitch the pitcher throws and hit the ball where it is pitched. When two batters are tracking, they will do opposites. One will pull a pitch in a location that his tracking partner will hit to the opposite field.

The coach can call out a count such as 2-0, 3-1, 1-2, and 0-2 to allow the batters, pitchers, and catchers certain mind-sets in different situations.

Note: If your hitters are too young to perform this drill, have a coach to stand in. The coach may wish to wear a helmet and wear a glove for protection. This is a tough drill, but it is great for developing concentration. Make sure all batters wear helmets and other proper protective equipment.

Coaching Point: The hitters do not hold a bat. The batters will swing a "invisible" bat. They must attack and hit every pitch according to its location. This drill is great for teaching hitters to see spin and to teach them to see a pitchers release point.

"20 X 4" Pitching Drill

Improves Control & Concentration

This drill is a pitching drill in which the young pitcher works at a smooth, rather fast pace, but only throws 50-60% of normal speed. The pitcher should not be allowed to throw full speed. The objective of the drill is to teach concentration and develop great control. The pitcher has to throw 20 strikes before 4 balls are thrown. The pitcher should be allowed to perform the drill at a shorter distance at first. After several practices, the pitcher should be able to move to the regular pitching distance within. If 4 balls are thrown before 20 strikes, the pitcher must restart. Care should be taken to not overwork the pitcher. Keeping the distance short, emphasizing accuracy not speed, and making sure the pitcher is properly stretched and warmed-up should prevent any chance of arm injury.

With younger players you may want to make the drill a 10-3 drill. 10 strikes must be thrown before 3 balls or the drill is restarted.

Visit for a great selection of Baseball Coaching and Training Articles. Check out the BatAction Hitting Machine baseball pitching simulator. This high speed training machine is 100% Guaranteed to raise Batting Averages and has a full year warranty.

Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is a high school baseball coach and is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Dixon is the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products including the BatAction Hitting Machine, Hurricane Hitting Machine, Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, and ZipnHit.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Youth Baseball Drills - "Shine the Light Drill"

By Joe Brockhoff

One great word picture that we use to help hitters get short to the ball is what we call "Shine the Light". In our youth baseball drills, If we can help the hitter to visualize the knob of the bat as a flashlight, it will help him to get inside the pitch and achieve the short, compact stroke.

Most hitters will initially drive the knob of the bat towards the ground and they begin their stroke. This causes the bat to flip behind them, causing a long stroke, and taking the hands out of position.

Also, if the hitter lifts the front shoulder just one inch, this will also invite the bat knob to drop down.

Here's one of our best youth baseball hitting tips. Imagine a laser beam coming from the flashlight directly to the ball. Ask the hitter to immediately "shine the light" on the ball, driving the knob in the direction of the pitch. This will help to correct the long stroke and get the bat head into the proper contact position.

This is easy. "Shine the Light". From that point the short stroke and proper contact will follow.

We have experienced immediate improvement in our instruction with this simple concept...."Shine the Light". Some of our hitters have seen results in as little as 7 days.

Here is a very important point to make this effective for you. Your stride will not be vital to hit the ball. It simply will allow the hitter to be in a better position to meet the baseball. In other words, the hands are still in the lock position at the end of the stride. Your stride will overcome inertia and give a level of support that will enable you hit the fastball.

Former Tulane Hall of Fame Baseball Coach, Joe Brockhoff, fully explains his youth baseball drills with the Super 8 Hitting System, completely demonstrated with videos and hitting tips to help you hit with more power and raise your batting average. .

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