Can you have too much bat speed?

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Question:

My son just went through the worst possible winter of his playing career. He had worked very hard this past off season to develop some serious “pop” in his bat. We measured his bat velocity while doing some heavy duty overload/underload training. His bat speed really increased and I could really see the pop.
The problem is that it is just in batting practice. In games he wasn’t making contact. When he did, it was a rocket. The first thing that I saw was that he was pulling off theball. The next thing was a loop in the swing. After that I saw the early rolling of the hands and then too much weight passing through center onto his front side. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

It sounds like your son has improved his bat speed and therefore his power. Now, he expects to hit the ball out of the ball park. That may be the problem – he feels he should be hitting the ball out of the park. He is probably over swinging and his effort level is too high.

He must get back to thinking “hard contact” and “line drives”. An excessive effort level leads to many break downs – head movement, front side pulling off, rolling top hand, etc. Get him back to basics so that his goal is consistent hard contact and line drives. Look for good balance, correct head position throughout the swing, and a short hand path to the ball.

College Recruiting Tips

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If you are a high school baseball player, then, needless to say, you dream of one day playing baseball for a college team. It is the dream of any, and every high school athlete to compete at the college level, and one day, hopefully play for a professional team. Getting into a college team can often mean the difference between shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars on tuition, or getting a free ride on a sports scholarship. College baseball recruiting, therefore, is a big deal that can make or break lives.

Unless you are a star player, you will have to work hard to make the college coaches stand up and take notice. Star players, through their various exploits, happen to get noticed by coaches automatically. But for the rest, it is an uphill battle getting the coach’s attention.

When it comes to college baseball recruiting, it is imperative that you start early. Don’t wait until the tail end of your junior year to contact college coaches; hit them up as early as your sophomore year. You can really be never too early in letting your name known among college scouts.

Your high school coaches are often the worst people to rely on when getting into a college baseball team. They often have little influence on a college coach’s decision, and little motivation to work for you in contacting them. Do yourself a favor and contact coaches yourself.

Make sure that your athletic resume is up to date. Complement it with a set of videos from some of your best games. A resume is just a sheet of paper with some statistics and words on it; a video, on the other hand, is actual proof of your athletic abilities. If you threw a 95 m.p.h. ball in the last game, make sure that you have a video recording of it (get a cheap video camera and hand it to one of your buddies during a game).

At the end of the day, college baseball recruiting is a lot about marketing yourself correctly. How well you do this will determine how successful you are in getting a good scholarship to a top college.

VIA: http://EzineArticles.com/3615909

Baseball Hitting Drills – Eye Hand Coordination

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One of the biggest areas that I receive requests for are baseball hitting drills.  Read below for a couple of great suggestions to help your young players.

Here are a couple of baseball drills to try:
Young players can have fear of the ball and poor hand/eye coordination when facing live pitching.  I have found that these players are not “seeing” the ball hit the bat, but swinging at where they think the ball is headed (or swinging at the same place/level each time regardless of the ball location).Baseball Hitting Drills

Here is my fix:  During live pitching, have the player at the plate hold the baseball bat out over the plate (don’t swing) and simply let the ball hit it.  Throw a few pitches (high and low) so that they need to move the bat up and down to make contact.  Once they get focused on “seeing the ball contact the bat” you can move them on to a half swing.  During the half swing, they should continue to focus on bat/ball contact.  Once they have gained confidence that they can hit the baseball, let them swing away.

I have used this on my struggling young hitters with great success.

Here is a popular hitting drill to teach proper form (rotational hitting/compact swing):
Put a batter in their proper stance then soft toss balls well in front of the batter and have them hit balls with the knob of the bat (DO NOT TAKE A SWING).  This will force them to use proper body positioning, wrist release, and improve eye coordination.

Courtesy of: http://www.baseball-tutorials.com/

Maintaining a clean bat.

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Would you believe it if you were told, “If you take proper measures in caring of your baseball bat care it would should and could repay you by helping you be a better hitter?”

Sort of like being in the military once you are issued your rifle the drill sergeant will tell you flat out, “This is your Rifle treat it like a friend for if you take care of it –it will take care of you.”

A little special attention to your bat will keep that sweet spot smooth and clean so you can continue swinging for the fences. The sweet spot is the fat part of the bat barrel where you want the ball and the bat to meet.

Every bat seems to almost have a life of its own. The relationship of a hitter with his bat is something only realized by the hitter alone. Hitting a baseball solid and square at or in the sweet spot of a bat has a feel which only the hitter alone knows.

The choices of a bat which is “just right” now in our todays modern era of baseball could be a controversy of Aluminum vs Wood.

The pride you show in providing baseball bat protection for your favorite bat will have a tendency to make you a better hitter in that you have a penchant for caring and paying attention to details which matter.

Baseball bats care is nothing beyond plain common sense. The highest performance action for any piece of baseball equipment is to keep it clean and in the case of your bat make sure the barrel of your bat stays smooth and slick.

By golly you now are armed with the real truth of the matter about your baseball bat care. Make every effort at your disposal to ensure your bat barrel is always CLEAN AND SMOOTH. Here are some Do Not Notes:

 

  • Do not store your bat in extreme hot or cold temperature areas, such as in a car trunk or garage.
  • Do not clean or knock the dirt from your spikes or cleats with the barrel of your bat.If at the plate hitting and you feel compelled to knock dirt from your spikes. Do not use the barrel end of the bat flip your bat catch it at the barrel end and then tap the handle end of your bat against the sides of your spikes.
  • Do not allow burrs or nicks to remain on the barrel of your bat. Smooth the barrel down often with something unobtrusive which will not further the damage of the bat surface.Learning about baseball we were taught, in high school baseball, to use an old glass Coca Cola bottle to smooth and polish the barrels of our then wood bats.

     

  • Do not and I mean “Do Not” ever throw your bat onto the ground and into the dirt. It shows your poor sportsmanship and it will nick and booger up the barrel of your bat.Earlier on this page you were told if you took care of your bat someday it may repay the kindness. Here is how the bat repays you for your care:

    A baseball is round and your baseball bat barrel is round. Stay with me on this one.

    If the barrel of the bat has a small nick or burr and you fail to hit the incoming ball squarely, bat and ball making solid contact, and the ball touches at that burr or nick point the ball will tend to pop up into the air. However, if your bat did not have that nick or burr the ball would have a tendency to slip over or under and continue to the rear of the plate flying on the line instead of popping up into the air.

    Now you know if you do diligent baseball bat care then at just the right time your bat takes care of you. Remember what was mentioned about the soldier and his rifle.

Eat Right As An Athlete

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A baseball/softball player’s diet is a very important part of his training program. Poor nutritional habits can prevent a pitcher from reaching his full potential on the mound.

There are three parts to a complete baseball pitcher’s training program: workouts, nutrition, and rest. Each of these components has equal importance. A pitcher cannot train at maximum intensity if he is not properly fueled or properly rested.

Proper nutrition is essential for competing at the highest level and performing at the highest level. Sure you’ve heard stories of great baseball players like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle who paid little attention to their health and wellness while playing. The fact is, had they maintained a proper diet and trained correctly they would have been even better.

In today’s competative atmosphere an athlete needs to maintain a healthy edge which means eating right. Baseball is a combination of balance, agility, and concentration with bursts of physical activity. For power, speed, and good reaction time, what and when one eats can improve or worsen performance. If we add in the length of games, weather conditions, and long season, the player who is best nourished will be the one who finishes strong, and healthy!

The nutrition goals for baseball are designed to optimize performance. Food choices, adequate fluid intake, frequency of meals, and timing of meals to activity can provide the edge in practice, games, and recovery. Many athletes are interested in losing body fat, or adding mass, but every player can benefit from a boost in energy, being optimally hydrated, and having the fuel for mental concentration and physical activity.

Every baseball player should make it a point to do the following daily:

Consume plenty of fluids

Determine fluid loss during practices and games by weighing before exercise begins and again after exercise has finished. This gives a good estimate of how much fluid is lost during physical activity, and lets you know how much fluid you need to replace! Monitor urine output. See your pee. The goal is light in color and a large volume, especially in the first void of the day. Drink enough fluid. The guidelines are as follows: Weight ( pounds) x 0.67 = number of ounces of fluid required daily

Recommended fluid intake

Drink 2 cups of fluid 2 hours before a game or practice.

Drink 6-8 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes during games or practices.

Drink 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during practices or games.

Best fluids for pitchers?

BEFORE: Water or sports drink.

DURING: Water, sports drink.

AFTER: Sports drink, water.

Worst fluids for pitchers?

Juices may cause stomach upset during exercise.

Carbonated beverages can cause bloating, and can cause fullness before fluid needs are met.

Caffeine-containing beverages may have a slight diuretic, or fluid-losing effect.

Alcohol can affect reaction time and is also a diuretic, causing valuable fluid loss. In addition, alcohol after exercise, before the body is optimally refueled will delay the body’s recovery from activity and may decrease performance!

Fueling strategies

Eat something within 1 hour of waking up to jumpstart your body. Good choices are: Bagel with peanut butter, bowl of cereal, eggs and toast, waffles with syrup and fruit, a vegetable omelet.

Try to eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours to give your body an energy boost. Make it a point to eat something within 15 minutes after the end of a practice or game. Good choices are: Sports drink, granola and cereal bars, trail mix of cereal, pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, pretzels and orange juice, banana, bagel.

Meal-time food choices

The body uses carbohydrate as the primary fuel source for baseball, so each meal and snack should include carbohydrate-containing foods such as: rice, pasta, bread, bagels, cereal, crackers, tortillas, fruits, veggies, sports drinks, corn, potatoes.

Protein and fat-containing foods are not used as much by the body during practices or games, so they don’t have to be used in large quantities. In addition, pre-game or practice meals should be lower in fat, since high fat foods stay in the stomach longer and may cause an upset stomach. Some high-protein foods are: beef, pork, lamb, veal, fish, shellfish, milk, cheese, eggs, poultry, yogurt, nut butters, nuts, dried beans, soy, tofu.

Before games, try to limit the use of the following foods, which are higher in fat and may not sit well in the stomach.

Late-night food choices

Since many baseball games end late, and the stomach is crying out for food, here are some ideas that won’t keep you up all night, but still help you to refuel: grilled chicken sandwich, roast beef sandwich, turkey sub, ham sub, cereal, pancakes and waffles, eggs and toast, fruit smoothies, cheese pizza.

Nutrition should be part of your play book. Eat at regular intervals to keep your body energized all day long. Being well hydrated boosts performance and decreases the risk of injury. Make sure that every eating episode has a mix of foods with an emphasis on grains, fruits and vegetables. Try to wait until exercise is done to eat higher fat food. And remember, eating well translates to a quick mind and a strong, fast, lean and healthy body.

Eat well to play well. Work on it.

 

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

See the Ball!

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Question:

My son struggled at the 16 year old JV level this season. The bottom line is he just doesn’t pick up the ball consistently. The zone he has the most problem with is that first zone, leaving the pitcher’s hand to the first 10-12 feet. He fights off a lot of pitches because they get on top of him, sees it too late. He can’t ever attack it out in front of the plate. When he sees it early and likes it, he most of the time jumps at it and gets out on his front foot, either topping the ball or getting under it. I have Harvey’s Vision Training, have used it a bit, he’s into his Legion Ball now for the summer and I want to help him NOW ! That’s where you come in, Dave. It’s not as easy as saying “See it coming out of the pitcher’s hand”. What now !!????

Answer:

The first action that needs to take place is that when his stride foot comes down, the hands have to go back. This will get him into a good position of power and allow him to see the ball. It sounds like he usually starts too late, and gets beat on balls, or he starts too early and all his weight comes forward. I would rather him start too early then too late, if he starts too late he will get beat on balls every time.

However, he can start as early as he wants if he gets into the position of power. Once he is in the position of power, don’t have him thinkn about seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, have him only think about seeing the ball. If a hitter thinks about seeing the ball out of the hand he might follow the hand instead of the ball. Have him start early, and only think about seeing the ball. Good luck with the season.

3 Keys to Hitting Success

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Once you do have your hitting fundamentally correct, to set yourself above your competition, not merely resting on your laurels and thinking that your current success will be enough, you need to concentrate on these three keys to success:

Work ethic
What is your work ethic like? Are you the first to come and the last to leave? If you are not doing more than your coach asks, it’s not enough.

Ability to make adjustments
Don’t wait 2 weeks to make an adjustment. Adjustments should be made game to game – at bat to at bat-pitch to pitch. I used Jordan’s at bats as an example. Learn to make the adjustments necessary to get you past your present difficulties. Believe me, the difficulties will come. The sooner you make the adjustment the shorter the duration and severity of the difficulty.

Not being afraid to fail
Sorry but I have to jump to another sport to illustrate this point. Tiger Woods will possibly go down in history as the greatest golfer ever. What did he do after he had so much success including winning the Masters at his young age, something no one had ever done before? He changed his swing. His critics thought he was crazy. Having had so much success, why would he change? We frequently hear the saying, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I disagree. Just because it’s not broken, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better. Tiger obviously agrees. He wasn’t afraid to change – to make himself better. He wasn’t afraid to fail. The results speak for themselves. You will only improve when change takes place. You’ve heard me say this before, you either will get better or worse, you won’t stay the same.

Taking Your BP into the Game

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Question:

My 11 year old son hits much better in the more competitive AAU than in LL. In AAU, he really drives the ball. Line drive extra base hits. His mechanics are good. quick hands, uses legs, stays down on the ball. In LL, he doesn’t use his legs, swings at bad pitches, doesn’t drive the ball. I know its a mental thing. He says he is tense. I think its a holdover from last year. His first year in LL majors, he did not hit well then either. (partly because he got hit on the elbow.) He works really hard, takes extra BP. But this is primarily mental. How can I help him overcome this psychological barrier.

Answer:

It’s true when people say that this game is more mental then physical. You talked about him taking extra batting practice, which is very good, however how muck time is he spending creating good mental habits. As much time as he spends in the cage he should spend visualising himself having success. Let him go over mentally all the success he has had in his AAU league. Have him go up to the plate with nothing on his mind except him knowing that he going to have success in that at bat. With this attitude he will always dominate.

Learn How to Keep It Simple at the Plate

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At a major baseball convention,  a sports psychologist in attendance unknowingly paid HEAD GAMES a great compliment.  His critical comment to the company selling the book was, “yeah, I’ve read it, but  It’s written on an eighth grade level.”   Au contraire!  I’m thinking that if an eight year old can read it, understand it and attain baseball excellence, then it must be written on maybe a third grade level?  In order to scale the pinnacle of performance potentiality, simplicity is an absolute necessity.  If  you’ve just got to have a complicated methodology that doesn’t work,  then HEAD GAMES is not your answer.  E-mail me and I’ll give you the name of the other guy’s book which sold a total of one at the convention compared to many written on “the eight grade level.”  If you want something simple to use that works and works immediately from youth leagues through the major leagues, then make HEAD GAMES yours and maximum potential for success can be realized.  I talked with a major league pitcher this week that I worked with toward the end of last season.  His subsequent success was close to perfect after struggling all season.  Now, he can’t wait for the season to begin.  Barring injury, this WILL be his best season ever, and he’s had some really good ones.  His comment on the book:  “I have never liked to read, but I love THIS book.  I don’t want to put it down.  The techniques are so easy to use.”  To insure success, one must mentally embrace a simple approach that allows consistent play “in the zone.”

The HEAD GAMES methodology is exceedingly simple and fun to use.  This simplicity is an absolute requirement if an athlete aspires to attain the “seventh heaven” of Baseball Excellence.  If there are those who desire or have tried complex theories, which are doomed to failure, I recommend that they  get on board with hundreds of athletes who have discovered the awesome power of HEAD GAMES.  Accolades, testimonials & endorsements continue to pour in from across the world.  The success of HEAD GAMES has been and continues to be unprecedented and unparalleled. Ladies & Gentlemen, start your powerful “mental engines” by choosing the holistic philosophy of HEAD GAMES, and begin to enjoy life and success on and off the field.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -Walter Herbison - He consulted with Mississippi State Baseball from 1988-1992, the Atlanta Braves in 1990, LSU in 1991 and 2000, the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs organizations and many other amateur and professional teams. Nationally, he has consulted with many players individually — from youth leagues to Major Leagues.

The Proper Stance

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As you look around the baseball and softball world, you will see all types of different stances.  From Little League to the Major Leagues the stances will vary.  As a young player it is good to initially experiment with different types of stances. I’ve heard Ted Williams says that he would see a new player come into the league and like something this player was doing with his stance and he would try it.  He always went back to what he was comfortable with buy he wasn’t afraid to try something new.

You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, but at the same time you should not be changing your stance everyday.  Find a stance that is comfortable and workable and stick with it.  When something is no longer working for you, make and adjustment!