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Tuesday, January 11
Baseball Coaches Toolkit
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SUNY Youth Sports Institute
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Feature Stories

Misconceptions of Tee Work
By Dave WarrenMVCC
Assistant Athletic Director
Mohawk Valley Community College
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints

The other day I was at a football game with my son who is six and has played t-ball for the past two seasons. While there, I ran into a person that has coached in the league for several years and is a so-called "respected person" when it comes to coaching youth sports. We were talking about little league and he made a comment about t-ball that really concerned me. He said that when he coached t-ball he told the kids and the parents on the first day that this is the last time you will be seeing a tee, we don't need it. I could not believe my ears, the perception that "hitting off the tees is for babies" is so far from the truth. In reality, when done properly, hitting off the tee will develop the correct swing that will benefit a young athlete for his entire career. Children are developing muscle memory every single day, and, if you can develop the correct muscle memory for hitting through repetition on the tee, the player will be successful. As the old saying goes, bad habits are hard to break, so the longer that kids are developing the wrong muscle memory when it comes to swinging the bat, the harder it is going to be to break the bad habits when they get older. Where you become a great hitter is through tireless tee work and executing the swing correctly. The problem is that it can be boring. One of the best comments when addressing the issue of boredom on the tee came from my mentor and former coach Joe Milazzo who said, "The player that can battle through the boredom of repetition will be successful."

Develop an Aggressive Approach and Keep Swinging!
By Jason RathbunHCCC
Head Baseball Coach
Herkimer County Community College
2006, 2007, 2010 World Series Participants
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints


Baseball is our national pastime. During its long history, coaches have developed many different ideas and strategies on how to be successful on the baseball diamond. Ever since I was hired in 2005, I have attended every American Baseball Coaches Association national convention and listened to hundreds of qualified and successful coaches speak about why their programs are successful. We all might not agree with every coaching philosophy, but we can learn something from every teaching experience.

I have often heard the terms be patient, be selective, work the count, and find a good pitch to hit; however, these terms may not always have been properly explained and different coaches might have different ideas on what these statements mean. Therefore, it is easy to understand why baseball players do not understand what coaches may mean by these statements. Read More...

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Curveballs and the Youth Pitcher
By Matthew PalisinSUNY Fredonia
Head Baseball Coach
SUNY Fredonia
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints

Ever since Hall of Famer Candy Cummings invented the curveball, circa 1867, it has been baffling hitters everywhere for a century-and-a-half. As the saying goes, there are great curveball hitters, but nobody can hit a great curveball.

With the effectiveness of the pitch, it has become the subject of debate at the youth level - should young pitchers be allowed to throw it at the Little League level?

The 'hook', if you will, for throwing the curveball for the youth pitcher is its amazing and immediate effectiveness. If a 12-year old can throw a pitch that breaks, he can quickly become successful. As a coach, I feel there is a point that is often overlooked. The pitch is not necessarily effective because it is a great pitch, but because at 11 or 12 years old, youth batters have never seen the pitch before. The batters have no frame of reference to be able to hit the pitch. The same curveball a few years down the road suddenly becomes less effective as the hitters begin to see more and more curveballs and can recognize rotation and arm slots and adjust. Is it worth allowing the youth pitcher to throw a curveball?

There are four main points we will consider:

Baserunning the Finger Lakes Way
Patrick GreerFLCC
Head Baseball Coach
Finger Lakes Community College
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints


Baserunning can be one of the more difficult aspects of the game to teach to young baseball players. Young men often learn much of the game from watching professional baseball on television. As we all know, big leaguer's are not the best example for running the bases hard and fundamentally sound! At FLCC we have been known for many years as a fundamentally sound, yet very aggressive, base running baseball team, dating back to my predecessor Bob Lowden in the early 1990s and continuing today. Read more...

Keep Playing Catch
By Rich JacobsonSUNY Orange CC
Head Baseball Coach
SUNY Orange CC
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints

We have all heard the old saying that baseball is a simple game. Defensively, baseball is an elevated game of catch. At all levels, successful defensive players are able to catch the ball consistently and accurately throw to a target. Young players need to develop the basic, fundamental skills of throwing and catching properly. Arm strength, arm endurance, footwork and throwing mechanics are all developed by playing catch. Read more...

When it comes to Fielding the Baseball, Stick to the Basics
By Jesse MarshSUNY New Paltz
Assistant Baseball Coach
SUNY New Paltz
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints

Many young baseball players to try imitate their favorite major league players. It is fine to have role models who are professional athletes, but many of these athletes stray from the fundamentals of catching a ground ball. These fundamentals begin before a pitch is even thrown.

Infielders need to establish a good ready position. In this stance, the player's feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with the knees bent and the weight over the balls of the feet. The player's hands should be out in front of the body with their glove open. When a player is in a good ready position, it will allow them to get a good jump on a ground ball.


Back to the Basics of Baseball
By Joe BauthErie Community College
Head Baseball Coach
Erie Community College
©SUNY Youth Sports Institute | Reprints

My son is sixteen now, but I remember when he was young and playing house baseball on the local fields of Western New York. He was probably eight at the time and being coached by a very nice woman whose son was also on the team. During an inning when our team was playing defense, a boy had just gotten to second with two outs. The woman coach yelled out to her team "man on second, the play is at 3rd". Without hesitation, my son, who was playing shortstop at the time, says to the coach, "Coach, the play should be at first". I was concerned about how the coach would take that comment, but her reaction made me smile. "Everyone listen to Brett", she said. Now certainly, in some situations the play may be at third, but most of the time we want to make the simple play. This to me is one of the most important parts of the game for youth coaches to teach to their players. Read more...


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