Maynard/Stow Baseball: Baseball Tips

Friday, February 7
Baseball Tips 1

Hitting: Where should I try to hit the ball?

Always approach the inside & top part of the baseball. This will help keep your bat on the correct swing plane and help you hit the baseball where it is supposed to be hit. If it's inside you'll pull the baseball, and if it's away, you'll hit the baseball to the opposite field.

With this approach, you'll hit a lot more line drives and ground balls - instead of line drives and fly balls. If your focus is to try to hit homeruns you will contact the bottom of the ball and hit a lot of pop ups and fly balls.

Important! Make sure when you make contact that you have your top hand palm facing the sky! Remember "Palm up, Palm down." This ensures you are maintaining a level swing which will produce more line drives and hard ground balls.


Throwing: How do I increase my arm strength?

Throw, throw & then throw some more. You're born with some of your arm strength, but most people have to work very hard to get their strength.

Pro baseball players work out almost every day, even in the off season. They know that long toss is the key! Depending on your age you should long toss during the season about 2 to 3 times a week.

Our general suggestions would be:

Ages 7 to 12 - throw 30, 60 & 90 feet for about 3 to 4 minutes at each distance 3 times a week during the season.

Ages 13 to 20 - throw 30, 60, 90 & 120 feet about 3 to 4 minutes at each distance 3 times a week during the season.

Make sure you are not throwing rainbows (high arcing throws), if they bounce once or twice before they hit your partner that is ok. Keep your throws at a nice 45 degree angle once you start heading back to the longer distances. You want your throws to maintain a pretty nice line. Not as hard as you can, just working on good arm speed and getting it to your partner. You will see some great changes in your arm strength over a short time.


Fielding: When fielding a groundball what are some tips that I need to remember?

Treat the baseball like an egg, meaning stay "soft" with your hands. Try to field the baseball like an airplane by moving into fielding position smoothly, not like a helicopter by dropping into fielding position.

Field the baseball on the inside part of your left leg which will help you to come through the ball moving toward the base you are going to be throwing to.

Did you know that many pro infielders count how many hops the baseball takes off of the bat as the baseball comes toward them. This helps them react to the baseball instead of trying to get that perfect hop, which can cause you to get the bad hop!


Baseball Player: What are some tips I can use to break in my baseball glove?

Baseball player should put a small amount (small handful) of shaving cream in your hand. Rub the entire amount into the pocket of the glove until the white foam is gone. Do this about once a week for about a month (that's 4 or 5 times).

Once you've rubbed in the cream, place the baseball in the pocket of the glove and tie the rope or sock around the glove. Keep it in a dry place. Don't let the glove close flat - close it at an angle so that the pinky finger shows a little.

You're going to need the following items;

- A new baseball glove

- Some shaving cream

- A baseball

- Some rope or a long sock

Play catch with the new baseball glove! Playing catch is the best way to break in a new glove (besides, it's more fun). You can also put your hand in your new glove and lightly tap the bat into the pocket of the glove. You're working to form the inside pocket to your hand as well as soften the leather for a completely custom fit.

Be patient! Breaking in a good baseball glove will take at least 2 or 3 weeks depending on how much you use and work with it.


Hitting: How do you hit an off-speed pitch?

Off speed pitches are designed to get you to commit your weight too soon. To get you off-balance and take your body out of the swing. In essence, an off-speed pitch makes you become an "arms only" hitter and your power and effectiveness can be severely hampered.

Aggressive hitters are generally very good at hitting the fastball, but struggle with the off speed pitch. Hitting the off speed pitch requires discipline.

Become great at recognizing the off-speed pitch and learning to react appropriately.

When trying to judge off speed pitches. Make most off -speed pitches be up in the zone. They will always look like a ball and then fall back into the strike zone.

Focus on the ball out of the pitcher's hand and determine if its an off speed pitch or straight. If you recognize its an off-speed pitch, and it looks like a strike from the start, then its probably going to fall out of the zone for a ball.


Hitting: Where should my focus be when I prepare to hit?

Never look at the pitcher eyes or try to follow the baseball when it's in his glove. Look at the logo on his baseball hat or at his waist and once he starts to seperate his hands in preparation to throw focus on where his release point is going to be (where his hand lets go of the baseball). The baseball isn't going to come out of his eyes!

Pick out a spot where his hand will come out of the sky and focus on that spot. It could be a branch or a cloud in the background. You should determine his release point and figure out how high his arm angle or arm slot is when on the bench or in the on deck circle so that when you are at the plate you have already determined the right spot. You can always ask a teammate that hits before you in the lineup.