Thursday, February 28, 2008

Website to review

A great resource if you are looking for items to help young players. The baseball equipment is almost free (Shipping not included) and it is clearly displayed on the site. Check it out if you are scanning the internet!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Guest Author #4

Rich Burk is the television and radio play-by-play announcer for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League. His work has been endorsed by broadcasters, executives, writers and players at the highest levels of the industry:
“His descriptions are colorful and accurate,” said Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell
“His knowledge and love of the game, and dedication to his profession, are impressive,” said NBC Sports’ Bob Costas
“He has the capacity to make the game come alive,” according to Curt Smith, author of the acclaimed book, Voices of the Game
“I’m amazed at his knowledge and passion for the game,” said Kevin Towers, general manager of the San Diego Padres “He is quite possibly the hardest-working broadcaster in the business. I’m amazed at the details he digs up and saves for exactly the right moment, and at his encyclopedic knowledge of interesting stories,” said Senior Writer Rob Neyer.
“Rich is an excellent interviewer. I’ll take any time of my day to go on the air with him,” said Xavier Nady, outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A Scorebook for All to Follow the Game
All of Rich Burk’s baseball scorebooks are suitable for both seasoned veterans and scorekeeping rookies—each includes beginning and advanced instructions and a detailed, easy-to-read baseball glossary.

The top Broadcaster & Media Scorebook: Burk’s most popular scorebook, the BP16, is the cleanup hitter in his line of products. The BP16 features a unique two-page-per-team layout that provides a pitch-tracking system, clean-looking defensive charts, extra space in the lineup section and scoring boxes, and plenty of blank space for making notes. The BP16 does all this without limiting innings—scorers have the peace of mind of knowing their scoresheet includes 16 innings.

Other Broadcaster & Media Scorebooks: Two other Broadcaster & Media layouts are available with the more traditional one-page-per-team format. The BN12 features 12 innings per scoresheet, while the BN15 includes 15 innings per scoresheet. Like the BP16, these two versions include a defense chart and a clean layout with extra space for writing notes.

Fan & Media Scorebooks: These scorebooks feature a smaller 9” x 7” format (the other scorebooks are 8.5” x 11”). This is the perfect size to fit on a lap at the game or in a press box with limited table space.

Amateur League Baseball & Softball Scorebooks: These scorebooks feature 16 batting positions for those leagues where everyone bats in the lineup. The AP10 layout features Burk’s pitch-tracking system, an excellent addition for those leagues where a premium is placed on the number of pitches thrown.

Further information found at:], including samples of the scoresheets, a table comparing the features of Burk’s scorebooks, and tools to help people choose the right book for them.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Guest Author #3

Todd Williams, of, has provided the following:

I've been associated with the game of baseball since my childhood days playing Little League baseball in the small rural community of Farmington, Utah. It was there that my life-long love of the game was ingrained into my being. My dad coached us boys back then, and we had a pretty good team. I don't remember where we were in the standings, somewhere near the top, I suppose; but we sure had a lot of fun. And the part I remember most, was riding in the back of my friend Ricky's Grandpa's truck over to the ice cream shop for an ice cream cone after the game. Yes, those were the good old days.

More recently, as a father of four, I have spent my time coaching my son's baseball teams in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. When I started coaching, I really didn't have a clue how to effectively work with kids. But I watched what others were doing, read as many books as I could find on the subject, tried various things to improve the skills of my players (some of which worked, and some of which didn't), tried to keep it fun for the kids, and all-in-all I did allright. My oldest son, now 17, is playing ball for Klein High School.

I learned that you shouldn't focus on winning. If you focus on winning, winning becomes almost elusive. Instead, I learned that if you practice hard on the right things, winning is the by-product, the natural consequence of the toil on the practice field. A wise man once said that those things that we persist at doing become easier, not because the nature of the thing has changed, but because our ability to do it has increased. I firmly believe that.

I put this collection of drills, tips and strategies together to help people like me have success coaching mostly younger players. If you consistently implement just a few of these drills, tips and strategies; your team can't help but improve. It's a natural consequence. And following improvement comes winning, again as a natural consequence. Anything else would defy the laws of nature.

Enjoy the book! Any suggestions you have for improving it's content should be sent via email to

A Coaching Reminder

Your main responsibilities as a baseball coach are to teach the
skills and strategies of baseball. Pure and simple. However,
your coaching responsibilities go beyond the playing field, and
into an area where you can really impact a young person's life.

One of the most important lessons you can offer is your value
system, including a strong work ethic and a zero-tolerance for
alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. Your expectations regarding
these values should be loud and clear from beginning to end.

The use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs counteract nearly all of the
physical benefits of athletic competition. And it seems that
every year, drugs are abused by an ever younger generation of
kids. It's a shame, but it's also a problem with which society
must deal, as well as you and I as part of our communities.

You should state these expectations in your first pre-season
meeting with the players and their parents. You should have clear
rules regarding any penalties for violation of those rules. Let
your players know that if you catch them, you'll report them to
their parents. You may even go so far as to have your players and
their parents sign an disclosure agreement regarding your rules.
Let there be no misunderstanding!

Your players deserve a positive role model who believes in
responsible behavior with it's intrinsic rewards (and who
believes in the intrinsic consequences for irresponsible
behavior). They need a mature, adult role model; rather than a
middle-aged buddy.

As a trusted steward with significant influence for good, please
do your part by being the kind of person your players can emulate
and follow (as opposed to someone they can hang with or of whom
they can take advantage).

Your example in your personal practices can also be a very
powerful teaching tool. Together with your player's other role
models, we can make a difference!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Guest Author #2

Marty Schupak has coached youth sports for 20 years. He is the producer of the best selling baseball video “The 59 Minute Baseball Practice”, “Backyard Baseball Drills”, “Winning Baseball Strategies” , “Pitching Drills & Techniques” plus four more. He is also author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is President of Videos For Coaches and the Youth Sports Club and can be reached at:

The Parents Meeting: A Must for The Youth Baseball Coach

Each year I organize a parents meeting approximately two to four weeks before the start of the season. I prepare a handout of approximately three or four pages. Included is a list of the team with phone numbers and certain philosophies and organizational items.People might say, “Well this is only youth baseball, it's not high school.” This is true, but I have learned over the years that a parents meeting will make for a better run season for the kids, the parents and the coach. The meeting should not go more than ten or fifteen minutes. I leave a fair amount of time for a question and answer period.

I make this meeting a requirement for all parents. I try to lay out my goals and express to the parents about how I run my practices. Also, I tell them that players have to arrive at games 30 minutes before they start and if they cannot make a game, they must call me. It is very important that I let the parents understand I know their busy schedules and that as a coach you go through the same thing with ballet, karate, soccer, car pools, school work, etc.

Probably the most important point I go over is that because of my own busy schedule, I cannot run a taxi service for any players. Parents must be at practice five minutes before it ends. When I first began to coach, I never addressed this and after each practice I had a car full of players to drop off. As coaches, this cannot be part of our jobs for more reasons than one.

I also address any complaints parents may have during the season. I developed a standard policy of not taking any complaints for at least five games. This cuts down on a lot of phone calls and most of the times a complaint by a parent about playing time is taken care of by the sixth game.

Since I began doing this, I have had only a handful of complaints for a whole season in about the last eight years. When I first started coaching, I would go home after the game and there would be two or three messages on my answering machine.

As a coach, there are a lot of responsibilities and I try to cut down on the phone calls as much as possible. One system a lot of people use is the phone chain. This is effective only some of the time. Another system I use which is similar is the buddy system.

At the beginning of each year I ask for a couple of parent volunteers to help with the phone calls. Then I assign each player a buddy. So if there are twelve kids on the team, there are six pairs of buddies. The first thing I tell them is that if there is any question on practice time or location, call their buddy before they call me. And if their buddy isn't home, call someone else on the team list. If it is raining, I call my two phone volunteers and divide the calls in half. Remember, each player has a buddy so they should never make more than three calls and maybe a call back to me. Any system you try isn't full proof and during the course of the season you can expect your share of calls.

There can be a whole lot of things to address at this meeting. Each coach might have their own pet peeve to discuss. The most important thing is to make sure you have each of the points you want to bring up in writing. This way, you are sure to touch on the points most important to you. Remember, you are volunteering your time and you have a right to make the season run as smooth as possible for yourself, and that's the way you want it to be for your team as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Part Two: Boudurant-Farrar Hitting Philosophy

Coach Hamilton has provided another article for coaches to review. He has shared his program's offensive approach to batting. This is a wonderful resource for coaches to analyze before the season approaches. I wanted to thank Coach Hamilton for sharing his ideas with the rest of us and wish him a return trip to the Iowa High State Baseball Tournament in 2008.

Hitting is perhaps the most difficult skill in any sport to master. The physical/mechanical aspect of the sing is important, but there is also a mental component as well. In addition there are many variables beyond the control of the hitter including, but not limited to; speed, type, and location of pitch, varying strike zone, and weather conditions. In addition, you only have approximately .4 of a second to react to all of these factors, get off a good swing, and hit a round ball with a round bat. You need to start thinking about becoming a pitcher. It is this very difficulty that makes the act great. Hitting a ball on the sweet spot is perhaps the most gratifying moment in life. Hitting is not only fun, it can be done with proper preparation. Remember if it were easy, we wouldn’t have other sports.

We want to have an offense that puts the pressure on our opponents:

1. get on base
2. use the bunting game
3. be aggressive baserunning
4. get a quality at-bat


1. Get in a position to hit every pitch
a. Load early, load soft, keep your head still. Your hands must be between your back shoulder an back foot. Hold your position and track the ball until it hits glove, hits you, or your hit it. Do not turn away or down until the ball is past you. Work on your timing and tracking on every pitch.

2. Get your best swing off every at bat
a. You must be on time, on balance, and see the ball in order to get your best swing off. If you are ahead in the count and you are not on time and on balance don’t swing. No check swings with less that two strikes! If you start – get a rip! Don’t get yourself out with a poor swing. If is better to get a good swing at a bad pitch, than a bad swing at a good pitch. Swing it!

3. Be aggressive
a. Think hit, hit, hit, take ---- or ---- yes, yes, yes, no. Never the other way around. Be confident and cut it loose!!!!

4. Don’t get beat out in front
a. Let the ball get deep before you make decisions. Track it longer and always think middle or away, not pull. This will not only prevent you from taking off balance swings, it will havel you identify pitches better. Remember if you miss late it is usually a foul ball. If you miss early it is usually a weak ground ball or a pop-up. The longer you wait the harder you can swing, the longer you wait the better you see it.

See it better + Swing harder = Success.

5. Battle with two strikes.
a. Be confident that the pitcher can’t throw a pitch by you. Spread your stance, choke up, crowd the plate, eliminate the stride, use your hands take a late quick stroke, and hit every pitch below your hands and off the floor. Make him beat your deep, not out front. Refuse to give away an at bat. Put it in play and make the defense catch it and throw it. Never strike out looking. Be extra aggressive.


BP is over its game time. You must get ready to hit long before you get in the box. The following responsibilities are to serve as a guide during games.

AT THE PLATE – have a plan, based on the game situation, the pitcher, the umpire, the count, and your strengths as a hitter. With 0 strikes – look for fastballs. Know your sweet spot. With 1 strike this is a see it, hit it count. Look for fastballs in your zone or curve balls that stay up. Remember be aggressive if you are on time and on balance. Also remember that curves must start up to stay up. All pitches go down, curves that start below the belt are usually balls. With 2-strikes hit everything near the zone below your hands and off the floor on the backside.

Remember to:
1. breathe – take deep breaths- this helps you relax and get oxygen to your muscles
2. develop a consistent pre pitch routine.
3. use positive self-talk to help maintain focus. Give yourself 1 or 2 positive instructions each time you enter the box. For example, stay back, trust your hands, see the ball, let it travel. Slow feet, quick hands….ect….

On Deck – Relax, track pitches, time pitches, game speed swings.

In the hole – Work on timing/tracking, and loading. Most umpires only allow one player out of the dugout. This can be done in the dugout no swings?

Fourth – work on tracking , and boxing the pitchers release point.

Fifth – study the pitcher, watch his mechanics. Is he tipping his pitches? Does he have any patterns?

Sixth – ninth – relax and watch the game.

Most important aspect of hitting is the eyes. You can’t hit it if you don’t see it. In order to see the ball the head must stay still, in order to keep the head still all stride and loading activity must be slow, soft, and early. You have to keep your camera still if you want to take a good picture.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guest Writer #1

Brad Hamilton is the head baseball coach at Bondurant-Farrar High School, located in the central part of Iowa. In 2007, Coach Hamilton won his 200th game taking his team to the Iowa High School State Tournament in Des Moines. As the the tournament's eighth seed, Coach Hamilton's team came within a whisper of defeating the eventual Class 2A state champions. Coach Hamilton is a 2002 graduate of Midland Lutheran College, located in Fremont, Nebraska.

The following is a two part article. The first section deals with indoor hitting drills and their function in the swing process. Many Midwestern coaches will love to look at these tips because indoor space is so limited that time must be used efficiently. If you have any questions, Coach Hamilton can be reached at:

"Indoors Hitting"

Station work is nothing new to coaches; what we have tried to do is give quality swings with a purpose to our players, We set up 11 different stations that emphasize different skills that we teach. These stations fit our needs and allow us to break down the swing. Use any combination that you want most of all adapt these to fit your facility. We have each player paired up and allow 2-5 minutes at each station. The following is a description of stations and the purpose behind each.

STATION #1 Lead Arm Drill
DESCRIPTION: Hitter should use a shorter bat and place top hand ½ way up bat, other hand should be under in front and off to the side tosses balls to different parts of the zone and hitter swings with one arm working on making good contact.
PURPOSE: Emphasize the downward

STATION #2 Back Arm Drill
DESCRIPTION: Same as above – but switch arms using the back arm
PURPOSE: Emphasize the downward

STATION #3 Wall Drill #1
DESCRIPTION: Hitter stands parallel to wall and 1 bat length away from the wall- take normal stance and swing normal a long swing will hit the wall
PURPOSE: Short quick swing

STATION #4 Wall Drill #2
DESCRIPTION: Hitter stands perpendicular to wall with back foot about 4 inches away from wall – take a normal swing if hitter drops the back shoulder the bat will
hit the wall
PURPOSE: Keeping shoulders level

STATION #5 Birdie Drill
DESCRIPTION: Hitter faces a feeder who is the pitcher – feeder throws shuttle cocks as if he is pitching to the
hitter – hitter must stay back and drive birdie back towards the feeder
PURPOSE: Staying balanced

STATION #6 Hip Turn Drill
DESCRIPTION: Hitter will place bat behind back and takes regular stance – takes a stride and thrusts back hip to wall
back foot must squish the bug
PURPOSE: Movement of back leg

STATION #7 Tee #1
DESCRIPTION: We use this as a outside fastball – hitter must practice on going the other way leading with
hands and driving ball the other way
PURPOSE: Opposite field hitting

STATION #8 Tee #2
DESCRIPTION: This is used as a ball on the inside of the plate must turn on ball and hit it hard
PURPOSE: Turning on the ball

STATION #9 Golf Ball Wiffle
DESCRIPTION: Use of golf wiffle balls and broomstick handle feeder will feed balls to different areas of the
strike zone – hitter must hit ball into net
PURPOSE: Eye and hand coordination

STATION #10 Soft-Toss
DESCRIPTION: Use of this as a warm up to live feeder feeds ball to hitter in different areas of the zone hitter hits
ball where thrown.
PURPOSE: Overall swing

STATION #11 Live
DESCRIPTION: Pitching machine will allow more swings – use of live pitching is a must during the season. To emphasize a short quick swing, move the hitter within 40 feet of machine
PURPOSE: Develop a short quick swing and hit ball where it is thrown.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Getting Back on Track

I apologize for the lack of instructional material during the last few months. It has been a year of learning instead of sharing. I have a feeling there will be many more in the future. Coaching is a profession that if you stop learning, you stop developing. There are so many valuable resources out there that once you get started researching topics, it is hard to stop.

Over the next few weeks, I have invited some guest writers to post some of their “trade” secrets. I am sure you will find these coaches insightful and helpful as the 2008 season quickly approaches. A variety of coaches will share tips on hitting, pitching, defense, and program development.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?