Baseball Individual Goals or only Team Goals?

This is a follow up on an article titled “Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport” I had a little disagreement from a former MLB player on this issue a while back. We discussed the game numerous times on emails and also a couple of phone conversations. The conversation was going very well and I was excited to have this gentleman in agreement on how to improve the game. Then I sent him the article Is Baseball a Team or Individual Sport?  This did not sit very well with him at all as I think he had the opinion that I love selfish players. This is so far from the truth and I will explain my view and would love to see a lot of comments.

I love the challenge of giving players individual attention and to set the bar high, but attainable. Coaches, parents and teachers need to bring out the rugged take charge attitude and to expect the most from players and students! We want the players when they are on the diamond to say hit the ball to me, because they feel they are the best. They have the confidence because they have taken 100s of ground balls, because of working in small groups or individual drills.

Our players understand with the with a runner on second base and no outs, our hitter will know that he has to hit the ball to the right side, so at minimum he moves the runner over.  They will do all they can to try to get a hit to the right side. Our players will work hard in practice to do this correctly. This needs to be worked on at practice, and will be discussed in a later article.

What needs to be pounded into each player is they have to work hard to be the best individual player they can possibly be on the diamond. Our players will get there with individual drills, praise, and setting goals. They need to have the confidence that they are the best at their position and can go as far as their ability will take them. That is what a good coach does he sets goals for and challenges each player to be the best that he can be in life and on the diamond! When the individual player feels good about his ability, this helps the team to reach their team goals!

We are going to be pounding in education for our players as they are playing the game. Teachers have to push the average student to reach for higher goals and to work the C student to get the B or above grades! Coaches are like teachers you need to work players as individuals to bring the most out of them. We are responsible to our players to explain the importance of getting their education. Here is an article I wrote on this subject – Education for our Athletes

One of our goals is to improve the coaching at all levels, and I feel we are getting some very good people on our team. We do need to have everybody on the same page on this subject. Big Dog Baseball USA is going to make a difference in how the game is played and how it is taught at all levels.

We are going to discuss the youth levels and what needs to be done to prepare the players for the high school level. I have some connections that will be checked out on teaching coaches and them earning certificates for completion of their programs. Here is an article on coaching youth baseball. Great Information on Coaching Youth Baseball

It is important for the coach to find the best positions for the players to succeed at this level and also at the high school level. Every player should be able to play at minimum of 2-3 different positions.

The coach needs to pound into the individual player the importance of him to be the best player he can be on the diamond. For example if you have a stud shortstop and the team is taking infield practice, he needs to be pushed. Yell out to him and say you have a chance to be a very good shortstop at the next level and maybe all state! Push him to get the ball in the hole and gun the runner out at first! Get excited and say that is the way you play the game! If he has a problem going up the middle, you work him hard as an individual and give him confidence he will improve.

The catcher is working on drills throwing out the runner trying to steal second base. You explain to him when he is behind the plate he has to want the runner to try to run. He dreams about gunning the runner out at second base! You pound this into him that he has to want it! This is individual work on the ball diamond.

Then we proceed to the ball being thrown to second base. The shortstop or second baseman will be receiving the ball. This is individual talent and has to be practiced. I worked all my players on a drill of receiving the ball in the dirt and making a quick snap tag. This was always done after they got their arms warmed up. I would also take my infielders to second base and would stand close to the mound and bounce the ball and they would be expected to catch the ball and make the snap tag. There is a natural tendency on these drills to start the glove low and go up with the bounce and then come back down to make the tag. This is not the way it is done, they need to start high and come down for the ball and make the tag all in one motion. My players were 12-14 years old and were very good at this, because of individual drills. Push them and when they succeed give a lot of praise, laugh and have fun with them.

My first baseman Brett was excellent at scooping the ball out of the dirt, because I gave him a lot of individual work on getting the ball out of the dirt. I would throw him the ball in the dirt from close to the mound and challenge him! This one time he was smiling as I was throwing the ball like a bullet and he was coming up with the ball like a MLB player.  I was smiling and acting like I was getting mad because I couldn’t beat him! This is pushing the player as an individual.

A good coach needs to push each individual player to be the best he can be on the diamond and with this he is helping the team to win. My goal at the youth level was player development for the next levels and for my players to want to win as a team. I coached to win but wanted to teach the players the proper individual and team fundamentals to be good players.

Here is an example, we were in the field and there was shot to third and RP dove and fielded the ball cleanly and made a low throw in the dirt to Brett at first and the runner was called safe. The runner was probably out, my coaches gave the ump some grief and I said I had no problem with the play because our guys made a great play!

The high school level is the same as the youth except you pound into certain players their potential to play at higher levels. In the cage and batting practice you push the players to use the whole field if they want to play at the next level. The coach is constantly on the players to do their best to be all state and say they have potential to play at the next level or above. Push them and you need to hustle, teach and be enthusiastic. Article on high school coaching-Coaching High School Baseball/  Article on hitting program: The Best Hitting Program in America

When you sell the players on the importance of individual drills and the importance of being the best player they can be to help the team win, you have succeeded!

A good coach has individual meetings with his players before the season starts to discuss the player’s potential and what it means to be a team player. You are going face to face with the player and you will say Jeff you are a very good hitter and I want you to shoot for a 400 batting average this year and gun out more than half the runners trying to steal! Mention that he has a high ceiling and has potential to move up to higher levels. It is all up to you how far you can go in baseball. Be firm and enthusiastic in your conversation with all your players. You do the same with all your players and discuss their role, individual potential, and how important it is to be a good teammate and play for the team.

College level is the same as the above but you discuss with the individual player about his ability to play at the professional level and to be an All American or All Big Twelve! Set the individual goals for the player to strive for in the current season. The coach will say to the player that he will do whatever he can to get him ready for the pro game, but he will still need to play as a team. This will be stressed to the player to play as a team, if he doesn’t he will be taken to the wood shed!  Short article on college coaching-Coaching College Baseball/

The professional is next and I will discuss a couple of situations that occurred late in the Cardinal regular season.

The second to last day of the season Matt Holiday got a hit to reach 300 for the season and I think he hit one more time and walked, and was taken out of the game. Then he didn’t play the last game in order to secure his 300 batting average. I had no problem with this because each player needs to set his individual goals at all levels!

Matt Carpenter was sitting on 199 hits for the season and everybody was pulling for him to reach 200 hits! What is so bad about a player wanting to reach 200 HITS in a season? I think it is an individual ambition for a player to do his best to reach 200 hits within the team goal. I think he had 3 games to reach 200 hits and could not get another hit, Cardinal fans weren’t happy and I am sure Matt wasn’t jumping for joy! Watch how the Cardinals play as a team, but with a lot of individual goals and hard work!  Here is the previous article-Is Baseball a Team or Individual Sport?

Big Dog Baseball USA and our baseball family will make a difference in the game on the diamond and also to promote the game to the masses!

Here is some good information – Big Dog Baseball USA Words of Wisdom- Words of Wisdom/

Thanks

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

One person can make a difference but when you get many pulling in the same direction it can create a tidal wave of success!

Baseball a Team or an Individual Sport

I am a firm believer in team sports that there is a need to stress individual talents. I saw an interview with Stan Musial after he hit his 3,000 against the Cubs on May 13, 1958.  Stan was asked what he wanted to do next, and his reply was he wanted to finish his career as the all time hits leader for the national league.

I heard people say that Pete Rose knew exactly what his batting average was at all times. Before and after a hit he knew where he stood with his stats. He stated that he always wanted to see his name in the paper everyday among leading hitters. In them days he would have to be in the top ten in the league on batting average. He also had a goal to be the first singles hitter to make a $100, 000.00 a year and he succeeded!

Years ago an announcer would ask the hard hitting third baseman what he wanted to accomplish this year. His response would be something like I want to hit 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and to hit 300. This was typical for players to strive for their goals for the season. I am sure that when they reached these goals they would not all of a sudden quit trying for the rest of the year.  If they saw they were falling short, it is all the more reason push harder. That is not to say they shouldn’t be pushing hard every day. But MLB players are no different than the rest of us, they will have their good days and they also have some bad days.

I think it is very important to set your individual goals high and attainable. A good example is a hitter that is a career 275-280 hitter; he needs to set his goal to reach the 300 mark! Make this simple just one more hit a week and what do you need to do to reach your goal. This needs to be in the back of your mind.

This can just take some extra and smart work.  Get in the cage and work on a weakness, if it is bunting get to work. Here is some good information on how to improve your bunting skills.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/ If you are pulling the ball and not using the whole field go to our hitting program.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/the-best-hitting-program-in-america-3/  The most important thing to remember is there always needs to be a purpose when you are working on your hitting! Don’t ever go into the cage or hitting practice without a plan.

A base stealer needs to set his goals before the season starts and he needs to make sure that he is prepared to succeed. This may mean just doing the extra wind sprints or working on your jump. Push yourself to be quicker and have that explosion.

A goal for our pitchers is to hit 250 and that is why I would love to see a hitting coach just for the MLB pitchers.  Here is some good information to help the pitchers to hit in the major leagues.  http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/07/hitting-and-fielding-coach-for-pitchers/

A starting pitcher should start his season out by saying he wants to win so many games 15-20 whatever is a good goal for this particular pitcher. He needs to also set goals of complete games and innings per start.

Baseball is an individual sport played as a team.  Check out these 2 links. http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/baseball-is-an-individual-sport-played-as-a-team-2/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/drill-drilldrill/

When I was coaching I would look at my players and say Brett I want you to be the best first baseman. Jeff you are going to be the best catcher and on offense I would push them individually to succeed!

Now what you don’t need is a selfish player that is totally consumed with himself. This is the guy that will not hit his cut off or relay man, and has no desire to play as a team.  The player needs to give 100% percent on sacrifices and hitting behind the runner to move him up a base. You don’t want to be known as a selfish player that only thinks of his own personal stats.

The game today is totally different if you ask a player what his goals are, they will only state team goals. We want to win our division and whatever contribution I can make is just fine. I see nothing wrong with a player stating that he has a goal to hit 300 and drive in 120 runs. A base stealer should be able to say he wants to pilfer 50 bases in a season.

How does a player get paid in the major leagues? He gets paid for what he does as an individual player. If the players is a star, he will be paid more that the utility player. This is only right and the money is an incentive for the player to do his best. I think Jim Leyland said I will take all of my players in the last year of their contract and we will win the World Series. Money talks and how do the players make more money, by individual stats.

My reason for writing this article is to stress at all levels more individual coaching. Small groups and keep the players moving and active at all times. Push individually for each player to be the best they can be. I have seen high school practices last 3- 4 hours and nothing being accomplished.  They are running scrimmages and standing around, and the players become bored.

If you are pushing your shortstop during infield practice, say to him, I want you to work to be All State! Each player has their strength and weakness and it is up to the coach to know how to push the player to be the best he can be!  The second baseman may be a glove man and you may push him to work extra hard on his fielding. If he needs to work on his hitting, give him extra individual work. High individual goals that are attainable and with a large coaching staff to help each player, is very important.

The MLB level tell your stud player he needs to work his rear off so he can be an MVP candidate!  Look at the pitchers that are capable and say you have the ability to win 20 games and our staff is here to help you reach your goals. High individual goals and coaches that will work as hard as the players is the Goal of Big Dog Baseball USA!

Coaching Articles for Amateur Baseball– http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/great-information-on-coaching-youth-baseball-3/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/coaching-high-school-baseball/

http://baseballcommentary.com/2013/03/coaching-college-baseball/

http://baseballcommentary.com/category/words-of-wisdom/

Bob Brown

Big Dog Baseball USA is an organization dedicated to teaching, discussing, and interacting with baseball fans all across America. Our goal is to teach, explain and promote the game to the masses!

Big Dog Baseball USA will have former Major and Minor League Baseball Players as contributing writers. We are looking for players that are in business for themselves, contractors, or to write for a cause.

Drop and Drive VS Tall and Fall

I am a believer in the drop and drive method over the tall and fall. I even had a discussion with a former MLB pitcher several years ago. This gent is a very good pitching coach and is a tall and fall guy. He is very good at what he does and has a big following.

I think back on our discussion and just laugh about the whole scenario. What originally got me going was I asked him how a second baseman should throw the ball to first base. I am old school on this issue; the second baseman needs to stay low. The perfect example is to watch Manny Trillo and the way he threw the ball in the 80s, he stayed low and threw the ball ¾ or side arm. The runner from first on a double play attempt knew he had to get down because of the way Trillo threw the ball. I think it is very important for second basemen and shortstops to be able to throw from down under, and to stay low.

Before we could even get to the issue of throwing the ball, Scott gets into position of fielding the ball like an infielder. What got me going was he gave an example of catching the ground ball with the alligator style. Anybody that knows me, I am not a believer in this method at the least bit. Well we got mouthy on the walk back to the mound. I had my pitching coach with me and I can still see us all walking back to the mound and the look on Walt’s face, still humors me.

I think the next lesson we discussed the issue of drop and drive and tall and fall. It was the same thing to hot heads disagreeing, except I didn’t say too much, because he knows pitching. My strength is base running and fielding, and not pitching.

Scott Terry was the former MLB pitcher that was our pitching coach. Scott is very good as a pitching coach and is firm in his opinion. I just disagree with him on these two issues. I have seen Scott a few times after our lessons and he remembers me. Good Humor! We get along very well now and I hope that he will do some writing for us or make some comments.

I remember when Mark Pryor came up to the majors, and all the analysts were in awe of him and his delivery. The consensus was he was so nice and easy with his motion and had the perfect delivery. Pryor was a tall and fall guy, and I said from the beginning he was going to have arm problems. Pryor had arm troubles his entire career and never came close to what the experts thought he would accomplish.  

Tall and fall is exactly as it says, the pitcher stays as tall as possible to be able to throw in a more downward angle to the hitter. The pitcher then seems to just fall with his lead leg and not to drive on his back leg. It looks to me like the pitcher is using nothing but his arm and not using his body, legs or trunk.  The lead leg is not extended like the drop and drive.  It seems to me they don’t follow through on their delivery; it seems the back leg just drops by their side. If you are following through your back leg should be a little closer to home plate than your lead leg.

 

I like to give this example, a shortstop fields the ball and he throws to first base. He completes his throw and his body follows the ball towards first base. Watch Jim Edmonds play center field and see him get behind the ball and then he goes in the direction of the base he is throwing too. His follow through has him rather violently going towards the base.

Here is another example, Shawon Dunston at the tail end of his career he played for the Cards. He was normally a shortstop but with us he played leftfield. I saw him do this a couple of times where he would be charging the ball with the runner on second and was going to do his best to throw the runner out at the plate. He was in the one way charge and fielded the ground ball and he fired to home plate, and he gave it everything and fell forward after making the throw! Dunston and Edmonds did this the proper way where you follow the throw and sometimes falling forward on your face.  My point is I don’t think the tall and fall guys follow their throws to home plate.

Drop and drive is the pitcher pushing off the rubber and driving out to about the height of his body, towards home plate. His body drops so to be able to push off of the rubber and is driving hard to the plate. The pitcher is using his trunk, legs, upper body and arm to make his delivery to the plate. When you drive to the plate you also release the ball closer to the hitter, which makes your pitch quicker. The perfect example is Tom Seaver Hall of Famer that pitched for the Mets and the Reds.

I really prefer the drop and drive because you are using more of your body than just your arm. I will have the majority of people and the professionals disagreeing with me, but that is ok, I am a big boy.

I can’t wait for Scott Terry to get back with me and write some articles.

Bob Brown

Kozma Turning the Double Play

There was a play in the Cardinals game on Tuesday night that needs to be explained on what has to be taught. What I am going to explain, I was teaching to players at 12-13 years of age. I even told some of the opposing coaches what we do in certain situations. The very latest this has to be taught is at the high school level.

Kozma was turning the double play on a ball thrown by the first baseman. He received the ball and the runner was on him with a late slide. The runner is taught to keep your upper body upright so that you can get to the fielder covering the bag. Kozma made a high throw to first base and made Craig jump up to catch the ball, and the runner was safe. The reason the throw was high is because Kozma didn’t want to hit the runner with the ball. He threw it straight over handed and it was obvious he was worried about hitting the runner. It is the base runners responsibility to get out of the way of the thrown ball. The base runner has to either get down or peel off towards right field. There is no excuse for a baseball player to make a mistake like this at the major league level.

The middle infielders have to be taught to make the throw to first and not worry about the base runner getting hit by the ball! The base runner will get out of the way or he will pay the price. I believe it is very important for the middle infielders to be able to throw submarine, side arm, three quarters, and over handed. They have to work hard at a young age to throw the ball where they receive it, and to stay closed. They should be strong enough to do this the correct way by the age of 12-13. This has to be worked hard so that when they get to high school they have the play aced. I have always taught my players to play fast but don’t hurry!

One of several reasons for the infielder to be able to throw from the side is to make the runner get down! The runner knows you throw from the side; it keeps him from being on top of you. It is not fun for the fielder to have the runner barreling into second base, and then trying to get the throw off. This will keep the base runner honest!

The problem in some high schools, they teach the game slow and robotic. The coaches always say that you need to get your feet set for the throw, even if the runner will be safe. I always taught my players to be athletes, and to want to make the great play! I didn’t care if they threw the ball off balance as long as they made an athletic attempt to get the runner. Now if there is time the fielder needs to get set for the throw.

The best at this was Manny Trillo who played mainly for the Cubs and Phillies in the 70s and 80s. The base runners knew that if they didn’t get down they would get hit by the ball! The fielder has the right to be able to make the throw to first base.

Bob Brown

 

Cardinal Game Notes Giants 4-6-13

I want to discuss two plays that will be teaching moments.

The first play is the Cardinals had Descalso on first base, and he took off to steal second. He was safe on the play as the ball bounced before it got to the bag and was hard to handle. Eric Karros made a comment that the natural tendency is for the fielder covering the bag to start his glove low and go up to catch the ball. Then the fielder has to take the glove back down to tag the runner. This is slow and gives the runner more time to reach the base. This is not the correct way to receive the ball and make the tag.

I had my players at a young age practicing this catch and tag. This was all part of warming up for practice, and we also did drills on this during practice. Everybody did this to warm up and my first basemen did this a little different.

In the beginning I had them use soft baseballs until they had confidence and the skill level to use regular baseballs. Each player would be separate as if just playing a game of catch. They would start a little closer and as their skills improved they would separate more. The thrower would bounce the ball in the dirt a foot or so in front of the player that would be making the catch and tag. Then this player would do the same. As the player got better at this skill, he would be challenged even more with velocity and distance. In order to get good at this, it has to be practiced and repeat, repeat and repeat some more.

The proper way to make the catch and tag at the same time is to start with the fingers of your glove up. The angle has to be about 11 to 5. You see the ball arriving and your glove is higher than the anticipated bounce and in one quick action you bring the glove down fast and time it where the glove is coming down to catch the ball in the web. Then as you are coming down you make a snap tag! This is awesome when it is done correctly! I had 13-14 year old boys doing this well! This has to be worked hard at practice for all infielders!

The first basemen need to work on this method also, but they need to work on scooping the ball.  I had a first baseman at the age of 13-14 years old that could scoop like a major leaguer! His name was Brett, and he worked like heck to get good at scooping! The first baseman needs to start with his fingers pointed down and time the bounce to catch it in the web going in the upward position. This also has to be worked at each practice. I will do a video on these plays in the future.

At the major league level there is not enough practice and drilling being done during the season.  They do a lot in spring training but do very little during the season.

There was a play where Kozma was on first base and with less than two outs. There was a long drive hit to the deep part of left center. Kozma tagged up and advanced to second base! I stood and applauded! This is the way the game should be played! They showed a couple of replays and Kozma did this just perfectly!

When the pitcher was making his delivery to the plate, Kozma got his secondary lead. Then when the ball was hit he went towards second base, and realized the ball was going to be caught deep by the wall. He then went back to tag up and was safe at second base.  What is nice about this play is he didn’t have to make a decision to advance when he was tagging. He could see if the fielder was preparing to make the throw or if he was back pedaling. The players need to be doing this all the time, even on easy to catch medium fly balls. If you are tagging and you make the fielders think you are going to go, they can make a bad throw and you can advance. The runner always needs to make the fielders and the fans think he is going to go to the extra base. This is a must and can create bad throws. This can be taught in practice, and I will discuss a lot of this later.

Bob Brown

 

Baseball Scrimmages Done The Right Way

Baseball Scrimmages in general take a back seat to baseball drills, and a real good hitting, fielding, and pitching program. The scrimmage has to be done with a first and third base coach, just like a real game. While the scrimmage is going on there needs to be a coach hitting grounders and fly balls to the fielders.” Keep everybody moving”

Early in spring training the pitchers need to work on their control and only throw at about 75% velocity. They should stay with just fastballs in the early stages, as this also helps the hitter to work on his timing. As the pitchers start to gain their control then they can start to gradually throw harder. When they have some good control then they can start to throw their other pitches. This is all a very gradual procedure, which is good for the pitchers and the hitters.

Baseball Simulated Games Done The Right Way

Baseball simulated games have to be played just like a regular game. Since it is like a regular game there is a need for a first, and third base coach. Behind the catcher there needs to be a fielders screen. It is started with a batter at the plate with an imaginary bat in his hand and a coach about four or five feet away from the hitter. The hitter will see three pitches and will just identify the first two. On the third pitch the pitcher throws the ball and as it crosses the plate the coach then throws up a ball and hits it where ever he wants.

The hitter runs to first as soon as he hears the ball hit. The runners take their leads like in a real game, they can steal, which means they can also be picked off. This is good for the pitcher and catcher as they get to call the game.

The batter should watch each pitch from the release to the catcher’s mitt. The batter should concentrate on pitch identification and call out the pitch as soon as possible. Behind the screen will be the next two hitters. They will also work on pitch identification, but will keep the call quiet. The coach will ask them after each pitch if they got the call correct.

The hitting coach can get a lot of good work with different situations, and the players will love it. This is a real good teaching method as a good coach knows how to stop play and explain what was good and what needs to be improved.

We are working on several things in our simulated games. There are a lot of game situations and the players need to know what to do in certain circumstances. The coach does not yell out what needs to be done on each play. The players are completely responsible to know what to do in each situation. The coach then can discuss after a play if there is a need.

This is some great work on pitch identification. I think this part of the game is lacking in the amateur ranks.  We will all start to do more work on identifying pitches in our practices.

Baseball Scrimmages and Simulated Games

Scrimmages for the youth teams, there is usually a roster of 12-13 players. What needs to be done is section them off into 3-4 teams; this will assure you of enough fielders. You can also have coaches as fielders, the players really enjoy this. Make sure you do double innings so that you are not wasting time.

The roster for the high schools and colleges are usually 25-35 players, and it is important to keep everybody busy! The need for double or triple innings is even more important here because of the number of players.

This is not a game where one team wants to beat the other; it is mainly for work, teaching and fundamentals, and using your time properly. In each inning the number 5-9 hitters are in the batting cage, doing pickups, or playing pepper. They have to stay busy.

In college baseball there is usually a lot of pitchers, they need to stay busy also, with pitching, throwing, drills, running, or grounders. There is no such thing as getting to many grounders!

Then when something of importance happens on the field the coach should yell and get the attention of all and then he should explain what just happened.

Simulated Games are a little different because the coach is in control and can create a lot of situations. This should be done with most of the team except for the extra pitchers. They have their own program. Youth baseball there may be more of a need to do more simulated games; it is all up to how many games you play. But the main way to improve is DRILL, DRILL, and DRILL Some More!

High Schools and Colleges should have a minimal amount of scrimmages and simulated games. They should be drilling with a lot of hitting and fielding.

Coaching College Baseball

College Baseball Coaches please check out the coaching youth and high school baseball. There is a lot of information that you can use in your baseball program.

My goal is to get amateur baseball to start to do drills and stop all this scrimmaging and standing around! There should never be any standing around. Your players will never reach their full playing ability doing scrimmages.

It is important to have as many coaches as possible, to give a lot of individual attention. At the Junior College level there is a serious shortage of coaches, to work with the players. This is terrible as the players will never reach their full potential.

If you can only afford one or two coaches, go out into the community, and search for volunteers. I guarantee you will find some men with a lot of knowledge that are willing to help. They can work in the batting cage; hit fly balls, drills, and so much more. I guarantee that if you read and follow some of my ideas your players will improve!

Coaching High School Baseball

I have observed several years of high school baseball and have come to the conclusion; there is a lot of room for improvement. I will start this out by saying my total goal is to make the great game of baseball a better game for all that are involved.

First subject is the responsibility of a good high school baseball coach. He has to be a leader with his main goal, to make sure his student athletes, are giving their maximum effort as students and also on the diamond.

The coach has to make sure the players act in a proper manner, and represent their school in an appropriate way. On game day all players should wear a game day shirt to class. At banquets the players should all wear button shirts in front, wear dress pants, and nice shoes. You want your players to be the class of the school!

It is important for the head coach, to be a member of the local chamber of commerce, and do a lot of business glad handing. The coach needs to be a leader, strong character, and honest. You will not play politics with parents and players.

In the summer you need to have someone else run the summer team. Let the summer coach know what you would like to see him accomplish with the players. This is a partnership that has to work together for the better of the high school team. You will be getting reports from the summer coach on what the players are accomplishing.

Your summer should be spent with businesses, chamber of commerce, watching your high school summer team and your local youth teams in your city or area. You should know all your youth coaches from ages 12 and up and some of the players. It is important to spend time, enjoy and laugh with your summer coaches and players. There is a need to have a good relationship with your future player’s coaches.

The head coach  needs to have a meeting with the freshmen player’s previous coaches. You need to get as much input, advice, and anything that can help the high school program. The head coach has to understand that the freshmen previous coaches were all volunteers and most worked their rears off. There are some that are highly knowledgeable, and can help your program. You have to listen and discuss with the coaches on what they know on the players.

It is important that you have a meeting with the parents and players. This is essential, you have to introduce yourself to everybody, and then after the meeting you need to talk to and personally meet each parent. The meeting is to talk about rules and what you expect from the parents and players. Each coach should be introduced and explain what role he has with the team.

At your first practice you have a players meeting to discuss rules and expectations.

The main thing that needs to be done is to get away from scrimmages and standing around at practice. This is the main problem with high school, and colleges. I was watching a college baseball game on TV in the spring of 2009 and Orel Hershiser was the commentator. There was a play in the game, and he said “High Schools and Colleges all they do is Scrimmage.” He then said in the pros they do drills. I am a firm believer in drills, drills, repeat, and repeat. I guarantee, this is the best way to have your players improve! This is the number one area that can improve all of baseball,

Here are some examples, how does a basketball player, and a pool player, shoot better. They shoot a lot of repetitions. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Hitting, Pitching, and Fielding, drill and repeat, this has to be done for the players to improve to the maximum!

This scrimmaging and standing around is not helping the game to improve. The game at all levels is hard to watch sometimes because of the lack of drilling.

I believe in individual teaching in baseball which means there is a need for as many coaches as possible. I have some illustrations on the youth league coach link. If the school budget says you can only have 1-2 coaches you will surely need to get some volunteers.

You should by now have some good relationships with some of the players past summer coaches and you can ask for some volunteers. You also probably have some dads from your current roster that would like to help out. These volunteer coaches can pitch batting practice, run drills, cage work, and help to keep the players moving. If you have an ex high school, college, or pro in your area ask him for some help.

There is some additional information on coaching in the articles on Coaching Youth and College Baseball.