Baseball Video Analysis-Using it to coach

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Baseball Video Analysis-Using it to coach

Coaching is about making players better at every level. Whether you are coaching youth baseball or coaching pro baseball, your mission is to improve your player’s ability. Baseball video analysis helps coaches get players to reach their potential.

Baseball video analysis


The use of video analysis will assist you as a coach improve a player’s skills. Mike Trout, arguably the best hitter in the sport today, uses video to make sure his swing is the best it can be. If we are teaching our players to hit like the best players then why wouldn’t we use the same tools when they are available.



What you need

baseball video analysisIt used to be hard to use video to analyze a player, but now it is as simple as downloading an app on your smartphone. There are several apps available the one I prefer is Coach’s Eye. Power Chalk is another app that is available. The key to all of them is to find one and use it until you are comfortable with their system. Both of these apps are free and offer in-app purchases.


There are also computer programs that you can buy. Most are costly, and you need need to buy additional video cameras to use the system. RightView Pro offers packages ranging from $299 to $6,000. For a youth baseball coach, this is a huge of out-of-pocket expense.



Do you really know what you are looking at?
baseball video analysis

Knowing what you are looking at in a hitter’s mechanics is the essential part of using baseball video analysis to make yourself a better coach. Anybody can learn how to use an app. Knowing what you are looking for is a lot harder.


You must become versed in hitting mechanics. Immersing yourself in the world of baseball mechanics can be time-consuming. There are so many opinions about how we do things. I would strongly recommend that you research by reading and watching. When you read a book by a former or current authority on baseball, take their words and then watch what they are doing. In a lot of cases, you will find that there is a difference. What they do is not what they say.



So what is right or who should you follow?baseball video analysis

That is hard; I have found a handful of people that I trust. We start with Ted Williams. We end with Ted Williams. Ted was the greatest hitter of all time. He knew things about hitting and explained them in detail back in the 1930’s that people are just catching up to now.


My next resource is a combination of individuals. The gentlemen behind Epstein Hitting, dad, Mike played for Ted Williams. He got to work with Ted and listen to his teachings first hand. He has passed that knowledge down to his son Jake and others through his hitting instructor certification classes and his books. You can find more information online at Epstein Hitting Online Academy.


I also follow Bobby Tewksbary. Tewksbary Hitting is one of my favorite places to get hitting information because I know some of the guys that Bobby has worked with personally. They are on top of the mechanics and mental side of hitting like few others in the game today. Once you get on his website, you will be hooked if you have even an ounce of interest in how to hit a baseball. I would recommend getting his book Elite Swing Mechanics.


Finally, I think that the information put out by Sean T Plouffe at Hitterish.com. Sean talks about a lot of the mechanics of a great swing. He has a lot of videos that reinforce what he is teaching.



Hitting always comes back to Ted Williams

baseball video analysisThe thing that you will find when you visit all of these sites and read or watch the material that they present is that they are all doing what Ted Williams said was happening over 70 years ago. I am not taking anything away from these guys. I think they are great but if Ted Williams had the video analysis and the internet, I wonder if any of these guys would have a job today.



Some things you might not know you don’t know

Unless you have been studying the baseball swing for the last 15 years, there are things that you have probably learned that you shouldn’t have. Vidoe has brought an understanding to hitting mechanics that we just didn’t have when we were growing up. If you have not played baseball in a progressive program withing the last ten years you need to do your players a favor and catch up on hitting.

Understanding hitting mechanics will allow you to look at the swing of your players and determine if they are getting their foot down early or learning to use their stride and balance to keep inside the baseball and hit every pitch. You will be able to see if a player is long to the ball or short and quick allowing more time for pitch recognition. Are your player’s getting on plane and staying there or are they swinging down, looping or pulling off?



How to use your baseball video analysis system

The biggest problem with using video analysis is getting a good video to analyze. When taking video make sure that the angle you are using will allow you to see the particular mechanic you would like to address. If you are working on the leg drive of a player, you have to get video from the opposite batter’s box. If you are slightly in front of or behind the hitter, you will not get the angles you need to measure correctly.


When you are looking for hand path, you will want to use video that is taken from directly behind, or in front of the hitter. If you are trying to see if a player’s hands are released too early in the swing process, you may not get a good angle from the opposite batter’s box view.


As the person getting the video, you will also want to keep in mind that having a reference point in the background is very helpful. Using a backstop or another player works in live game video. When you are in a batting cage see if you can find a grid to use as a backdrop.


A good analyzer can look at a bad video and make good suggestions. However, getting the right video will make it a lot easier to definitively correct poor mechanics.



Analyze the video

Now that you have a good foundation of hitting mechanic knowledge, an app on your smartphone and a good video, you need to break it down. To thoroughly analyze the video, you must have a system. Most hitting guys will tell you to start from the ground up and I don’t disagree. The legs are the most important part of any sport including baseball.


After addressing the legs, you will move up the body ending with the hands. The sequence of analyzing will go feet, legs, hips, shoulders, head, then hands. If you follow this process, you will never miss something in a hitter’s swing.



Don’t get stuck on one swing

When using video to analyze your players you need to remember that the video does not lie. However, you can see things that are there because of something that happened outside of the frame. When breaking down a player’s mechanics you can’t use just one example. Make sure you get a few samples for each hitter. Something that is wrong in one swing may not be a habit. It could be an adjustment to a variable like pitch location or speed.


Breaking down video will help you develop young players if you use it the right way. Be sure to educate yourself on the mechanics you are analyzing. The best tool any coach has is their knowledge of the game.

Thank you,

Coach Wood

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Hitting Approach-How to coach the approach

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Hitting Approach-How to coach the approachhitting approach

Every hitting coach I ever talk to uses the term “approach” when talking to a player about hitting. Almost every player I talk to about hitting has no idea what that coach is talking about until you start asking them questions. This post is going to help coaches teach a hitting approach and get players to understand what they are learning.



What is a Hitting Approach?

The first thing we have to do is define a hitting approach. A hitting approach is simply the plan that the batter is going to use during an at-bat. Things like offensive philosophy, where a batter is going to position themselves, what pitch the batter is looking for and where the batter wants to hit the ball are all things that make up their approach.


A hitting approach is flexible. Meaning that what your approach is during your first at bat of a game may not be what it is in the 3rd at-bat of the same game. An approach is so flexible in fact that it may change from one pitch to the next during an at-bat. As the situation changes so must the approach.


An example would be a batter comes up to the plate with a runner on first base. On the second pitch of the at-bat, the base runner steals second base. The hitter just went from being a mover to being a producer. This changes where they are trying to place the ball and what pitch they are probably looking to hit thus changing the approach.



Coach the approach

hitting approachThat brings us to the hard part, how do we teach such a flexible thing to kids. As a coach, I believe in keeping things simple. Start with explaining the fundamentals of offensive situational baseball. Tell your players about the three things that every hitter can be. An “on-er,” someone that gets on base. Or a “mover,” someone who pushes the runner into scoring position. Finally a “producer,” a hitter that drives in runners from scoring position.


Which one of those three a batter is will not be defined by their position in the batting order but by the situation of the baseball game. If your four-hitter is leading off the second inning, he is an “on-er.” His job is to get on base, put pressure on the defense and help the team.


hitting approachUnderstanding what their mission is at the plate will help a player start to build their approach. The player also has to know how they are going to use their strengths as a hitter to battle the strengths of the pitcher. Your cleanup hitter is probably not going to be bunting to move a runner over even if they are in the role of a “mover.” When your number 9 hitter is in the position of “producer,” they may be looking to get a safety squeeze down to drive a run in.



I know me. Do you know me?

Starting with the basics a player needs to know themselves. Some hitters are very confident, they know the strike zone and know they can make contact on most pitches. Other players aren’t so sure they, maybe they swing and miss a lot or have a weakness for chasing that ball at the eyes, so many kids have a hard time laying off.hitting approach


As coaches, we have to help each player develop their approach accordingly. I remember struggling my sophomore year in high school. My coach pulled me to the side and said,”You know you get three strikes every at-bat don’t you?” He then told me that I should never come back to the bench unless I put a ball in play or swung and missed three times. That was my approach, swing and hope you make contact. Not the best approach but that’s what the coach wanted until I snapped out of my funk.



Take care when coaching

We use phrases as coaches to get our players to do things. We have to be careful who we are saying certain things too. You don’t want to confuse a player by contradicting their approach with a coaching phrase.


Some of the phrases I hear are, “box it up,” or “see ball hit ball.” To me, that means two different things. “Box it up” means be selective pick a zone and don’t swing unless it is in that zone. Whereas “see ball hit ball” means if you pick the ball up early swing at it.



What are we talking about?

So now we have an understanding of what we want to teach when we are talking about a hitting approach. How are we going to get our players to understand what we are teaching them?


The first thing we need to explain is that an approach is a plan and like Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Our hitters need to know that their plan is going to change. They need to take the time to think through an at-bat.


In youth baseball, I group everything into four levels. You have straight instructional baseball. This level includes T-ball and coach pitch into the first year of kid pitch. Then there are transitional baseball beginners; this level would be kid pitch baseball on the smaller fields including modified fields. Players then move up to advanced transitional baseball. This level is when the players are on a full sized diamond for the first couple of years mostly middle school, Babe Ruth and Senior League type baseball. Finally, there is competitive baseball. Competitive baseball  I would consider to be anything from J.V. through varsity high school, 16u and up travel teams and Legion baseball.



Instructional Baseball

hitting approachWhen you are talking to younger players at the instructional levels, they can have a simple plan.
With T-ball players, it may be as simple as explaining that the where they stand in the box affects where they are going to hit the ball. For a player that is facing live pitching for the first time, they may want to deal with the speed of the pitch. With a fast pitcher, they may want to go into the box and think to get my foot down early and stay middle/opposite. They can be successful as long as they have a plan and know what that plan is.



Transitional baseball beginnersHitting approach

The approaches we teach players as transitional baseball beginners are a little more complicated but need to be widdled down to their simplest form for each pitch of each at-bat. There are more situations in a baseball game the older a player gets. The approach gets complicated only to the degree that you have to have more than one approach so you can hit in all situations.


Transitional baseball beginners are dealing with stealing and pitchers and catchers that are more consistent. Pitchers are going to throw strikes, and runners are going to change positions on the field during an at-bat. Players need to be able to adjust their approach based on the situation.


Younger players are less likely to think along with the game. They are learning and don’t have years of experiences to draw upon for guidance. As a coach, you are going to want to make sure you have a system in place to help that during an at-bat or a game when circumstances change.


When there are runners on base, you have signs that you give to a batter to let them know if you want them to bunt or hit and run. Therefore, you should have an indication to change their approach. The signs don’t have to be complicated you don’t even have to hide them. Give a verbal command like, “Now you’re a mover.” If your players understand offensive situational baseball, they will be able to understand you and what the team needs their approach to be.



Advanced transitional baseball

Hitting approachAdvanced transitional baseball brings on a new set of challenges. Though a lot of coaches treat this level as competitive, I still consider it an instructional level. At this level, you are still teaching a lot about the game of baseball. The introduction of leading is a new concept for some players at this level. Also, the size of the field changes what players can do with the ball on offense and defense.


A player’s hitting approach is going to be modified as well. Hitters may be changing their primary roles as they move up. A kid who was hitting 220-foot home runs the year before may now be asked to drive the ball in the gap to the opposite field because that same ball is a 220-foot pop-up now. So being a producer has gone from meaning hit a home run to get a base hit.


Players at this level should be asked to think along with the game more as well. As a coach, you are going to review a player’s decisions more as opposed to helping them make the decision. By letting them make the decision, you assist the player to learn to deal with critical thinking in high-pressure situations. We can do it for them or teach them to do it for themselves.



Competitive baseballHitting approach

Now the fun part, competitive baseball. At this level, a player must know how to adjust their hitting approach between pitches or even have two approaches for a pitch. That is an odd concept for some players.


A player is stepping into a situation where pitchers can throw multiple pitches to several locations in almost any situation. I like to think of this as logic and “what if” preparation.


Logic says the pitcher is going to try to get ahead early, so I am thinking fastball middle away. What if he decides that I am looking fastball, so he is going to throw a curve. Now I have an approach for both. I should be able to pick up a high school curve from release, so there is plenty of time to adjust if I have a plan before the pitcher releases the ball.



The key

Hitting approachThe key to teaching hitting approach at any level is going to depend on the player’s knowledge of the game and the coach’s ability to communicate the team’s needs to that player. With the combination of those two things, players will become better hitters, and better hitters make better teams.


Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to “Coach the Approach.” I would love to hear back from you after you apply this at any level. I am sure that it won’t take long for the results to show.

Thank you,

Coach Wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Youth Baseball Batting Practice-Tips for progress

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Youth Baseball Batting Practice-Tips for progressYouth baseball batting practice

Most youth baseball coaches miss out on one of the best opportunities available to them. Youth baseball batting practice is the most underutilized tool in the coach’s toolbox. Have you ever asked yourself, how can I get more out of my team’s offense?



Failing your players

Most youth baseball batting practice goes like this. The coach stands on the mound with a bucket of balls. The players go out to their positions, and any extra players fill in space between them. One player stands in the batter’s box and hits while the other players try to make plays.


This system allows the coach to throw fewer pitches to the batter. The players in the field do nothing productive, and the first five hitters usually get a good BP session after that the coach rushes everybody else through because of time restrictions.



So how should youth baseball batting practice be run?

First, we have to agree that batting practice is practice for the hitters. You are going to focus your attention on getting as many swings as you can for each player on your team. Defense is not that important.



Hitting groups

Now that we are in agreement let’s move on to the process. For the sake of this discussion, we are going to usYouth baseball batting practicee a hypothetical team that has 12 players. To run this system effectively, you will create hitting groups. Try to make the groups even. On our team, we have four groups of three hitters.

Group one is usually the top 3 hitters in the batting order. One player is the batter while the next player will be on deck. The third player will be doing soft toss with another coach or tee work on their own.



Workstations

The batter will be in the batter’s box, or I prefer to move them back a couple of feet from backstop so that fewer balls leave the field. The coach will be throwing pitches to this batter from a distance of about 25 tYouth baseball batting practiceo 3o feet, not the full distance.


The on deck batter will be in a place where they are not going to get hit by stray balls but can still see the coach. While this player is waiting, they should be doing dry swing drills. Working to maintain or improve their swing mechanics.


Youth baseball batting practiceThe third batter will set up at the hitting net. Working on solid mechanics not trying to see how hard they can hit a ball into a net 5 feet in front of them.


Running BP this way is going to keep three hitters all woking on getting swings at the same time because youth baseball batting practice is about the batter.


What happens during bad BP

That sets up the how of batting practice now we need to explain what we are going to do. Most coaches just throw ball after ball to the batter that is at the plate. Some hitters will see 20 to 30 pitches in a row. Trying to get a player to hit the ball is hard work. Repetition is necessary. However, you have to remember that most players will only swing on average 2 to 4 times in a given at bat. If they get four at-bats in a game, the are only looking at taking 16 swings. So taking 30 swings in a row during batting practice is going to make them tired.


 

When players begin to get tired, they start to compensate. Compensation creates bad habits. In conclusion, what you are doing to try to help your players is probably hurting them. Therefore, spacing the swings out and giving them a purpose is what you should be trying to do instead.



Running a good BPYouth baseball batting practice

Youth baseball batting practice will be broken down into three rounds. In the first round, you will have your players go through some situational hitting. Next, you will work on developmental hitting. Last you will do a round of free swings to see if the player incorporates what they have worked on into a game swing.



Situational hitting

The situational hitting round covers fundamentals needed to manufacture runs. Sacrifice bunting, bunting for a hit, moving a runner into scoring position with a hit, and sacrificing in a run according to the defense, i.e., infield in or back, are necessary skills every hitter should possess.
Youth baseball batting practice


When doing situational hitting, the coach should ask every player on the team to get a sacrifice bunt down. Some of the faster players you may want to have practice bunting for a hit as well. You should also work on moving a runner with the infield in by hitting a ball in the air. Next, you will want to work on getting runners over hitting behind the runner. After this, you will want to work on the hitter getting sacrificing runs in when the infield is playing in by hitting a ball in the air to the outfield. Finally, you will work on getting a sacrifice to get a runner to score when the infield is back by hitting a ball on the ground.


Situational hitting gave your hitter two bunts and three to five swings in the first round. Now you will move on to the second round in your youth baseball batting practice.



Developmental hitting

Youth baseball batting practiceIn the developmental hitting round, you are going to be working on your player’s ability to focus all of their effort on mechanics. Good mechanics are going to help a player hit the ball to all fields, but the best way to work on them is to hit the ball back up the middle or to the opposite field. Pulling the ball happens all by itself it takes discipline to stay back and hit middle/opposite.


The developmental round will consist of hitting 6 to 8 balls middle/opposite. If a player is struggling, you can give them a couple of extra but no more than ten swings.



Swing awayYouth baseball batting practice

The final round of a quality youth baseball batting practice is the one the players like the best. Free swings are exactly that. Now that you have worked on team needs and player development the players get to show off what they can do. It is alright for players to pull the ball in this round. As a coach, you are going to throw eight to ten pitches to each player watching to ensure that they are maintaining their form as they try to hit the ball all out.


You will run through the remaining groups the same way. All of your players will get a couple of bunts and between 17 and 23 swings. More importantly, the hitters are strong because the swings are spread out over three rounds. This BP system ensures that they are getting useful quality swings and not developing bad habits along the way.



Everyone else

Keeping in mind that youth baseball batting practice is for the hitter you may want just to have the other players shagging in the outfield. However, because youth baseball practice is limited, you may want to run some other defensive drills during this practice time.


Youth baseball batting practiceAs long as you have qualified assistant coaches, you can have infielders taking ground balls between pitches. The outfielders can work on fly balls as well. The coach hitting the extra balls must make sure to only hit them in areas where it is safe.  Only hit extra balls between pitches to the batter. The other option would be to shield the players with a protective net in a designated fielding area.


Another thing that you can incorporate is to have the batter run out his last swing. Running it out will allow the fielders to try to make a play. It also gives each hitter a chance to do some baserunning.


Run all of the extra defensive drills like any other drills you run in practice. Do every drill with the purpose of getting better. You don’t want defense interrupting your hitter’s efforts to get better.

Thank you,

Coach Wood

 

 

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Free Youth Baseball Practice Plan Template

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Free Youth Baseball Practice Plan TemplateFree youth baseball practice plan template

Are you coaching by the seat of your pants? Are you like a lot of new youth baseball coaches showing up to practice with your bucket of balls and a couple of bats then figuring out what to do next? I will tell you that the difference between a good team and great team starts with the coach’s preparation. You have to have a practice plan. This article is a free youth baseball practice plan template that will help you to be ready when training starts.



Coaches who do not have a plan for BP hold their teams back.

Your players won’t reach their full potential if you are scratching your head thinking about what to teach them or how you are going to do it. To begin with, you need to ask yourself a few questions Who, what, when, where, why and how.

  • Who are you trying to improve? (pitchers, hitters, fielders, baserunners, offense, defense)
  • What are you going to do to help them improve? (drills, exercise, mental)
  • When are you going help them during practice? (beginning, middle, end)
  • Where do you want to implement this on the field? (infield, outfield, batting cage, tee station)
  • Why do your player’s need this help? (no power, no velocity, poor mechanics, lack knowledge)
  • How to you get them to improve? (what way will they learn best)Free youth baseball practice plan template

These questions will help you to prepare a youth baseball practice plan that will make your practice efficient.



The standard template


Youth Baseball Practice Plan: Date

Two hr. time 6:00 to 8:00 (Note amount of time you have and when)

6:00 – WARM UP/ STRETCH (10 min. throw, 10 min. stretch.)

6:20 – Individual Defense Drill 1 (insert what drills you want to do see example below)

Infield – Soft Hands, Quick Feet.

Infielders will pair up. One ball for two players. Players will not need gloves for this drill. Players stand to face each other about 8 to 10 feet apart. One player gets ready to field the other to toss. Player 1 rolls the ball to player two the ball is caught and then reversed. The players switch roles and do the same thing. Then the ball is rolled to the players right. The player shuffles feet to get in front of the ball and fields it. Then reverse. Finally, roll the ball to the left, and the player will shuffle feet to get in front of the ball and field it. Then it is reversed.

Outfield – Drop Step, Open Hips

Outfielders pair up. One ball for two players. Players face each other. Player 1 is active player two is tossing. The second player throws the ball to the right of player 1. Player 1 takes a drop step opens hips in the direction the ball is going and runs under it catches it and tosses it back to player 2. Then the drill is repeated except the ball is thrown to the left. Then the drill repeated with the ball being thrown straight back over the player’s head. After all three tosses, the players switch and repeat the drill.

6:45 – Individual Defense Drill 2 (insert drills that you want to do)

Water Break

7:00 – Infield/ Outfield (Be sure to note times that you want to start each new segment)

All players take their positions. Start with the outfield. The fielders will throw the ball to second base. Setup cutoffs. Then each player gets a ball and throws to third base. Followed by throws to home plate. After that, you move to the infield each position will get one to 2 balls hit to them and throw to first base. Then all players will get a ball to turn a double play. Finish with all infielders getting a ball hit to them and throwing to home plate.

7:20 to 7:30ish – Team Defense – Situational Baseball

Set up your defense. Use all extra players as base runners. Give them situations. Example (Runner on first nobody out.) Then hit a ball let the defense make the play and see what happens. Make corrections where needed and redo the play if necessary. After three outs you should replace base runners with players from the field. You control everything.

7:50 – Run

Have players line up at home plate and run to the right field foul pole and back together. Then team runs to left field foul pole and back together.

7:55 – Finish  

Clean up equipment. Talk about practice. Release to parents.

 

Note: MAKE A POSITIVE STATEMENT TO END PRACTICE!


The information above is a basic template for laying out your practice. Understanding what you want to do, where it is going to take place on the field, and when you are going to do it is a perfect way to start.



What to do and with whom

You have to come up with different drills to improve parts of your team’s abilities. Knowing several drills is very helpful when creating your youth baseball practice plan. The problem is if you are like most coaches just getting started you may not have played baseball since high school or college. You may have a limited number of drills you know or might not remember exactly how you did them. You are going to need a library of drills and advice you can lean on.



Resources

I like to get advice from coaches that are successful and engaged in the game of baseball. Coach Free youth baseball practice plan templateTube is an excellent reference for all things related to coaching baseball. You will get to watch videos of drills and techniques on hitting, pitching, fielding and baserunning. Some of these videos are free and others you will have to buy, but most of them are worth it.


Another great resource is Playsportstv.com. Play Sports TV allows you to access video courses Free youth baseball practice plan templatefor baseball. You will be able to watch over 200 videos, get 20 step by step practice plans, and print field notes and tips. All of this information is available for a monthly fee, but it comes with a free 3-day trial, so there is no risk.


When it comes to helping young players the best tool you have is your knowledge of the game. Nobody knows everything about baseball. We have been playing this game for over 100 years. Being able to pick the brains of multiple high-level coaches and former players can only improve upon what you already know.



So answer the questionsFree youth baseball practice plan template

Who

Now that you know what the youth baseball practice plan looks like it is time to make your own. Grab your paper and a pen. Pick the players that you are trying to help, for example, pitchers.


What

Choose the drill that is going to help them become better pitchers, i.e., bucket drill for accuracy. At this point, you will need to decide when during practice this drill best fits.


When

At this stage, you will need to decide when during practice this drill best fits. Since the pitchers are going to throw a lot of balls, so you need them to be warmed up but fresh. Right after stretching and warm-up tosses would be good.


Where

Now you need to pick a spot. If you put them on the mound, you won’t be able to get anything done on the field. You will need to use the bullpen area or create a spot on the side for this drill.


Why

You need to explain to the pitchers why you want them to become more accurate. Accuracy also allows pitchers to throw more strikes where the batter doesn’t want to hit it. If a pitcher can locate a ball where he wants, he can keep a hitter off balance.  Make sure your players know why they are doing a drill they will work harder at it.


How

You have to know how your pitchers are going to understand this drill the best. What teaching method are you going to use? Are you going to tell them, or show them, or will you let them do it and correct them along the way. A good coach knows his players.



Break it all down

You have a good foundation for building your youth baseball practice plan. You will be able to get the most out of your team with the limited time you have to work with them. Now all you have to do is get out there and make it all happen.


With the desire of the players and discipline of the coach a group of individual baseball players can become a team, most of all you have to have a plan. Start with a good youth baseball practice plan.

Thank you,

Coach Wood

 

 

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Baseball Coaching Tools – Coach’s Bag

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Baseball Coaching Tools – Coach’s BagBaseball coaching tools

All coaches need a coach’s bag. Most don’t realize that they already have one though. It is one of the most important baseball coaching tools. The coach’s
bag is full of everything you need to teach baseball on the field. You bring it to every practice and every game. Every coach should make one. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?


This article will give you an idea of what you need to be prepared to coach. All these things make up the staples of the coach’s bag.



What’s in the baseball coaching tools – coach’s bag?

This is a list of the basic items that make up my coach’s bag. You may find that you don’t need some of the items or you may want to add others. It is your bag so customize it to meet your needs.

  • Fungo Bat (Don’t leave home without it)
  • Wiffle balls
  • Batting Tee (must have at every level)
  • Field cones
  • Glove (best tool for self-defense)
  • Dry erase line-up board/note board
  • Training paddle glove
  • a few indoor balls (soft core t-balls)
  • a few new baseballs
  • First aid kit (might be provided by the league but you have to have it, get extra ice packs)
  • Athletic tape (used for everything from bumps and bruises to fixing broken shoelaces)
  • Pens / pencils
  • Sharpie
  • Notepad (small pocket size for taking notes during practice. Great for good post practice or post game speeches)
  • Scorebook or scorekeeping app for a phone. (See batting out of order in Little League rules post)
  • Pitch counter
  • Water cooler
  • Collapsable pitching screen/hitting net
  • Pitching machine.

I know that is quite a list but you have to remember that I have been coaching for 28 years. Some of these items are must haves and others you can acquire as you see need over time.



Why you need this?

The items at the top of the list are must have items. Some things may be provided to you by the organization you are coaching for. Some items you may have to go get yourself.


Baseball coaching toolsA first aid kit, game balls and practice balls should all be provided for you by the organization that you are coaching for. If they are not going to provide these things you should look for a new organization to associate yourself with. These items you can’t practice without.Baseball coaching tools



Add on your own

You will probably have to get your own fungo bat, Wiffle balls, batting tee, field cones, training paddle glove and pitch counter. These items are important on-field baseball coaching tools. When it comes time to set up a drill during practice or getting ready for a game you don’t want to start hunting for the items you need to get the job done properly. Efficiency is a sign of a great coach.


Some of the other things on the list like a glove, pens, pencils, sharpies, and a notepad you may already have at your house. Athletic tape is everywhere. Pick up multiple rolls.

Baseball coaching tools


A dry erase line-up/note board is a great tool to have in the dugout you can post the line-up before the game so everyone knows where they are playing and where they are hitting. I like to write something inspirational on the note side so the players get a little fired up.

 


Indoor balls are very useful if you are going to have practice time in a gym or place where the hard real baseball if going to be frowned upon. Having a half dozen or so on hand for random drills is a good idea as well.


When you are practicing your players are working hard. You need to make sure they are hydrated. I prefer that all the players bring their own water but sometimes you have a couple of players that forget. Having a team water container is a good thing. Just make sure you keep it clean.



The Big Stuff

Baseball coaching tools

Baseball coaching tools

When it comes to the collapsible nets, I prefer to have my own for outdoor practice. Some fields or
organizations will provide them but not very often. As the kids you coach get older you are going to want the protection that a pitching screen provides. The hitting net is a really nice tool to have right from T-ball. Being able to have a player working on their swing off to the side during practice is a great way to keep players involved and productive. Don’t forget the tee.


If you are a coach that has a hard time throwing batting practice strikes you might want to invest in a pitching machine. They are incredibly diverse. Some are simple lever mechanisms. Others need to be plugged in and can do other things besides pitch baseballs.


The last thing I am going to go over from the list is the scorebook. You must keep track of the score during the game. If it is you personally or a parent in the stands make sure you do this. The rules of baseball are such that you have to keep track of things like the batting order or things can get really confusing.



Where do you get all these items?

There are items on the list that are pretty easy to find. First aid kits and athletic tape you can get at any drugstore or sporting goods store. Other items on the list are a little more challenging such as fungo bats and training gloves, both are items that you may have never seen or heard of until you took on the coaching challenge.


Whether you are looking for a new fungo or a pitching machine you can check out the Product Reviews on Hitting With Wood. We review a lot of different equipment to make sure that we recommend only the best for you. Most of the time we will give multiple options based on different price points. We want you to get what you need. No sense in spending $2,000 on a pitching machine for an eight-year-old team if you are not going to coach again.



Portable in the end

Baseball coaching toolsYou are going to bring your bag with you to practice and to games. I have a bag that has my game items and a bag for practice. I use a gym bag to carry all my practice items. Most of the collapsible nets will come with a carry bag and a couple of velcro straps make carrying a tee easy.


Therefore when you are setting up at your next practice it will be comforting to know that everything you need for practice is ready to go. Due to the cost of these items, you will want to be sure to collect them at the end of every practice or game. The cost of the tools in your coach’s bag will be offset by the number of years you use them and the countless players that will benefit from your time and effort.

Thank you,

Coach Wood

 

 

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