Baseball Video Analysis-Using it to coach

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Hitting Approach-How to coach the approach

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Youth Baseball Batting Practice-Tips for progress

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

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

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Bownet 7′ x 7′ Big Mouth Hitting Net Review

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Bownet 7′ x 7′ Big Mouth Hitting Net Review

Product: Bownet 7′ x 7′ Big Mouth Hitting NetBownet 7' x 7' Big Mouth

Price: $149.99

Cheapest Place To Buy: Amazon.com

Size: 7′ x 7′

Warranty: 1-year Limited Manufactures Warranty on Manufacturing Defects Only. Not normal wear and tear or abuse or damage due to an accident*. Bownet Bags-Roller and Carry Bags have a six-month warranty.

Rating: 9 out of 10



Bownet 7′ x 7′ Big Mouth

Bownet 7' x 7' Big MouthWhen you want to practice your hitting, you don’t always have a wide open field to go practice. There are times when you are going to get your hacks in at home. Sometimes you just want a player to get their swings in during practice on the side while you use the field for defensive work or live BP. No matter where you are the Bownet 7′ x 7′ Big Mouth hitting net will be there for you.

When I was a young up and coming ball player my coaches used to have us hit soft toss into the fence around the field or the backstop. That was fine until the Athletic Director at the school saw the giant dent we were putting in the chainlink fence. Then the soft toss ended.

Now there are hitting nets so your players can do soft toss or hit off a tee whenever they want wherever they want without damaging the property. The best part about the Bownet is that it will hold up better than the fence did.



The frame is the best part

Constructed with a heavy gauge, powder coated steel base the frame of the Bownet ist the strongest frame on the market. This support allows the net to stay balanced on any surface and withstand the hardest hit balls and comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

The portability of the Bownet is one of the best features. Portable and easy don’t always go hand in hand. However, Bownet has solved this by creating a one-piece base frame. With fewer parts to lose and a shorter set up time, this hitting net is truly portable.

 

 

The Big Mouth sets up in under 2 minutes allowing you to spend more time praBownet 7' x 7' Big Mouthcticing because there is nothing worse than having players stand around doing nothing as your practice time slips away while you set up equipment.

Specifications

• Set Up Time – 60 seconds
• Weight – 17 pounds
• Carry Bag Size – 47″ x 6″ x 5″


Some Cool Features

This hitting net comes with the base, net, two poles, two stakes and a carry bag. Everything you need to take your portable net anywhere you want to hit.

‹= Take your practices to the next level now =›

Bownet 7' x 7' Big MouthAs a bonus Bownet also offers you the ability to purchase replacement nets that come in several different colors. Also, there is a strike zone attachment so you can use the Bownet for practicing pitching.



SummaryBownet 7' x 7' Big Mouth

The Bownet 7′ x 7′ Big Mouth hitting net will allow you to take advantage of every opportunity to make better baseball players. Portability, durability and easy set up make this the best hitting net on the market and Hitting With Wood Approved!

 



Can you afford not to get one today? 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest