STAY SHARP

TIPS AND DRILLS

Infielder Slides

Get two softballs and place them in front of you about 10 feet apart start in the middle and shuffle your feet like you are trying to get to a ball without crossing touch each ball 10 times.

Place another ball 10 feet in front of the two balls in the center of them so it makes a triangle start on the front ball and shuffle at a 45 degree angle touching the front ball 10 times.

You will see a significant increase in fielding range and anticipation.

Cheer

Always cheer on your teammates. Encourage them. Cheering can make or break a game.

Attitude

Always have the right attitude so the coach will know that you’re there to play.

Softball

Never give up if you are playing outfield or infield. Give your all! NEVER GIVE UP!!

PLAY 110% WHEREVER YOUR COACH TELLS YOU TO GO.

Line Drive Hitting

Grab an old bat that you won’t mind damaging. Stand next to a pole or fence and extend your arm out so that you barely touch the fence. If you swing and hit the fence you have done it wrong.

Glove Drill

Players stand facing each other about 3-4 feet apart. With their glove on and using only their glove hand they pass the ball to each other. Do not use the dominate hand (bare hand) at all. Works to control and to develop coordination with the non-dominate hand. As they get more experienced increase the distance between them.

Set Goals

All athletes can improve their athletic performance by determining goals and outlining steps that they can take to achieve those goals.

Recovery After Injuries

Active rest will help in recovery and regeneration after sports related injuries. A brisk walk or slow swim is considered active rest. Also, a sports massage will help reduce muscle fatigue.

Safety Equipment

It is important that your safety equipment be well fitted. Safety equipment is not effective when it does not fit properly.

Training

Do not increase training time or intensity by more than 10% at a time. This should help reduce injuries.

Increase Your Speed

Utilize proper running mechanics and run uphill (or use resistance chutes)to increase your running speed.

Challenge Yourself

Don’t simply practice the skills that you are good at. Challenge yourself to learn new skills and practice them. The more you learn and master, the more valuable you are to your team!

Healthy Living

Make healthy choices off the field. Don’t smoke, eat healthy and get enough sleep.

Practice

Arrive at scheduled practices early, stay late and work hard while you are there.

Performance Growth

Listen to your coach. A coach not only determines your play time, a coach is also a valuable resource because coaches generally want to help you grow and develop as a player, and they will have training and experience to help make it happen.

Hitting

To improve hitting skills, players need to observe the pitcher before the game, swing at the first pitch, and use bunts to their advantage. To be a better player, work to increase your speed, be versatile and anticipate each ball will be the one you will hit.

Running

Have the kids do Runs for 10 minutes and that should get them pumped for the game.

Baseball Hitting

Hard work and discipline will get you far in life. Hit 100 to 300 balls at batting pratice, and learn to have a good strike zone. Swing only at strikes and you will be amazed how well of a hitter you will become. P.S., hit every other day and you will see results over night.

Tips

Do Leg Ups everyday and you will see a huge difference.

Believe

Keep up your grades and practice everyday. Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything.

Discovering Your Talent

Discovering your talent starts from the classroom. Keep making good grades and see the difference in your talent discovery.

Injuries

When you are hurt tell someone — don’t cover it up and say you are fine if you are not!

Circle Bases

Split team into 2 one at home base and other at 2nd base throw them both a ball then they run the bases with speed and touching every base and when get back to the base they throw their ball to the other player across the field to take their turn.

Hitting Tips

Many hitters get confused when they hear the phrase “Good extension”. When hitters swing at a pitch they end up extending their arms to early, this causes their swings to become long and slow. The trick is to keep your swing short until you reach the point of contact. Once you reach the point of contact, then you extend thru the ball.

“Short to the ball…Long thru the ball”. Use your hands to get to the ball and extend your arms to get thru the ball. Once a hitter masters those mechanics along with transferring their weight they will see a significant difference in bat speed and power.

If your team make throwing mistakes…

Make them all go to shortstop and hold a ball. Put a coach at first base and throw it; then do it with their eyes closed until they can make a decent throw and keep doing that.

Hitting Help

When going up to bat try not to be tense it will make you uncomfortable. If you are step out of the baters box and breath in through your nose and out of your mouth and take your time if the pitcher is throwing fast don’t be scared to get hit just stay back in the box because the faster it is the faster and even maybe farther the ball will carry. Find a comfortable position and remember to have fun.

Error Drill

If your team makes a lot of errors, and constantly cannot recover, practice making errors and recovering from them.
Set up infield positions and hit light ground balls where the fielder must “field” the ground ball with their glove closed. Once the ball hits the closed glove they can throw to the appropriate base.

Bats

Aluminum Bats

Aluminum bats have been around since the 1970s. Only in recent years has there arisen a debate over their safety. While bat speed is best achieved with lightweight aluminum bats, balls come off them faster, creating a “trampoline” effect, resulting in more player injuries. That led to the thinking that wood bats are safer for kids. For this reason, wood bats are making somewhat of a comeback. In response to the concern, tougher regulations on metal bats, coupled with ongoing technology, have resulted in safer aluminum bats without compromising performance. It really comes down to preference between the coaches, the parents, and eventually the players themselves.

Some pros of aluminum baseball bats: Durable, Lightweight, easier to swing, Larger sweet spot, Great for kids and amateur players, Confidence-building, Available in a variety of lengths and weights.

Cons: Aluminum bats can be more unsafe due to the speed at which they can be swung, and the speed at which balls come off the bat.

Composite Bats

These baseball bats have been around for awhile, but only recently have they begun to earn more respect. For years graphite bats were thought of as being strong, but didn’t hold up as well as aluminum. In the late 1990s, companies began to introduce carbon fiber composite bats. While they were durable, they didn’t perform well. Things changed around the turn of the new century, and by 2001 the Louisville Slugger Genesis slow-pitch composite softball bat had become one of the top performing bats, rendering itself tough competition to aluminum. The only problem was durability. Today, there are a number of all-composite bats to choose from, mostly slow-pitch bats. For serious softball players, composite bats are the standard. There are a few composite models of baseball bats, but kids, and college-age players are preferring aluminum.

How do I know which baseball bat is best for me, or my child?

Comfort is the key to choosing the right bat. How does it feel when you’re swinging it? Before you buy, borrow a few bats, mix up the makes and models, and take them down to the batter’s box. A general rule: lighter bats create more speed, heavier bats generate more force. Experts agree that a great swing comes down to one thing: the mechanics of the bat. Tip: thicker-handled bats are great for line drivers; thinner-handled bats for power hitters.

One thing is for sure, there is a lot of physics involved in hitting the ball. So there’s been lots of technology put into designing bats. Great hitting involves a couple of things: contacting the ball squarely, and bat speed. Combining these two elements will drive the ball farther and faster. The right bat will support these elements. It will be one you can control well, and are comfortable swinging. Lighter weights, particularly when it comes to a linear swing, can achieve that.

How do I fit my child into a baseball bat?

Swinging success and enjoyment play huge roles in matching your child to the right baseball bat. Proper training, coupled with correct sizing, will accomplish that. Parents or coaches may train the child, but overlook the length or weight of the bat. When the child has difficulty mastering the swing, the bat becomes an obstacle to their success. Baseball becomes a frustrating experience for the child, the parents, and coaches. In other words, it isn’t enough to train them how to swing. Getting the correct size will make all the difference.

Older, more experienced players can usually pick a favorite bat by what feels right. For the younger players who rely on their parents to choose the right bat, it is necessary that parents know a thing or two, in order to make the right choice.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the right bat for your child: materials, length, weight, barrel sizes, and models for various abilities. Check the recommendations of the bat’s company for correct sizing, or follow the general guidelines. Make sure you have a bat with the correct length-to-weight ratio, which will be the negative number printed on the bat.

When you’ve found the correct-sized bat, have the child hold it out in front of them with one hand. The child should be able to hold it securely for 20 to 30 seconds. Next, have them swing the bat. If they can do so comfortably and smoothly, then you may have a good match.

If the store will allow, borrow a few bats. Or borrow teammates’ bats. Take them down to the batter’s cage and try them out. Let your player swing a few until you land the one that feels right.

The right ball bat really comes down to how well the batter comes close to hitting the sweet spot. This can be best achieved with a lighter bat to maintain bat speed. Tip: if the bat’s too long, the weight will be too far out from the hands, making it more difficult to swing than a short bat. Shoot for the lightest bat for the correct length, which might mean a little pricier high tech alloy as opposed to less expensive aluminum, which will tend to run a little heavier due to thicker walls.

How do I know when my child is ready to move up a size?

Moving up to a larger ball bat kind of comes down to the child, how the swing feels, and common sense. About every couple of years, check your child’s measurements to be sure they’re still within range of correct bat sizes using regulation guidelines. If they’re out of range, it’s time to move up. By about age 11 or 12, a child may be moving up to the youth bat. The barrel will be a little bigger, about 2-1/2 inches compared to 2-1/4 inches. The length-to-weight ratio will go up from about a -8 to a -5, preparing them for a smooth transition to a professional series bat a couple years later. By about age 14, the child should be swinging a pro series baseball bat.

Charts for Determining Ball Bat Length

The general rule is, the taller the person, the longer the ball bat. Use the following charts to assist with choosing the right length bat:

Bat Length by Age Bat Length
5-7 years 24″ – 26″
8-9 years 26″ – 28″
10 years 28″ – 29″
11-12 years 30″ – 31″
13-14 years 31″ – 32″
15-16 years 32″ – 33″
17+ years 34″
Bat Length by Weight and Height
3′-3’4″ 3’5″-3’8″ 3’9″-4′ 4’1″-4’4″ 4’5″-4’8″ 4’9″-5′ 5’1″-5’4″ 5’5″-5’8″ 5’9″-6′ 6’1″ +
under 60 lbs 26″ 27″ 28″ 29″ 29″
61 – 70 lbs 27″ 27″ 28″ 29″ 30″ 30″
71 – 80 lbs 28″ 28″ 29″ 30″ 30″ 31″
81 – 90 lbs 28″ 29″ 29″ 30″ 30″ 31″ 32″
91 – 100 lbs 29″ 29″ 30″ 30″ 31″ 31″ 32″
101 – 110 lbs 29″ 29″ 30″ 30″ 31″ 31″ 32″
111 – 120 lbs 29″ 29″ 30″ 30″ 31″ 31″ 32″
121 – 130 lbs 29″ 30″ 30″ 30″ 31″ 32″ 33″ 33″
131 – 140 lbs 29″ 30″ 30″ 30″ 31″ 32″ 33″ 33″
141 – 150 lbs 30″ 30″ 31″ 31″ 32″ 33″ 33″
151 – 160 lbs 30″ 30″ 31″ 32″ 32″ 33″ 33″ 33″
161 – 170 lbs 31″ 31″ 32″ 32″ 33″ 33″ 34″
171 – 180 lbs 32″ 33″ 33″ 34″ 34″
over 180 lbs 33″ 33″ 34″ 34″

How do I take care of my baseball bat?

There are a few basic things to remember when caring for your ball bat.

Store your ball bat indoors, at about room temperature. Extreme temperatures and weather conditions can affect the performance of your bat. An ideal temperature is 60 degrees F.

Store in a vertical position.

Limit the use of your bat to hitting balls! Obvious as this may seem, we all remember times when we have used an old ball bat for anything from hitting a piñata, to keeping it next to our beds for security. Using your bat on anything other than baseballs can harm your bat too!

Routinely check your bat for damages. Most warranties offer one year of protection.
Limit your bat’s use to official leather-bound regulation baseballs and softballs.

Don’t bat water-logged balls.

Rotate your bat a quarter-inch after each swing. Known as the DeMarini Rotation Index, rotating your bat evens out the hit load to the barrel, saving the bat over the long run.


Ball Gloves

Breaking in a ball glove

Your ball glove is a part of you, and how you break it in can mean the difference between a glove that serves you well, and one you’ll pitch into the trash. Getting it off to a good start will reward you with a well-performing, comfortable glove. Some ball gloves are pre-broken in, but for a custom fit it’s best to do it yourself. You’ll know your new glove is broken in right when it’s comfortable and performs well.

Breaking in a ball glove can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to half a season, depending on how often you use it. With patience and a little know-how, your glove will endure many seasons. There are basically three phases to breaking in your new glove. You’ll need to:

Condition the leather, Shape the glove, Use it!

The first thing you’ll want to do when breaking in a ball glove is to soften it. You can do this by lubricating it. A new leather glove will feel very stiff at first. You’ll need to apply a special glove conditioner. Lexol and Kelley leather products are good; they condition the leather without coating it and weighing it down. Put a little of the oil on a sponge or clean cloth and apply it to the hinge and palm areas, fingers, back, and strings of your glove. Work it in, and then remove any excess oil. Lubricate your glove a couple times a year to keep it soft, and prevent cracking.

Now, work your glove. Put your glove on and flex it at the hinge, the spot that allows your glove to open and close, usually found at the base of the little finger pad, near the heel. Remove your glove, and gently keep folding your glove back and forth at the hinge. Do this several times, or as often as it takes until it softens.

Shape the Glove

Next, you’ll want to shape your ball glove. Place a ball inside the glove, and securely wrap it with a band to form a pocket, and store it overnight at room temperature. You should always store your glove when you’re not using it, and get in the habit of tucking a ball in the pocket and wrapping it securely to retain its shape.
These first two phases of breaking in a ball glove prepare your glove for use. And now you’re ready to use it!

Break it in

Now you should just get out and play a lot of catch in your new ball glove! Use your glove at least once a day, because this will help to form the pocket for a custom fit. Some people like to use a special round mallet to prepare the pocket of the glove for catching the ball. Others like to punch it. Either way, the idea is to form a nice deep pocket for catching the ball. While you’re playing, keep flexing your glove at the hinges as often as you can, even between catches, until opening and closing the glove feels natural and comfortable.

Conclusion

Hopefully we’ve covered some helpful tips for breaking in a ball glove. Remember, the three phases of breaking in your glove are: softening the leather, shaping your glove, and using it. It could take a couple weeks, or up to half a season depending on how often you use your glove. In any case, when it comes down to ball there’s nothing like a great, custom-fitting ball glove.

How to Care for a Baseball Glove

Introduction

Though leather ball gloves are tough and durable, they’re made from an organic hide that’s naturally vulnerable to deterioration. The right baseball glove care will extend the life of your glove, and reward you with years of use.
First of all, take a look at what the glove manufacturer’s care instructions say. For your general information, we’ve provided a few practical tips for routine maintenance for keeping your baseball glove in great shape.
Break in your glove naturally. Best way to break in your glove is to play ball with it! Don’t try and force your glove using the old home remedies such as soaking, lubricating, baking, beating, etc. which will do nothing more than wreck your glove.

Make baseball glove care a routine. Regular maintenance of your glove in between uses, or at least once per season, will keep your glove in top condition.

Routine Maintenance

Clean your ball glove after each use. Remove it from your equipment bag, wipe the dirt and debris off with a clean rag, and store it on a shelf.

Store your glove between uses on a shelf in a cool dry place, or at room temperature. Don’t leave your glove sitting around outside, near a heater, or in your equipment bag.

Keep your glove dry. If your glove gets wet, dry if off as well as you can with a clean absorbent rag and let it naturally air dry. Be aware that air drying tends to stiffen the leather. Don’t worry; it should soften again naturally with use. Do not blow dry it, put it near a furnace, or in the dryer as this can dry the leather out and make it crack. Apply a safe leather conditioner to the glove after it has dried to soften it.

Protect the inside of your glove. Sweat and dirt from your hands can take a toll on the inside of your glove. Protect it by wearing a light glove, such as your batting glove, inside of your baseball glove.

Clean and condition your ball glove using safe leather product, such as Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner, or Kelley Glovolution. Some people recommend using a lanolin shaving cream! Don’t spit on your glove, as the material in your saliva can deteriorate it.

Reshape your glove. At least once a season place a softball in the pocket of your glove, and wrap it with a binder. Tighten or retie the laces in the fingers and web of your glove; best to use square and overhand knots.

Check in between the fingers of your gloves for open seams and palms, and check for broken laces. If you find any, have them repaired as soon as possible to prevent injury and mishaps.

How to Clean your Baseball Glove

A little tender loving care between uses or at least once a season, and you’ll have a glove that lasts you many seasons. Here’s what to do:

Brush the dirt and dust off your glove with a light brush.

Use a damp cloth or sponge to apply a small amount of glove leather cleaner; Lexol leather cleaner is good. Wipe the entire glove with it.

Remove the cleaner from the glove with a damp cloth or sponge, and allow to air dry.

Rub in an oil product safe for ball glove leather, such as Lexol leather conditioner, Kelley Glovolution, or a lanolin-based product to the entire glove, and store.

DO NOT:
Use too much leather cleaner or your glove will never forgive you!

Over oil, or use oil conditioners such as linseed oil, mink oil, neatsfoot oil, silicon, or petroleum-based products as the oil will to tend to close the pores and build up on the glove. Your best bet is to stick with products known to be safe for ball glove leather, or follow your manufacturer’s recommendations.

Conclusion

Ball glove leather is organic and vulnerable to deterioration over time. Glove leather requires care, and regular maintenance to keep it performing well. Remember to break your glove in naturally, store at room or cool temperatures indoors after games and practices, and in between seasons. Don’t heat-dry your glove, and keep it clean and conditioned with safe products – preferably those specifically designed for glove leather. With the right baseball glove care, you’ll be enjoying your glove for many seasons to come!

How to Select a Baseball Glove

Introduction

There are many different kinds of ball gloves. When it comes to selecting aball glove, you may want to have a different glove for each position, or you may want one glove that covers all the bases. Here are a few suggestions to ponder before shopping for the perfect ball glove for you. Don’t buy into the media messages that one brand or one kind of glove is better than another, or will make you a better player. It really comes down to you, your position, and your personal preferences.

If you’re an amateur baseball player, most likely you won’t just be in one position on the field all season long. You’ll be assuming multiple infield and outfield posts. In this case, may be best to get a glove that can accommodate it all. If you tend to assume a particular position more than others, than selecting a baseball glove that covers it all, might be your best bet.

Some general guidelines to consider when selecting a baseball glove:

Select a glove that fits, choose the right glove for your position, Choose a versatile glove,

Check for durability and quality leather, Shop for a glove that fits your price range, Make sure
your glove has the right webbing, and other parts.

Select a glove that fits: Choosing the right-sized glove

General sizing chart:

Glove Size by Age
Age Glove Size
4-6 10″
7-9 11″
10-Adult 12″ to 13″

Position-specific glove sizing charts:

Fast pitch Softball Glove Sizes
Age Position Glove Size
up to 8 Infield 9″ to 10 3/4″
up to 8 Outfield 10″ to 11 1/5″
9 – 13 Infield 10 1/2″ to 11 1/2″
9 – 13 Outfield 11 1/2″ to 12 1/5″
14+ Infield 11 3/4″ to 12 1/2″
14+ Outfield 12 3/4″ to 14″

Tip: Make sure there is ample hand space for a batting glove to be worn inside.

Selecting a ball glove with plenty of room is better than one that’s too tight. The inside of your glove should have enough room for wearing a batting glove too. When you’re shopping, try your glove on with your batting glove. You should always wear one inside your baseball glove to protect the insides from dirt and salts from your hands, which can deteriorate the leather. Your glove should also have enough padding to protect the palm area for catching balls off-center. Make sure your glove is easily adjustable to ensure a snug fit.

Tip: A properly adjusted glove should feel snug.

What’s the difference between a right and left-handed glove?

Another thing to know, is that if you’re a right-handed ball player, you’ll be a wearing a glove marked “regular” on your left hand, to free your right hand to retrieve and toss the ball. If you’re a left-handed player, your right hand will wear a “full right” glove, so your left hand is free to control the ball.

Choosing the Right Glove for your Position

Different field positions demand different gloves. If you tend to a certain position more than others, choose the glove for that position. Here’s a guide to the different positions and their gloves.

First Baseman Gloves

To prevent injury to the catching hand, first basemen have a long-standing tradition of wearing their own unique glove. The iconic first baseman mitt looks a little different today than it did in the early days of its five-fingered, flesh-colored predecessor, invented in 1941. This rather large mitt is designed to more easily receive throws.

Today, you can choose from any number of leathers and colors, webbings and backs.

Catchers Mitts

Tip: Leagues usually provide the catchers’ mitts, but players can get their own.

Possibly the most demanding position, and susceptible to injury, is the catcher. A well-protected and comfortable catcher’s glove is a must, and will provide a little more protection than any other glove on the field. Like the first basemen’s glove, the ever-evolving roundish catcher’s mitt has its own unique design. The catcher’s mitt includes more padding, a deep oval-shaped “basket” pocket, closed web, and is very strong and durable. A catcher’s mitt comes with open or closed back.

Catcher’s Mitt Sizes Age Glove Size
Youth Up to 31 inches around
Adult 32 inches around or more

Infielders Gloves

Infield positions, except for first base, do well with a smaller to medium-size lightweight glove with shallow pockets for quick release of the ball to the pitching hand. It’s good if the glove features a large deep pocket, and strong open I-web, H-web, or trapeze web (adding a “sixth finger” in the pocket between the thumb and fingers) for middle infielders. Size of the mitt is up to the player.

Outfield Gloves

An outfielder is more interested in retrieving the ball than on a quick catch and release, so they typically wear a larger glove, and they tend to prefer a closed web design between the thumb and fingers. Also, deeper pockets for catching strong balls. The average size of an adult outfield glove is about 12 inches and over. But size and webbing design is entirely up to the player.

Multiple Positions – choosing a versatile glove

Unless you’re a catcher or a first baseman, in which case you’ll want a mitt to accommodate those positions, some players do well with a versatile glove. In this case, a basic durable multi-purpose glove that serves both infield and out, may be your best bet.

Check for Durability

Your baseball glove should be made of very durable 100-percent genuine leather, and it should be branded as such. Watch for any labels that indicate that only parts of the glove are made from non-leather or veneer materials, or that the leather is “specially treated.” Watch out for leather-looking gloves that are actually plastic. These are not preferred for children, because they won’t be able to break them in like a leather glove, and glove oil won’t work on them.

Selecting a Ball Glove that Fits your Price Range

Shop for a glove that both meets your position and sizing needs, and your budget too. Research and compare prices. But don’t settle for a glove made with artificial materials, or an “all around” glove when you have a position that requires a glove with definite qualities, just to get a good deal.

Other parts to consider: Webbing, Pockets, Backs, Wrists, Webbing

Often players choose gloves depending on the webbing. Some like them open, others closed. Make sure your glove has solid webbing that is securely attached to the rest of the glove, because it will be more durable. Basically, pitchers like closed webbing to hide the ball from the hitter, outfielders and third basemen also like closed webbing for the extra support. Middle infielders like open web for faster retrieval.

Pockets

An important consideration when selecting a ball glove is the pocket style; this will depend on the position you play. The general rule is smaller pockets for infielders, and deeper ones for outfielders.

Backs

Closed or open “backs” or the area behind the wrist is a matter of personal preference, and position. Infielders tend to prefer open backs for better flexibility, and outfielders closed, with a finger chamber for added support.

Wrists

Your glove should allow you to adjust the wrist to keep the glove snug. Either Velcro or a D-ring fastener should do the trick.

Conclusion

Selecting a Ball glove can be a little tricky for parents or those new to the game. With the right information and a little practical knowledge, your purchase will not only be a great value, but you’ll treat yourself to a comfortable, great-performing Ball glove that will be a part of you for many seasons to come.