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“The Power Within” Tip of the Week

Catching Tips from Carlton Fisk

It takes leadership and The Power Within to be a great catcher. Often considered the most demanding position in baseball, the catcher is both physically and mentally active during the entire game. The player in this position should have the courage to make quick decisions, the skills to communicate well with the team, and a great understanding of the game of baseball.

Assume the Position
Before, during, and after the pitch, anything can happen. To be prepared for whatever comes next, the catcher needs to keep his attention on the game and be ready for action, even in the crouching position.

  • Keeping your legs shoulder-width apart, assume a comfortable crouching position about two feet behind the plate. It’s important to stay low so that you are below the swing of the bat and so the umpire can see the ball cross the plate. Don’t get too comfortable – keep your weight on the balls of your feet so you are ready to move in any direction.
  • The catcher’s glove acts as a throwing target for the pitcher. Keeping your catching arm outside of your knee, you can move your glove to give the pitcher an inside or outside target. To protect your throwing hand from foul tipped balls, keep your hand without the glove on it behind your leg.

A catcher with a great receiving position will be ready for whatever the game may bring.

Batting Tips from Lou Brock

Knowing how to properly hold the bat, take your stance and swing at a pitch are fundamentals to becoming a great hitter. Most importantly, it takes a lot of practice to improve your batting skills. The more you practice, the more comfortable and consistent you will be at bat.

Batting Drill
Using a tee for practice can help a player focus on only the swing. If possible, it may even be helpful to videotape your practice so that you can see your strengths and weaknesses at bat. The following drill will help with hitting pitches no matter where they are thrown.

  • Practice hitting the ball on the tee in the middle of the plate about thigh high. Then move the tee towards you to simulate an inside pitch, or further away to simulate an outside pitch. You can also change the height of the tee to practice high and low swings. Take several swings for each position of the tee.
  • In this drill, it’s important to move only the tee, and not your own positioning. Don’t move your whole body to where the tee has been moved. Instead, focus on adjusting your swing to hit the ball as it would cross the plate. Look to where the pitcher would usually be. Visualize the pitcher’s windup and pitch and “follow” the ball to its location on the tee.

This drill can help you adjust your swing to hit a pitch in any location. Remember when it is your turn to bat to approach the plate with confidence. If you tell yourself you will hit the ball, you will have The Power Within to hit one out of the park! Check back soon and we will provide tips on catching pitches.

Power Hitting Tips from Carlton Fisk

The key to power hitting is all about bat speed at impact, not the size of the player. For this reason, everyone has The Power Within to become a great batter. Learning basic techniques, practicing and having patience to wait for your pitch will vastly improve your power hitting skills.

  • Build your strength. Many baseball players learn to develop power in their swing by hitting through a heavier object than a normal baseball. Place a soccer ball or basketball on a tee and using the correct stance, swing though the ball. This drill can result in increased power at the point of contact. Have your coach watch your swing to ensure all the basic techniques are correct.
  • Wait for your pitch. Choose pitches in your "power zone". Each of us has a zone where we can hit with the most power. Try to be patient on your pitch selection and when you find the right one, rip the ball out of the park!
  • Have a quick bat. Hold your bat at a 45-degree angle to alleviate unnecessary movement in your swing. It is also important to maintain a loose grip on the bat. Gripping the bat too hard and causing tension in your swing will compromise your bat speed.
  • Maintain a comfortable stance. Your stance is an important key to power hitting. Place your feet comfortably apart, but leave yourself enough room to stride forward without losing balance. As you are powering through the ball, be sure to shift your weight from your back foot to your front foot. If all of your weight remains on your back foot, you will be unable to swing through the pitch and will generate less power.

Base Running Tips from Lou Brock

Everyone has The Power Within to be a good base runner. Having good speed is certainly an advantage when running the base paths, but you can also be a good base runner with only average speed. Knowing how to quickly get to first base, run the bases, slide and steal are fundamentals that can help any player improve his or her base running.

Running to First
You can’t steal a base unless you can successfully get to first base, so that’s the tip we’ll discuss this week. If a batter uses a balanced swing and follow-through, he or she should be able to get out of the box with a smooth, quick motion. For a right-handed hitter, your first step should be with the back foot (right foot), and the opposite is true of a left-handed hitter.

  • The first few steps should be short and quick, and on the third or fourth step you should take a very quick peek to find out whether or not the ball is in the infield. If so, then run in a straight line to first base inside the foul line.
  • You should run through first base, not to it. Don’t slow down until you’ve crossed the bag.
  • Don’t celebrate if you beat the throw to first, because there’s always the chance of an overthrow or dropped ball by the first baseman, and you could be on your way to second base! Once you’re on base, that’s when the fun begins. Check back soon and we will provide tips on stealing bases.

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