Baseball Reflections

Talk Like an Expert and Help Youth Baseball Players “Stay” in the Game

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Spring training is right around the corner for young ball players, too, so parents and youth coaches have to get up to speed on good baseball teaching terms. There is one word that is necessary to teach baseball. Adults need to know this word to help them sound like an expert and so they can help young ballplayers. That word is “stay”. Using the word stay in your coaching vocabulary will help coaches and parents sound like they know what you are talking about, even inexperienced coaches. With that in mind here are some tips on how to use the word “stay” when teaching the fundamentals of hitting pitching and fielding:

Hitting Tips:
1. Stay back – many young hitters get anxious and jump at the ball, they need to learn to stay back and let it come to them. I often tell my hitters that the ball won’t stop in midair so they don’t have to go get it.
2. Stay inside the ball – good hitters hit the side of the ball closest to them on all pitches, thereby using the whole field. Hitters who cast the bat out usually jam them self or hit the top of the ball producing plenty of groundballs.
3. Stay balanced – balance is crucial in every aspect of sport and especially with hitting. Of course, with the correct hitting fundamentals players can swing all out and still maintain balance.
4. Stay ready – good hitters are always expecting the next pitch to be their pitch and only hold up when they see otherwise, usually at the last instant.
5. Stay confident – the old saying “It only takes one,” is true so hitters should forget their last at bat and stay focused on their current one.

Pitching Tips:
1. Stay balanced – good pitchers stay under control and with rhythm, even though they are throwing their hardest.
2. Stay-in-line– pitchers, who do not step directly at the target, generally have a greater chance of being wild or developing arm trouble.
3. Stay on top – pitchers, who keep their arm up, will keep the ball down, which is generally advantageous to getting outs.
4. Stay aggressive – pitchers, who pitch with “no fear,” have the best chance at success.
5. Stay focused – good pitchers tune out all distractions, especially errors by their defense and bad calls by the umpire.

Fielding Tips:
1. Stay ready – good fielders “want” and expect the ball to be hit to them.
2. Stay down – good fielders realize it is easier to come up then go down on the ball.
3. Stay smooth – good fielders line the ball up correctly and move through the ball with good footwork.
4. Stay focused – good fielders keep great concentration on the ball and on their target when throwing.
5. Stay balanced – good fielders are always under control, even when reaching, jumping or diving for balls.

Finally, you probably noticed how often the words balance and focus were used. Nothing in sport is more important for success than balance and focus.

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