Baseball Reflections

Do Not Listen To These Popular Coaching Tips!

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Here is a list of seven baseball coaching tips or beliefs that were either wrong from the start or have become totally obsolete:

Come On Johnny, Get Your Elbow Up:

The reference is to the height of the back elbow when hitting. You will very often hear this hollered to a young player by a coach, manager or one of his parents. Some young players raise their back elbow up by their back ear. This is not a comfortable position for most hitters. It’s much more efficient to have the back elbow just below shoulder height. If a baseball hitter wants to make an adjustment up or down, only then should the back elbow be raised or lowered.

Never Get Beat On Your Second Best Pitch:

Let’s say a pitcher’s best pitch is the fastball and the batter is a very good fastball hitter. Let’s say that the pitcher’s second best pitch is a good curve ball and that batter has had trouble with his curve ball in the past. It would make no sense for that pitcher to get beat on his best pitch, the fast ball with the game on the line. Forget this myth. P.S. It’s almost always the location of a pitch that beats the pitcher and not the type of pitch thrown.

Don’t Look At The Ball, Just Run:

All good base runners absolutely do look at the baseball! This is not to say that if you hit a grounder to the infield you should be looking at the grounder while running to first base. On the other hand, there are many, many times where you should be looking at the ball. Good base runners very seldom need a coach to guide them while running. They watch the ball, the fielder and the play unfold. The infamous quote of, “don’t look at the ball, just run,” should be changed to, “don’t just run, look at the ball.”

Come on Johnny, Level Swing:

Many young players hear this hollered out so often that as soon as they start their swing, they try to make sure it’s level. This is one of the worst baseball hitting tips they will ever hear. The proper baseball swing is not level at all. A baseball hitter will not be successful if he starts his swing on a level plane. If a hitter levels out his swing at the very beginning, he can be virtually guaranteed he will be late on every fastball because he is not being “short to the ball.” The baseball swing starts out going downward with the back of the bottom hand facing the pitcher and not facing the sky. Only at the point where you are making contact should the swing be level, with one palm facing up and the other palm facing down. Being a fraction of a second late when swinging the bat is an eternity!

Catch the Ball With Two Hands:

This is often hollered out to a younger player who is catching a pop up or on a fly ball. Baseball gloves have come a long way in the last couple of decades. They are much bigger and better. Putting your bare hand next to your glove hand when catching pop ups or fly balls will be more trouble than it’s worth. It can easily interfere with your catching the ball with these very good, modernized gloves.

Touch the Bases With Your Right Foot When Running:

The concern used to be that if a runner touches a base with their left foot, they may trip over the base with their right foot. That is obsolete now. It makes no sense whatsoever to “stutter step” and lose precious time when running around the bases. That one step you lose can be very important.

The Perfect Count To Put On The Hit And Run Is 2-0 Or 3-1:

This is one of the worst baseball coaching tips of all time. This started several decades ago and is very played out. To have a batter be forced to swing at a 2-0 pitch that would be a ball and make the count 3-0 is senseless. The same holds true on the 3-1 count. To have a batter be forced to swing at a 3-1 pitch that would be ball 4 is a scary baseball strategy.

In 95% or more of all cases, good baseball coaching tips of fifty years ago are still good today. There are a few things however, that have either evolved or should never have been started from day number one. Please don’t listen to the above mentioned myths!

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