Hand-eye coordination, better wrist pop, better fielding, and better preparation during off-season are four baseball aspects that every baseball players strive to master. Take a look at what other baseball players are striving for.
Better Wrist Pop82%
Better Preparation During Off-Season75%
How Do I Get There?
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Keep the majority of your body weight on the balls of your feet and maintain balance during the hitting. This will help you to have better balance and stability – which also gives you more power. In order to hit with more power, you can try using your legs better. Power hitters roll up onto their back toe at contact and keep their front leg firm. This will help you to use all the power in your legs and hit the ball harder and further more consistently. Keep your elbow planted firmly against your side and the bat as close to the body for as long as possible and it will help you to have more bat speed and hit the ball harder."
"2. EYES ON THE BALL
The simple yet critical basics you can do to get consistent hitting contact is by keeping your eyes on the ball and head down in the hitting zone until the swing is complete. For many young hitters this is the most difficult component of the swing to master but it's the most important. Your chin should start parallel to your front shoulder as you’re looking at the pitcher and finish with your back shoulder touching the tip of your chin when you finish your swing. By keeping your head down on hitting zone, you keep your head steady and your eyes focus on the target. Your eyes will continue to send the same information to your brain, in which your brain will then pass to your muscles to initiate the swing. IF all of this occurs on time AND with correct information – you hit the ball!"
"3. HAND-EYE COORDINATION EXERCISE
Improving hand-eye coordination may be the most important exercise for a hitter. Hitting using a wood bat and smaller target is one of the best drills you can do to train your precision and strength. There is a smaller barrel on a wood bat which forces a hitter to have a shorter swing with better extension in order to hit the ball hard. Practice letting the ball gets deep into the hitting zone. Hitters who consistently let the ball travel deep inside are the ones who have the most consistent success."
"1. POSTURE & STANCE
Efficient lower body mechanics is the key to a good pitching delivery. Start with a proper stance by bringing your foot fairly close together and positioning your weight over your back hip, knee and foot in one line. This will allow you to just lift your leg up without having to shift back. In this position, you are as far away from home plate as possible, which means that, you can maximize momentum and thus have more force available at landing to transfer to the trunk."
"2. GET A GOOD GRIP
Throwing the ball with better accuracy is much easier when you have a good 4-seam grip. A 4-seam grip is when your fingers are placed across the horseshoe of the seams and not with the seams. This will help get better backspin on the baseball and it will fly straighter. If your grip is off, the seam in a position to catch the wind resistance and shoot left or right."
"3. WORK TOGETHER WITH YOUR BODY
Bear in mind that your two sides work opposite of each other, so if one side is in the correct position, the other will follow. As you begin to throw, take your front elbow and bring it back into your body and keep your glove in front of you so that it will eventually touch and meet up with your chest. The tighter you are the quicker you will fire. This move will start some torque, at the same time your legs will start to fire and your hips will start to open up toward your target."
"4. THROWING THE BASEBALL
As you follow your body, the ball will go from facing the center-fielder to turning toward your target. Your elbow will stay at about 90 degrees and you will feel that you are pulling the ball down. You want to reach and get as much extension as possible as you throw toward your target. This is like a whip effect. The further down the whip the quicker it snaps. Focus on using your fingers and wrist to throw and continue to follow through the movement. Don’t cut it off until your arm has decelerated as much as possible."
"5. KEEP CALM
There is a difference between rushing and quickening up while under control. When you rush, it reduces the chances of making an accurate throw. Try as much as possible to follow through all your steps one by one so you can make a good throw under control and not feel a need to rush. It is better for the throw to be a tick late than to rush and throw it past our target and have a runner move up an extra base."
"1. KNOWING THE PITCH, PITCH LOCATION & MOVEMENT OF THE PICTHES
Assuming the pitcher can hit his spots, a player can adjust where he is positioned on the field accordingly. One step in a certain direction can make all the difference in getting to a ball. Let’s say a righty is throwing sinkers down and in to a right-handed hitter. A shortstop would then position himself more in the hole to take away the chopping grounder. However, if the infielder is too obvious with his positioning, a hitter, or the coaching staff will pick up on it and anticipate the pitch location. This is a chess match that goes unnoticed on TV."
"2. KNOWING THE TYPE OF SWING THE HITTER HAS AND HIS TENDENCIES
This may seem obvious, but through scouting reports and video, you know where players tend to hit the ball. However, if the pitcher is trying to take advantage of a hole in the batters swing path, then the fielders will be able to adjust accordingly and plan for the expected rather then just react. Positioning can never be overlooked."
"3. MOVING BEFORE THE PITCH IS THROWN
This is a skill that separates the good defenders from the great. As the pitch is about to be struck, a fielder will start moving in the direction he feels the ball will be hit. By reading the rhythm of the hitter, his swing path, pitch location/movement, and the whole “feel” of the pitch, some infielders will take an educated guess as to the result. Instead of reacting to the ball, the greats will anticipate and get a head start."
"4. OPENING THE HIPS UP AND WORKING IN ANGLES
Depending on the inside or outside location of the pitch, the fielder slightly opens his hips in either direction before the pitch. The fielder will be able to get a better jump on the ball because he has opened up before the hitter even makes contact. An infielder must approach every ball at the most efficient angle to cut down the distance from fielding to get in line to first base. Most of this comes from having proper footwork and proper speed."
"5. FIGURING OUT THE SPEED OF THE BALL RIGHT OFF THE BAT
Once you know how hard the ball is hit, you’ll be able to get your body to it at the best angle. Because it happens so quickly, there are some keys to figuring this out. You need to listen to the sound of the bat at the point of contact, recognizing the difference between solid and weak contact. You can see if a hitter was fooled on a pitch, meaning the hitter’s bat speed is a little slower than normal, reducing the speed of the ball off the bat. Also, it’s important to pay attention to where the ball first makes contact with the ground. If it hits the dirt around home plate first, you can expect it to be more of a chopper, so the infielders must crash right away. If it makes it beyond the cut of the grass, you’ll have more time to set the proper angle."
"6. KNOW WHERE EVERY PLAYER IS ON THE FIELD AT ALL TIMES
From batter-to-batter and even pitch-to-pitch, fielders will alter their positioning. It is important that each player knows where the other is. Let’s say there is a flare over the second baseman’s head, and he has no idea where the RF is positioned. He will then be lost as to how aggressively he should pursue the ball. A good fielder will create his “range” before every pitch. He will set up his maximum boundary for all possible plays so that he’s ready for anything. The best type of fielder is one who visualizes the field as a collection of geometric angles. Excellent defense is a mixture of athleticism, anticipation, muscle memory, and efficiency. Most of these things can be seen by good scouts as it takes a well trained eye to be able to see defensive intangibles. It’s also why we need to continue to use both our own eyes, advanced defensive metrics, and when the time comes, field f/x."
"1. THINK AHEAD
Base-running is not just about running fast but it’s about being aware of the play around you--thinking always two bases ahead and how you’re going to accomplish it. As a base-runner you always need to be aware of the value of your run. This is dependent on the game situation and your ability. Have a feel of where everyone is playing, so when the ball is hit, you may be able to get a great jump. Knowledge of the defense will help you to anticipate the next step."
Your strategy on the bases will be different depending on the inning and the score. Some players like to take their leads and take one step closer to the pitcher. This gives off an optical illusion that you are closer to the bag than you really are. Others like to take their leads and take one step away from the pitcher. This is so when they dive back into the bag, they will make contact with the back corner. Make sure you have the proper footwork to support your strategy and keep your body ready for the execution."
"3. PLAN YOUR PATH
Plan your path in accordance to your strategy and have the steps clearly in your mind. Try to attain the straightest path possible when going into a bag. Start your turn early and make it a gradual arch when you see it went through. From the turning angle you want to hit the inside front part of the bag to push off of and try to get the straightest path possible to next base. Remember, the number one rule as a base runner when you are not standing on the base is to keep your eye on the ball at all times."
Rhythm is the first part of baseball swing. It provides the relaxed readiness that is essential to a well-timed swing. Once you get into your stance, the slight rhythmic movement in your hands and legs will help to keep you relaxed but alert. This helps you not get too stiff or mechanical as you start your swing. You are quicker and more in control of your body if you have rhythm. This means better bat speed, and better reactions and adjustments in the split seconds you have before contact."
Load provides the coiled tension that is essential to an explosive, powerful baseball swing. Use it as a timing device and a continuation of your rhythm. Getting your weight back helps you wait to explode on the ball and make your weight shift rhythmic and not jumpy. As you start your load, keep your body in a straight line towards the pitcher. If you start to coil and turn your back to the ball, your swing will be more rotational and your bat will be in and out through the strike zone quicker than it should be, thus making it more difficult to consistently square up baseballs."
Separation stage is essential for bat speed and bat speed directly translates into power and distance. Tension is the key to this stage. Point your front foot toes across the front of your body and keep your hands at or above the height of your back shoulder – and your bat should be at 45 degree angle. This will create tension in your front oblique area. This tension is like a stretched rubber band that will allow for a violent action toward the baseball. The more stretched tension you create, the more bat speed you can create. Keep your movement slow and in control as it will keep your head still to see the ball better."
"4. WEIGHT SHIFT
Weight shifting creates a rubber band like torque action for your hands and will propel them into the zone as fast as possible. Your hands follow what your base does so focus on having a proper strong leg drive in your weight shift and you will have a proper bat path towards the baseball. As your back knee starts to turn towards the ball, keep your front leg firm and do not allow the weight shift to get over your front foot. You will actually get your bat in the hitting zone quicker and it will stay in the zone longer, which is the ultimate goal."
"5. DECIDE & RELEASE
The last and most important part of hitting is when you decide if you are going to swing the bat. Once you decide to swing and fire your hands at the baseball, swing hard and don’t try to guide the bat to make contact. Sometimes it is better to swing and miss than to guide your swing to make contact and hit a weak ground ball to an infielder. Finish your swing by following through the baseball. The old saying of “Short to and long through” is a simple way of explaining the perfect swing. Meaning, quick to the ball and long follow-through."
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What Do Golfers Really Want?
Driving, putting, short game, bunker play, iron play, and mental strength are six golfing aspects that every golfer strive to master. Take a look at what other golfers are striving for.
Better Short Game75%
Better Bunker Play60%
Better Iron Play80%
Better Mental Strength78%
How Do I Get There?
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"1. DROP ANCHOR AND SAIL FURTHER
One of the most basic tips to gain greater driving distance is to anchor your foot and your body behind the ball – for right-handed players it will be the right foot, vice versa for left-handers. If you raise your foot too quickly when swinging your club, you will lose both power and distance in the shot."
"2. A HIP TIP
As a right-hander, you keep your right arm close to the hip on your swing it will ensure the body will drive your arms and club through when striking the ball. This will decrease the chances of your hands negatively influencing the shot, limiting the chance of a hook or slice. Remember to relax your muscles and keep your grip light. Pause slightly at the top of your backswing to maintain that lightness through the complete swing. This will mean a faster, brisker swing release and should result in a longer drive."
"3. LET THE CLUB DO THE WORK
A common misconception in golfing is that the harder you strike the ball, the more distance you will gain. However, focusing behind the middle of the ball and keeping control of the swing will give you far greater results. Trying to hit the ball too hard will usually mean an embarrassing slice or, worse, a fresh-air shot. To combat any power-hungry tendencies, relax and don’t rush, concentrate on controlling your swing and the club will do the rest for you."
"1. START BEHIND THE BALL
The first step is to visualize the path the ball needs to take to the hole and to prepare your self to roll it down that path. To start, you need to know the predominant break, and the best place to get that information is behind the ball--not behind the hole. Crouch down, directly on a line to your target, and make a decision: Will it break to the left or to the right? Once you establish the direction of the break, you'll start to form a mental picture of the correct line."
"2. BREAK THE PUTT INTO THIRDS
When you read a book, do you tilt it toward you or away from you? Looking from the high side of the break--where the putt swings out to its apex--is like reading a book with it tilted away from you: You can't see very well. Go to the low side--opposite the apex--and you get a much better sense of the slope. Stop midway and mentally break the putt into thirds. The last third is where most of the break usually occurs, so focus on what the ball will do in that part."
"3. SKIP THE PRACTICE STROKE
Your next goal is to connect the line you see with the roll you're going to put on the ball. Don't practice strokes, because they don't happen on the line you've just picked for the putt--in other words, you lose that connection. Instead, walk up to the ball while looking down the line, holding the putter in your left hand and making small "feel" strokes with your right. Then, standing upright, step in with your right foot and continue to track your eyes down the line."
"4. FINISH YOUR SETUP AND GO
Many players waste their routine at the end. They stare down at the ball before making the stroke. You want to keep concentrating on your target. Set your left foot-- stand slightly open to see the line better. Also start with the putter in front of the ball; that helps you de-emphasize the ball during the stroke. Once you set the putter behind the ball, take one last look and go. You are looking at a spot an inch or two in front of the ball, and trying to roll it over that spot."
"1. FOR PITCHING, TRY USING A PITCHING WEDGE OR A LOWER LOFTED SAND WEDGE
You will play a pitch shot when positioned from 3 to 30 yards off the green. A pitch shot typically rolls roughly the same distance on the green as it does travelling through the air. In light of this, you need to make some adjustments to your stance, posture and grip. Ensure that your grip is much weaker for pitch shots. This will prevent your hands from rolling over the grip, which will affect the control of the ball. Rotate your hands anti-clockwise, so that you can see one knuckle on your left hand (for right-handed golfers). Open up your stance and set your feet closer to the ball. Set the ball further back in your stance, the further back, the steeper the trajectory of the ball upon impact."
"2. WORK ON YOUR CHIPPING
A completely different shot to pitching, the chip shot is perfect for when closer to the green. The ball is chipped up in the air for only a short period of time. It then travels a greater distance as it runs along the green towards the pin. It’s a relatively easy shot, one that utilizes very few moving body parts. Ensure that the ball is positioned at least two inches behind your center. Keep your wrists, hands and lower body quiet. Think of the chip as an extension of the putt, rather than a shorter version of a golf swing. Use your shoulders to swing the club, keeping your arms straight."
"3. PRACTICE YOUR LOB SHOT ...a lot
Whilst this is one of the most difficult short-game shots you can make, it’s certainly the most useful when you just miss the green. It will enable you to get up and down easily, without the ball rolling too much when on the green. On the approach, open up your body completely, with your feet, waist and shoulders all in the direction of the target line. Ensure you make a full swing, cocking your wrists as you do to create an ‘L’ shape between your arms and the wedge. As you swing and follow-through you want the club-face to stay open, and then finish as normal with the club pointing towards the sky."
"4. WORK ON YOUR BUNKER SHOT
Along with the lob shot, the bunker shot is equally difficult to master. However it’s vital to get right, because if you can’t get out of the bunker in a single (at most two) attempt, then you’ll be looking at chalking up quite a big score. Use your sand wedge and stand firm with the bunker for added control. Open up your body and always strike the ball with an open face. The key to successful bunker shots is the follow-through. Use a full swing and aim to hit just under the ball, taking half an inch of sand. Be sure to completely follow-through and hold your pose as you would with normal golf shots."
"1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLUB
If you short-side yourself in a greenside bunker (meaning you don’t have a lot of green to work with), you want to pick a high-lofted wedge, like a 60 degree lob wedge. The ball will not role out as much. If you have some green to work with, you want a lower lofted wedge, such as a sand wedge (56 degrees) or a gap wedge (around 52 degrees). This will promote a slightly longer ball flight out of the trap."
"2. TAKE THE RIGHT SETUP
First, dig in: twist your feet into the sand. Besides having a good base for the shot, which is vital, you get a feel for how deep the sand is around your shot. For most bunker shots you face you want to play the ball off your front foot. The farther you move the ball back, the lower trajectory the ball will take and the more it will run out. This can be useful with some shots, but as a general rule, play the ball off your front foot. Keep in mind this is NOT a pitch and run. The shot is going to have backspin. Next, open your stance AND the club-face. This is very important. This promotes a higher, softer ball flight and allows a good angle for the club-face to slide under the ball. Finally, you need your weight on your front foot. The weight should be about 80%-20% favoring the front foot. This is vital as it causes a steep decent, creating the splash of sand (the digging) and backspin characteristic of a good bunker shot."
"3. THE SWING
Now that you are dug in, with the ball forward in your stance, your weight on your front foot, and with your stance and club-face slightly open, it’s time to pull the trigger. You want an outside-in swing path with a slight wrist hinge at the top. How far back depends on how far you want the ball to fly. This swing path gets the ball to come out high and soft and with the maximum control. You will need to practice this until it feels natural and to judge the yardages correctly."
"4. THE FOLLOW THROUGH
You must follow through and stay down longer on bunker shots. If you decelerate or stop at impact, you chunk it. In a greenside bunker, you want to splash the ball out, and to do that you must have a steep swing and a high follow through. If you come up on it too soon, you’ll catch the shot thin and blade it. Don’t be afraid to take a slightly bigger swing; you are taking sand with the shot. It won’t go as far. Once you are confident in your greenside sand shots, it’s time to get a little more technical. Two kinds of sand shots that we commonly face on the course are the medium-length sand shots (the 25-45 yard shot to the green), and the plugged ball. These are two of the hardest shots in Golf, but don’t be afraid of them. You hit them exactly like normal greenside shots with only slight variations."
"1. CHECK YOUR SETUP
All good iron players have setup routines for every iron shot. And while the routines may be different, they all have the same goal—to put them in the best position to hit the golf ball. Three essentials to a good set up are: good posture, consistent ball position, and proper address. The shaft's length determines your posture. The longer the shaft the father away from the ball and the more upright you should stand. Ball position, to a large extent, dictates angle of attack: the shorter the club, the steeper the angle of attack. Some players change ball positions with each club. Others employ one ball position. Whatever you do, be consistent. Maintaining a proper address position—feet/shoulders in parallel alignment, weight evenly distributed, hands over, or just ahead of, the ball—is also vital."
"2. BUILD A REPEATING SWING
The more we can repeat the same swing, the more often we'll achieve a predictable result—the secret to lower golf handicaps. To build a repeatable swing, we must stay connected and set the club on the correct plane. Staying connected is a common factor found among all good iron players. The shoulders, arms, hands, and club should all move away from the ball in unison. Hinging or cocking the wrists sets the club on the correct plane, which keeps the clubface square to the path of the swing. Two other important essentials in building a repeatable swing are swinging to the top of the slot and retaining power in the swing. If the club's shaft is horizontal to the ground, it should be parallel to the target line. The angle of the club should match the angle of the forearm while maintaining the original spine angle and head position. Settle the weight smoothly on the front side and start unwinding the upper body. The right elbow should be dropped down to the side."
"3. CONCENTRATE ON IMPACT
Impact is the moment of truth when it comes to clean, crisp iron shots. Everything in the swing is designed to be channeled into this moment. The quality of the shot determines the quality of the impact. The essentials are to collect the ball and open the shoulders at impact. Iron shots must be struck with a descending blow, if you're to hit them accurately and consistently. A good image to have in mind is to "collect" the ball, not hit the ball. The hips, body, and shoulders should be slightly open at impact. This creates the needed for the arms to release the ball down the correct path."
"4. SWINGING TO A BALANCED FINISH
Although you can't influence ball flight once you've hit it, the follow-through is still important. Concentrating on certain post-impact positions during the swing often encourages improvements in the swing itself. The essential here is extension. Try to stay with the ball as long as is comfortable though impact. Drive the right shoulder past the chin. This is known as extension. The swing should finish with the spine straight and the back shoulder over the front foot. Maintaining balance is critical for good iron play."
"1. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Having a ‘rock solid’ belief in your ability to achieve your goals on the golf course is the first step in developing your mental toughness skills. Start by setting realistic goals for yourself that focus more on being excellent at the process of hitting golf shots that are under your control rather than focusing on the outcome of your golf shots that are not. You are in control of your game, if you are in control of your thoughts and feelings. Completely believe in your ability to hit golf shots without worrying about what ‘might happen.’ Ask yourself these powerful questions before you hit your golf shot; “what is the worst thing that could happen if I hit this golf shot?” and then follow that up with “what’s the best thing that could happen if I hit this golf shot?” Once you have evaluated the level of risk, trust yourself to hit your shot with confidence."
"2. STRONG SUCCESS DRIVE
Having a strong desire and a well developed sense of purpose is what drives you towards better results. It’s hard to play well under pressure when it does nott matter about your results, or you don’t want the results badly enough. There’s an old saying that goes; “you become what you think about all of the time” which really is the secret to developing your ‘golf success drive.’ Clearly imagine yourself achieving your golf goals everyday and you will increase your sense of urgency to achieve those goals, which will fuel your internal drive and ultimately your results. Human beings with a strong sense of purpose can accomplish incredible results if the goal is worthy enough."
"3. GET OVER IT AND GET ON WITH IT
Stay in the moment. Balance your mind by focusing on one shot at a time, one target at a time. Over excitement or over depression takes away your head from the game. Pay attention only on the shot at hand. Even if your shots did not go as you want it to, let go and move on to focus on the next shot. You cannot control the outcome of your shots without doing a good job of controlling the internal process. Learn to get over your disappointment and get on to the next step."
"4. THE UNBREAKABLE GOLF SWING
There’s a saying that goes; “the first thing to break down under pressure is the last thing that you practiced.” Maintaining your golf swing technique under the stress of competition is a challenge for any golfer. Couple of simple keys that will make it easier for you to hit straighter and more consistent shots when it counts : The first thing is monitor your stance, hips and shoulder alignment. Shot-making problems arise when your alignment is out because it principally affects the sequencing of your golf swing. Grip pressure is also very important to monitor because of its important relationship to club-face and club-head control. Remember this, tight golf grips kill golf swings! If every your grip is going to get tighter, it would be when you are under pressure, so be aware of your grip-pressure –‘feel the club head’ when you have to hit your shot under the gun."
"5. CONTROL OVER POWER
Work yourself to achieve calm and confident state. Between shots, it is important to walk at a pace that is relaxed, unhurried, and to breathe deeply if you feel yourself tightening up. When you start feeling nervous or tense, think of the great shots you have hit, recall that state and feel it again. Always keep your emotions in check. Consider this simple but accurate statement that Olympic athletes read as they enter the U.S. Olympic Training Complex in Colorado Springs: “The only pressure that exists is the pressure you put on yourself.” Constantly build your confidence by speaking to yourself that you will make the shots as you see it and believe it."