Message from Curtis Jones:
Coaches: Here are some baseball coaching tools and resources that I’ve collected.
(1) Hudl Technique: Slow Motion Video Analysis, Formerly Ubersense Coach. This is a must use! Parents appreciate being able to receive an emailed video of their kid hitting, fielding, catching or pitching. You can use this tool to break down the player’s movements in slow motion. There are tools to draw lines, circles, etc. to point out things that you see. Emailing the videos to assistant coaches and parents is easy. I like to use this App to record an occasional batting cage or bullpen session. Winter workouts are a perfect time to use this tool as the winter is the time to tweak form. The players can then refer back to videos of proper form during the Spring/Summer when in a slump.
(2) GameChanger Baseball/Softball/Basketball Scorekeeper. At first we used this App along with our paper score book, but quickly stopped using the paper book. Assign one coach the duty of learning this App and keeping score and you’ll appreciate the tools that it provides. The App can alert you to pitch counts. I use OBP to adjust my batting lineup and this App records and tracks stats for you.
(3) Remind: Safe Classroom Communication. This App is designed for teachers, but great for coaches. Anyone who wants to receive text alerts will text a provided team code to 81010. You can then send text updates and reminders easily from your cell phone. I don’t use this for any “team only” communications so that parents can have a neighbor or grandparent who is tasked with carpooling, etc. join the alerts. Today, parents almost expect text updates and reminders. Email is becoming cumbersome.
(4) Signupgenius.com. This website is great for tracking player availability for games, informal surveys, etc. It will also send reminder alerts if you activate that function.
(5) YouTube. Don’t overlook the benefit of finding a slow-frame swing of Albert Pujols / Mike Trout or the throwing motion of Stephen Strasburg / Clayton Kershaw. The kids look up to these players and will emulate the big leaguers. Use this to your advantage to show the kids the importance of using their legs in their swing or following through with their pitches. Of course, I also like to email parents videos of Ozzie Smith to explain the “Ozzies” & demonstrate a proper back flip, Nolan Ryan to display true greatness, Stan Musial/Babe Ruth/Hank Aaron/Jackie Robinson to talk about baseball’s history. By giving these tools to parents to watch with their kid, you are better able to gain the parents’ trust, confidence, endearment and loyalty.
(Intro to 1B leadoffs)
(Intro to Pickoffs)
(Intro to 1B Pickoffs – Lefties)
(Beginner Pitching Basics)
http://youtu.be/cp0EG06W67A [I put this together for our 9U team a few years ago]
For hitting, I like to let the parents of young players know that we expect swings to be rough, so do not let their son be discouraged. It may be wise for most of our players to simplify their stride … or eliminate it. I encourage players to watch swings like Albert Pujols – no stride, but awesome power is generated. Albert Pujols (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4zoHTbQSkE)
If the player is more comfortable with a stride – that’s ok. However, we need to keep his eyes level (not dropping down) and when the stride foot lands (without drifting back towards the base line) he must reestablish his balance and rotate around the new axis that is created. Mike Trout does this well … but it’s hard to perfect. Maybe when they are 11? Mike Trout (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BZgZuI6hSw)
A couple years ago, we incorporated long-toss into our practices. I think these exercises helped increase the arm strength for our players. Below is a nice video demonstrating long-toss. The max distance that the boys should be throwing is where they’re not hopping the ball to you. Once they throw a couple in a row that hop, then that’s their max distance for the day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w3xwYIx17s
Best of luck this season!