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What I Know And Remember About Baseball - Aggression

Running Bases, protecting the bag, pitching; what is the level of aggression players should utilize when playing baseball? Does it make sense for a 12u team to have a player round third when the catcher has the ball under control and then dig a bee line to knock the ball out of the catchers glove?

In psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior that is intended to cause harm or pain.

However, it is important to understand what being...

Baseball,youth,aggression,player

Running Bases, protecting the bag, pitching; what is the level of aggression players should utilize when playing baseball? Does it make sense for a 12u team to have a player round third when the catcher has the ball under control and then dig a bee line to knock the ball out of the catchers glove?

In psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior that is intended to cause harm or pain.

However, it is important to understand what being appropriately aggressive baseball player means, because "being too aggressive' is often a description indicating a problem player. To clarify a player was direct physical harm was obviously the intent? And could the objective served by the action could have been accomplished by methods less likely to harm another. - Harding

Each baseball player makes choices in the heat of the moment. What is important for coaches and parents is to guide these choices. Collisions are inevitable, but the degree to which the collision can be tempered can be taught.

What does this have to do with whether or not a player is too aggressive? At every level a player's play is formed within the context of the game's rules as exercised by parents, coaches and umpires. – Harding

Until baseball players reach the paid ranks (I consider college as a paid position) the focus should be that everyone there is to have some level of fun and everyone deserves to be able to walk away from the game without injuries inflicted by others.

Aggression is not limited to the field of play and the actions therein. From the bench, foul language, attempts to intimidate or mocking are all initiating forms of aggression. It may appear on the surface as a benign taunting, but where does it end? If a player successfully taunts opponents without recourse, they will take the next step.

As humans we are hardwired for certain behaviors. Culture is a distinctly human factor that plays a role in aggression. Anthropological research has found that some cultures are relatively low on aggression while others are seemingly high. If allowed to continue unchecked, the culture of baseball runs the risks of aggressive contact as a prerequisite to success.

Environmental factors can trigger more aggressive behavior. Heat, is the predominate environmental event that leads to aggression. Biologically were prefer certain levels of comfort. When weather swings beyond our preferred levels, humans get edgy.

Add the stress of competitive activity and being on the winning or losing side and aggression can flair. Much like a flame to dry tinder, the smallest spark can set the whole enterprise a blaze.

Aggression can be either physical or verbal, and behavior is classified as aggression even if it does not actually succeed in causing harm or pain. Behavior that accidentally causes harm or pain is not aggression.

Left un checked, aggression initiated by one will likely be repaid in kind or a little more, which will then be repaid; a accelerating cycle that can lead to all out violence. Clearing the bench for a team fight is a sorry day for both teams.

As parents and coaches, it is up to us to teach our players what is acceptable aggression. It makes no sense for a 12u team to have a player round third when the catcher has the ball under control and then dig a bee line to knock the ball out of the catchers glove. Here the decision should be to get caught between third and home and force the defense to complete a successful pickle.

Baseball players need to be aggressive in many areas. Fielding, Hitting and base running require active aggressive actions to complete the desired result. When actions involve other players, this aggressiveness needs to be age appropriate, or at least skill appropriate. What is acceptable for a competitive travel 12u team, may not be acceptable for a 12u recreation team.

References:

How Aggressive Should a Baseball Player Be?
Herndon P. Harding, Jr. is the medical director at the Florida Hospital Center for Behavioral Health and a member of the USA Baseball Medical & Safety Advisory Group.

Aggression- source articles

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/aggression.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aggression

 

What I Know And Remember About Baseball - Bat Selection

It would be nice that there was one equation to decide for each of us what the perfect baseball bat would be. A formula that takes into consideration the basic statistics of height, age, skill level and strength.

Fortunately we are all unique, my hand is similar but not exact to your hand. The power in my grip is better than some and worse than others. If everyone who played baseball was batting 750 or better, the game just would not be the heart wrenching, nail biting exp...

baseball,youth,bat,selection

It would be nice that there was one equation to decide for each of us what the perfect baseball bat would be. A formula that takes into consideration the basic statistics of height, age, skill level and strength.

Fortunately we are all unique, my hand is similar but not exact to your hand. The power in my grip is better than some and worse than others. If everyone who played baseball was batting 750 or better, the game just would not be the heart wrenching, nail biting experience that it is.

Little League baseball, College or Professional, the perfect baseball bat is a personal decision based upon experience. Tailoring to players needs, desire and level of play, technology has evolved to create bats that deliver peak performance not only in the basic mechanics of hitting a baseball but also fitting the player to enhance their ability to strike the ball.

In the beginning of the sport, batters made their own bats. Every species and shape brought to the diamond was done by hand with the singular goal of having the most reliable hitter on the field. The round barrel quickly took the lead as the most appropriate form as it proved to remain in tact longer and the ball tended to stay in bounds more often.

Imagine hitting a baseball with a whittled down 2 by 4. Lots of large surface area to strike with, but off the top third or bottom third, the ball would go almost no where. An easy out for the defense.

Round has been in use for over 150 years as the shape of choice. With all the modern advances in materials, composition and machining, the round shape wins.

Baseball bat selection is an ongoing process that changes with the players age, skill and strength. Younger players actually have less time to bring the bat around then their older counterparts as the decision to swing takes longer. Where Older players will commit to a swing mid way through the ball flight from the mound to the plate. Younger players in their ever mindful desire please the coach and swing only at strikes generally do not make the commitment until the ball is two thirds the way to the plate.

To select the right bat, first it must be comfortable and feel right in your hands. The weight must be right so that it will not throw you off balance at the end of the swing from being too heavy, or so light that you whip it around too easily and must restrain your efforts to meet up with the ball.

The well publicized Barry Bonds length of preference is 34 inches; Ty Cobb 34.5 inches, Hank Aaron 35 inches. Here is a great example of personal bat choices. Bonds, likely the larger and stronger of the three chooses the shortest bat.

For younger players, using one of the numerous bat charts is a great place to start. Even through early teens, these charts are useful to check that your player is not getting too far away from accepted sizes.

When selecting a baseball bat in the store, keep in mind that the aisle you are inspecting it in is in no way the experience you will have at the plate. Best results on picking out a bat is at the ball field. Players will generally allow teammates to try their bats.

With prices upwards of $400, beginning and intermediate players should not feel pressured to buy the latest and greatest. Many similar bats are available at attractive prices from the discount retailers. There are many players with impressive batting averages utilizing discount equipment. Often it is the top of the line model from a few years earlier.

Looking cool at the plate with a large bat with intense graphics is not nearly as awesome as hitting the ball and getting on base so often that the other teams recognize you as a threat. Yes, size matters, the right size and weight. Use what works for you and do not be afraid to go down a size to go up in your stats.

 

What I Know And Remember About Baseball - Relay

Off the wall in left center, the fielder scoops up the ball as the runner approaches third. The Catcher has aligned the cut off man for a straight ball path from the fielder to home plate. Center fielder drills the ball to the cutoff man with all his might. Cutoff man does the two step shuffle, catch, shuffle throw and off goes the frozen rope to home in plenty of time for the tag.

In modern baseball from youth thru seniors, moments like these are proudly displayed in flas...

Baseball softball,cutoff man,relay,play,baseball glove,catch throw,baseball drill

Off the wall in left center, the fielder scoops up the ball as the runner approaches third. The Catcher has aligned the cut off man for a straight ball path from the fielder to home plate. Center fielder drills the ball to the cutoff man with all his might. Cutoff man does the two step shuffle, catch, shuffle throw and off goes the frozen rope to home in plenty of time for the tag.

In modern baseball from youth thru seniors, moments like these are proudly displayed in flash on Myspace and Youtube. Photos, Video and Blogging hit the information highway at lighting speeds to announce the play of the day.

What many fail to see or talk about in their Myspace feeds is what actually made this play successful. Was it merely the excellent throwing arms of the players? Was the runner a bit on the slow side when rounding the bases?

Success is based on a series of practiced events that culminate in one play. First, the fielder controls the ball while the cutoff man raises their hands to make a good target and keeps his eyes on the fielder. The catcher is guiding the relay man to make a straight path for the ball to follow. Now comes the relay, simple as a catch throw, catch and tag.

To prepare the relay man for what they need to accomplish it really breaks down to the basics, catch and throw. Added is the excitement of the game and the rush the players put upon themselves to complete the process quickly.

Not all the different from warm up. Players are standing with their goal of throwing a ball to their teammate to the comfortable catch area between the shoulders and above the belly button and below the ears.

Now comes the dance of the relay man. Their first responsibility is to catch the ball. Then turn the head and hips to acquire the target. In our case, the catcher. As the core is wound they finish their turn and release the ball towards the target. The dance is where only one portion of this entire event goes awry from the warm up.

So much of baseball is situational. Even the situations themselves have variations within variations. Aside from playing hundreds of games to gain the experience of those situations or viewing hours of Myspace video feeds there are drills that cover the basics without having to go into practice stifling situations.

We have already covered the warm up and the goal of throwing. To add the twist, set up a relay with three players. Spaced 30 to 40 feet apart, the man in the middle practices the relay dance. This is where the coaching comes in. View the footwork and core loading. Make corrections as needed but try to keep the ball moving. With the player concentrating on the catch and throw, following instruction during this time will help the player from compound information. Compounding information forces the player to react as opposed to think about their movements, which is also called muscle memory.

For teams with players under 18, everyone should have a stint in the middle. Who you may think will be a catcher for life could ultimately become a world class short stop. It is best to keep in mind that all players play all positions until they are either on scholarship or paid to play.

With all your players having the dance figured out, it is time to add some twists. Creating relay races are a great way to add excitement and more of a game situation to the drill. Create conditions that engage the players for several minutes.

Relay the ball down and back then rotate the players. The first relay team to rotate through all the players wins. As there are only 3 to a side, you may consider prizes for the winning side such as flavored water or small packages of sunflower seeds. It is not the prize that counts, it is the victory.

To work alignment into the drill, after player 1 releases the ball, have them shift 5 to 10 feet left or right while maintaining their distance from the relay man. As the relay man releases the throw to player 3, player 1 begins giving direction to the relay man; shout left or right to bring the player into alignment. Player 3 throws back to the relay and repeats what player 1 has done.

This drill takes up quite a bit of room but makes for a sure fire way to practice the dance with more situations padded into the exercise. Add to all the commotion is that your fielders are now having to work a little harder at spotting the relay man as they are on the move.

At the end of the day if the players had fun, the coaches had fun, everyone leaves happy, a little tired and wanting to return again. As the coach you alone make practices as fun and exciting as going to the circus or as dreary as doing multiplication tables. Opt for the circus and you will be the pied piper for the team where the players and parents will gladly follow.




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