post

How to Pick the Right Baseball Bat

Baseball truly is America’s past-time. It’s a fantastic sport (I’m a little biased, but still). It teaches children to play as a team and leave individual statistics behind, gives great hand to eye coordination skills and keeps them in good physical condition.

But no matter what all the psychiatrists and family book writers say, it is much more fun to win than to lose, and it is way more fun to hit the ball well than to strike out or hit short hoppers every time you get to bat.

Importance of Selecting a Bat

Selecting the right baseball bat is a rather tedious process, as it involves the use of many different bats to get to the one that is best for you. (To all my Harry Potter fans: Choosing a baseball bat is similar to selecting a wand.) You must be prepared to do some research beforehand so you know what to look for. You may even want to consult some bat reviews, something like this site (that specific page is for a type of gymnastics equipment, but you get the idea).

Factors to Consider When Picking Your Bat

Composition

A baseball bat that is made of aluminum, wood or composite metal each have different characteristics and feels to them. One model may feel better to swing with, but when hitting the ball, you may find that it hurts, or does not get as much distance as it should. But, before finding which material you want your bat to be made of, you need to determine the length and weight of the bat.

Length

Picking a baseball bat starts with finding the right weight and length for your swing. A general rule of bat manufacture is that a bat weighs one ounce for every inch in length, and most bats are 30 to 35 inches long. There are shorter bats for the younger children, and at that age, composition does not really matter, just go with the bat that your child likes the best when hitting a ball. For older players in leagues, over 10 years of age with a few year’s experience in league play, then finding the best bat for their swing is more important.

Finding the best baseball bat for yourself may be a measure of going out to the batting cages and trying each of the three types of bats, and finding which one feels better when hitting a hard thrown ball. Once you know your preferred composition — say maple wood — you can try the different lengths, to see which length gives you best coverage of the home plate. Your next step is to find the weight that suits you best.

Weight

There are different weights available for bats, aside from the general rule of one ounce per inch of bat length. You can buy a +3, a -2, or other variations on weights. A plus three, 32 inch bat would weigh 35 ounces, 32 ounces for the 1-to-1 ratio, and 3 extra ounces for the +3. You find your best weight by swinging for home runs in the batting cages, or at practice. Use the bat that you produce best with until you find that “perfect” baseball bat.

Note: If your child is beginning little league, we definitely recommend starting with an aluminum bat. This is pretty much standard nowadays from little league up through college, unless your child’s team plays in a wood-bat league/tournament.

Where to Buy a Baseball Bat

Sporting Goods Store

If you are not in a league or belong to a baseball team, and are simply looking for a baseball bat for yourself or your child, one place you can go to buy a bat is a sporting goods store. Some stores even have hitting cages out back, and you can try the different makes, models, lengths and weights of bats.

The potential downside to sporting goods stores is they can sometimes have a limited selection, depending on the store. If you’d like a wider selection, with more options, colors, styles, lengths and weights, then you can find great bats online at sites like Amazon.

Online

While buying a baseball bat online means you can’t test out the bat before purchase, if you already have an idea of the bat you’re looking for, buying the bat online can be your best option in terms of pricing and convenience. Many online stores — again like Amazon — have great return policies, so you can exchange the bat for a different one if for whatever reason you discovered the bat wasn’t for you.

My Top Baseball Bat Pick

To give you guys an idea of what to look for, I selected my current favorite bat — the Rawlings Raptor (check it out on Amazon).

Rawlings Raptor baseball bat

This is a very high quality bat at an affordable price. Not only does it have a great feel, but your child will love the stylish coloring. I highly recommend it.

Once you decide on and buy the best baseball bat for you (or your child), get out there and start practicing!

Swing batter batter, swing.

post

The Ripkin Legacy

The name “Ripkin” is synonymous with homegrown talent in Baltimore, Maryland. Cal Ripken, Sr. worked his way through Baltimore Minor Leagues to play for the Orioles.

He taught his two sons, Bill and Cal, Jr. to play great baseball too. Soon both of them had risen through the ranks of the minor leagues to play baseball along side each other. It was baseball first.. Three members of the same family working for the same team (Ripken Sr. was a team manager). Eventually, Ripken Sr. would become to old for the game. Not long after, Billy retired too. But Cal Ripken, Jr. hung in there and not only played into his 40’s, but played pretty darn good.

Cal Jr.’s ability to stick to it paid of in many ways. By the end of his baseball career, Ripken had played over 2,600 games of baseball consecutively. Remarkably, he played them at the shortstop position, which after pitcher and arguably first baseman, is the most physically demanding position to play. Only a 10 minute walk from Babe Ruth’s childhood home, Cal Ripken Jr. became baseball’s “Ironman” for his seemingly super-human marathon abilities. He has over 2,600 games and over 3,000 hits, and he didn’t need steroids to do that, just a strong will and an iron determination.He’s a true sports hero anyone could look up to.

No, he never had a 70 homerun season. Yet there must have been a some reason he was invited to the All-star games 19 times. It was his consistency. He wasn’t the guy who always hit the grand-slams (though he did have a few of his own), he was the guy who was always on base making a grand-slam out of an ordinary home run. By no means was he a poor batter, though. He averaged .276 and had over 3,000 career hits and over 450 homeruns.

Where he really shined, however was on the field. As a shortstop, Cal would regularly leave the ground to stop a line drive from slicing into center-left field. His dedication to the sport showed in the way he played with precision. By the end of almost every year, Cal had the lowest number of errors for the season.

His leadership is sure to be missed around the clubhouse. Now the big bat in the dug-out is Sammy Sosa’s. But not long after the team owner brought him into Baltimore, Sosa was making the 1hour trip into D.C. to testify about steroid use to the Senate. Whether he did or did not use steroids isn’t the point. It’s just certainly a lot harder to call yourself an O’s fan these days. Hopefully, Cal will follow the footsteps of fellow Oriole and Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, and come back as a coach, manager, owner. They’ll give him whatever position he wants because they know like everyone else does, that the Ironman’s leadership is sorely missed.

post

Top 3 Baseball Pitching Tips

A formidable pitcher can play a major role in catapulting his baseball team’s success. While home runs are said to win the games, pitching is what drives a team to win major series.

Becoming a good pitcher is a matter of learning control, having precision and understanding the fundamentals. Below, you’ll read our top 3 baseball pitching tips.

Tip #1: Don’t Worry About The Swing

Professional pitchers realize that their job is to choose a target and hit it with the intended velocity. If the batter swings and connects, that’s not the pitcher’s problem. So, don’t worry about the aftermath of your pitches. Choose your targets and focus on hitting them.

Tip #2: Speed It Up

If your movements on the mound are slow, it’ll hurt your pitch’s velocity. Quicken your stride. Beginning pitchers often fail to understand that most of the ball’s velocity builds during the lunge. When your front foot makes contact with the mound, the velocity of the ball is already largely determined. So push off hard, with vicious intent, and speed up your stride. Your pitch’s velocity with increase in step.

Tip #3: Think Positive

Don’t laugh. If you ask a pro, he’ll tell you that your thoughts on the mound play a huge part in determining how effective you are. Confidence in baseball (as well as all performance-based activities) is huge. Hitters will try to intimidate you. Don’t let them. When each hitter approaches the mound, you should already be thinking about how you’re going to dominate him.

Becoming a great baseball pitcher takes both experience and an appreciation for the mechanics of pitching. Think about some of the great pitchers you see at the MLB and watch their mental focus.

So go out and buy cheap MLB tickets and get out to a ball game. It’s inspiring.

Bottom line: Focus on your targets, speed up your movements and win the mental game. Your pitches will follow your lead.

post

How to Coach Little League Baseball

When you coach baseball at the lower levels — I’m talking Little League here — don’t get too fancy. Remember these are young children and you have to keep them moving and engaged. You don’t want kids standing around and being bored, or sitting down and picking blades of grass.

Some Practice Ideas

Let’s say you have 12 kids on your team. Divide them up into three groups of four players. The first group goes to third base and stands in a line. You stand at home and hit the first kid a ground ball. He has to throw it to first. You hit the second kid a ground ball. He has to throw it to first. The point of this exercise is simple. You want the kids to practice getting a ground ball and throwing it to first as much as they can. Hit them ground ball after ground ball after ground ball. You can have a parent or older kid playing first base. After the kids have taken at least 15 ground balls, move the parent to second base. Now the kids have to take at least 15 more ground balls and throw them to second.

Meanwhile, the second group of kids is going to practice hitting. Take them to a corner of the outfield and have a parent throw them wiffle golf balls. Not a regular size ball, but wiffle golf balls. You can pick them up at any sporting goods store. Each kid gets five swings a piece. Then the next kid takes five swings. You do this as long as possible. The wiffle golf balls are much smaller than a regular baseball and they force the player to focus on the ball and swing through it.

The third group of kids goes to the outfield. Three kids stand in line and one kid stands by you. The player by you represents the cut-off man, which they have to hit with the ball chest high. Do not hit the ball with a bat. Have the kids stand about 20 yards away and throw them a pop-up. They have to catch it, position themselves properly and throw it to the cut-off man. Do not throw the pop-up right at the player – throw it to the side of in front of him or her. Make them move for it. This exercise is all about tracking the ball, catching the ball and throwing it to the cut-off man. Do as many reps as you can. Then line all four kids up and throw a ball over each kid’s head – much like a football pass. This makes the player turn and catch the ball over his shoulder. Do not overthrow the ball, just toss it high enough over the kid’s head, so he has to turn, track it and catch it.

Have the kids change stations – ground ball, fly ball and hitting stations when you think it is time. Note that each station is designed to give each player as many reps as possible in catching ground balls and fly balls, while making a good throw to the base or to the cutoff man. The hitting area with the golf wiffle balls is again, designed to give each kid as many reps as possible in tracking a small ball and swinging through it. At this age, little league age, it is all about getting as much fielding and hitting in as possible and that is what these stations will accomplish.

A good drill to end practice with is to pair off the players and make them stand about 15 yards apart. Then the first play throws the second player a ball that bounces in front of him. This is “short hop” practice” and gives the players numerous reps in handling bad hops. The short hops should not be thrown hard. This is just to improve the glove work of each player.

To give you an idea of the sorts of things you can try, here’s a brief video of some practice drills:

There you have it. A short practice where no player is standing around and they get as much practice as they can in handling groundballs, fly balls, throwing and hitting.

post

How to Overcome the Fear of Being Hit by the Ball

It can be especially intimidating for a young player to bat against an inexperienced pitcher knowing that if they get hit by the baseball, it will hurt. And this is just one fear. There is also the fear of failure, which is common in sports, especially for something as difficult as hitting a round ball with a round bat, squarely. Even the best hitters in baseball fail seven out of ten times.

It is no surprise that young ballplayers are nervous when batting in a baseball game (it may help lessen the fear a little if they’re distracted over their excitement about getting a new baseball bat). It can be a very frustrating time for the parents also to see their child bat, when the child is too nervous to swing the bat.

Following are some helpful tips that will help these nervous players overcome their fears and, at the same time, help parents and coaches deal with kids who are too nervous to perform well.

How to Help Young Players Get Over the Fear of Getting Hit

1. Instruct players how to correctly get out of the way of a ball coming at them. The correct technique will ensure the player avoids being hit by the ball or gets hit by the ball in an area of the body where a serious injury should not occur. Check with a hitting coach on the correct way, if unsure.

2. Explain to them that the pain (when hit by ball) will go away after a minute or two and that you know they are tough enough to overcome it. (If this doesn’t work, cry with them and that may take there focus off their pain.) Just kidding, but may be worth a try.

3. Also explain that being struck by the ball is part of the game and good players will shake it off and “get them the next time.” Coaches may have to be good salesmen at times.

4. Using a softer ball for batting practice can be helpful before moving up to a hard ball. Less fear of being hurt by the ball can give player confidence.

5. Encourage good at-bats and good swings as opposed to only hits.

6. Encourage players to remember their good at-bats and forget about the bad ones.

7. Coaches and parents should be patient with players who are very nervous and give them time to deal with their fears. Yelling and getting frustrated with with the player will usually make the situation worse.

8. Trying to keep players “in the moment” is a goal of the coach. Having players focus on where the ball is and not where the ball might go is important. Of course, this is easier said than done after a player has been hit a few times by a pitched ball. A good technique in batting practice is to ask the batter where he expects the next ball to be pitched? The batter’s response should be “right down the middle.”

9. Explain players that nervousness is common and necessary to being a good player, but they can concentrate through their nerves to perform.

10. Tell the players how good they will feel when they do overcome their nerves and play up to their capabilities.
11. If all else fails, parents may want to miss a game and see if the player performs better. Parental pressure, real or imagined, is a strong source of fear-of-failure.

12. Finally, grilling a player immediately after a game as to what they did and didn’t do in the game is usually counter-productive for erasing pressure and game nervousness. Parents might want to keep the talk after games about the team effort and only talk about their own performance when the player brings it up. Saving useful advice for a later time, like after dinner, is good.

post

How to Hold and Swing a Bat in Youth Baseball

Note: An article contributed by little league coach Henry Stevens. A special thanks to him for this great technical advice on swinging.

I love coaching and managing little league baseball. The only thing I loved more was when I played. I was always a good hitter. I had quick wrists, a discerning eye and good hand to eye coordination.

One of the most important things to me in hitting was to get a bat that “fit” you. There are important differences to the player; the length and weight of a bat will make a big difference. The length of the bat will be determined by the height of the little leaguer. The weight in ounces will be proportionate to the size of the bat. An example would be a 29″ long bat with a weight of 17 ounces. The grip will also need to feel comfortable.

Once you have the bat picked out, you have to develop how you will face the pitcher. What will your “stance” be like? That means how far back in the batter’s box will you stay. It also means how close to home plate will you stand. Other factors such as having an open stance(facing the pitcher with the back leg close to home plate) or a closed stance( head looking over your front shoulder and your front leg close to home plate) will be decided. Either way, you want some bend to your knees and your weight towards your toes. Then we get to the grip, or how to hold the bat.

Little league baseball hitter

You do not want to hold the bat too tight. That creates a tense, clinched, tight hold on the handle. Put your bottom hand approximately one inch above the bottom knob of the bat. Put your other hand directly on top of your bottom hand, and keep the knuckles of both hands lined up even. Next is to hold the bat firm, not squeezing it too tight, in the palm area of both hands. Do not bury the bat deep in your palms, but at the bottom part of your fingers, where they meet your palm.

Your front arm should make a 90 degree angle, bent at the elbow (similar to the letter, “L” lying on its back) and held about 6 inches away from your chest. The back arm should also form a letter “L”, with the elbow facing down. The hands should be at shoulder height and the barrel of the bat forming a 45 degree angle over your back shoulder. That is essentially the way that the bat is held.

Hitting is 30% grip, 20% stance and 50% recognition. By recognition, I refer to knowing in an instant what type pitch is being thrown and then timing your swing. You follow the ball all the way in with your eyes, keep your head still, step forward towards the pitcher’s mound, turn your back hip and back leg inward and extend the arms through the ball and snap the wrist just as the bat meets the ball.

It is a difficult task to do all of this with consistency. That is why the best hitter’s in baseball are successful 35 or 36% of the time,(a .350 or .360 batting average). At the time of this writing, the batting average leaders are Ichiro Suzuki in the AL @ .364 and Hanley Rameriz in the NL @ .340. Baseball , especially the art of hitting, are not as easy as it looks.

post

How to Improve Major League Baseball

This opinion piece was written by Dan Gerard, a long-time fan of major league baseball.

Major League Baseball recovered from the strike season of 1994 with the heroics of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Since that magical summer of Sosa and McGwire, baseball has been mired in suspicion about steroids and the integrity of the game. Baseball has a lot of catching up to do because the NFL is the new pastime in this country.

Here are a few things the sport could do to help its popularity with America’s sports fans.

Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. That is a common phrase the players use to keep their energy up for the playoff run late in the baseball season. For fans, however, the sport can stretch on and on without enough excitement to sustain their interest. Games themselves need to be shorter. It is pointed out when a game is under three hours these days. That does nothing positive for the sport.

In order to cut out 25% of your average game, these things would be the easiest to change without drastically altering the game itself. Reduce the warm-up pitches prior to each inning. The pitcher has been out there before and doesn’t need seven pitches every time out on the field. A couple of hand-thrown grounders does not help Omar Vizquel or Alex Rodriguez get ready to handle the hits of professional hitters. Cutting 30 seconds from every half inning is around 10 minutes every game.

Baseball needs to shorten the amount of time between pitches. There are over 250 pitches each game. Almost every hitter gets out of the batter’s box on each pitch. Pitchers get off the rubber and walk around. Reducing the time between pitches by even three seconds results in over 12 minutes per game.

Those two things would result in 22 minutes or more, which is 30 minutes with commercials, just by moving with more of a purpose.

In addition to games themselves being long, the season is even longer. Spring training begins when it is still winter and the World Series finishes up in October. That is far too long for the fans, the players, baseball management, television crews, everyone. Days off are seldom during the season, which is hard on the players, their families and the attention of fans.

Cutting the season by 25%, to around 120 games, would do wonders for the sport. Baseball can start later and finish earlier. The end of the season conflicts with the opening of the NFL season, which interests more fans. Start a few weeks later, end a few weeks earlier and add it more days off during the season. The players would be fresher and have longer careers, fans would be more likely to follow games longer during the season and each game would mean more — a reason why the NFL is hammering MLB in popularity right now in this country.

Just my two cents.

post

5 Baseball Tips for a Better Fielding Percentage

One of the number one ways to gauge defense on a baseball team is fielding percentage. Fielding percentage is calculated primarily by how often the ball is fielded cleanly compared to the number of times the ball is hit to them. This gives you a rough estimate of how well your defense is performing at a given time.

Here are five basic baseball tips to increase fielding percentage on your team.

Better Fielding Tip Number One

It goes without saying that the best way to increase fielding percentage is to practice fielding the baseball. How you practice this is just as important. Do not simply put your outfielders in a group and hit them pop flies. This does nothing to simulate a game situation, and rarely pays much dividends. Instead, make certain that all of your practice sessions are done from their positions on the field. In other words, third basemen should be fielding the baseball from third base.

Better Fielding Tip Number Two

Make certain that your equipment is right for the job. There is a reason that certain types of gloves are made for certain positions. Likewise, a softball glove should only be used for softball and a baseball glove should only be used for baseball. If you are a first baseman, you should have a first baseman glove. Etc. etc. Make certain that you have the proper cleats as well. Improper traction can prevent you from getting proper position on a baseball.

Better Fielding Tip Number Three

Invest in a pair of good quality sunglasses. Baseball sunglasses should have the ability to be flipped up or down quickly, and should be relatively dark to guard against the sun. Poor sunglasses can certainly affect fielding ability for outfielders and infielders alike.

Better Fielding Tip Number Four

Watch video of the great fielders and make notes about technique. The best baseball players watch and emulate the best and they are not ashamed to learn from them. You do not have to copy a fielder’s style, but you should note their technique. How do they approach a ground ball? Do they field and release the throw quickly, or do they make sure the ball is secure and then throw? These types of questions and observations can make your game better quickly.

Be sure to watch instructional videos like this one:

Better Fielding Tip Number Five

The most common problem with fielding a baseball at the lower levels is a fear of the baseball. If you have trouble getting in front of the baseball and you fear being hit, then you will have little to no chance of fielding the baseball with success. You have to stay in front of the ball every time, and get down low to block it from getting by you. This way if you do make an error you can often recover and minimize the damage. Practice getting in front of the baseball and understand that the ball will not hurt you except in super rare situations.

Try your best to implement these tips and you’ll be sure to see improvement in your fielding percentage at any position.

post

Tee Ball and Little League Baseball Coaching Tips

Coaching little league baseball and softball is one of the most rewarding activities a parent or adult can enjoy with children. Here are some little league baseball/softball coaching tips to help your team win games, but more importantly learn and have fun.

I’ve compiled this list from years of organizing physical education lessons in a Montessori school in which teachers were responsible for creating lessons on all subjects. My career has also included several stints as assistant little league coach and track and field day coordinator. As a special needs teacher, I have developed and implemented methods for inclusive team sports.

Little League Coaching Tip #1

Start your little league team off with tee ball. Tee ball is the precursor to little league baseball or softball. In place of pitching balls to each other, the tee ball is batted from a stationary tee, like golf. Tee ball (usually played with ages 6 or 7 and under) is an ideal game to introduce children to baseball and softball. Tee ball helps coaches focus on batting, hitting, running, catching and baseball rules and game play; tee ball delays the more advanced skills of pitching and introduces children to those skills at age and developmentally appropriate levels.

Little League Coaching Tip #2

Keep your team players moving at practice. One of the biggest reasons children drop out of little league is because they spend too much time sitting on the bench waiting for their turn. Boredom spells disaster, especially for young children. Organize your drills and practice activities in small groups to keep all team players actively engaged.

coach pointing to first

Every team has better and poorer players; keeping everyone involved hones your better players’ skills while boosting poorer players confidence and ability level. In the classroom, we call this kind of teaching ‘learning center based’. Set up center activities where team players practice in small groups for 15 minutes and rotate among three to five activity zones.

Little League Coaching Tip #3

Avoid the prima dona syndrome; it’s futile and archaic. Yes, you want to win. Yes, your team wants to win. You won’t achieve that by over working better players and benching poorer players. Baseball and softball are team sports. If you turn your games and practices into individual sports featuring a handful of players and making it a spectator sport for the rest of the team, you’ll burn out your better players and lose your support players. I assure you that you will not have the support of your team members’ parents if you favor your better players.

It’s a wise coach who encourages, inspires and motivates all the players on his team to give their best. You may be in for some pleasant surprises. That the overweight kid who doesn’t run well? He can hit like George Herman Ruth. The skinny kid? He may not be a great hitter but he can field like Brandon Inch.

Most of all, show your little league players and parent boosters that you genuinely appreciate them. They will appreciate you and pour their heart out for you on the ball field.

post

How to Prolong Your Amateur Baseball Career

Note: The following is an article written by Mark Braun, a long-time amateur baseball player.

I’ve been playing baseball since I was 10 years old, and I’m rapidly approaching 30. 2007 marks my 11th year playing in an 18 and over hardball league in Chicago. Over the years, I’ve found some can’t miss tricks that keep me on the field. I’m certainly not the most talented player on my team, but I’ve learned enough over the years to overcome any of my physical shortcomings. Hopefully, this guide will help you continue to play ball.
Get in shape – stay in shape.

My season starts in May and runs through July. By the time mid-July rolls around, I can always tell if I’ve put enough time and effort into my off-season workouts. If I’m tired and sluggish, I know I didn’t do enough. My game pays for it as my bat speed declines and I’m slow around the bases. The best exercise I’ve found to improve my game is running. Your legs are key for almost every aspect of the game. You push off your legs when you pitch or make throws across the infield. When you hit, most of your power is generated from your legs. Keeping your legs strong will keep you on the field longer.

Know the fundamentals

If we hold a tryout for our team, I can tell in a few minutes whether or not we want the person who is trying out. All I have to do is see them take a few ground balls or fly balls and make a few throws in. Most times, we don’t even need to see the person hit. You can make up for a lack of natural talent by knowing the fundamentals. All it takes is practice to improve your skill set, regardless of the position you play.

Learn to play multiple positions

This is one of the easiest ways go from a bench player to a starter. So, your primary position is 1st base. But, the team already has two 1st basemen and you are stuck way back on the depth chart. Learn to play the outfield. If you and a friend spend a few Saturdays hitting fly balls to each other, you can figure it out in no time. Pay attention during your next practice or game, and see what each position’s responsibilities are. After a few rounds of infield / outfield practice, you should have a good grasp of what you need to do. This has been a huge reason why I have spent most of my games starting. I’ve played every position on the field except catcher, and feel extremely comfortable at all infield positions.

Buy a batting tee and spend some time at the batting cages

batting practice

Just getting back to baseball and not sure how to get started? Spend $15 and buy a batting tee. This is the best way to improve your hitting. Work with a friend who can point out any problems in your form, or videotape yourself hitting. Once you feel comfortable with your stance and swing, head to the batting cages to put it all together.

Realize your shortcomings

Not everyone can have the best arm or hit the home runs. Determine where you are lacking talent and find ways to work around it. For example, I don’t have the strongest throwing arm. But, my primary positions are shortstop and third base, both of which require long throws. To make up for my arm, I realized I needed to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible. I don’t have the luxury of bobbling the ball or taking an extra step to throw. I do have decent range, so I can afford to play more shallow than most to make the throw a bit shorter. You can find ways to mask a lot of problems such as these. If you aren’t a great hitter, but have decent speed – try laying down a bunt for a hit. This is a skill you can easily practice and it will earn you a lot of hits.

Put forth your best effort

Regardless of talent, level, speed, etc – give all you have. Hustle onto and off of the field. Run hard on groundouts, charge ground balls, and give your best effort going after fly balls. No one want teammates that are lazy and fail to give their best effort. Play baseball with a passion and you will extend your playing time for as long as you desire.


A special thanks to Mark for contributing this article.