Baseball Hitting – How to Be a Great Hitter and Still Play Other Sports

My kids play lots of sports. Their favorite sport is always the sport that is currently in season. The challenge they are facing as they continue to play competitive sports into high school is the specialization that is occurring among so many of the athletes. The time spent in the off season working on the other sports gives the player with specialization a great advantage over the multi-sport (especially three sport) athlete. Many coaches, me included, tell their players after the last game of the season that preparation for next season begins tomorrow. The summertime is the time when athletes should be able to develop their talent levels to participate and compete for the next year. It is a time for assessment of current skills and the time to develop a plan for how an athlete will improve those skills so he or she can be measurably better when the next season begins.

This is pretty easy if an athlete plays just one or maybe two sports but can be a real challenge of the athlete plays three. A player can typically make the time to devote to one sport quite easily. An hour a day is not too much to give to doing something that a player loves. When I was young I loved basketball and I would make time to practice each day for as long as I could. I was paranoid that if I did not play every day that I would lose my touch with the basketball and not shoot as well the next time out. Hitting a baseball is much the same. Many players believe they must hit every day in order to a great hitter. I also believe that is true.

The solution we use at our house to help my boys prepare for football, baseball and basketball is as follows. We follow this routine 5 out of 7 days per week. The idea is that football is a sport requiring strength, speed and agility more than anything else. Both of my sons are quarterbacks so throwing and ball handling are important as well. Baseball requires hitting, about 100 swings per day. Basketball requires ball handling and shooting.

We spend the first 30 minutes doing sprint drill at the park up the street. We will do ladder drills at full speed with a 6 second rest between sprints. We start at 40 yards and back, 50 and back, etc on up to 100 yards and back at full speed. We do this for 20 minutes and then close out with a series of short bursts of 30 yards each at full speed. I time them to see that they are getting faster each week.

After sprinting we move to hitting. The batting cage is right at the park so we get our equipment and then get our Heater Pitching Machine operational and take 100 swings each. The Heater will fire a pitch every 10 seconds and will hold 12 balls in the ball rack so we can get through each of them getting 100 swings in 30 minutes. We take pitches outside to the opposite field, we work on hitting inside pitches hard on the pull side and work on the rest being hit with backspin right up the middle. We track how many get hit to the back of the batting cage.

We then move to basketball. I developed a workout that we alternate running every other day. One day we focus primarily on shooting and the next we focus primarily on ball handling and driving moves to the hoop. I will provide that workout in a follow up article.

The boys lift weights every other day with their football program and I think that is enough to help them develop their strength.

That is it! The rest of the day they have to themselves. I never mind what else they do with their day as long as we have completed the daily workout. I know their summer will lead to them being better athletes and they will be able to keep up with the athletes who are specializing in certain sports.

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Soccer Cleats and How They Are Different From Other Sports Cleats

Games that require lots of running and jumping like baseball, football, lacrosse or soccer requires you to wear special cleats. If you ware your regular jogging ones to these ground then you won’t be able to maintain your balance and end up getting hurt. If you are a soccer player then you must understand the dire need for soccer cleats. Soccer is a fast pace, nonstop game that needs you to run continuously without losing your balance. Your fancy regular sport wear fail to assist in these games due to the game’s roughness. They are of immense support while you are running in the ground. Known by various names, they are made keeping in mind about all the twist and turns and skids you have to face on the ground. But there are many kinds for different games and you can get confused while choosing. So first understand the difference in the types and their area of distribution. Do not wear football cleats in soccer because it’s really not safe.

How they look – The back portion of the cleat is a little heeled which offers support while running. The toe part or the upper part are stitched with vamps to provide a smooth kick and make them last longer. The cleats at bottom could be made of metal- tipped, plastic or rubber. They are detachable. If they come off then don’t be worried, they can be fixed. Apart from the running part cleats are helpful in skidding or if you slip in wet snow or water.

Its types and their purpose – They comes in three kinds – round, bladed and hard ground. The hard ground one gives you proper traction on firm and hard surface, bladed studs create fewer pressure &the round ones offer more points of contact with the field. Choose the one you find more compatible. But remember to buy the ones especially made for soccer.

Other sports cleats and the difference in them – Basketball ones have cleats in front of them which are helpful in digging into the ground and coming out easily. If you hit someone or step on someone with them it could be dangerous.

Cleats in the footwear made for football are present on the edge and bottom. Compared to baseball ones, football cleats are different. Their leather is thicker and heavy which helps you in jumping. Football ones make the turns and skids easy.

Now coming to soccer ones. They are lighter in weight than baseball or football cleats. Football ones come in two cuts – mid cut and low cut, soccer ones come in low cuts only. The cushioning inside can be removed and reattached. Many schools have instructed their students to wear cleats for the soccer. If you wear any other sports wear to a soccer ground your chances of being barred from playing in your school are high

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Using Golf Handicaps – Why Golf Handicaps Make Golf a Better Competitive Sport Than Any Other Sport

Golf, it is often said to me, is the ultimate game for two people to compete against each other. It does not matter what level of player either competitor is, they can both enjoy a fair game on a level playing field, with each having a chance to win.

In golf, you do not compete against each other directly. The competition is far more complicated than that, with the end result that the game is fairer. Instead of direct competition score for score, you compete against each other by determining who is playing to the best of their ability on that course. If one player really excels at the particular course you are playing at whilst the other struggles because they are always in the hazards, the one with the better day should always win.

Contrast this to any other sport. Take a premiership football team and pit them against a Saturday league team. The result is probably going to be written in stone before the kick off and neither team is really going to enjoy the actual sporting experience. Likewise, pit two runners or swimmers against each other and the better performer will vanish into the distance whilst the weaker one struggles at the back.

For most sports, there is no reason for people of different levels to try to compete. But look at your local golf club’s competition and you will see players of all abilities playing each other, all of whom have a genuine chance of winning.

This balancing act, although sounding complicated, is brought about by golf’s handicap system. Through examining the best of your last few games your handicap is adjusted to show how many over par you could possibly play, if you played to the best of your golfing potential.

Apply this delicate balancing act across all people and players and you have a system whereby the weaker players get a few extra stokes, to put them on a level playing field with the rest of the competition. And it is not just in your club competitions that this is useful. If a regular playing partnership both have their correct handicaps, say husband and wife, then they can go out playing together and both stand a reasonable chance of being a victor on the day.

Obviously, there is a lot to say for the system calculating the handicap correctly, which includes honest on the parts of the players. But the way that golf works, it is an honour to be able to say a lower handicap. Therefore, players want to earn and show off a lower handicap, rather than maintaining an artificially higher handicap that could benefit them in competitions.

There is no other sport that I know like it, where a couple can head out and start off on an equal footing. Both have to then try their best to achieve a good score, for the potential of a win on the day.

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