Staying in Shape
Making sure our guys stay in shape throughout the summer and fall season is something we have really dedicated to at Sons of Thunder baseball. It's all about a number for most coaches so strengthening each player at each position is crucial if they want to further their career.
Pitching Tips for Baseball-
One of the main objectives that I try and do as a coach is to keep players focused on simple expectations and rules to play by. The first thing I feel is the most important is for pitcher to understand that they control the game and "stuff" rolls down hill. In controlling the game they need to live by two rules.
First rule that is above all others it to throw the ball in the strike zone. As long as the pitcher is filling up the strike zone with all his pitches he gives the team a better opportunity to play at the highest level. Sitting around all day in the field because pitchers fail to do their job is demoralizing to a defense.
The second important thing a pitcher needs to be doing is moving at a fast pace. That pace doesn't have to be super sonic speed, but it needs to be with intent to be on and off the field. Everyone loves to hit so the faster you work and throw strikes the more time we get to spend putting up runs.
Keys to Baserunning-
As the level of baseball rises games become won and lost on the base paths. A philosophy that I believe in is never giving amateur athletes the credit of being able to make tough throws on the money on a consistent basis. When players are in motion we want to challenge the opponent to make throws in a rush. This creates opportunity by increasing mistakes made by an outfielder by first lifting his eyes which lifts the glove and takes away from hand eye coordination. Another thing this does causes the transfer to be fast creating a bobble from glove to hand. Lastly it make an outfielder rush through his mechanics throwing causing him to use more body leaving the arm behind sailing the ball high and often off line.
Standout at Showcase Events-
Players from across the country will be doing all they can to stand out in front of every scout this season. You can hit in the cages, throw all the bullpens, and take every ground ball, but what if none of that was even what they were looking for. When you get to the top levels of ball everyone does those things so what can you do? Well, here are a list of things you can do during this summer showcase season to separate yourself from every other player.
Treat your game like a job interview, and show up ready to play. Showing up to an event in shorts then having to change before a game confuses a recruiter. Is he here to play baseball and means business, or is he here to socialize and he will get around to baseball when the time comes. You should arrive ready to play and leave ready to be talked interviewed. Baseball uniforms are your suit and tie. Look your best!
Hustling is the best way to stand out! Whether it is running hard 90s to first or sprinting to your position. Show you are player full of energy and love being a baseball player. An easy goal to set for yourself is to try and be where you need to be in 5 seconds or less. Most coaches carry a stop watch and make it a point to time you running to first base when a ball is batted. If you can run a time that impresses that may be all that college recruiter needs to offer you the opportunity you desire. On several occasions I have listened to recruiters tell players that they stopped watching the game after the first two batters because neither of them felt the need to run hard on the base paths. What a shame that something so simple could completely ruin a player's chance.
Game reps in between innings is sometimes the only ground ball or throw down to second you may get in a game. Time and time again players take these opportunities as a chance to turn two or look pretty doing it. This absolutely drives recruiters up the wall. It is important to make these look good and be as game speed as possible. Infielders should show a good approach to the ball, quick feed, smooth transfer, and a rifle for an arm. Outfielders should show good throws at a long distance but on a line. Throwing pop flys to one another doesn't show a recruiter a thing except that you never matured past ten years old. If you hustle to your position and make good strong throws back and forth that is enough to show a recruiter what he needs to see. Lastly, catchers should make every throw down to second base the best one of the day. This will do two things, first it is a clean pop time where a hitter doesn't have to interfere and second intimidates the other team from wanting to run on you in the first place. Be the leader and set the tone of how the inning is going to go if runners get on. Plus nothing makes a coach, pitcher, and middle infielder more happy than the man behind the plate is performing at the highest level.
Selecting A Team-
A lot has been made lately of select teams and how to choose them, and are they going to get my son to that BIG Division 1 program. As players continue to mature and develop into the player every parent thinks that they have, it is easy to get caught in the trap of "I am better than my surroundings, the grass is greener on the other side, or if I go to this "name brand" program they will get me the opportunity to play in the big leagues." Truth be told... none of that matters. At the end of the day it comes down to five simple bullet points.
None of these mean more than the other. Look at these as the recruiting commandments. In other words if you don't pass one of the top 2 but can play the game and have a coach that works for you... You still have a chance. Likewise if you pass the top 3 and don't have a coach that cares about you... You're still going to have that opportunity. Being an Independent small brand like myself I have dealt with my fair share of "big timers" thinking brand names in the industry are going to give them an edge. They are not and truthfully they show more lack of character and shallowness than smarts on how to manage their own ball player. It is frustrating to witness, but time and time again our little name brand continues to shine! Why? Passion, Love, and Work!
Baseball Beliefs on the Field- The SOT way!
Mentally tough, classy teams will defeat "undisciplined" teams more times over the course of a season.
Defense steals momentum, offense wins the game.
Every play that is executed puts pressure on the other team whether it is defensively or offensively.
Runners in scoring position puts pressure on all aspects of the defensive game.
Good base running decisions reflect mental focus and understanding.
Poor body language toward teammates, umpires, fans, coaches, and opposition gives our opponent an advantage!
There is no room for selfish thoughts, comments, and/or actions.
Play as a team, win as a team! Play as an individual, we lose as a team.
Championship teams are built one player at a time.
Win every pitch!
Errors are unintentional mistakes, forget about them and win the next pitch.
Wins and losses end at midnight. A new day is a new opportunity.
Selfish attitudes cause cancer on a team. DO YOUR JOB!
Most events are every weekend on Saturday and Sunday so this means more time in between starts for pitchers to maximize their skills and throwing program. Below is the 7 day pithing routine that I feel works best to keep arms in shape as well as grow velocity during the season. For reference sake we will use Sunday as the start day. If they throw Saturday or in some cases Friday you can move the workout around. One thing you should know is that each player is different and this is just a guideline for each player to go by. I will also at length go into each day and what each day should consist of.
Sunday- Game Day!
Monday- Workout, sprints, and should do some type of throwing up to about 90ft.
Tuesday- 20-25 pitch flat ground bullpen at 50% to feel out location and release.
Wednesday- Long toss at length followed by a short flat ground session.
Thursday- Workout heavy to build strength and endurance.
Friday- 35 pitch bullpen at 75% preparing for the next start.
Saturday- Day off from work, but this is where the physical and mental preparation begins
Sunday- Game Day!
Game Day Pre Game Routine
50 minutes before you get on the mound:
The pitcher should have all gear in the bullpen- bands, dumbbells, game ball, and anything else needed. The catcher will warm him up! Preparing an hour before the game insures the amount of time needed to be ready for start.
45 minutes before you get on the mound:
The pitcher will begin to warm up by running. This will include a light jog and then turn into sprints. Creating looseness and sweat ridding themselves of any negative energy, sluggish feelings, and preparing the mind for the game ahead.
40 minutes before you get on the mound:
Full body stretch with a partner/catcher. After this move on to exercises with the bands for arm care involving the shoulder and forearm.
25 minutes before getting on the mound:
Pitcher should begin his throwing routine/progressions- this should include wrist flicks, arm flicks, fIgure 8s, one knee, rotaion throws etc.
18 minutes, go to the mound area:
Pitcher will begin throwing the length of the mound, then moving back behind the mound and throwing off the back of the mound to promote staying on top of the ball and finishing out front. After that begin throwing flat ground from the wind up and stretch 2-3 fastball down the middle, outside and inside corners. After the fastball begin working the change ups and then the breaking ball.
12 minutes before:
Warm up live on the mound 20-25 pitches. This is a great opportunity to work the pitches you have a feel for and develop a feel for what you want to throw in the game. Communicate with the catcher what you are liking and how you are feeling with each pitch. It is extremely important to work with the catcher and let him know what you are liking and how the arm is feeling and each pitch. Some days things feel better than others.
5 minutes before game:
Last chance to get a breather and last minute mind build up to go out on the mound and perform at a high level.
Weight Room Training
A lot to be studied here and unpopular beliefs to be explained. Working on an article!
Monday- Leg day and abdominal workout circuit
Tuesday- Upper chest and lower chest with arm workouts big and small muscle groups
Wednesday- Speed training, abdominal, and cardio only
Thursday- Back exercises and arms
Friday- Shoulders and abdominal training