Baseball & Softball Tips- Defense Common Strategies • Playing for the bunt • Catcher ready for popup • Pitcher fields most balls • Right fielder KEY backup • 3rd baseman charges in • 1st baseman plays in • Pitcher should pitch the ball “high” in strike zone • Prevent runners stealing a base • Sizzers (2nd & shortstop backup throw to pitcher) • Holding runners on • Catcher ready for throw (“cheater step”) • Pitcher prevents delayed steal (step up to catcher) • Outfielders EXPECT bad throw • Move in for throw to home • Move back for a double play • 2nd baseman & shortstop
Baseball & Softball Tips- Defense Things that affect your fielding position: • Number of outs • Pitch count (balls & strikes) • Number AND speed of the runners • Ability of the fielder • Late, early, big, lefty batters • Past history of batter (previous at-bat or games) REMEMBER: Only the pitcher and catchers locations are fixed and then only at the beginning of each pitch!!! * Fielding Movement is: • Towards hit ball initially • Watch ball come off bat to get angle and early jump! • Field ball first, cover base second, backup third • Cutoff or Relay for outfield hits
Baseball & Softball Tips- Pitching Common strategies against batter: • Location • Low/outside & high/inside most difficult to hit • Watch where batter stands! • Batter crowds plate, pitch inside • Batter away from plate, pitch outside • Velocity • Fastball • 4-seam is fastest pitch • Held with “tips of index & middle fingers” and thumb • Changeup • Done to disrupt batters timing (hitting is timing!) • * Beware of changeup if runner stealing or runner at third! * • Only change from fastball is grip (hold deep in hand) • Ball movement • Drop ball (softball underhand pitch) • Curve ball –choke the ball and snap the wrist • Slider • Screwball (curve ball with opposite wrist snap) • Cutter (4-seam fastball with grip off-center for movement) • Sinker (2-seam fastball) • Knuckleball (most difficult pitch to throw – no ball rotation) • Arm location • Sidearm, 3 quarter, overhand, underhand
Baseball & Softball Tips- Batting Common strategies: • Warm-up good • Use bat weight (donut or 2nd bat) • Don’t forget batting gloves! • Know the batting order!!! • For your last few warm-up swings, swing the bat like you would if you were at the plate. • Watch pitchers speed • Get timing in on-deck circle BEFORE coming up to the plate • Watch previous batters – are they late or early! • Watch pitchers accuracy • Location? • Watch pitch types • Changeup? NOTE: Remember your last time at-bat! The faster the pitcher, the less time you have to react!!!
Baseball & Softball Tips- Stealing Common strategies: • Get good lead-off and/or jump • Don’t automatically slide! • You should ALWAYS round base looking to possibly go to next base UNLESS ball is at base and you need to slide!!! – ** Know were ball is BEFORE round! ** • Look back (at batter) 2-3 times to see if: • Ball hit • Popup • Line-drive to infielder • Pass-ball (rare, but possible to take 2 bases) • Watch catchers throw back to pitcher • Delayed steal? • Expect Overthrow EVERYTIME! • “Read” the pitch • Angle of pitched ball • Thrown in the dirt? • Over catchers head or very outside Note: Pay attention to runner in front of you!!!
Baseball & Softball Tips- Pitching Suggestions • Signs • Windup • Stretch • Stride • For fastball, 90-100% of length of body is the length of stride. • For changeups or curveballs, stride may be less as low as 60%. • Front foot steps directly towards plate. • Delivery • Throwing arm should cross body and hand should end up at opposite leg.
Baseball & Softball Tips- Batting Suggestions • In The Hole Preparation • Do not waste time as good practice swings are essential! • Get bat, helmet, batting gloves on and get ready to go. • Observer pitchers speed and accuracy • On Deck Preparation • Should visually see pitcher and home plate • Warm-up muscles by swinging bat back and forth over head • Take stance and focus on pitcher • Time your swing so your timing is the same as if you were up to the plate. • Use donut at first, but take off and get a few actual swings in preferably with your bat BEFORE walking up to the plate. • ** Make a mental note of the game situation!! • Who’s on base! • What’s the score! • How good is the other pitcher!
Baseball & Softball Tips- Batting Suggestions • At the plate • Take sign from coach with one foot in the box or step out and take a practice swing after the sign is given • NOTE: don’t hit the umpire, catcher, “bat boy” • Use bat to “touch the plate” to get proper distance. • NOTE: Keep an eye on the pitcher – you are officially ready to bat when both feet are in the box. • Move up/back in the box depending on pitchers speed or a bunt situation (up). • Pick a focus point when watching the pitched ball • Pitchers hat, throwing arm? • Make sure you can see with BOTH eyes. • Track the ball towards the plate with eyes. • Back shoulder, not elbowslightly up, arms back, knees slightly bent, mostly “squared up to the plate”. • Lean back slightly on back leg • Stride towards pitcher – DO NOT STEP OUT!!!! • Tight grip, but “relaxed” • Don’t get ready “too early”. • Choke up if “necessary” • 3 strikes • Fast pitcher • Crowd the plate if “necessary” • 3-0 count, winning run on third bases loaded etc..
Baseball & Softball Tips- Batting Suggestions • Hitters Mentality • Relaxed, but focused • KNOW THE COUNT!!! • The next pitch you are swinging! • You are only deciding NOT to swing (assuming you have the hit-away sign) • Be aggressive • Pitch does NOT have to be perfect!!! • Do NOT wait for first strike unless instructed to do so or new pitcher! • Look for “drivable pitch” • Look for inside pitch and pull the ball • Stay away from low, outside pitches or take to opposite field • Good hitters are “rarely” fooled • Good sense of the strike zone • Have already studied pitcher and know what/how he/she throws • Bat speed very important for the long ball • E = m * V 2 (mass of bat times velocity squared)