Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter Break | What to do?

In this competitive 972 Area Code - baseball is a year round sport - so there is only a short break that comes around for players. One of the breaks coming up is the Winter break. So...what do you do during the Winter break.

It has been said, "Your arm only has a certain number of throws in it." With young arms and bodies growing - it is during these breaks that you want to give your arm a rest. Playing baseball all year round and throwing all year round - puts a lot of throws in your arm and overuse may stunt the growth and development you will need later. Rest your arm.

If you are worried about arm strength - don't be. This will come - and this will come as you grow older and with the development and conditioning of your legs. Taking a break from throwing will give your arm muscles a chance to grow, bones to set and tendons to rest.

Run, run and do more running. Mix it up with long distance, sprints and jump rope. Your legs are a key component for baseball. You just don't use your legs for running around the bases or tracking down balls. Your legs are used to hit (hit with power)...your legs are used to throw (throw for distance and speed)...your legs get your through the spring season.

Run, sprint, jog, jump rope, ladder drills - get your legs in shape over the winter break - you will be surprised at far you will go in the spring with your legs solidly under you.

Along with your legs, your core (abs and back) are critical for baseball - hitting and throwing. Get your abs and back in shape - sit-ups, supermans, bridges, weighted balls, trunk twists. After every running session do some ab and back strengthening drills.

You don't always have to go to the cages to keep your swing in tact. Do some dry cuts - this only takes a small amount of space and while you take dry cuts, you can work your brain with some visualization drills. If you can get to a cage, get some swings in and focus on strong technique, don't worry about power and timing. Get your swing technically correct and when the spring rolls around, you will have your legs and core ready to go to supply the power you need.

Rest the arm, get your legs and core in shape and keep swinging the bat.....have a great winter break and an awesome spring season.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Care and Feeding of Your New Glove | Do's & Don'ts

To handle the many questions I get about getting gloves, I have built a ‘Do’s & Don’ts’ table. One of the questions not handle in the list is: What time of the year (season) should I get a new glove?

Answer: It is best to get a new glove 3-4 months prior to the season you would like to use that glove. If you want USE a new glove for the spring season (March/April), it is best to get the glove in November or December. This will give you a good amount of time to prepare your new glove, form the glove and break it in, so it is ready to USE in the spring season (March/April).

Most good gloves are built from good top grain leather. They become "truly personal" items to many ball players. If you treat it just like you would any high quality leather item, it will give you longer years of service.

Store your glove in room temperature conditions!Store in garage, attic or car trunk.
Air dry a wet or sweat-soaked glove naturally!Place on heaters, radiators, in cold garages or automobile window ledges.
Wipe your glove clean using only a damp, (not wet) rag!Clean by soaking glove or use any household cleaners or oils.
Use small amounts of glove oil inside and out when leather looks dry!Overuse oils. You can always add more later.
Use glove oil or equivalent only on dry gloves!Oil a wet glove. Wait until absolutely dry.
Break-in and form the inside of your glove to your fit own hand!Allow other's hands to reshape your leather, especially when breaking it in.
Shape the pocket into a wider pocket!Store it flat and closed. It makes the pocket "thin" and unnatural.
Store in an open position with either a ball or two, or inside out, or over your batting helmet in your bat bag, or use something like a glove-former found in a sporting goods store (sometimes at a Wal-Mart or similar)!Throw a glove in your bat bag in the flat "road-kill" position.
Shape the pocket so that the tip of the thumb closes at the tip of the 4th (ring) finger!Allow the thumb to close at the 3rd (middle) finger.
Be sure of your break-in method!Use microwaves or ovens.
Place your name AND phone number on your glove & not in the pocket or web!
Black gloves may require a silver or gold permanent ink pen.
Lose your "best friend" without a fighting chance of recovery.
Purchase a youth glove if you are a youth player and a fastpitch glove if you are a fastpitch player!Buy an adult glove to grow into.
Consider your position(s) when considering size. Good & best leather is designed for particular positions!Simply buy a big glove.
Have a back-up glove!Get stuck because you broke a lace.
Buy good quality leather... even if you have to wait to save up a bit more money!
It will last longer and serve you better.
Buy cheap gloves from a discount store. They generally sell low-end bats, balls and gloves. Stay with what you have rather than buying junk until you can buy higher quality.