Defense – Flashing the Leather


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Why Defensive Players are Making a Comeback

If I would have written this post 10 years ago at the height of the steroid era it wouldn’t have made any sense.  Since the introduction of mandatory steroid testing at the major league level we have seen offensive numbers start to shrink, along with the size of the average player.  Teams are playing small ball again and attempting to manufacture runs like they did in the 1950s.  Think about these numbers for a moment.  There were 16 teams in Major League Baseball in 1950.  These teams combined for 2073 homeruns.  In 2003 the 14 teams in the American League alone crushed 2499 homers.  Not to mention the 2003 American League hitters accomplished this in 206 less games.  The opportunity for defensive specialists in baseball is alive and well.  Here is why… Read More

How to Hit with a Wood Bat

Train with a Wood Bat and Perfect Your Swing

wood bat

Old Hickory Wood Bats are among the top Major League certified wood bats. Reigning American League rookie of the year Mike Trout swings Old Hickory.

In this post I will be discussing how to hit with a wood bat.  Nothing will make you a better hitter than hitting and training with a wood bat.  First, let’s determine what type of wood you should use.  The three major species of wood bats used by Major League players are maple, ash, and birch.  Maple is the most popular with ash being second.  However, birch has been gaining popularity over the last few years due to its durability.  I personally recommend using maple as it is much more durable than ash and is generally harder than birch, giving it more pop.

Hitting with a Wood Bat: Tip #1–Rhythm and Timing

In order to hit the ball hard consistently with a wood bat your first focus should be the rhythm and timing of your pre-swing movements or load.  (To see a proper hand load click here)  Since a wood bat feels heavier you must start your load sooner.  You should be relaxed when you start your load and have a little movement with your hands in order to keep them loose.  Remember, “relaxed is fast and tight is slow.”  If you start in a stiff stance with tight hands you will be slow and long to contact.  This will decrease bat speed and cause a decrease in power.  Keeping your hands loose and relaxed will make you quicker to contact and allow you to generate more bat speed which will increase power.  Watch the pitcher closely.  His leg kick and arm action will tell you when to start your load.  It is always better to start your load early rather than late.

Hitting with a Wood Bat: Tip #2–Keep your Swing Short

To square the ball up with a wood bat you must keep your swing short.  Putting the barrel on the ball is the name of the game regardless of what type of bat you are using.  Eliminating extra movements and keeping your swing path short to contact will give you the best chance to hit the ball hard.  The picture below shows a short bat path from launch to contact.  Notice the load has already taken place.  The hands are back.  The path is short and direct to contact.

Swinging a wood bat

A short swing from launch to contact


Hitting with a Wood Bat: Tip #3–Accelerate Through Contact, Finish Your Swing

It takes a while to get adjusted to hitting with a wood bat.  At first you will feel weak and get frustrated because the ball is not traveling like you had hoped.  One quick remedy for this problem is to make sure you are accelerating the bat head from the start of your swing through the finish.  So many times hitters using aluminum bats get comfortable stopping their swing or decelerating the bat head at or just after contact.  Not only is this a bad habit, but it will completely drain the power from your swing when you switch to a wood bat. Read More

Three Steps to Impress Scouts at a Baseball Showcase

Showcase Your Skills and Stand Out

College and Pro Baseball Scouts at a baseball showcase

College and pro scouts commonly use radar guns at baseball showcases. Photo by Wayne Pridemore

In this installment of Big League Mentors Baseball Instruction I am going to discuss how to impress scouts at a baseball showcase.  There are many ways to catch a scout’s attention.  Some are simple while others are a little more difficult.  Let’s start with the easiest and most simple and progress to the hardest ways to grab a scout’s attention at a typical baseball showcase.  Continue reading to get the three steps to help you on your way. Read More

Baseball Instruction

How to Choose a Solid Instructor

Baseball Instruction

Nashville Baseball Training Academy head Baseball Instructor, Ryan Bear, teaches hitting techniques to a student.

In this post I want to discuss baseball instruction and lessons.  There are two key factors that make an expert an expert.  They are credentials and experience.  Both of these factors lead to credibility.  In this case, we are looking for an expert in baseball instruction.  Did the instructor play college baseball?  Did he play professionally?  What level did he get to?  And what awards or accolades has he won?  These all make up credentials for highly sought after baseball instructors.  When it comes to experience you need to ask, how long has he been teaching lessons?  What age level does he work with?  What other coaching experience does he have?  Always check the instructors references and talk to previous clients before booking a lesson….. Read More

Baseball Showcase Secrets: Part 2–Hitting for Power

Learning the Keys to a Powerful Swing

Hitting the Baseball with powerIn this second installment of baseball showcase secrets we are going to discuss hitting for power.  Let me rephrase…light tower power!  If you are a 135 lb slap hitting second baseman skip this post!  I am speaking to the guys that have the ability to hit the ball on the other side of the wall…. Read More

Baseball Showcase Secrets: Part 1–Batting Practice

Dominate Your Round of BP

Hitting Batting PracticeThe first showcase secret we are going to discuss is hitting batting practice at a showcase.  And by hitting I mean dominating!  First it is important to understand what type of hitter you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  Remember, an impressive round of BP could get you drafted!  I believe one particular round of Batting Practice is what gave me a shot at professional baseball.  Yeah, we all want to be power hitters and drop 40 jacks a year, but that is not very realistic.  Regardless of the type of hitter you are there are some must “do’s” and “don’ts” that you need to know…. Read More

The #1 Baseball Instruction Blog

Free Baseball Instruction, Tips, and Advice to get to the Next Level

Baseball InstructionThis blog will be dedicated to giving free baseball instruction, tips, and advice to baseball recruits.  If you want an opportunity to play college and professional baseball, you came to the right spot!  Check back regularly to see new posts.  The first series will be Baseball Showcase Secrets.  Part 1 will be Batting Practice.  Meanwhile check out the “About the Author” page to learn about my background and credentials.