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MORNINGTON BASEBALL CLUB

Preseason Prep Part 2

Great Baseball Resources to keep your skills up!

Beginners Basics

You son or daughter is keen to sign up for the 2020 Winter season, but preparations have come to a screaming halt! What now?

The NUMBER 1 thing you can do, is play catch together. 

For some, this is easier said than done. So let’s take a look at some basics.  We love welcoming new Baseball families to join the club each year and we know how steep the learning curve can be for those parents, so we don’t expect you to be their coach while we wait for this uncertainty to subside but the best way you can help your player to stay encouraged and motivated is to get out there play with them.

The basics of throwing and catching are outlined in detail because one can never assume a person can throw or catch a ball! I know, if you’re 40+ years old or came from an athletic family you probably grew up in the backyard kicking, catching, throwing etc. But there are MANY who made it to teenage or adult life without having the ability to learn this skill, I see it every day in schools and have outlined some of the basic instructions I use while teaching & coaching.

If you’re reading this and finding the information a bit too basic, skip ahead to the drills.

Buy a glove and ballGloves are available from Ausport, Fielders Choice, K2 or if you want to try more locally first see if your closest Rebel Sport store has any in stock. There are surprisingly, a lot of different types of Baseball gloves (catchers, 1st base, infield, outfield, pitching etc.) but you’ll just need a regular (infield or outfield) glove for this purpose. An 11.5 inch, 12 inch or 13 inch are fine for an adult. You don’t have to spend a fortune, a glove can be anywhere from $50 upwards for a decent quality. Try a few on and buy the one that feels the best. 

TIP for VERY new people – the glove goes on your non-dominant, or non-throwing hand so…

  • a right handed person wears the glove on their left hand
  • a left handed person wears a glove that goes on their right hand

How often? Playing catch at least every second day is a good way for new players to become proficient. 

Start approximately 10 steps away and take 3 steps back every 20 throws until you find your player is stretching their arm out to a maximum distance (or whatever your space allows). Most Aussie backyards have ample space to stretch out far enough for a beginner, or head to the local park. 

Throwing the ball 

  • Pick a spot to aim for
  • Bring the ball right back behind your head
  • Flick your wrist at the point of release
  • Step forward with your opposite foot, use your legs to throw as well
  • For very young or new players, start with an underarm if your partner is apprehensive while they build up confidence and then gradually build up to a harder, flatter throw

Catching the ball 

DOs

  • Feet shoulder width apart, ready to move in any direction
  • Face square on to the thrower 
  • Have the palm of your glove facing the thrower with the fingers of the glove to the sky
  • Elbow is always bent wherever possible 
  • Disrupt / stop the flight of the ball with your glove
  • Let the glove do the work, keep your glove still and let the ball come to the glove
  • Be athletic, you want your child to mirror good habits
  • Aim to catch the ball close to your midline (or anywhere between your shoulders) which means moving your feet to the ball

DON’Ts 

  • Snatch at the ball
  • Twist your glove to try to trap the ball in it (it’s just going to fly out)
  • Use the glove like a bucket and wait for the ball to drop into it – in other words, don’t face the palm of the glove up to the sky when trying to catch the ball
  • Be scared of the ball

Tips from the Team

President Matt Hardie urges club members to “keep in contact with other club people, team mates and potential newbies to the club. We have worked hard to develop our ‘Pirate Community’ and that has a lot to do with our communications with one another, we want to see that camaraderie continue we return.”

On the field Matt encourages people “swing the bat, play catch and watch old games online”

Junior Coordinator Glen Bodey says “Tee” work and throwing are two great ways to keep working on your skills at home, and head to the park to do short sprints, ground balls and flyballs”

Club Coach Rowan Johnstone says “to stay active the best you can with stretching / mobilising, exercising a often as possible, even just holding the ball and practicing getting a grip quickly. We don’t know whe the season will start but we all need to be ready to go for game 1”

Online Resources

Luckily Baseball is a game with many experts sharing their free resources online. Unfortunately, it’s easy to spend hours wading through all the information to get to the good stuff, so we’ve narrowed it down somewhat to help you get started.

You might not be able to run drills like this yourself at home due to lack of space or equipment, but just watching the videos will give players a great idea of the techniques and skills they’ll learn during the upcoming season and will get them thinking like a Baseball player!

  1. Baseball Victoria have a brand new YouTube Channel that they’re loading up with tips and training drills to keep your skills up while we take a break
  2. Dominate the Diamond Facebook Videos or YouTube Channel
  3. Coach Trent Mongero is a wealth of knowledge, check out his YouTube Channel
  4. Driveline Baseball have excellent pitching and hitting drills on their YouTube Channel
  5. Ultimate Baseball Training covers all aspects of the game and breaks things down in an easy to understand format on their YouTube Channel

Also read through Part 1 of Preseason Preparation which includes information about injury prevention, general conditioning and staying healthy!

That should be enough for now! We’ll be back with more over the next few days…

If you have any questions for our Pirate leadership group including Club Coach Rowan Johnstone or Junior Co-ordinator Glen Bodey, feel free to get in touch.