Cheap Umpire Equipment

baseball umpires equipmentUmpires are an important part of the great game of baseball. This page is dedicated to all the best cheap umpire equipment you can acquire today.

Umpires need as much focus on the field as any ball player. They keep track behind the plate calling balls and strikes. They must know and implement the rules of the game.

They also call players out and safe on the bases, infield and outfield too.

One way they can keep their concentration and only focus on the game is by not having to worry about their safety. This is where umpires gear comes in.

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Watching Baseball Video Has Become Very Important For Everyone

We live in a day and age when baseball video is becoming so important to us. For many of us, it’s all about following our favorite team. There is an abundance of highlight videos available. For others, it’s all about watching and studying videos to improve their game. Whatever your reason, it’s important to you.

Let’s talk more about each each of these categories.

Leisure Baseball Video Watching

There’s no doubt that watching baseball highlights is a must if you are a fan. Thanks to the latest technology, we don’t have to stay up late to watch the news or ESPN in order to catch our team in action. And we’re not out of luck if we miss a game because of time or the lack of certain TV channels. We can actually watch the clips on demand! How cool is that!?

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Top 7 Beginner Baseball Coaching Tips For Dads

Father and Son Batting PracticeMany kids want to play baseball and a lot of them want their parents to be involved one way or another.

Many dads who’ve played the game growing up introduce baseball to their kids. Often times kids end up liking the sports their parents played.

If coaching your own child is your plan, here are some beginner baseball coaching tips for dads to keep in mind:

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Basics of Baseball Kids Need To Learn

baseball player pitchingThere are four basics of baseball kids need to practice to get better at the greatest game on Earth.

The four basics I’m talking about are catching, hitting, throwing and base running.

As a coach, it is quite important to teach these fundamentals to the kids or you will find a lot of caos and confusion during the games.

We are all there to have fun but part of having fun is learning how to appreciate the intricate parts of the game.

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Proper Path Of The Baseball Swing

Baseball hitting tips swing triggerThe proper path of the baseball swing will more times than not give you solid contact with the ball and that’s our goal each time we go up to bat.

Let’s examine the flight of the bat from when you hold it to contact and then the finish. I’ve talked before about the slightly-up swing.

As you hold the bat in a vertical position and start swinging, the bat is level through part of the zone but the finish is high above your front shoulder.

The Baseball Swing Should Be Smooth and Finish Up

You aren’t swinging up like an uppercut and you aren’t swinging down in a chopping motion. It should be a smooth swing through the zone and slightly up as you finish.

Remember that each pitch is coming from a mound above the level of the plate. The slightly-up swing helps place the bat and the ball on the same plane which in essence actually levels out the swing. So again, when coaches tell you to have a level swing, they are meaning level on the same plane at contact.

Make sure to keep your shoulders parallel with the plate while the ball is being pitched. Try to keep the front shoulder closed until contact. If you don’t, your shoulders and hips will fly open too early and you will have an uncontrolled swing.

Try not to dip your shoulders either because you’ll most likely pop out or hit a groundout. So, when you swing, your top hand is actually a touch below the bottom hand which will help start that slightly-up swinging motion which will level everything out.

Weight Transfer And the Baseball Swing

At the height of your weight transfer from front to back when the pitch is thrown, your front foot should start to move forward ready to attack. Your hips and shoulders will still be even with the plate.

The last step before you swing the bat is the landing position for that front foot. You actually do take a step forward. You aren’t merely staying in one position with that foot. You stride forward a little as you’re about to take the swing.

The landing of your front foot should be soft and smooth and should still be perpendicular to the pitch. If you open up that front foot then your hips and shoulders will fly open and you won’t have a ton of success hitting the ball. You’ll also lose power at that point.

This brings us to the next step … contact. You don’t have to have a monster swing to hit the ball far. In fact, every single one of my home runs was a nice, smooth swing. I didn’t grunt and I didn’t swing as hard as I could. I had a never-changing swing and followed all the mechanics I’m teaching you here and the ball sailed over the fence.

The power itself isn’t necessarily coming from your swing. Here’s what I mean. Your power comes from the bottom up when you properly transfer your weight through the ball. We talked about that earlier.

Contact happens just after you land your front foot softly in the dirt and your back leg bends. Your front leg actually stiffens and your hands help swing the bat through the zone.

Practicing your hitting each day will allow you to consistently follow the proper path of the baseball swing and then you will be more ready for actual games.

The Perfect Baseball Swing Should Be a Consistent One

playing baseballFor the perfect baseball swing it doesn’t matter where the ball is pitched or where you want to hit the ball, the one thing that should remain the same is a consistent, mechanical swing.

Former Boston Red Sox player and current Hall of Famer Wade Boggs taught that the “slightly-up” swing smoothly through the strike zone is the swing you want to have. Boggs says that your swing should never vary.

You should find the swing that brings you the most success and keep it consistent from there on out.

The Perfect Baseball Swing Doesn’t Have To Be Level Literally

Pretty insightful information and it makes a lot of sense to me. You may hear a coach tell you to have a “level swing.” He probably doesn’t mean to have a swing completely level literally. A lot of coaches say that because some ballplayers have a tendency to dip their shoulder and swing up at the ball, or the opposite where players swing with a chopping motion. The “slightly-up” swing that Boggs talks about makes total sense.

Practice your swing now. Be as natural as you can be. Not too hard but not too soft either. When you take your practice swings I want you to try something. Practice facing towards the pitcher like you would in a normal game and when you make contact your head will tilt slightly down.

You should practice this almost every day. You always want to be trained to have that head down looking at your bat with arms extended. Basically, you want to be focused on the ball at all times. From the pitcher’s hand to your bat and finally following where the ball is hit. Then, of course, look straight at your first base coach for base running instructions.

The Perfect Baseball Swing Should Be Smooth

Everything about the swinging process should be done in a smooth motion. You get your swing started by triggering back and then forward with the full power of your body to hit the ball. The trigger is what gets you going.

The trigger shifts weight to your back leg/foot as the pitcher is about to hurl the ball towards home plate. As the weight is transferred back you will notice that your shoulders and hips almost follow that weight transfer. They close just a bit. Even your hands go back a little, ready to launch the bat in a smooth motion towards the ball.

As the pitcher is about to throw the ball, your back leg should start to transfer that weight evenly, which involves your front foot and hands, and you have to decide in that very moment whether or not you are going to swing.

If you decide to swing you know that your hands will go forward and the full amount of weight completely transfers to your front leg and your shoulders and hips open up once you hit the ball.

This whole process should be consistent for each at bat no matter what. Once you find success and rinse and repeat every day then you can claim you have the perfect baseball swing.

Image: Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Quick Tips On How To Hold a Baseball Bat

How to hold a baseball batHere are some quick tips on how to hold a baseball bat. It’s very important to have your hands in the right place while batting so that you’re best able to swing quickly and fluidly.

I wouldn’t recommend doing weird things with your hands, such as holding them too low or too high. It’s much harder to get the bat through the strike zone if your hands are near your waist or way above your chest.

The best place to hold your hands is at or just below your chest and five to eight inches from your body.

Holding it there will help you swing the bat through the strike zone smoothly and quickly.

How To Hold a Baseball Bat – Angle and Position

The next thing you should do is consider what angle to hold the bat. I see many young ballplayers struggling with this issue. Hold the bat at an angle that is comfortable to you as long as you still have that smooth, consistent swing through the strike zone.

Holding the bat in an upward, vertical position is the most comfortable in my view because the bat is balanced and the bat feels light and easy to control. You swing more quickly and smoothly than if you were to hold the bat slightly back, leaning towards the umpire.

How To Hold a Baseball Bat – The Remaining Parts

The remaining parts of your upper body should be relaxed and calm. I’ve experienced times when my upper body (especially my neck) was too tense and it really does make a difference.

It’s actually harder to get the swing going and sometimes it feels somewhat choppy. That isn’t going to get you very many hits. If you’re having a hard time with tension, just step out of the box and take a few deep breaths.

Both of your elbows should be bent and in a position that is parallel to the plate. As far as your shoulders go, keep them in line with where the pitcher is and keep your shoulder closed because if it’s left a little open it might fly through the strike zone too quickly.

There are many components to becoming a great hitter and once all the parts are put together and you practice often you will achieve this goal.

Learning the basics such as how to hold a baseball bat is step one to becoming that great hitter.

The Best Batting Stance Guaranteed To Get You More Hits

best batting stanceI’m going to share with you the best batting stance for beginners. I guarantee you it will give you more hits if you start this way in the beginning.

Let’s take a closer look at the batter’s box and how to set up. It’s good to have your feet shoulder width apart so that you have as much balance as possible. Try to have your front foot even with the plate.

Basically, starting out you should be in the middle of the box (see photo). I used to touch my bat in the middle of the plate and then settle my feet.

Why Is This The Best Batting Stance?

The reason I like setting up right in the middle of the box is because curve balls, sliders, and sinkers break right in front of you and you still have time to catch up to a speedy fastball.

Some people like to set up in the back to buy more time, but when I tried that the curveballs were harder to hit. That’s me, though. Maybe you’ve found more success in the back.

As far as distance between you and the plate, I would also avoid crowding the plate. The pitcher can then throw on the inside corner and it’s harder to hit. Don’t be worried about not being able to hit the outside corner pitches.

Your arms will extend automatically when you swing at the pitch. The key is to be as comfortable as you can. Once you’ve found the right spot in the box for you, stick with it and master your hitting from that spot.

After your feet are set, bend forward at the waist and bend your knees so that you are in a slight crouch and make sure your weight is even on the balls of both feet.

When I say crouch I’m not talking about a crouch like a catcher or even the crouch you take in the field. Jeff Bagwell had a massive crouch and it worked for him but most players have just a slight crouch.

Maybe You’ve Tried The Best Batting Stance Ever – Try These Too

There are a few stance options you can use, each having its own style with strengths and weaknesses. Choose the one that is most comfortable for you. The open stance protects hitters against inside pitches and most pull hitters use that stance.

An open stance is when you point your foot 45 percent toward the pull side of the field (bottom left photo). That means for a right-handed hitter it would point more towards the shortstop area rather than the pitcher’s mound. Your hips open sooner and you have more power on the middle to inside part of the plate.

Now, the trouble with the open stance is with the outer-middle to outside part of the plate. The closed stance protects you from pitches on the outside part of the plate. It’s basically the opposite of the open stance.

You move your front foot more towards the direction of third base. Your front foot is slightly over your back leg by maybe one to three inches. People who might want to try this stance are those who pull their hips, head or hands too early.

Maybe you pull every ball no matter where it’s pitched. Try the closed stance and see if that helps you out. The problem with the closed stance is the possibility of problems with pitches inside.

The stance I use and recommend especially to beginners is the square stance because it can better enable you to get the maximum coverage of the whole strike zone.

Like we talked about earlier, you line your feet up shoulder width apart and even in the box. It’s a feeling of complete balance.

You have equal availability to hit the inside or outside pitch. So, test out these stances and find out which one is more comfortable to you. Once you find one that works for you, stick with it.

If you tried something that seems to be the best batting stance for you please share it with us by leaving a comment below.

Baseball Hitting Tips – Gaining The Mental Edge

baseball batter concentratingHere is one of the baseball hitting tips that many players overlook.  Gaining the mental edge.

Once you’ve got your bat and the right grip, it’s time to get mentally focused. Whether you’re in the dugout or the on-deck circle, you should concentrate as you study the pitcher and watch your teammates at the plate.

Before you even step up to bat, picture yourself making that perfect swing and making solid contact. Visualize yourself getting a hit and take those positive thoughts into the batter’s box. Study the base runners and determine what situation you may face.

Get ready for anything. Maybe you need to advance the runner, bunt or swing for a hit. You should be ready mentally for whatever situation you are in.

Important Baseball Hitting Tips – Stay Focused and No Distractions

Here’s a word of advice for those of you in Little League and high school baseball. Take this notion of concentrating and preparing mentally. Don’t get distracted by the crowd, family, or friends who may be at the ballpark. Stay focused on the pitcher as you step into the on-deck circle.

Study his pitches and study where he’s throwing the ball. Maybe you can find out that he does something with his hat or belt right before he throws a curveball or maybe you discover that he just can’t get his fastball over the plate.

In the on-deck circle you might want to stretch a little bit and take some practice swings. Don’t let your nerves distract you from being mentally prepared. Grab the doughnut or grab another bat and loosen up.

Keep good form and remember your grip even as you take practice swings. I would always take practice swings and visualize myself hitting the ball.

Once you step into the batter’s box you should always think you’re going to get the job done. Doubts shouldn’t enter your mind. Don’t worry about getting hit by a pitch or making an out.

Do your best to be positive and totally focused. The pitcher thinks he’s going to win the battle, but you’ve got to match him the same intensity. Don’t even focus on the pitcher’s face.

You should instead focus everything you have on that baseball. From the time he releases it to the time it gets smacked by your bat.

Baseball Hitting Tips – Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Where is the defense playing you?
  • Is there a hole you can drive the ball through?
  • Is the first or third baseman playing way too far back?

You should have rehearsed situations in practice so you will be prepared to face any circumstance. If there’s a man on third with less than two outs you should try and drive the ball to the outfield.

If there’s a man on second with less than two outs, try to hit the ball to the right side of the field to get him to third. Be patient and aggressive, always ready to attack the ball.

There is no doubt you will gain the edge if you go over these baseball hitting tips in practice and at games so get to it today!

How To Grip a Bat For Maximized Hitting

baseball bat gripPart of hitting preparation is how to grip a bat. You want to make sure that you have a firm grip on the bat handle and if I were you I would acquire some decent batting gloves to help you with that grip.

In my opinion, you’re not a tough guy if you hit with no batting gloves. You will find that most major leaguers use batting gloves and they do it for better grip. Depending on what your league will allow, you can even apply rosin or pine tar to the area where you grip the bat for an extra strong feeling.

Step One In How To Grip a Bat

You’ve just got to make sure that you firmly hold the bat. Have you ever held a bat loosely and then hit the ball? Have you experienced that jolting, ringing feeling and pain in your hand for the rest of the night?

I have and what a horrible feeling it is. That is all the more reason to hold onto that bat firmly. The key is to make sure you’re comfortable. You don’t want to hold onto the bat too tightly and you don’t want to hold onto it too loosely.

Your knuckles on your hands should line up between one another with your bottom hand pinky just touching or actually around the knob of the bat if that’s your preference.

Now, if you’re not careful you’ll get blisters. At the beginning of the season, pace yourself with batting practice, even if you use gloves. Don’t spend an hour or more in batting practice every day. Thirty minutes is probably the maximum in the beginning. Over time calluses will develop and will help prevent your hands from tearing up.

How To Grip a Bat For More Control

There is a time when you will need to adjust your grip and that is when you choke up for better bat control. You usually choke up when you have two strikes on you.

This is smart because it shortens and lightens the bat. You can actually guide your bat to the ball easier which is something you need to do sometimes with two strikes, especially if the fastball is coming.

No matter what you think of these two players personally, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose were two awesome hitters and they choked up on the bat often and had thousands of hits. Their stats speak for themselves.

Knowing how to grip a bat is a key component of baseball hitting preparation we need to pay attention to whether we are a player, coach or parent.