While rain and baseball never go hand in hand – there actually are some benefits to the wintery, wet conditions. When it rains, unless you play in a dome, baseball, specifically in the Bay Area, comes to a stop….or does it?
Now that the role is reversed and I’m no longer the player yearning for extra BP (batting practice) or on the field ground balls, I understand the importance of gym days. It forces us coaches to push a pause on the fast life of the season and gives time to the important components of the game that can go untaught or better neglected…
Some quick and easy things to remember of those rainy gym days:
-Get your players in the weight room (They don’t need to pump large amounts. Let’s encourage them to use lower weight and higher reps – encouraging a good warm up routine with stretch bands, abdominal work to accompany them during the season).
-Great time to go over signs and defensive schemes (bunt D, pick offs)
-Don’t be afraid to go back to the fundamentals with everything emphasizing foot work and proper approach to fielding ground balls & fly balls.
Remember – small work is just as important as live BP and game situations…enhance what you say in the gym out on the field.
I co-run baseball fall ball clinics for local high schools. It lasts for about a 12 wks and the purpose is to receive baseball instruction and repitition during the off-season. The players have games on the weekends and spend 3 days during the week working with us.
Yesterday the agenda was at 6-7pm (optional defensive work) and at 7-8pm (optional hitting)…Tuesdays and Thursdays are the preferred days that all players come. Getting to my story – yesterday for optional fielding only one students showed up. I was fairly surprised – these kids need work! I was happy that the one player was actually a first baseman – freshman, large frame but very “raw.” Who knows where he’ll end up in 4 years but as of now, he’s truly a freshman (a big freshman).
Yesterday we worked on footwork while turning two – playing behind the runner. Many young players make all infield play two fold – first they field the ball flat footed then make a jump turn to exchange and throw. At this point there has to be a transition where they are making this play in one motion…speeding up their side of it giving the middle infielder a chance to make a play. The key for young first baseman is the round the ball and plant your left foot slightly in from of the right as you are fielding so that your body is in position to make that turn and throw (with momentum towards your target)…His ability to mimick increased – I think it says something about his ethic that he put in the work. I asked him about his classes and grades…he has a 4.0 and is taking Algebra Trig already — I think he’s got the right mind frame. Whether or not that transitions to success in baseball, his work ethic is off to a good start.
Oh Yeah….at 7pm — 11 players showed up to hit. If you can’t play in the field – you won’t be hitting. High school DH’s don’t last long.