Bullpen Session #3: Knee Kick Drill

 

To teach pitchers to stay tall during their pitching motion, practice the following knee kick drill:  

  • The coach should stand to the side of the pitcher but near enough that
    they can touch with the coach’s arms extended.
  • The pitcher should take his balance position, with the knee kicked in the air.
  • The coach measures where he wants the knee to end up at its highest point and holds his hand there to measure.
  • Then, without a ball, the pitcher goes through his pitching motion, making sure to kick the coach’s hand with the top of his knee at his highest point in the kick.

If the pitcher is consistently not kicking the coach’s hand, he needs to work to stay tall during the entire motion. Crumpling down together will keep the pitcher from putting his whole momentum into the pitch.

Good Luck & Play Ball!

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Bullpen Sessions #2: Youth Pitcher’s Pre-Game Routine

Here is the second installment of Bullpen Sessions, offering easy pitching drills, tips & techniques designed to help coaches and Baseball Dads assist in the development of youth baseball pitchers. 

Youth Pitcher’s Pre-Game Routine

Particularly for young, developing pitchers, bullpen sessions should be supervised by a coach or knowledgeable parent in order to ensure that both the pitcher and catcher stay focused and working towards the goal of proper mental and physical preparation.

Preparing to pitch a baseball game should begin and end with positive visualization. A thorough but quick and focused pre-game routine requires complete body stretching along with being prepared to throw all your pitches to location from both the full wind-up and stretch.

  1. Start with complete dynamic warm-up routine and stretches
  2. Bullpen Session: Total of 25-35 pitches in 10 minutes
  • Throw 10-15 warm-up pitches, starting at 50% effort. Locate the fastball on both sides of the plate. Throw from both the full wind-up and stretch using a full leg kick. Focus on proper body mechanics.
  • Throw 5 sets of each of your pitches (fastball, changeup, cutter). Work at 75% effort, using both the full wind-up and stretch (alternate by set).
  • Strike 1 hitter out. Work at 90-100% effort with the catcher setting up location.
  • Know your signs with the catcher.

Good Luck & Play Ball!

Dirt Dogs Fall to Heat, Split with Athlete’s Edge

This weekend saw the first full pair of double-headers against the Worcester Heat and Athlete’s Edge. The Worcester Heat took both of Saturday’s games with scores of 5-1 and 13-2. Nuf Ced, except to say that a little sportsmanship goes a long way and 12 year olds (and the grownups who coach them) who think they are the Masters of the Universe need either a good dose of humility or a strong enema for attitude. It’s one thing to be good players, it’s quite another to be players who are good in the existential sense.

Sunday’s games were the “Sandlot Classic” against Athlete’s Edge Black which shares space in the same mill building with North East Baseball. The two programs are literally across the hall from each other, and this pair of games was for both bragging rights on the block and also a matchup between Matt, Mike P. and Mike D. of NEB against Christian, Nick and Chris of AE, all of whom are also members of the Littleton Tigers All-Stars squad (Cal Ripken). Athlete’s Edge took the first game 8-5, and NEB took the second game  4-1 to split the contest and prove that both teams are well-matched.

Game #1 started strong for the Dirt Dogs who ran up 4 runs in the 2nd inning while Matt took the mound, going 3.3 innings and striking out 7. The lead changed hands in the 4th inning when AE scored 3 runs due in part to weak NEB defensive fielding, and the Dogs never made it back. Scott pitched in relief for NEB and struck out 2 more batters, but Matt took the Loss on this one. Following a well-deserved gut-check and pep talk by coach Scott, the Dogs came back in Game #2 and played like they meant it.

For Game #2, Rohit started on the mound and went 4 innings while relying on strong NEB fielding with Matt at 1st, Aaron at SS and Collin in RF which held the game scoreless for AE until the 4th inning. Aaron pitched for 2 innings in relief and was on the money with his knuckleball which kept AE stymied while the Dogs went to work with their bats. The web gem of the day went to Aaron & Matt as the 1-3 combo when Aaron tripped up while fielding a dribbler towards 3rd, making a desperate throw across the diamond while still on his ass. Matt pulled off a miraculous scoop-pick to complete the play one step ahead of the runner for the 1st out of the 6th inning. Facing Chris who is a LHP for AE, Matt took his at-bats as a switch hitter from the right side for the first time in a game situation and went 2 for 2 with singles including an RBI and a run, making him the finesse hitter of the game. Scott also stroked a 2 RBI double and was the heavy hitter of the game. Aaron, Matt, Mike P. and Collin all scored the runs.

A hearty welcome back and congratulations to Collin who has rejoined the active NEB roster after being sidelined with a concussion from a training accident in early March when he was struck in the head by a bat. Key plays in the outfield and a run scored were all his today, looking forward to many more!

Stay tuned for next weekend’s action against the Triple-Play All-Stars and Groton Bulldogs…

Baseball Ninja

Here’s an unbelievable piece of baseball action which has gone viral since it was recently recorded and posted on the Internet. Check it out!

This is footage from a Spring, 2010 college baseball game between Fordham and Iona, where Fordham baserunner Brian Kownacki scores a run in acrobatic fashion to avoid a tag by Iona catcher James Beck. This amazing play took place during a 9-run Fordham rally in the 8th inning to earn a come-back win 12-9 vs. Iona.

True Dirt Dog moves. Nuf Ced!

Dirt Dogs Split with Tornados 2-0, 7-8

The NEB Dirt Dogs split a Sunday double-header on 4/18 with the Central Mass. Tornados for a 2-0 shut-out followed by a 7-8 loss in cold, rainy conditions that didn’t get out of the upper 40’s for a temperature. Saturday’s double-header was rained out, and the Dirt Dogs lived up to their name by playing this pair of games in the mud pen to keep the momentum of their season going.

The Dogs were storm chasers in the first game with Matt starting on the mound for Game #1 and Aaron behind the plate, giving ’em the heavy battery fire right away. The first 3 innings were scoreless with 8 strikeouts and only 1 hit allowed. The only tornados seen were the twisters at the plate fanning up a wind with their bats. Rohit pitched in relief for the last 3 innings, keeping the door closed while striking out 7 more batters and allowing only 2 hits. On offense, the Dogs had a hard time warming up their bats and collected the 2 runs to win the game on steals at home by Matt and Brad. The greatest hits for the game were all singles by Aaron, Matt, Scott, and David, with Nick going 2 for 2. Matt collected his 4th consecutive win of the season, and Rohit took the save once again.

Game #2 was a melee with the lead changing hands twice before the Tornados finally clinched the win on a walk-off double in the bottom of the 6th inning. The Dogs took an early lead in the 1st inning with 3 runs scored by Aaron, Jonathan and Brad. Additional runs were scored by Matt in the 3rd inning and by David & Anthony in the 4th. The greatest hits were a 2-RBI double by Aaron and a 1-RBI double by Brad, who also hit singles and scored for the team. Matt, Nick and Jonathan also hit singles. Defensively, Mike started on the mound as the second half of the Southpaw Express with Nick behind the plate. Once again, the Dogs paid for some costly fielding errors and gave up a solid lead to trail by 3 runs at the bottom of the 2nd inning. David pitched in relief, and the Dogs settled down to claw their way back to a 7-6 lead  in the top of the 5th inning. The Tornados tied it up again 7-7 at the bottom of the 5th, and then after keeping the bottom of the Dog’s batting order hitless in the 6th, went on to clinch the game on a walk-off double. Exciting game which proves again that defense is key:

  • Play your position
  • Know what your next move will be AHEAD of time
  • Don’t have butter fingers.

Stay tuned for next weekend’s pair of double-headers against the Worcester Heat and Athlete’s Edge!

DirtDog Haiku #4: “Runner”

RUNNER

Straight path guides the way,

Wind through hair while on the chase;

Dust clouds yield reward.

In honor of Troy’s fleet-footed baserunning and 2 runs scored against the Granite State Marauders…