Instructional Videos

To help players and coaches alike, we have prepared Instructional Videos of some fundamental baseball skills, teaching methods and activities. These videos cover the following subjects (just click on the subject and off you go to the materials of interest!!):

Catching a Baseball:

Joe Morgan once said that the game of baseball is nothing more than a big game of catch. We agree. Be able to catch a ball is the most basic skill in the game. The two most fundamental aspects of catching a ball are the Hand Position (the palms always face OUT and never UP), and having Quiet Hands (hands that are NOT moving when the ball arrives). Watch the Videos (Catching a Ball, Review and Thumbs and Pinkies):

Catching a Ball:

The Review:

Thumbs and Pinkies:

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Throwing a Baseball:

The most fundamental aspect of throwing a baseball is aligning the body with the target. This means that the Shoulders, Hips, Ankles, and Knees are in a straight line pointing towards the target (with the glove hand closest to the target). We call this position SHAK (pronounced like shack, for Shoulders, Hips, Ankles and Knees). Getting a player into this position will immediately address the most common flaw a player may have in throwing (this is facing the target and “pushing” the ball). Watch the Video:

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Catching a Ground Ball:

The three most fundamental aspects of catching a ground ball are Position, Position, and Position. The player must be ready to field a ball, must try to position him or herself in front of the ball, and must get the glove in a position to catch the grounder.

Ready Position: The body should be in a balanced and athletic position, feet slightly wider than the shoulders with the weight on the balls of the feet, the knees and waist slightly bent, with the head up, arms down and palms facing out.

Fielding Position: The player must move the body to attempt to get squarely in front of the arriving ground ball.

Glove Position: To catch a ground ball, a player must always work “from the ground” up and not vice versa. The glove must be on the ground, and the hands make the shape of an alligator (remember we catch ground balls with two hands – the thumb with the thumb and the pinkie with the pinkie. We call this position “Alligator in The Swamp.” The palm of the catching hand must remain facing out and not up to avoid “cupping” the ball (the ball will tend to roll right over the mitt). Watch the Video:

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Catching a Fly Ball:

The two most fundamental aspects of catching a fly ball (or pop up) are the Position of the hands (the palms always face out and never up), and having Quiet Hands (hands that are not moving when the ball arrives). Watch the Video:

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Hitting:


Basic Preparation: This includes Proper Bat Grip (in the fingers, loose grip, knocking knuckles aligned), Posture (feet about shoulder width, athletic position, relaxed), Balance (staying “stacked” which is keeping the shoulders over the hips over the ankles before, during and after the swing), Stance (a nice square stance with a line drawn across the tips of the toes pointing right back to the pitcher). Watch the Video:

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Swing Drills: These are “dry” swings with just a bat (NO ball is used). We use these swings as part of a progression of warming up to hit, while working on one of the most fundamental issues young batters tend to have (they don’t get their lower body involved). These drills help a player find a feel for getting the lower body involved, for proper loading and striding, and letting the bat fly through the hitting zone on a nice flat plane. Watch the Video:

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Hitting off a Tee: Who hits off a tee anyway?? How about Albert Pujols who was quoted in a recent Sports Illustrated article as hitting 300 – 500 baseball off a tee every day. Why would he do this? He said that tee work allows him to focus on the fundamentals of his swing, to get into a groove, and he doesn’t waste any time. Every pitch is a strike, that is for sure. Hitting off a tee also gives players lots of success which likely leads to having confidence at the plate. Think of Honus Wagner’s “I believe.” We try to build onto the fundamentals that we worked on in the swing drills. Watch the Video:

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Live Pitching: We bring it all together with live pitching. Be sure that when you throw to your batters that you are not “looping” the ball (throwing with a big arc). Those pitches are impossible to hit and create frustration (NOT CONFIDENCE) in your hitters. One trick is to move the “L” screen in to about 15 – 20 feet away from the batter so that you may throw “darts.” Also, for the younger players, throw while sitting in a chair so that the flight of the ball is similar to someone their own age pitching to them. Also play a game of “100.” This is a game of 10 pitches with10 points possible per pitch. A swing and a miss is ZERO and a hard line drive up the middle is a TEN. You have to judge everything in between. Keep track of a player’s score (daily versus others, and over time versus his or her own personal best) – your batters will be highly motivated to hit hard line drives up the middle.

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Pitching Motion:

One of the most fundamental skills in pitching is to achieve consistency in the throwing motion. For young players, we strongly suggest that they learn and practice pitching from the stretch )instead of the windup). Some pitchers at the Major League Level only pitch from the stretch. There are fewer moving parts which makes the motion more repeatable. When you watch the video, notice the basic consistency of body position with the Throwing a Baseball Lesson above. Watch the Video:

Pitching Motion

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Pitcher’s Pick Offs:

We will demonstrate the pick off moves used with a man on first base. These are the Step Off Move and the Spin Move. The Step Off is used to slow a runner, while the Spin is used to try to pick the runner off. If we are going for the out, the pitcher will use a “snap throw” demonstrated in a different part of these instructionals. Watch the Video

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Warm Ups:

We have provided a series of warm up activities that may be used at the start of practice. At all levels of baseball, warming up, stretching, and throwing and catching the ball is a staple of every practice. Watch the Videos in a progression (Four Corners, Big Eights, One Knee, Snap Throw, T Step and finally Crow Hop):

Four Corners

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Big Eights

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One Knee


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Snap Throws


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T Step


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Crow Hop


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Organizing a Practice:

The head coach really should prepare for practice by putting together a plan. It does not need to be as formal as the Practice Plan examples provided in the Coaches’ Corner, but it should be written down. Be sure to arrive a few minutes before the start of practice so that you may be ready for the players to show up and to Start On Time! You are going to have a gaggle of players eager to learn. You’d better be ready! Watch the Video:


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