At Train More Play Less, we take pride in laying the proper foundation, so our athletes can continue to build. We take the time to EDUCATE our athletes and families on what this means. Our athletes and families have to understand this process is just like building a house. We have to lay the foundation first, before we start building on top of it. I mean you can build a house without a proper foundation, but it’s not going to last when a storm comes.
Our athletes and families have to understand, once we build the proper foundation we can’t start installing the finishing touches. There are many steps we have to take before we build a TMPL Athlete.
Before we commit to the development process, we have to evaluate the player and sit down with the player and family. We have to make sure the player and family are serious about getting better. We have to make sure the player is going to show up, listen, and want to work hard. The culture and mindset has to match for this relationship to work. We do not want to waste anyone's time.
Also, in order for us to build a TMPL Athlete we need all leadership (coaches, trainers, parents) involved. This is a group effort! We have to EDUCATE our players and families about our development system. Most families think you can just jump into hitting, pitching, catching, fielding, speed training, and strength training.
The first lesson, we will not teach the player. We will take the player through a series of drills to evaluate their talent and skill set. We will be able to understand the player immediately from our dynamic warm-up and stretching protocol. We will be able to evaluate coordination, flexibility, mobility, and strength.
We make sure our athletes understand, everything starts in the weight room if they want to see their true potential in all skills (hitting, pitching, catching, fielding, speed training, and strength training).
Our hitting philosophy is simple but effective. We need to concentrate on our hitters to become the very best they can be both physically and mentally. Our preparation, execution and mental toughness has to be better than our opponents. We train our hitters to be aggressive and hit a drivable pitch before 2 strikes. We teach our hitters how to get into a strong hitting position on time at all times to maximize pitch recognition so they can control the strike zone and be ready to hit their pitch before 2 strikes. Our hitters need to establish the “I Love to Hit” mentality. A solid hitting foundation and the “I Love to Hit” mentality will produce the best hitting results.
- Ready to hit
- Hitting position
- Entry of swing
- Weight shift and transfer with lower half
- Pitch Recognition
- Hitting approach
- Situational hitting
Becoming a pitcher is a long term process. Three to four years for development is the norm. Pitchers will have to work harder than any other position player. Pitching practices should have a blend of mechanics, arm care, strength, throwing, mental, and studying. Our parents and players need to understand that pitching off the mound is not important in the early stages of development. Our players have to learn how to play catch on flat ground consistently. Our players have to play catch every other day for 10-15 minutes, so they can create the habit of releasing the ball in the right slot every time they throw.
This will allow our players to be more accurate, which will allow more strikes to be thrown on the mound. One of the reasons why players have a hard time throwing strikes when they are on the mound, is because they have a hard time repeating their delivery.
Our pitchers should enroll into a strength/agility class. Another reason why players have a hard time throwing strikes is because their back leg, core, flexibility, and coordination need attention. If our players back leg/core are weak, they will not be able to hold their weight when they have to hit their balance position. This position is crucial because it allows our players too separate on time so they can get in a position to throw strikes. If our players are not flexible and are not coordinated, they will struggle performing the different movements that will be necessary to pitch. An analogy I like to use is our kids have to learn how to walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.
- Arm care
- Playing catch properly
- Arm pattern
- Bull pens
- Understanding the mound
- Controlling the runner
We will work on one point at a time and stay with it until it is correct. We will be more effective if we stay focused on the basic fundamentals until they are accomplished. We will not incorporate spin pitches until the basic fundamentals are learned including location pitching and speed.
Our pitching philosophy is simple: "First-pitch strikes, have an aggressive mentality, control the running game, pitch in, stay aggressive out there and compete."
Our success as a team really begins with our catcher. Our catcher needs to be a leader either by example or by command. Hopefully both.
The catcher position needs to be an athlete (quick, strong, can throw, block balls in the dirt , one who is willing to sacrifice it all).
Our catchers do not have to be the fastest runner, but they must be one of our smartest players. Usually good catchers are good hitters because they see so many pitches.
First and foremost, our catchers need to learn to be a good receiver of pitches. A great receiver makes pitchers confident that they can throw any of their pitches and the catcher will handle them -- no matter where they are.
Next, our catchers have to be the general on the field. In today's youth game, finding a kid who can do that can be a problem.
These days, we have a lot of kids who are followers and not leaders because too many coaches do way to much coaching and too few coaches are actually working to develop.
There are a lot of specifics in the checklist, but we would rather focus on developing the kind of leadership it takes to be a good general than to teach a bunch of points.
Our catchers need to be tough as nails. Anyone who has played the position knows how badly you get banged up every game. We do not advocate "toughening up" catchers.
We believe that's something they either have or they don't and is based more on their love of playing the position. If you have a catcher who has a lot of tools, but doesn't have the will to play through the pain of the position, you'd better have another catcher or two on your squad you can go to.
Lastly, our catchers need to love their position. Really love it. Enough to want to work on all of the mechanics of the position all the time, even when it impacts their hitting because they don't get enough batting practice in.
Enough that they are willing to spend extra time strengthening their legs and their core so they can withstand the wear and tear that comes with the position.
Blocking and throwing are huge factors. A catcher always sets the stage for the entire game by throwing a riffle down to second and third base. It makes the other team realize they need to gain another advantage on the pitcher.
MASTER THE BASICS
- Posture: demonstrate a proper “ready” position. A catcher must get into this position with runners on base and with 2 strikes. “Ready” position allows the catcher to be in the best possible position to make a play; whether it be a dirt ball, runner goes, or bunt, etc.,
- Positioning: demonstrate the proper way to call a pitch, and where to set up. Catchers must move discretely when setting up to prevent opposing teams from relaying pitches, as well as not interfering with the umpires vision.
- Receiving: a catcher must have good receiving skills in order to steal strikes from the umpire. That means strong hands to stick a pitch, and good body control to make a bad pitch look good.
- Blocking: demonstrate the proper way to block a ball in the dirt down the middle, outside, and inside. Catchers need to know how to block the baseball properly, so runners can’t advance to the next base.
- Fielding the position: demonstrate the proper way to recover the baseball, when put in play toward 3rd base, pitcher, and 1st base. - Footwork for throwing to bases: Demonstrate proper foot work and ball transfer to all bases.
- Covering home plate: demonstrate how catchers should cover home plate on a force play and a tag play when receiving the baseball from all infield positions.
Although receiving, blocking and throwing are considered the “Big 3” of catching, the other responsibilities performed during a game cannot be ignored during practice and training. Those “specialty plays” can be the difference between a win and a loss and if the play arises during a game, you want your catcher to perform them correctly.
Tag Plays At The Plate
- Pre-catch fundamentals: Start in front of the plate, adjust to throw, jab step back to tag.
- Performing the tag: Get the left foot aimed at the runner, use two hands whenever possible and stay on your feet whenever possible.
- Post-tag fundamentals: Spin off the tag, get your eyes around to pick the runners, shuffle in direction of target.
Force Plays At The Plate
- Pre catch fundamentals: Start with right toes and ball of foot on front edge of home plate, square up to whoever is throwing the ball, get in athletic stance.
- Making the force: Step to the ball, not to the player. Use the step to the ball to create momentum away from the plate and create a throwing lane.
- Post-catch fundamentals: When right foot hits ground after drop step, drive left knee toward target. If play at 1st is possible, make throw. If not, full arm fake and look at 3rd.
- Bunt 1st base line: Take direct line to the ball, use a two hand scoop or a throwing hand grab, drop step to clear space away from runner, drive left knee toward target, do best to keep throw inside the line.
- Bunt middle: Take slight “banana” route to ball, use a two hand scoop or a throwing hand grab, shuffle step toward target, keep throw inside line.
- Bunt 3rd base line: Take direct line to ball, use throwing hand grab, pivot on the right foot, drive left knee to target, do best to keep throw inside line.
- Pre-catch fundamentals: Immediately turn back to infield, take mask off (keep on if preferred), find the ball and take direct line to it, get under the ball.
- Making the catch: Catch the ball over your mitt side shoulder or face, let the ball come to you, secure the ball with two hands (one hand if on the run).
- Post-catch fundamentals: If runners are on and there are less than two outs, take ball out of mitt and look to infield. Hustle to plate if runner on 3rd.
Our infielders have to be energy givers. We want all of our infielders to be athletic and take pride in how they look in their uniform. We want all of our infielders to have great feet, soft hands, and a great arm.
Our infielders have to know that it’s a process and it’s not going to happen over night. Our infielders have to know a great infielder is not just fielding ground balls. Our infielders have to take the time to work on being a better athlete, they're arm strength, and their feet work.
- Improve Feet and Functional ROM
- Improve Arm Strength
- Improve Skills Through Progression and Repetition
- Ground balls barehand
- Ground balls flat glove
- Ground balls trainer glove
- Ground balls game glove
- Game speed ground balls
- Glove hand only
- Two hands
- Slow rollers
- Covering bags
- Holding runners
STRENGTH & AGILITY LESSONS
Whether you want to add power to your swing, speed on the base paths or explosiveness in the infield/outfield, you'll need to start with lower body and core workouts designed specifically for baseball players. A solid off-season baseball training program can make or break in-season success. Once the baseball season is over, it's time to begin preparing for the next season. The foundation for success is built with a good off-season training program. It's important for baseball players to use the off-season to develop their muscle mass, strength, speed, power and agility.
The program begins with high volume, lighter weights, and general training exercises. Over the course of the program, it becomes heavier and more intense, and the frequency of training decreases as it becomes more difficult. The program begins by seeking to increase muscle mass while addressing the other physical qualities (speed, agility, etc.). By the end of the program, it is seeking to peak strength and power.