ArchiveCategory Archives for "SPORTS"
Sissy squats.. what the heck are those and why are they called that?
For years, this exercise has been overlooked and underestimated and just now has it started to gain some popularity back in the bodybuilding world.
But are they really for sissies or are they just called that?
Here we are going to go over this exercise, tell you how to do it, and tell you why they are named Sissy Squats.
You have probably heard about a five-tool player in baseball and wondered what it means. Or, you already know the term and want to gain that title. Well, either way, you have come to the right place!
In this article, you’ll learn how to master 5 tool baseball, what are these five tools, and what you can do to up your overall game performance. So, are you ready? Scroll down to learn more!
In baseball, a 5 tool player is someone who is not a pitcher but is the ideal position player simply because of excelling in all five tools of baseball: running speed, throwing ability, fielding, hitting for average, and hitting for power.
Some of the 5 tool baseball players of Major League Baseball include Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero, Andre Dawson, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Duke Snider. While some people including Baseball Digest, a major baseball magazine resource, argue that five-tool players and even the term itself have become overvalued, these five tools are still the most important considerations made by professional scouts when evaluating players.
In other words, a player’s abilities on the field are measured based on these five tools. If you got them all mastered, you do not only have the potential to shine during a game but will also open a lot of opportunities in the future.
So, what are these five tools, why are they important, and what does mastering them really mean? Find out below!
The first stool, running speed, is what you need when on the base paths or outfield to track down fly balls. Speed is among the more underrated offense and defense skills in baseball.
However, a fast runner on the base paths can actually impact any game’s outcome in many various ways, such as:
There are still more that we can add to the list, but you already get the point. Another thing worth mentioning is that the term “speed” used for the tool also refers to baserunning in general.
Jacob Ellsbury exhibited one of the best examples of speed when he swiped a total of 70 bags in 2009 to lead Major League Baseball. He is also remarkable in the outfield for his spectacular catches and tracking down routine fly balls.
However, many players who do not break any records in the 40-yard dash can still get high ratings for this tool based on their knowledge when on the base paths. A few examples include Ryan Zimmerman and Dustin Pedroia who are not very fast but can read the ball excellently right off the bat, steal the occasional base from lazy pitchers, or take extra base once an opportunity pops up. In fact, Zimmerman is ranked among the fastest players in the league for taking an extra base.
Not everyone can make it up to the line in less than five seconds, but blazing speed can make the remaining baseball tools all the more valuable. To become an excellent base runner, enhance the way you read and react to fly balls, take good routes to the ball as a fielder, and study the running techniques of successful baserunners.
SKLZ Speed Chute Unisex
Training for Speed, Agility, and Quickness-3rd Edition
The next tool is hitting for power, which is essential for the most glamorous and exciting plays in the MLB: the home run. Because a good power hitter in a major league lineup can carry an offense single-handedly, it’s not surprising why home runs and power hitters get all the glory and love. These guys rely on their ability to hit and the power in their hits to win a game.
One of the best players exhibiting raw power is Giancarlo Stanton, who currently leads the national league in terms of home runs. Not only does he hit many home runs but also hits them very far. His farthest hit is a staggering 484-foot blast but also multiple other home runs over 450 feet.
Many of us want to know how it feels to hit a ball like this, but some people would say power cannot be taught. This is simply not true. With constant practice and application of various techniques, you will be able to hit home runs.
While players like Albert Pujols obviously hit the gym regularly, one thing power hitters should possess is the right attitude.
Look at animals, for example. When they are most likely to attack, they hold a steady position with their eyes laser-focused on the target and their head slightly turned. Therefore, when you also keep your head still and your body balanced before you deliver a solid, fluid swing, that’s when your attack is most powerful.
Hitting for Average or Contact is the most valued asset in a position player but is also the hardest tool to excel at. This means that if you can hit for a high average, you can be a valuable asset to your team.
Miguel Cabrera, the biggest asset for the Detroit Tigers, hits for average and was first to win the Triple crown after Carl Yastrzemski. As Cabrera demonstrates, a good hitter for average should be a complete hitter.
Meaning, you should be able to hit any pitch regardless of the speed or location and hit to all fields for power. When hitting for average, you should do the following right:
To get better at hitting for a high average, you need to be consistent and confident of your batting approach. Many tools, techniques, and systems can help you achieve this consistency.
One simple tip to achieve a high average is to use the best baseball bat and the proper grip when holding the bat. The knuckles should be closely aligned to allow the hands to react to the pitch faster and more easily.
SKLZ Power Stick Baseball and Softball Training Bat for Strength
There is no doubt about it; fielding or defense can win championships, which is why it is considered a vital part of success. An excellent defensive player should be consistent and extremely athletic for a higher chance of winning.
Your shortstop or the fielder positioned between the third and second base is probably your most important defensive player. One example of which is Andrelton Simmons of the Atlanta braves.
Simmons represents the perfect fielding tool because his teammates can count on him to play consistently and outstandingly. Having someone like him or being that someone in your team can be the key to success.
The secret to being a great defensive player is really not a secret: it is to work on it constantly. Never be satisfied or get comfortable with your abilities. Choose to practice shagging pop-flies or taking ground balls every single day. No excuses.
Also, work on your footwork to increase your agility as well as your mitt or glove skills. For coaches or young ones, finding the best youth catcher’s mitt can make a world of difference.
MacGregor Infield Training Glove
SKLZ Reaction Ball Baseball and Softball Reflex and Agility Trainer
To know what are some of the best fielding drills, watch this video:
Last but not the least of the five tools of baseball is arm strength, the most underrated of them all. Many do not realize that having someone on the team who can throw the ball from the outfield across the diamond can also improve the odds for the team’s victory as much as a home run.
A few renowned players with the ideal arm strength are Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Machado. Cespedes once managed to throw a runner out from the warning track while Machado who primarily plays at third base is consistent in making back-handed off balance throws. Both of these instances display how arm strength can impact a baseball game.
A mistake that most position players make is overlooking their arm strength as long as they can throw accurately. Pitchers can also benefit from improving the mechanics of their throw and improving their velocity by doing different exercises.
First base is the only position where a weak arm won’t matter too much because even second basemen need it to turn double plays.
One way to compensate for lack of speed is by having great arm strength. This keeps runners on alert even though it takes longer for you to reach the ball.
To improve arm strength, get a load of strength training, and throwing exercises.
SKLZ Weighted Training Baseballs
Jaeger Sports Exercise Baseball
The importance of each tool varies depending on your position. Of course, every scout is different, and others may rate you in another way. Generally, these are the order of importance for each position:
Most catchers are seldom required to hit, but it is definitely a good bonus if they do. However, the ability to both hit and throw will set you up for more opportunities.
As a middle infielder, you should be able to control the center of the field and play defense as well. You should manage to reach the base constantly as an offensive effort, too.
To play the third baseman, you really must have a strong arm. A lot of teams usually position their big hitters or runs batter in (RBIs) at the first or third base.
As a corner outfielder, you need to be able to catch a fly ball and throw out a tagging base runner, which makes speed your biggest asset. Power hitters with strong arms also hide in these positions.
Centerfielders need to track the ball as soon as it is hit and then quickly get it to the infield. This is why speed is a must for this position. In most cases, a centerfielder is separate from a left fielder.
A good centerfielder should be able to run a 60-yard dash in under 6.6 seconds.
Pitchers need a different set of tools like speed, velocity, body mechanics, poise, and control. They should be able to recreate solid mechanics while maintaining composure and throw three pitches for strikes. Their bodies must be able to handle the force of the innings pitched.
Of course, hitters need to be consistently hitting for a high average and connecting each hit to the ball. Power is only secondary because it does not matter if there is no contact.
Hitters should also work to achieve a smooth bat path through the hitting zone and have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the strike zone. Patience is also essential for hitters.
The harder the pitch, the more critical is a hitter’s mechanical soundness. You should be able to hit an inside pitch with considerable force but without being unfair while doing so.
Consistently hitting the fastball should allow you to hit a breaking pitch. Once the pitcher realizes you cannot hit a particular pitch, odds are they will try to recreate that, and you have to prove to them that you can hit it.
Congratulations! Now you know not only what 5 tool baseball is but how to improve your performance in using these five tools. All that is left for you to do is to practice them and put them into action on the field!
No matter what others say or what you got in the genetics lottery, you can certainly improve. Whether or not you were born with these talents, doing your own research and regular practice goes a long way.
If you have any other questions or baseball needs, please do leave a comment down below so I can share what I know and help you with the tools available. Till next time and I wish you the best of luck!
Everybody knows that a great baseball player is someone who throws like a boss. No doubt that professional baseball coaches want and need someone in their team who has unbeatable arm strength and accuracy.
However, these attributes are achieved by more than just warming up and playing catch. In this article, we’ll explore what more you could be doing to elevate your throwing game and increase your strength and accuracy with the best baseball throwing drills. Keep reading to find out!
Whether it’s in the drills you do or the training program you follow, there are two important things that you and your team should be working on to reduce your throwing errors: Accuracy and Accountability. Here’s why:
Accuracy is a product of consistency. So, as a player, you should be responsible for committing a specific time and place for practicing and doing throwing drills consistently and regularly. As a coach, you should be able to implement throwing drills as much as fielding and hitting to produce all-around players.
Players should also be accountable when they throw whether it be during practice or in-game. Being accountable means trying your best to deliver game-like throws each time and to understand the reasons behind every bad throw to try and avoid them later.
Setting up the clock during practice drills for infielders also develop a sense of urgency in them. If you are a coach, you should make sure that every situation you put them increases the focus of your players on their throws.
These are three essential elements and strategies that you should focus on to master the fundamentals of throwing a baseball:
While great arm strength is largely a product of genetics, and some players are born with this God-given trait, there are several techniques to develop it. Proper throwing technique drills will help you maximize your potential and allow you to throw a ball as hard as your body will allow.
By working on your arm strength, you also reduce wear-and-tear as well as your risk of getting injured. This also allows you to understand the mechanics of your arms better.
A game of baseball becomes subsequently faster the higher you play. So, you should be able to field and throw the ball quickly. However, make sure to be quick but also wait for the right timing. Never hurry.
The basic throwing drill is the beginning of all fielding drills. This pits the pitcher, catcher, outfielder, and infielder in a position that allows them to get rid of the ball immediately without panicking or rushing.
I know, we already mentioned accuracy before, but I cannot stress this enough: power and speed are useless if you do not throw accurately.
Another goal of baseball throwing drills, especially for beginners and kids is to develop their ability to estimate where the ball is going and to throw it right at their target. Throwing accurately is a fundamental skill that can play a huge role in the team’s defense.
Once you can combine these three elements together, you are already a pretty good player who can easily be an asset to your team as much as the best baseball bats could. In the next parts, you’ll learn how to throw with power, speed, and accuracy through different baseball throwing drills.
Now that you know the basic stuff, we can proceed to the different baseball throwing drills. Before anything else, be sure to first do a warm up. A little jogging or running and a few minutes of stretching can go a long way. After raising your heart rate a little, an excellent, chill game of catch with your teammates is an excellent way to warm up.
After warming up, you are ready to start with the drills. Below are some of the best drills out there along with some information and instructions on how to do them:
Coaches and baseball experts have found out that by putting a player on his knees, he can get a better feel of his front as the ball leaves the glove. In this drill, you can help yourself, or your players boost their throwing mechanics. It also improves accuracy and helps develop proper follow-through.
A good alternative or twist to this drill is to have the opposite teammate hold his or her glove in different positions so you can concentrate on your accuracy.
To know how to properly carry out this drill, please watch this video:
The objective of this drill is to improve your footwork, develop quick hands, and also improve accuracy. This is ideal for infielders but can benefit outfielders as well. This is how it goes:
You can also turn it into a competition to get your athletes or teammates more focused for better results. Players also tend to try harder and work better if there is a punishment involved. You can try punishing the losing team with laps, push-ups, or sprints.
This practice drill is similar and starts the same way as the previous one. However, instead of throwing the ball in front of them, the players are to throw diagonally in a zigzag pattern. It will also help develop accuracy as well as quick hands and feet.
The high five drill is excellent for younger, less experienced pitchers who have trouble throwing through the baseball. Regularly doing this drill has been found to develop proper muscle memory and let the player master the mechanics and techniques to avoid arm pain or damage on their own.
By doing baseball throwing drills, you are giving yourself a solid foundation in the fundamentals of throwing with power, speed, and accuracy. If you perform these drills consistently and regularly during practice, before a game, or even in tandem with your workouts, you will be several steps ahead of your competition already.
Did you like these baseball throwing drills? Do you think you and your teammates could benefit from them? Leave your answers in the comment section below! You can also send in your questions, recommendations, and other concerns.
Riding a tricycle has become a great outdoor exercise option for a lot of adults. It has become the next best option for people with muscle and joint issues but still wishes to enjoy the outdoors and experience the cardiovascular benefits of riding a bicycle.
If you are considering purchasing an adult tricycle, there are lots of things you need to know about riding a tricycle. Lucky for you, you can find all the important information in this article!
Once you take a ride on your tricycle, you will be surprised to know how different it works from that of a bicycle. If you want to know how different these two things can be, take a look at these two elements:
The most obvious difference between the two is the number and position of the wheels that they have. From its name, bicycle only has two wheels—one on the front and the other at the back.
On the other hand, adult tricycles feature three wheels—one in the front and two smaller wheels at the back. The addition of this wheel boosts the bike’s stability and prevent it from tipping over, making things a whole lot easier to the user.
Another main difference between the two is the seat. As compared to bicycles, the seat of tricycles is flatter. The flatness of the seat allows the user to sit upright and prevent him from leaning forward which is the case with a bicycle. This allows the user to feel more comfortable and relaxed, allowing him to exert more energy in pedaling and therefore, burn more calories in the process.
As mentioned, riding a tricycle is different from riding a bicycle. While the former is considered to be easier and more comfortable, it will take some getting used to. With that in mind, here are some steps that you can take:
Step 1: Place the tricycle on a flat surface then get up on it. Carefully sit on the bike’s seat. Once you feel that the bike is already stable enough, put your feet on the pedal and your hands on the handlebars.
After that, you do not need to do any balancing acts—that is one of the trike advantages that you can enjoy.
Step 2: Once you get the feel of it, try to pedal the trike. Do this slowly but surely. Make sure to give your time to adjust to it. Keep in mind that the tricycle sits a lot lower than a bike so you will be riding near traffic on the road and that may require a few adjustments.
Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the brakes. Do not ever go on a road trip without checking out the trike’s brake. Most of the trikes in the market feature hand brakes located near its handlebars.
Before you go out on your road trip, make sure to know where the brakes are. Moreover, you need to make sure that the brakes are working properly. Do this experiment in your driveway or in your neighborhood and not out in the highway.
Now that you are familiar with the basic steps on how to ride a tricycle, the next thing that you should keep in mind is the safety tips that you need to put into practice while you are on the road. Here are some of them:
Aside from testing the brakes, there are a lot of other things that you need to check and do before you go on your trip. These are as follows:
Safety Equipment: To stay safe on the road, you need to make sure that you have the following safety equipment—reflectors, bicycle flags, and lights. These will ensure that you are highly visible on the road.
In the event that your lights run on battery, make sure that they have enough juice to last your trip. If possible, try bringing extra batteries with you.
Seat: Check to see if the seat is properly fastened and positioned.
Handlebars: You use the handlebars to steer the bike to the direction you want to go. Because of this, it is important to make sure that they are properly secured.
Tires: The tires should be well-inflated and are free of holes and leaks to prevent it from deflating.
Of course, you know this already. You may think that since it is less likely that you are going to tip over in a trike, you do not need a helmet. But let me tell you that even though trikes are more stable, accidents may still happen.
A helmet can protect your head when you run into something or some things run into you.
This is another no-brainer but we do have to emphasize this one since a lot of people tend to forget about the importance of obeying traffic rules.
If you are not familiar with the laws regarding trikes in your area, it is recommended that you research about it.
One thing that you should keep in mind is the fact that pedestrians are the main priority when on the road. Because of this, it is a must that you always give way to the pedestrians crossing the street.
You may think that these laws are useless but please keep in mind that these are enforced not just for your benefit but for the welfare of the pedestrians and other motorists as well.
No, we are not talking about someone backstabbing you. We literally mean to watch your back—the back of your trike that is. This is because the widest part of the bike is located at the back portion which can become a problem when you are driving through tight areas or crowded streets.
Before entering a path, make sure that it is wide enough for the rear part of your trike.
One advantage that a motorcycle has over a trike is it has light signals. But don’t you worry—this issue can be easily addressed. When riding a trike and you wish to make a turn, you can employ hand signals instead.
If you are taking a right turn, try stretching your right arms horizontally with your palms facing forward. When turning left, do the same with your left arms.
Hold the brake levers while you are climbing on and off the tricycle. Getting on the tricycle is surprisingly tricky. Getting on a bike is easy peasy but it can be a bit challenging on a trike. This is because the seat of the trike is a lot lower and you cannot tilt the trike towards you as you would do with a bike.
With that in mind, the best way to ride a trike is to hold the brake levers tightly as you get up on the trike. In this way, the bike won’t slip away from you.
Only let go of the brakes once you are already planted firmly on the trike’s seat.
Unlike bikes, trikes do not have the ability to make very sharp turns. Yes, they are capable of sharp turns but making such turns can increase your risk of tipping over.
If you are used to riding a bike, you will tend to lean while making a turn. This is one thing that you should avoid doing when making a turn in a trike. With trikes, you have to keep your weight centered or as near to it as possible. This is the only way to ensure that all of the wheels are properly grounded, reducing your chances of getting into an accident.
To know more about trikes, watch this video:
Tricycles may be the weirdest looking form of transportation for a lot of people but it can deliver one of the most efficient workouts that you can ever try. It is also one of the most economical and comfortable forms of transportation that you can ever use.
Just make sure to keep in mind that you put into practice the tips about riding a tricycle that we have mentioned. In this way, you will be safe and sound on the road.
Do you have other trike safety tips that you would like to share with us? If so, please leave them below!
A baseball player’s performance largely depends on having a flexible yet solid strong core. This is something you can only get through a great baseball core workout paired with strength training and stretching.
Not only will this help you with motions like throwing, pitching, twisting, and other essential skills but will also reduce your risk of getting injured on the field.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the why’s and the how’s of getting a proper core workout to improve your swing and holistic baseball skills. So, what are you waiting for? Keep reading for more information!
Before diving into the details of how to train using a baseball core workout, you first need to understand the role of the core in your baseball skills.
Contrary to popular belief, your core does not only refer to your abs but includes all muscles that go around the body from your chest to your upper thighs. All of these muscles brace the trunk in order to prevent your lower back or lumbar spine from moving.
This creates a solid foundation for the explosive movement of your limbs for much more power without the risk of injury.
The core muscles also play a crucial role in swinging the bat and pitching or throwing the ball. With a stronger core, more power is transferred to the bat or ball as you drive off your legs to throw or swing.
A strong core also equals to a better balance, your best friend when it comes to perfecting your batting stance.
1. It helps improve your rotational power and flexibility
In hitting and pitching, it is important that you can do a good, controlled twisting motion of your body. By having strong abdominal muscles, you can explosively turn your hips for an extra push of power when you swing the bat and pitch the ball.
2. It helps enhance power transfer
With a stronger core, you are able to transfer power from one body part to another more efficiently. This is important for increasing your batting average or the ratio of hits over the number of times you batted. It also helps increase your sprint speed and acceleration.
3. It helps against injuries
In 2009, an ESPN article also pinpointed at oblique abdominal muscle strain as one of the most problematic and most common injuries that pitchers sustain. In fact, according to the results of a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, abdominal strains and other core injuries account for 5% of total baseball injuries.
Also, the researchers found that unlike arm and shoulder injuries that are more common, core injuries have a high tendency of keeping the players grounded for longer time periods stretching up to 35 days. Recurrence of injury was also reported to be a pretty frequent problem.
Fortunately, a comprehensive core workout that involves flexibility training and stretching was found to avoid these problems. It helps prevent injury while also assisting in the healing or recovery from past injuries.
4. It flattens the stomach
Most people strive to develop a flat stomach and strong core muscles play a key role in achieving this. This will make you look and feel better about yourself and your body for that extra boost of confidence that you are likely to carry into your game.
5. It prevents back pain
Based on my experience, even a slight discomfort or pain on your back can have a negative impact on your concentration, confidence, and performance during a game.
However, with strong abdominal and back muscles, most types of back pain can be prevented. This includes back pains due to back muscle strain or soft tissue injuries that many people are all too familiar with. Building these muscles before you even sustain an injury can even prevent back pain altogether.
6. It helps improve your posture
According to Web MD, focusing on exercises that work on strengthening your core is the best way to get good posture. An added benefit of this is that pressure is taken off your spine, which further reduces any risk of injury.
Since good posture encourages you to stand and walk with an air of confidence, it also has a psychological benefit that is essential in all sports encounters.
In order to use your core muscles effectively, you must first master the “breathe and brace” method.
The first step in doing this is inhaling or breathing diaphragmatically or deep into the abdomen. This engages all the otherwise underused and overlooked inner core stabilizer muscles and eventually strengthens them.
To breathe through the diaphragm, take a big breath through the nose. Air should fill your abdomen, sides, and back. This acts as a foundation for all actions that you will be doing both in the gym or weight room and in the baseball field.
Next, let’s get to bracing. Bracing refers to the act of engaging or squeezing your abs tight. For example, this is what you do if you are anticipating a punch to your stomach in which your core muscles tense up.
It is important to brace your core in basically all exercises you do. However, it is notable that some exercises require you to brace your core more intensely than others.
To illustrate this, a plank does not require the same amount of core tension and bracing as a 500-pound squat. This is why I believe that deadlifts and squats are excellent exercises for developing real core strength.
Enhancing your rotational power and the stability of your core muscles should be your focus of an effective baseball core workout. These attributes are what makes professional baseball players really stand out and excel in the field.
Nowadays, most amateur and young baseball players do not understand the concept of a proper core workout. Instead, they get too focused on long distance runs, cardio exercises, and mainstream high-repetition ab exercises in the hope of developing core strength.
However, all of these actually do not do much in improving their performance since the movements do not replicate the ones you would have to perform during a baseball game.
So, I recommend building strength and flexibility instead. These will have a bigger positive effect on your overall game performance and help you avoid getting core muscle strain.
The best formula for an awesome baseball core workout consists of a proper stretching and warm-up then at least one medicine ball rotational exercise followed by strengthening exercises and finished off with one or two direct core training exercises.
Now, here are some of the best exercises for developing core strength, power, and stability:
1. Med Ball Rotational Exercises
These will improve your speed and power by mimicking the way you throw a ball or swing your bat. They involve driving through your rear leg for maximum power, rotating the hips toward your target, and ending with a slight upper back rotation. The core should remain engaged and stable without rotating for optimum power transfer and to protect your back.
After warming up, start off using a light medicine ball and make sure your movements are explosive as you do the following exercises depending on your skills and experience:
2. Russian Twists for Beginners
These strengthen the back, lower abs, and oblique muscles for strong core and better toned waist.
To do this, sit on a mat or the floor with your knees bent and your feet slightly raised. Hold a medicine ball a few inches in front of your chest. Then, twist the ball from side to side, keeping your body centered and your elbows tucked in. Do this for 3-4 sets of 10-20 reps per side.
3. Medicine Ball Rotational Throws for Intermediate Players
To do this, hold a medicine ball as you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and perpendicular to a wall. Using explosive movements, throw the ball sideways to hit the wall and allow it to bounce back to you. Do this for three sets of 4-6 reps per side. You can do this one side at a time or by alternating sides.
4. Tornado Ball Slam for Advanced Players
Stand with your back against a sturdy wall and your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. With a slight bend on the knees, engage your core, and get a good grip on the tornado ball rope by putting it around one hand and grabbing onto it with both hands.
Start swinging and slamming the ball to the wall from side to side, being careful not to throw or rotate your spine. Your goal is to target the fast twitch core muscles so make sure your movements are explosive.
As you go faster and harder, bend your knees further in order to adjust your center of gravity and avoid the centripetal force of the ball to throw you forward.
Do 4-6 sets of 5-10 seconds each. As you get better, you can progress to multidirectional or diagonal swings.
After these exercises, you can do different plank variations, rotational landmine presses, modified sit-ups, or other movements that strengthen the core.
That’s probably everything you need to know about a great baseball core workout! If you liked this article, please feel free to share it and leave a comment down below. Also, make sure to check out these helpful product reviews!
Gripping a baseball bat should not be hard, but believe me or not, it can actually make or break a player’s game more than anything else. In this article, you will learn how to hold a bat, the different types of bat grip, and some indispensable tips to achieve the perfect swing!
When a batter’s game fails, many would go as far as using a different stance, trying to find the best baseball bat that is lighter or of a different style, or even giving up being a hitter altogether.
However, one aspect that most hitters overlook is their grip and their hand position when they hold the bat. No matter how many times you upgrade into a better bat, you still won’t succeed if you are not holding it properly.
To help you understand better just how important properly holding the bat is, here are the things that the right grip can do for you:
So now you know the why’s of properly holding a bat, let us get to the how’s. Technically, there is no single perfect way to hold a bat. However, based on various interviews of professional baseball players and coaches, here is a summarized version on how it should be done:
First, check if your bat is made of metal alloy, composite materials, or wood. If you have a wooden bat, check where the label is.
To hold a bat, you need to decide which of your hands is the guide hand and which is the power hand. Generally, you use your dominant hand as the power hand, which is placed farther from the knob than the guide hand. So if you bat left, your right hand serves as the guide hand and vice versa.
Once you have established that, slide your guide hand all the way to the bottom of the bat near the knob. To avoid breaking a wooden bat easily, make sure to turn the label so that it almost faces you.
Next, you do not want your guide hand to grip the bat too tight so you can move your index finger a bit to separate it from your three other fingers. However, make sure that the index finger is still curled around the bat.
When holding the bat straight up, the knuckle of your index finger should bend at a 45-degree angle, pointing away from the bat and up the barrel. Try moving the bat around a bit with your hand. You will notice how much flexibility and control this grip provides for your swing.
Also, and I could not stress this enough, never try to control and hold the bat with the palm of your hands but instead, do this with your fingers. This allows you to rotate and flex your wrists when you swing or make sudden changes to the position of the bat.
Then, take your other hand and place it next to the guide hand on the bat handle. Your goal is to duplicate the same grip of your guide hand on your top hand with the separate index finger and the 45-degree angle of the knuckle. The second knuckles of the fingers on your two hands should be lined up.
While you wait for a pitch, focus on maintaining the proper grip and hold the bat as lightly and loosely as you can. Constantly remind yourself not to grip too tightly before you swing.
This does not only improve your comfort but also increases your swing speed since you do not have to release tension from your hand muscles before beginning to swing the bat.
Besides, your grip will automatically tighten as your swing progresses, peaking its strongest at the time when the bat comes in contact with the ball. If you relax your grip, the muscles of your upper body will also be relaxed.
This is crucial because the more relaxed you are before swinging your bat, the more powerful and explosive the movement will be.
To know more on how to hold a bat properly, watch this video:
It’s also useful to know that seasoned athletes and professional baseball trainers have a long-running debate about which grip is better: the door knocker grip or the box grip. The previous step-by-step instructions is for doing a door knocker grip. Here are some of the main differences and distinct features of the two:
The door knocker grip derives its name from the way the second knuckles in each hand, a.k.a. the knuckles you use for knocking on a door, line up vertically along the handle of your bat.
Some say this is the only “proper” way to hold a baseball bat. While I and other players are not thoroughly convinced about that, I do admit that it has its own charm and benefits.
First of all, the door knocker grip is very comfortable and allows you to control the bat better since the handle is close to your fingertips. This is especially great and useful for contact hitters who value control more than anything.
The box grip is another way to hold your bat. Unlike with the door knocker grip, your hands form some sort of a box shape with your knuckles being the sides. In other words, instead of all your second knuckles lining up, the second knuckles of your top hand are aligned with the last knuckles of your guide hand.
This is a more common grip that you can observe among players of various skill levels and age groups, probably because this grip feels more natural. You will also see this grip on pictures and videos of professional baseball players.
If the door knocker grip works best for contact hitters, the box grip is preferred by power hitters. It generates the most power by promoting more torque throughout your swing. It also keeps the back elbow up, making it harder to roll the wrists before and during ball contact.
This also allows the palm of your top hand to stay facing up upon contact, which is great for swing mechanics.
Both the door knocker grip and box grip are acceptable ways to hold a baseball bat. However, you will usually find that one of these work better and feels more comfortable to you. For some people, a grip that falls somewhere in between may be more feasible.
When lining up your knuckles, they don’t have to be perfectly aligned. You also have to make sure that your grip is not forced or that it does not require too much concentration on your part so you could focus more on your swing.
The index finger of your guide hand or bottom hand should come in contact with the pinky of your top hand. Even a slight gap between your hands, which many young players are prone to have, will reduce the pivot or whipping force that you want your hands to translate to the bat swing.
Your wrists should be flexed and hinged. This reduces the angle between the forearm and the palm of your hand, which helps create the whipping force for a faster bat speed. This also makes it easier to keep the bat in the hitting zone for longer periods of time, giving you a higher chance of squaring up on the ball.
Keep your elbow up and back. You might often hear the phrase “Elbow up!” repeated by coaches to remind their players about this particular posture. This allows you to stay on top of the ball by using your top hand. When your elbow is down, you might dip on the back side and lose your balance once you swing.
The right of how to hold a bat depends on the goal you want to achieve and what feels comfortable for you. After that, you just have to practice, practice, and practice until you can consistently and successfully hit the ball like a pro.
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A true fan of the sport knows who the best athlete in the field is! Old Waldner may be the best table tennis player that comes to mind. I would have to agree that Old Waldner, really, is one of the best. Unfortunately, since he is retired, he can no longer add more trophies and achievements up against his sleeves!
This younger generation of athletes has a lot to catch up. However, the sport had evolved pretty fast, and athletes like Ma Long and Zhang Jike has achieved a lot, and they are not over thirty years old yet! Promising younger players like XU Xin and ZAN Zhendong are climbing the ladder of achievements at a staggering rate!
These guys have set the bar pretty high so it would require more than having a table tennis table to be as good as them!
But who is the best table tennis player? Let’s take a look at the top 5 players that ITTF listed according to their ranking. Let’s start with number 5!
Dimitrij is a Ukranian-born athlete who took lives in Germany. His love for the sport was introduced by his father, Mikhail who was a Soviet table tennis champion in his younger years. His father’s love for the sport inspired Dimitrij to pursue a career in table tennis.
Dimitrij is one of Germany’s representative in the table tennis Men’s team that played at the 2008 Summer Olympics. They went home with a silver medal from the Olympics. He faced some challenges in late 2010 but regained his eligibility to play table tennis.
In 2012 Summer Olympics, Dimitrij took the bronze for the singles and team category, respectively, for Germany. In 2015, Dimitrij beat Marcos Freitas of Portugal and went home with a gold medal at the European Games. He lost the singles to Vladimir Samsonov but won the German Team a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics.
With a determined mindset and laser-focus, he became the number 1 table tennis player in January 2018. Competing for the first rank is extremely difficult, and many other players are eying the top spot. Today, he holds the fifth position in the ITTF ranking.
At number four is another esteemed German athlete that played for the Olympics along with Dimitrij Ovtcharov. This thirty-seven year old was hailed as the number 1 table tennis player in 2003, 2011, and in 2018. However, today, he only holds the fourth position in the ITTF ranking.
He started playing ping pong when he was a toddler. His father coached him and thought him the basics of the sport. Timo started his career at the age of eight. He is one of the youngest players of the National League and quickly gained fame.
He beat Vladimir Samsonov in 2002 and gained international attention. He was hailed as the 10th best table tennis player in Germany in the same year. He faced the seasoned Old Waldner in the 2004 Summer Olympics. However, he lost.
He also played for the German team in 2008, 2012, and 2016. He was not fortunate enough o bag a gold medal for the singles and team category, but they had silver in 2008 and bronze in 2012 and 2016.
This young lad is just 23 years old and has managed to reach the third rank in the ITTF. Like Timo, he, too, started playing table tennis at a very young age. He is full talent but hasn’t won major championships immediately after he went professional.
He had a lot of matches that he almost won, however, fortune did not smile on him. It was just last year when his career entered the fast lane. He gradually climbed the ranks and won the Asian Cup. Just this year, his team won the World Team Championships and the Team World Cup held in Halmstad and London.
Presently, he holds the 3rd spot of ITTF’s top 10 table tennis players. At 23, he has a lot of potentials to become the greatest player of all time. What will happen to him in the next decade? Who knows? Today, he’s just two ranks away from number one.
Xu is currently holding the 2nd spot of ITTF’s top 10. At twenty-eight years old, he holds 13 World Tour championships since 2010 up to present. One of his notable matches was in 2014 where he beat Ma Long and defended his title as the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai.
He uses a penhold grip and is among the few Chinese athletes practicing such. His long arm span has enabled him to conquer tournaments and return every rally that comes his way. He is known for his spins and deceptive serves. He has been noted to relentlessly practice and reinvent serves to come up with a lot of different variations and perfect each style.
With his southpaw stance and creative serves, many opponents are intimidated by him. At twenty-eight years old, he has a lot in store for his career.
Fan was just 15 years old when he joined the Chinese National Table Tennis Team. He currently holds the youngest athlete to achieve the title ITTF World Tour Champion and the World Table Tennis Champion.
Getting the top spot was not easy. He held and protected the second place for 29 months until he was able to snag the number one rank. It took relentless hard work and training to win tournaments. Looking at Fan’s impressive record since 2013, no doubt that he has a lot more for him in store.
He won the ITTF World Tour singles in Poland and Germany in 2013. He also won it on Kuwait and Sweden in 2014. He dominated the Asian Table Tennis Championship held at Thailand in 2015. In the same year, he won ITTF World Tour singles in Poland and Sweden. In 2016, he won Table Tennis World Cup held in Germany. In the same year, he took the championship at Japan and China for ITTF’s World Your singles category. In 2017, he bagged the Asian Table Tennis Championships in China and ITTF World Tour in Kazakhstan.
That includes the singles category only! It does not include his doubles, team, and 2018 achievements! Surely, it would take tremendous work and effort to beat this guy and conquer the top spot! And one more thing, he’s just 21 years old.
With these fierce athletes at the top of the ranks fighting for the best table tennis player title, it would be quite difficult to set a new record. Beating those guys would require tremendous training. But it sure is exciting to see their matches!
Do you want to be as amazing as these table tennis players? If yes, then you should get started on training and honing your skills. To determine what are the table tennis equipment you may need, please check these buying guides.
Many people believe that you are no longer capable of learning or developing new sports or skills when you reach a certain age in your life. While there’s a certain truth to it, this common misconception surely doesn’t apply to learn tennis later in life.
The truth is, tennis is one sport that you can learn, and master even if you are already a bit older. The best way that you can do that is through adult tennis lessons.
Another common misconception that you may encounter is this—only kids can learn and benefit from tennis lessons. But the truth is that tennis lessons offer plenty of benefits for adults too. Here are some of them:
Tennis seems like an easy sport. After all, you just have to swing the racquet and hit the ball, right? Well, there’s more to tennis than that.
A properly trained tennis instructor can teach you the right swing patterns, correct grips, proper form, and movement that will allow you to make the most out of every shot that you will take.
The wrong form, grip, and movement increase your risk of getting injured in the long run. With the help of a tennis instructor, you can correct these aspects to avoid possible injury and accidents.
When you undergo tennis lessons, your instructor will subject you to drills and games that will help you improve various essential skills such as consistency, accuracy, mental alertness, and court positioning.
There’s no denying the fact that tennis lessons are incredibly beneficial, especially to an adult like you. For you to maximize these benefits, it is crucial that you carefully choose the adult tennis lesson that would suit your needs and skill level.
To help you do that, here are some of the things that you need to consider:
Keep in mind that your instructor will be the one to set the pace and structure of your lessons but let me be clear with this—finding a great tennis instructor is not as easy as it seems.
To determine the skills of the instructor, you must look into his certifications and trainings. According to experts, a tennis instructor should have an NTRP level higher than 4.5.
In addition to that, you should also take into consideration his teaching experience. Aside from his years of teaching experience, you should also make sure that he already has experience in teaching people in the same age group as you.
There are two types of tennis lessons—solo and group lessons. You need to be familiar with your learning style for you to determine which type suits you best.
Maybe you are a shy person who can learn more when you work closely with the coach? If this is the case, a private or solo tennis lesson would be better. Often, this type of tennis lesson is recommended for beginners who need more attention and time from the instructors.
Do you learn better when in a class setting wherein the coach will explain the drills and then ask you and your classmates to perform it? Are you a social butterfly who thrives in group settings?
If yes, then the group lessons would be the best for you. This is usually recommended for intermediate players as this setting allows them to use the skills that they have learned during their private lessons.
What is your goal in taking tennis lessons? Do you plan on learning the basics? Do you want to improve your techniques or tactics? Are you keen on sharpening your mental skills? Or do you wish to stay fit by playing tennis?
Once you have determined what your objectives are, it will be easier for you to decide if the drills, games, and structure of the tennis lesson are suitable for you or not.
Most tennis lessons follow almost the same structure. It begins with a warm-up session. The second part would be core tennis drills. If you are an intermediate tennis player, it may be followed by a match session. For the last part, you will be required to perform stretching and cool-down activities.
Of course, the price of the tennis lesson may also be an issue, especially if you have a tight budget. There is nothing wrong in looking for an affordable but reliable tennis lessons (you can check the customer reviews to determine how useful the lessons are) but please try to avoid lessons with too low fees as you will definitely get what you pay for when you do so.
If you wish to learn how to play tennis at your age, you should go beyond just attending tennis lessons. Just like all the other sports, practice makes perfect when it comes to tennis too.
That is why it is vital that you dedicate enough time and effort in playing the game at least three times a week. You can do this by hitting the ball against a wall, using a tennis ball machine or playing tennis with one of your friends.
By doing this, you can put all the techniques and concepts that you have learned from your lessons into practice.
Although learning tennis at a more mature age is possible, you should understand the fact that it may come with various challenges. With the help of adult tennis lessons, you can learn the basics in the easiest and most productive way possible.
Just make sure to keep in mind the tips and things that we have mentioned above so you can find the most suitable adult tennis lessons for your needs.