American Baseball Camps — 6.5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Kid In A Summer Camp

Apr 08, 2019 by Nick Rotola CEO of American Baseball Camps in  baseball camps Fun Baseball Camps summer baseball camps summer fun Youth Baseball Advice
6.5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Kid In A Summer Camp-min

Yeah… A lot has changed since you were a kid. Obesity is also up, anxiety is way up, and even though kids are more connected than ever before, they are proven to be more lonely.

Not good, right? It gets worse. A recent study shows that kids spend an average of 6.5 hours in front of a screen each day & growing!

That is why we have compiled our 6.5 reasons why you should get your in a summer camp for kids.

#1 Happiness

study performed by students at Northwestern revealed that there is a “dark side” to media, and that your kid’s social media consumption should be monitored. Even though they may not intend it to, children being exposed to the wrong messages often enough can be desensitized, more aggressive, and less happy. Spending time outdoors, however, raises levels of Vitamin D, promotes social skills, and develops athleticism. Leaving you with an overall better-developed & happier camper.



#2 Social Skills

study from New York Behavioral Health finds that too much media for your kid could inhibit his/her social skills. They highlight significant risks associated with too much media, such as: cyberbullying, social skill reduction, and “facebook depression”. All-in-all, they find that the more your kid communicates with friends outside, rather than on social media, the better his social skills will become.

#3 Obesity Rates

Childhood obesity rates have maintained around 17% for the past ten years. Statistics by kidshealth.org show that children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight. They also recommend that parents place limits on screen time, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of being physically active.

#4 To Face Challenges

Camps like American Baseball Camps provide fun and challenging games and activities that help kids persevere and conquer challenges. We believe that when kids are encouraged, and treated like they are great, they tend to rise to the occasion and play better. Either way, facing tough challenges at camp helps kids to find their creative/competitive/athletic side.



#5 To Try New Things

New activities that take kids out of their comfort zone can have remarkable benefits! We find that the kids that come into our camps, sometimes timid, leave happy and outgoing!

#6 Developing Friendships

Developing friendships is a big part of what you get with camps like American Baseball Camps. Being able to socialize is one thing, but being able to quickly develop friendships is another! We at American Baseball Camps preach being a team player. We find that working together as a team is a much better lesson to teach than trying to do it all by yourself. Teamwork is important in baseball and in life. We see this as having multiple applications for the child’s academic life, sports life, and home life.

#6.5 Making Memories

Camps can be the highlight of your child’s summer! Great camps create memories that stick with a child for a lifetime! Enough with all the media. Encourage your kid to put the phone down, and get outside and make memories that he’ll never forget!

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To sign your kid up for one of our camps — Check out our camps here!

Blog provided by American Baseball Camps — ABC’s mission is to make baseball fun again so they provide great summer fun camps for kids ages 12 and under. If you will share this blog post and use coupon code: “blog” at checkout, you can receive 20% off your order!\




How To Call Pitches

How To Call Pitches – A Guide For Youth Coaches & Parents

Oct 22, 2020

The following article was written by Mike Castellani, a current professional pitcher.

Read time: 2 min

 

One of the questions I get asked the most, by parents, is how to call pitches. Calling the “right” pitch consistently can be the difference between a quality start and a start that does not make it out of the first inning. The first way to handle calling pitches is to understand that each arm on your staff is different.  We never want to call pitches based on what the book might say, but rather we call pitches that allow the individual to be placed in a situation where he/she can succeed most often.

 

Here are some steps you, as the coach, should follow:

 

Step 1: Preparation

 

  • First step with your pitchers is to identify what their most accurate pitch is, and what their best “swing and miss” pitch is. For most young pitchers this will be fastball, curveball, respectively, but this is not always the case.
  • The next step is to identify which side of the plate your pitcher feels most comfortable throwing to, and this is done by seeing if their fastball has natural tail (armside run), or natural cut. Most pitchers will favor the side of the plate that is closer to their armside, since most fastballs tail.
  • Talk with both the pitchers and catchers about pitch calling, and allow them to shake off pitches they do not agree with. The best way for young players to learn is by self-calling games, and believe me if they shake off to a pitch that then gets hit hard they will listen and learn much more than if you had called the pitch.  Let the pitchers think for themselves and welcome a dialogue of pitch selection.  Afterall, our goal is to develop talent, by letting them learn how to think critically in pressure situations.

 

Now we get to the actual pitch sequencing.  This can be a challenge for a lot of coaches who tend to get repetitive I.E. throwing fastballs early and curveballs later in counts.  The easiest way to call pitches is to throw what the hitter is least likely to hit HARD. This is an important point. We as coaches are not trying to strike every hitter out, we are trying to throw the least amount of pitches and get our team back on offense.  Throwing a curveball and inducing a swing and miss, is not always the best plan of action, when a fastball would have gotten a ground ball double play.

 

Step 2: Learning to read swings:

 

Reading the Hitter's Swing

 

Hitters give away a ton of information even before they swing the bat.  Identifying individual weaknesses is key to effective pitch calling.  Here is a watch list of common hitter tendencies.

How far does the hitter stand from the plate?

  • Watching the feet of the hitter gives us pitch number one of any sequence. If a hitter is standing too far away from the plate we must throw him a fastball away and force him to move closer exposing the inside part of the plate for future pitches.  If the hitter stands too close the exact opposite is true.

Where does the hitter stride?

  • Watching where the hitter strides is also a huge key to beating him/her. If the hitter strides open or closed we can exploit that with fastballs.  If a righty hitter that strides slightly towards third (open) will struggle hitting fastballs away with any type of conviction, meaning you will get easy contact outs.  If that same hitter strides towards first (closed) they will struggle hitting inside pitches and will jam easily.

How is the hitter’s timing

  • The single easiest way to beat a hitter is by throwing the pitch they are least timed up for. So many young hitters sell out for fastballs that they get out in front of every pitch they see.  If we see a super aggressive hitter we need to think about throwing fastballs in and off-speed down.  Off-speed obviously makes sense, but the inside fastball maybe less so.  If a hitter is early on everything his contact point will be in front of the plate.  This means that with an inside fastball he can only hit the ball foul.  Even if he hits it 300 feet it will always be foul. Winning strikes on fastballs early sets up the breaking ball finale.  Take what the hitter gives you and use his aggression to gain advantage counts.

How does the hitter react to off-speed?

  • Very rarely do I ever throw the same pitcher twice. Mixing speeds is the key to pitching, but sometimes the hitter gives up his hand and we must exploit it. Identify a hitter being fooled versus a hitter just not being capable of hitting off-speed is vital to calling a good game.  Most hitters will be fooled on off-speed if their landing foot strides way too early for the pitch and they will thus swing through the pitch.  But if the hitter is striding on time with the off-speed and still missing then you have identified a weakness.  It is important to watch how the hitter strides on these pitches to pick up on inabilities. If we see a hitter stride early and miss, chances are he was simply fooled and will be sitting on the same pitch, although this time he will not miss.  If a hitter swings early on a curveball it is a good idea to come back with a fastball inside on the next pitch, since most hitters will subconsciously refuse to be beaten by the same pitch twice.  They will slow their timing and you can blow a fastball right by them.

 

Step 3: The right pitch in the right count

 

It is never a good idea to rely on the count to dictate your pitch selection, but here are a few rules of thumb to live by:

 

0-0 : This is a called strike count we are trying to throw our most accurate strike to our most accessible location.  Get ahead and welcome swings.  We will never get beat if every hitter swings first pitch.

 

1-0 : This is a hitters count so we must throw a fastball or changeup here.  Fastballs to locations a hitter does not like or changeups down the middle.  Again, we want swings but more importantly we want a strike. 2-0 is a bad place to be.

 

0-1 : Advantage count, hitters will be desperate to not fall behind further so the zone will increase. Fastballs on the edge of the zone in any direction work here.  Curveballs for strikes are effective as well.

 

1-1 / 2-2 : These are the most important counts in baseball.  The batting average difference from 2-1 versus 1-2 is astronomical.  In all neutral counts we are hunting a strike.  I personally like to throw the opposite fastball to the one I threw 0-0 here.  So if I went inside to start I will go away 1-1, or the opposite. This is a count for your best pitch.  If you have a good curve, use it.  We want to treat this count like it is make-or-break. Throw your best stuff and live with the results.

 

1-2 / 0-2 : Both big advantage counts we want to think fastballs up or away off the plate, or curveballs at the shoetops.  The pressure is on the hitter here, so make him have to take a tough pitch or foul it off.  We want borderline pitches that are a threat and not a waste. Swings in these counts are ideal, make them swing at pitches out of the zone, and if you give up the occasional hit doing so that is fine.  We do not waste pitches, EVER.

 

2-0 / 3-0 : These are disadvantage counts.  We need strikes.  2-0 we throw a fastball to our most accessible location.  For me that is an arm side of the plate fastball.  3-0 we are grooving a fastball.  Let the hitter swing 3-0, 50/50 hit versus out if he does.

 

2-1 / 3-1 : Disadvantage counts that can yield favorable results.  We know that hitters are hunting and swinging big in these counts.  They are expecting fastballs.  Most times they will be early and out in front, trying to pull a pitch.  Throwing inside fastball and change ups are keys in these counts.  If the hitter is aggressive he will foul off inside fastballs and pop changeups up. Use the hitters aggression to win you an easy strike or out.

 

American Baseball Camps writes these articles as part of our mission to help players get better & gain confidence. We also want to be a professional guide for youth baseball parents & coaches. You have a professional to go to for your taxes, finances, b2b needs, we want to be your resources for your ballplayers’ baseball career. Send us an email at americanbaseballcamps@gmail.com at anytime for youth baseball advice. We hope you’ll support our business by buying our book: At Home Baseball Development Guide or by attending one of our baseball camps across the country. You can see this by visiting our camps page.

 

Pregame Routine Of A Professional Pitcher

American Baseball Camps — Three Ways Young Players Can Hit With More Power

Apr 04, 2019

Here is our list of 3 ways for young players to drive more baseballs and hit more Home Runs.

#1 Relax your hands

It’s the 2011 home run derby and Robinson Cano hits 12 home runs in his final round! The reporter asks: “what was going through your head in that final round?” As he was effortlessly hitting balls into the upper deck, the reporter wanted to know what his thought process was. He didn’t say I tried my hardest, or I tried to pull the ball to left field. No, what he said is shocking because it goes against natural hitting/human instincts. He said: “I really just tried to relax my hands and throw the hands.” Wow! here is a guy with some of the greatest power in the game and all he is thinking at the plate is “relax your hands.” That’s why if youre a parent with a young slugger, this is our number one piece of advice for you to give him before an at bat, or when you are working in the cage.

#2 Gain Muscle

 

Power = Mass x Acceleration

Building muscle does both of these things, it gives you more muscle “mass” and adds bat speed “acceleration.”

I’m a D1 baseball player at an Anonymous program (for NCAA reasons) and I can’t tell you how many guys I knew growing up that got so much better at baseball when they started building muscle. This doesn’t mean lifting weights, but for those younger kids it is so big that they are doing things to help give them bat-speed. One of the best ways for a young player to gain bat speed is to swing a heavy bat. That means maybe 50 or 100 times a day go out in the back yard with the heaviest bat you can find and swing as hard as you can. Gene Stevens at Wichita State (a great baseball program) used to tell young players to take 100 dry hacks every single day! It seems like a lot but only takes 5 minutes and could set your kid apart from the pack!

Other recommended ways for young baseball players to gain muscle are: adjustable hand grippers, push ups, wall sits, and planks.



#3 Play More Ball

“Practice makes perfect” – Vince Lombardi

Listen to Bryce Harper when he is in High School talk about how many games he played when he was growing up, the number will shock you. This is one of the greatest guys in the game right now, maybe a future Hall of Famer! And he is saying that he got good because of how often he played! WOW.

As a current D1 baseball player I can tell you that you get better every single time you lace up those cleats. Parents, think about how easy it is to brush your teeth in the morning. That is because you have done it so many times that it starts to become “routine.” This concept is huge in baseball! Get him 100 live ground balls in a game and watch how routine he starts to make it look.

This is why we practice for so long in division 1, and why we play so many games during the offseason!



In football, practice makes perfect. But in baseball practice makes routine. And being able to make things routine is how you become a great baseball player. trust me I play with them every single day!

Routine it, play more baseball.

– Authors: Anonynous 1 & 2 (For NCAA reasons)

American Baseball Camps was created to make baseball fun again! It is ran by Division 1 players who know that having fun will heighten self- esteem and make kids play better on the field. Our camps feature slip n’ slide wiffle ball, pitching dunk tank, and campers’ choice baseball drills! Camps are in Tulsa, Wichita, OKC, KC, Tahlequah, Phoenix, Dallas, and Wilmington.

If you will share this blog post and use coupon code: “blog” at checkout, you can receive 20% off your order before June 1st!




A College Players’ View Of The Mental Game Of Baseball

Nov 07, 2019

 

“BASEBALL IS 90% MENTAL AND THE REST IS PHYSICAL!” – Yogi Berra

 

These wise words from the great Yogi Berra are trying to explain that the game we all know and love is mainly mental. Yes, you play the game with your body as in swinging the bat and throwing the ball. Meanwhile, the mental aspect is that you have to make the right decisions each and every play.

Baseball is a game of unconsciousness, this is the reason so much effort is accounted for within the little things. If you focus on the little things, you will find that making the unconscious decision is much easier.

In Baseball, being confident is very important. Confidence stretches further than being competitive, you have to believe that you are the best player on the field day in and day out.

As a pitcher or hitter, you must have self-confidence in order to fail less, and succeed more.

Another key part to the mental game of baseball is Imagery.

This usually means visualization, but if you use Sensory Imagery, your visualization skills will become more
powerful.



A good simple equation for this is

I x V = R (Imagery times Visualization equals reality).

This equation is basically saying that if you take a memory or vivid image and relive it, you will get real results.

For example hitting your first home run or throwing a no hitter, if you relive these memories and apply that feeling to what you are doing, you will become more successful.

Another good mental note to take and use in baseball is being aggressive.

Coaches may sometimes say “close the door”, “bury them”, this means go out there and don’t actually bury them 6 feet underground, but end the game pitch and hit with aggression so there is no chance of them coming back and winning the game.




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