Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 strike approach

Hitting with two strikes requires a different approach than hitting with less than two strikes.

With two strikes you must hit the pitcher’s pitch (if it is a strike) and you cannot “sit on a pitch”. This type of hitting is know as “reactive” hitting. You must see the ball and react to it

Two strike hitting is much tougher than hitting with less than two strikes. Major League hitters on average hit less than .200 with two strikes and above .320 on average with less than two strikes.
If you want to hit .300 in the Major Leagues, you need to learn to hit with two strikes. If you can get your two strike average up - you will improve your overall batting average

Two strike hitting tips:
1. Keep your swing short. Some hitters shorten their stride or eliminate it altogether with two strikes. The short stride or no stride approach starts with a wider stance to begin with (you are essentially starting in a “pre-stride” position. The longer you can look at the pitch (to identify it) - the better with two strikes.
2. Use an “inside out swing” with two strikes, going to the opposite field will give you longer time to identify the pitch. This is a great time to let the ball get deep and hit the inside half of the baseball.
3. Concede the long ball and just get the barrel on the ball - as Ted Williams used to say. Don’t try to do too much, just hit a line drive (first choice) or ground ball (second choice) somewhere ( to the opposite field if need be).
4. Crowd the plate a little bit. Make sure you have good plate coverage. Don’t let the pitcher sneak a strike by you out there.
5. Widen your strike zone slightly. Don’t chase real bad pitchers, but don’t get “rung up” on a close pitcher either. The “two strike” strike zone should be slightly expanded in the hitter’s mind to avoid being called out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

12 Simple things leaders can do!


1. Be the hardest worker at practice today.

Without fail, one of the quickest ways to impact a team is with your own work ethic. Choose to be one of the hardest workers on your team today. Not only does it set the tone for the work ethic of your program, it is also one of the best and quickest ways to enhance your leadership credibility with your teammates and coaches.

2. Be a spark of energy and enthusiasm today.

Let your passion for the sport shine through today. Spread a contagious energy and enthusiasm amongst your teammates. Think about how lucky you are to be able to play and compete. Remember back to when you were a young child and reconnect with the joy you played with back then. Make your sport fun again for yourself and your teammates.

3. Model mental toughness today.

Because your teammates will look to you under pressure, adversity, and stress, be sure to model mental toughness today. Bounce back quickly after errors to show your teammates how to respond to negative situations. Maintain your poise and optimism despite any mistakes you might make so that your teammates can trust and rely on you to get them through the tough times.

4. Connect with a teammate today.

Leadership is all about relationships. Invest the time to build and strengthen the relationships you have with each of your teammates. Inquire about their day, challenges, and goals. Make a special and ongoing effort to get to know every athlete on your team, not just your friends and classmates. The relationship building you do each day will pay off immeasurably down the road. 5. Compliment a teammate today.

Be on the lookout for teammates who are contributing to your team. Call out a teammate for making a hustle play, pushing through a weight workout, recovering quickly from a mistake, getting an A on an exam, etc. Praise the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated. As Mother Teresa once said, "Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless."

6. Challenge a teammate today.

Challenge at least one of your teammates today. Positively push them and yourself to make the most of your workout. Make a friendly wager to see if they can be successful at least 4 out of 5 times in a drill. See if you both can improve your times in conditioning. Offer to stay after to help if there is anything they want to work on. Good leaders consistently invite, inspire, and sometimes implore others to greatness.

7. Support a teammate today.

Odds are, at least one of your teammates is struggling with something today - it could be a performance slump, a rocky romantic relationship, a disagreement with a coach, an unglamorous role, struggling with a class, or a sick family member. Good leaders are consistently on the lookout for teammates who might be struggling and are ready to offer an ear to listen, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to cry on.

8. Constructively confront negativity, pessimism, and laziness today.

As a leader, have the courage to constructively confront the negativity, pessimism, and laziness that will crop up on your team from time to time. Instead of fueling the fire by joining in or silently standing by, be sure to refocus your teammates on solutions rather than dwelling on and complaining about the problems. Left unchecked, these problems can quickly grow to distract, divide, and destroy your team.

9. Build and bond your team today.

Team chemistry naturally ebbs and flows throughout the course of the season. Take the time to monitor and maintain your team's chemistry. Let your reserves and support staff know how much you appreciate them. Stay connected and current with each of the natural sub-groups on your team. Douse any brush fires that might be occurring and continually remind team members about your common goal and common bond.

10. Check in with your coach today.

Invest the time to check in with your coach today. Ask what you can do to best help the team this week. Find out what your coach wants to accomplish with today's practice. Also discuss if there is anything your coach is concerned about regarding your team. Discuss your collective insights on your team's chemistry, focus, and mindset. Work together to effectively co-lead your team.

11. Remind your team how today's work leads to tomorrow's dreams.

It's easy to get bogged down during your season with monotonous drills, tiring conditioning, and demanding workouts. Remind your teammates how all the quality work you do today gives you a distinct advantage over your opponents. Help them see and even get excited about how today's hard work is a long-term investment in your team's goals, rather than just a short-term hardship or sacrifice.

12. Represent yourself and team with class and pride today.

Leaders have the awesome privilege and responsibility of representing their teams. Take advantage of this opportunity by representing your team with class and pride today. Hold a door open for someone, sit in the front rows of class and actively engage in the discussion, say please and thank you, dress in respectful attire, etc. These tiny pushes represent you and your team with class and distinction. And they ultimately set you up for a lifetime of respect and success.

Friday, April 16, 2010


more great stuff from

Some people want everything to be perfect before they’re willing to commit themselves to anything. But commitment always precedes achievement. I am told that in the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart. That’s why all great athletes recognize its importance. NBA Legend Michael Jordan explains that “heart is what separates the good from the great.” If you want to make a difference in other people’s lives as a leader, look into your heart to see if you’re really committed.

-John Maxwell
From, "The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


“I have no individual goals,” said Jordan. “We play for one reason and that’s to win the title. Practice is more important than the games, and I will practice when I’m hurt, when 95 percent of the players in this league would sit out. I expect all of you to do the same thing. You will follow my lead.”

“I didn’t want to give up, no matter how sick I was, or how tired I was, or how low on energy I had,” Jordan said. “I felt an obligation to my team, to the city of Chicago, to go out and five that extra effort.”

“Accept a loss as a learning experience,” said Jordan, “and never point fingers at your teammates.”“There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and will never win titles,” explained Jordan. Most times, these players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve.”