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Coach Andy's Hitting E-zine, #32 - Summer Ideas
August 10, 2006

Summer Ideas

Today's e-mail is about some summer ideas to get better at baseball or softball. Read all the way through to turn the lazy days of summer into ways of improving without expending too much energy: some good reading, an exercise that strenthens your grip, even some TV to watch that will help you get better.

For some of you, you're still playing, some are gearing up for fall ball, and others are "waiting 'til next year".

Summer can be a lazy time, but remember this: Every day you're practicing or playing and someone else isn't, you're getting better than they are.

So maybe you can get better while still being lazy.

How about reading?

There are lots of things to read.

Here's a fun article they wrote about me in the local paper, it even has a picture of me and my son. There's even a place to leave a comment if you want to say "hi" or something nice about me or comment on what the article's talking about. :)

Hope you enjoy the article.

If you have trouble with the link I provided, I also placed it on my website at

Reading is a good summer idea

I must confess, I don't think I've ever read a book that made me laugh out loud. But that changed these past few weeks when I read Little League Confidential by Bill Geist If you've coached at all, you will so closely identify with his struggles dealing with other coaches, parents, and kids of all skill levels, that it will leave you laughing out loud.

Overall it is absolutely hysterical, but I would rate this book a PG book as there are a couple of words that are offensive.

The other two books I just read and would recommend, I would have to classify as anti-hitting, but my son wants to be a pitcher so I wanted to read up on how to do that properly.

So who best to learn from than Leo Mazzone, the pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves? His book, Pitch Like a Pro, A guide for Young Pitchers and Their Coaches, Little League Through High School has some interesting theories, many of which I had never heard before, but it's hard to argue with 15 straight championships and most of his pitchers have remained healthy through all that time.

His book is written more for coaches and parents.

This next book is written directly to kids in 3rd through 6th grades by a couple of coaches who have taken their teams to the Little League World Series.

The title is A Guide for Young Pitchers, a complete guid to mastering the hardest position in baseball, from two of the nation's premier youth coaches, by Don Oster and Bill McMillan.

I read this and my son's reading it now. It's really pretty good. It was just published in 2004. It covers everything and there's only a few areas that differ from what Leo Mazzone says, but you'll need to decide which you'd like to follow. This book is more like the wisdom I had heard all along.

Not to put so much emphasis on those dreadful creatures called pitchers, that try make us hitters get out all the time, I've put up a full page on hitting books. Recommendations for baseball, fastpitch softball and slo-pitch softball (although I haven't found any of these yet).

Here's the page for the hitting books,

Exercise while watching TV

When my son gets lazy he watches TV, so I turned that into at least a moderate time of getting better at baseball by having him squeeze a nerf ball, tennis ball, stress ball or anything that gives a little bit. They even sell dog toys shaped like a baseball that are squishy.

This strengthens his grip for holding the bat at contact and gripping a ball.

You may want to encourage your players to do the same.

Any time they're watching TV have them squeeze that ball, rotating hands, the whole time.

Either they'll watch TV less if it starts to get uncomfortable or they'll end up with a monster grip.

I'm not sure if I'm proud or sad, but it has really helped my son's grip a bunch. Some of you already knew about these books and hitting tips by signing up for the RSS feeds and announcements at my website.

I write many of my new pages or re-write existing pages each month before I get out this newsletter. So if you too want to get the jump on everyone else when you visit my website, notice on a number of the pages there are links to "My Yahoo" or "My MSN" or "My Google" or "RSS/XML". These allow you to learn as soon as I create a page or change an exiting one rather than waiting for the newsletter to announce it (or possibly miss it completely, if I fail to mention changes to the website).

Little League Baseball and Softball on TV

The boys' baseball starts on Friday on ESPN and is listed on this page

I couldn't find the schedule for the girls' softball but they've been televising some of their games in the past, so look for it.

Again, if you have any questions you can write to me via e-mail.

For other hitting learning, go to the past issues of my hitting newsletter page.

Welcome to you who are new to my hitting e-zine.

Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.

Coach Andy

6801 Dove St. Ventura, CA 93003


Coach Andy Collins has been helping players achieve their goals in softball and baseball for over 30 years. He's an advisor to national teams and can help you be a better hitter. He offers free information on his website and through free e-mail hitting lessons and has just introduced a new hitting video discussing and demonstrating how to hit great with either the rotational or linear hitting methods.

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