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Tip of the Week

Baseball Excellence Proudly Presents the Free Tip Of The Week! Every week we send you valuable hints and tips taken from our Newsletters, Videos, books or simply subjects chosen at random. They include tips on pitching, hitting, and fielding, coaching, base running, catching, conditioning, and the correct mental approach to the game.

"THROW IT ACROSS"

Here's phrases you guys can stop using; "Easiest base or "Closest base or "Any base" or Get the out at any base." What do they mean? These phrases were born from the frustration of LL coaches watching their infielders fail to make successful throws to first base because it is the longest throw. Teach the skills. Teach them to make those plays. Teach them better arm action and footwork. Instead use, "Throw it across." With 2 outs you want your third baseman to throw the ball to first base for the out. This will become even more critical as players advance to the regulation field.

If the ball is hit to your second baseman's left or your short stop's right you want him to field the ball and throw it across. You don’t want them thinking about running over to bases or tagging out base runners. You want them to concentrate on fielding the ball and throwing it across. That way they don't have to worry about the speed of the base runners or where they are on the base paths or try to concentrate on too many things. It is much easier to get the hitter who is beginning his run to first base from a standing start in the batter's box to retiring base runners who are on the move. All they have to think about is "Pick it up." And "Throw it across." Coaches over the years may have unintentionally made defense too complicated for young players. We like to remind, “Throw it across" before the pitch in every appropriate situation.

Even major leaguers go brain dead occasionally. Mickey Hatcher when he was playing third base for the Dodgers once had a runner on third with 2 outs. A routine ground ball was hit to him. He quickly fielded it and THREW TO THE CATCHER! The surprised catcher did catch the ball and tag out the runner, barely. "Throw it across" before the pitch would have awakened him from his coma wouldn’t it? Mickey's former teammates have told this story on him quite a few times.

If coaches will get into the habit of this verbal cue before every appropriate situation, your players will have one more skill as they advance.

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Ask The Umpire! Jim Thompson is a Florida High School Hall of Fame umpire. We welcome any questions from our members about rules or rulings that are unclear to them. If you want a more expedient answer, he is also available to answer questions on our discussion board.

I try to teach my players, when bunting, to hold the bat stationary over the plate as long as possible and to bunt only at pitches in the strike zone. Some umpires have called strikes on pitches which were not in the strike zone even though my players did not attempt to bunt. They tell me that as long as the player holds the bat in that position it is considered a strike.

The umpire is wrong. For the pitch to be considered a strike, the batter must make an attempt to hit the ball. Jim



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