Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grand Slam outing: what we learned, Parent-Player game

I was very pleased with how the Bees Grand Slam outing went. We had Tim, Oscar, Wiley, Aaron and David turn out, pretty good given vacations and the weekend day.

Everyone improved significantly after about 2-3 tokens ($5 for 3). Most were getting a bit sore or tired after 6-9 tokens, so $10 to $15 is a good amount to budget per batter. If possible bring a familiar bat, though they had a good range of bat weights and sizes.

It's a great way to learn foot position, bat size/weight, and especially standing distance from the plate. I also recommend it for all parents. I learned I had to stand much further from the plate than I'd imagined, and that it's easy at these speeds to swing too soon. I think some of our players are too close to the plate.

We focused on not pulling or falling backwards, on hip rotation, on a steady bat and hand position. I learned that for this kind of practice batting gloves are a big help and wooden bats are much easier on the hands. When I practiced I even used a heavy softball bat to give my hands a rest.

There are two speeds that are relevant to us, either 30 or 45 mph. (55 mph is too fast for most). In our league most pitchers are closer to 30, it's rare to have someone throwing above 40 mph. We used the slowest speed 30 mph to work on form, and the higher speed after a player is doing well at 30 mph. Unfortunately the height adjustment on the 45 mph ball was a bit high for shorter players.

For our next practice I want to work with selected players on soft toss drills that isolate the hips and help players who tend to fall back from the ball. Please note too that on the left of this page there's a link to the St. Paul city batting cages.

We also discussed the annual Parent - Player game. There' s a proposal to hold it on the first Thursday after the season end at 7 pm. We'd need to reserve a field. Please send thoughts to