Friday, October 28, 2016

What's Happening In: Pony - Official Practice Planning Baseball and Softball

  • Athlete Development Plan - PONY-specific curriculum for development from tee ball through age 14.
  • Practice Plans - Ready-made practice plans to achieve development goals at each age level
    (200+ plans offered in 60, 90, or 120-minute formats).
  • Drill Library - 150+ unique drill detail pages, including video, text description, diagram, DC coaching keys, and equipment list.
  • Skill Training - How-to-Coach video series for skill training in Hitting, Pitching, Catching, and Infield.
  • Tips - Coaching tips life lessons, and DC philosophy videos supporting PONY's commitment to developing champions on and off the field 
  • Digital Clipboard - Drag-and-drop drills and practice plans and shared with assistant coaches and athlete families.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016


Energizing its focus on providing baseball and softball opportunities for young athletes, Little League to discontinue the Big League Baseball and Softball divisions, providing offerings for children 4 to 16 years old

Since its founding in 1939, Little League® International has paved the way in creating opportunities for children to have an organized sporting activity in their community. Continuing the organization’s efforts to provide local league volunteers and families with the best support and structure for operating local Little League programs, the Little League International Board of Directors approved the restructuring of its baseball and softball programs, dissolving the Big League Baseball and Big League Softball divisions, and capping participation in the Little League program for children 16 years old.

“Little League strives to continue to find new ways to support communities around the world and provide a healthy, fun sporting experience for children around the world,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “Over the past few years, our Little League parents, volunteers, and local league and District Administrators have expressed that Little League can best serve their communities through efforts focusing on the youngest levels of the games, providing the structure and support, so that boys and girls can develop their on-field skills while learning valuable life lessons.”

Over the past decade, the landscape of youth sports, specifically youth baseball and softball, has shifted, where more opportunities exist for teenagers, especially for players 17 and 18 years old, than ever before. As such, Little League International, at the urging of its local league volunteers, parents, and constituents, began to look at the structure of its entire organization to ensure that it is providing the best support for its local Little League programs. Throughout the winter of 2016, Little League engaged its District Administrators and other local league volunteers in a biannual review of Little League rules and regulations, where an agenda item on restructuring the teenage divisions of the Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® programs was discussed, and ultimately voted on. A majority of the voting body of volunteers approved the measure that Little League should restructure its teenage divisions, eliminating one level of play for both baseball and softball.

After a thorough review, Little League International made the recommendation of dissolving the Big League divisions in both baseball and softball and capping participation in the Little League program at 16 years old. With direct input from the Little League International Board of Directors Executive Committee, and Little League International Board of Directors Operating Committee, which includes the nine District Administrators who serve as Field Directors, the Little League International Board of Directors approved the restructuring at their August 26, 2016 meeting. Beginning with the 2017 season, the Little League Baseball and Little League Softball programs will focus its emphasis on providing opportunities for children 4 to 16 and eliminate the Big League Baseball and Big League Softball divisions for regular season and tournament play.

“Historically, the Big League divisions, and specifically participation of children 17 and 18 years old, has made up less than one percent of the entire Little League program, and has not seen any significant growth or decline over the past 15 years,” said Mr. Keener. “When thoroughly reviewing all our offerings, the Little League International Board of Directors felt that this restructuring was the best way to focus our efforts where the Little League program came make its most positive impact at the younger levels of the game.”

The restructuring is the latest action in Little League International’s efforts to enhance opportunities for its youngest participants and provide more children the opportunity have a quality Little League experience. In 2013, the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division was launched for children 11 to 13 years old to provide a better transition for players going from the Little League field to the conventional baseball field. Little League has also created its new Tee Ball program focusing on fun, fitness, and fundamentals, and has begun implementing a new Age Determination Date for the Little League Baseball program, as part of its concerted efforts to provide more opportunities for children to develop as players and learn the important life lessons of teamwork, dedication, and fair play at a young age. Also, starting with the 2017 season, Little League International will begin separately chartering Coach Pitch, to be able to better serve this important transition from Tee Ball to the Major League (Little League) division.

As part of this restructuring, Little League International will also relocate the Senior League Baseball World Series from Bangor, Maine, to Easley, S.C., which had previously served as the home of the Big League Baseball World Series. The Senior League Softball World Series will remain in Lower Sussex, Del., which also hosted the Big League Softball World Series since 2013.

“For 15 years, the city of Bangor has been a wonderful host of the Senior League Baseball World Series, and words cannot express our sincere gratitude to our Tournament Director Mike Brooker, his fellow volunteers, and the entire city for their support,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “Equally, Easley has an incredible volunteer staff, led by Tournament Director Jon Humphrey, and support from the city. When reviewing both locations, Easley offers dormitory housing, with support from Clemson University, and is a more central location, with easier transportation options for all participants, families, and fans. This was an extremely difficult decisions given that both sites have fantastic facilities and volunteers that support our tournaments.”

Article Source and More Information HERE

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How To Focus When In The Batter's Box

Coach Rich gives some great tips on how to focus during an at bat and when in the batter's box. See more at

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Online Hitting Academy

Online Hitting Academy for players that can't come into The Baseball Barn for face to face hitting lessons - Richard Lovell-Epstein Hitting Online Academy.

A Customized Training Plan, Based on Your Specific Needs, And Managed by Your Very Own Personal Epstein Hitting Master Instructor, Rich Lovell, Will Show You How To Become the Best Hitter You Can Be!

Looking for more information on baseball and softball hitting? Richard Lovell and The Baseball Barn, combined with the Epstein Hitting System, offers up to date instruction with video annotations for those wanting to improve their knowledge and keep up-to-date on the latest in hitting instruction and mechanics. Are you a player, or parent of a player wanting direct, interactive coaching from an expert in the field of hitting? Schedule an initial evaluation with Epstein Hitting Master Certified Instructor. Receive customized training plans and in-depth video analysis of your hitting and how to fix swing flaws. Contact Rich Lovell at The Baseball Barn now to schedule your initial evaluation.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Importance of Developing Proper Movement Patterns at a Young Age

Let’s face it, making movement pattern changes can be difficult and very frustrating especially if proper movement patters weren’t developed at a young age.  Think about the first time you started throwing a baseball, whether you were 5 years old or 12 years old, you probably watched someone else do it and tried to copy what they were doing.  As you continued to throw over the years you started developing habit patterns as far as the way your body moved.

It’s just like learning how to run, everybody develops their own style and it becomes unique to you as an individual.Now someone who learns how to run but doesn’t have good posture or form is going to eventually start having aches and pains.  In order to get rid of those aches and pains in their joints they will either have to stop running all together or change the way they run.

Same with throwing a baseball, except throwing a baseball is a much more complex movement and therefor more difficult to change depending on how old you are.  Anytime you are having aches and pains it’s a signal from your body that something isn’t right.  Or if you aren’t having any pain but you feel like your velocity is much less than what it should be, you most likely aren’t moving efficiently and don’t fully understand how to use your body.

This is why it’s so important for kids to be active at a young age.  I love when kids are playing multiple sports rather than just one because it allows the body learn different types of movements.

When I was a kid, after I got home from school I was straight out the door and on my skateboard riding around the neighborhood with friends.  This is completely belief based and maybe kind of funny but I really think riding a skateboard gave me better hip strength and flexibility later in my life.  I would use both legs to push off from when the other started to get tired.The neuromuscular system is developing in young kids so it’s a crucial time for them to activate certain movements athletically.

For example, let’s say there’s two 21 year olds.  One is gifted athletically but for whatever reason has never thrown a baseball in his life.  He might be a running back or a point guard and is on a higher level than his peers.  The other one has ability but not nearly as gifted as the other 21 year old and from the time when he was 12 to 16 years old played baseball and pitched for a little while.

Take both of these kids at their current age of 21 and have them throw a baseball, the kid that played for those four years is going to be able to throw much more effectively than the athletically gifted kid because his neuromuscular system is going to remember that even though he hasn’t thrown a baseball in five years.  The athletically gifted kid doesn’t have that pattern stored in his body and it is completely foreign to him.  Obviously there are exceptions but for the most part this would be the case.  Think about when you watch a basketball player or a boxer throw out the first pitch at a major league game.  A lot of the time it is comical because they’ve simply never done it before but the fact that their throwing out the first pitch implies that they excel at their sport.

In baseball and more specifically pitching, it is extremely important to focus on skill development from a young age.  The life span of an athlete is much shorter than other professions and if you wait too long…well then it can be too late.  Kids these days are spending too much time playing games and not nearly enough time on skill development.  In my opinion baseball is way behind in this aspect.  You don’t get better playing games you get better practicing and developing your skills.  Baseball is a skill sport and that’s what makes it great, you don’t have to be the biggest fastest most athletic kid to have success.  And when you are competing against athletes that are more naturally gifted you can separate yourself by having exceptional skills.

I was watching an interview with Freddie Roach who is Manny Paquiou’s trainer.  If you don’t know who Manny Paquiou is then you either live in a cave or are disconnected from society.  If you’re reading this article then most likely that’s not the case but he is a boxer.  Anyway, Freddie was asked at what point he knew Paquiou was going to be a star.  His answer was it happened in one fight.  All of the sudden Paquiou was starting to put punching combinations together like it was second nature, he just started reacting without thinking and all of the hours upon hours in the gym started to show itself.  Everything they had worked on for years in the gym out of nowhere just clicked and it has changed the boxing world forever.  I am writing this article before the Maywether fight but win or lose he will go down in history as one of the best boxers to walk the face of the earth.

My hope in writing this is to raise the question in your mind about how you are going about  yours or your son’s development as a baseball player.  Just like a doctor or a lawyer needs to develop skills in their profession so doesn’t a baseball player need to develop the necessary skills at a young age in order to compete at a high level later on.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box and do what everybody else isn’t instead of following along with the crowd.  Less games more practice.

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