Coach Al Brisack Describes The Most Difficult Skill Set To Evaluate

In the 2017 season, Coach Brisack will be entering his 18th year as the Edgewood College skipper . Brisack, the winningest baseball coach in Edgewood College history, has won three conference titles, taken the Eagles to two NCAA Division III National Tournaments, and finished one game from the World Series in 2005.  The Eagles have only failed to play in post-season three times under Brisack’s leadership. One thing becomes clear after speaking with Coach Brisack, he is looking for players who can handle adversity.  "As much as we can, we try to know how a potential player is going to handle adversity" states Coach Brisack.  "College is tough – the speed of the game is an adjustment, the speed of the academic work is an adjustment, the discipline it takes to balance new-found social freedom is an adjustment, the time commitments are an adjustment. Every college player will have to deal with failure and adversity. The good ones respond in a positive manner and get better. …
Read more
  • 0

Smartt Advice as Your Son Moves Through the Amateur Ranks

Mark Smartt is in his first season as the Head Coach at Troy University in 2016. He has been the Recruiting Coordinator and lead assistant coach the last 13 years at Troy, his alma mater. He was the head coach at the University of West Alabama for six seasons and this year will be his 27th season as a collegiate coach. Coach Smartt played on two NCAA Division II National Championship teams at Troy in 1986 and 1987.   As a college baseball coach, I have enjoyed the opportunity to recruit many players over the last 20+ years. Throughout my time as a coach, recruiting has changed dramatically in terms of the volume of opportunity young players have today. My generation of players simply did not have the same type of exposure that players have today. I grew up in Georgia and the first time I participated on a baseball field in the fall was my freshman year in college. We practiced and played baseball during the spring and summer months as there were no fall leagues or ga…
Read more
  • 0

Boston College Coach Explains What Parents and Players Need to Understand About Recruiting

Greg Sullivan is in his sixth season as an assistant coach for the Boston College baseball team.  Coach Sullivan is one of the three primary recruiters on staff. He is also responsible for running the Boston College Baseball Camps. Coach Sullivan discusses the difficulties of recruiting and provides a brief glimpse behind the scenes of college baseball recruiting. Recruiting players is very hard. Recruiting is looking into a crystal ball and trying to predict how good a player is going to be in two, three, or even 4 years into the future. Present day success doesn't always translate to future success at the next level. Coaches are trying to predict or project future success. What parents and players need to understand is that sometimes college coaches are recruiting a player to fill certain a role within their program. Every school or program evaluates a player's skills based of what they think fits into their program. Additionally, talent never supersedes the intangibles…
Read more
  • 0

Great Book! One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard

I really enjoyed this book. I would think about Lefty when "the spindly curveball artist John Heneberry" took the mound. A fantastic story about coaching and being a team. Holidays are approaching, stocking stuffer for your baseball dad, BOOM!  Done. One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season by Chris Ballard In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to become the smallest school in modern Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There, sporting long hair, and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, the Ironmen would play a dramatic game against a Chicago powerhouse that would change their lives forever. In a gripping, cinematic narrative, Sports Illustrated writer Chris Ballar…
Read more
  • 0

Playing at the Highest Level – Air Force Academy Graduate 2nd Lt. Ben Yokley

When I asked 2nd Lt. Ben Yokley of Air Force baseball, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 29th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, what it takes to play at the highest level, his response reminded me that baseball is a game of failure. You have to be willing to strike out, make an error, or lose a game and at the same time not lose your drive, your determination and your enthusiasm to work even harder to improve and succeed.

It might be a lot to expect. But I wish every 11-year-old who ever gets deflated over a loss or mopes after a bad day on the field could understand this. It's FUN to win. (No matter what age you are.) But failure is what makes you stronger. And what you do in the face of failure will define your ultimate success on and off the field. "Play at the Highest Level" As I begin my professional career as a pitcher in the Cardinals organization, I’ve be…
Read more
  • 0

It’s Not Just Baseball, It’s A Higher Calling – Coach Kaz on Playing for the Air Force Academy

What does it take to play baseball for the United States Air Force Academy?  According to Coach Mike Kazlausky (Coach Kaz), it takes much more than just being a baseball player. Coach Kaz: Recruiting at the Academy, we look for the whole person concept and not just an athlete in a sport. The recruit has to have the intellect, character, and honor to be able to handle such a prestigious school. We do so much more than just play baseball. All of our Cadets are on a ½ million dollar full-ride scholarship no matter if they play a sport or not. They will experience Basic Cadet Training, jumping out of airlplanes, flying gliders, and learning how to be an effective leader. We want all of our Cadets to graduate and be leaders of character. The Air Force Academy is a higher calling and we are looking for men and women that want to serve the greatest nation in the world! My mission is to ensure the success in all facets and not just on a baseball field. My job is to ensure that they wi…
Read more
  • 0

SDSU Star and Oakland A’s Sixth Round Draft Pick Time Travels Back to 2006

What if you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your 12-year-old self? What would it be? I asked SDSU's former No. 1 starter and the Oakland A's sixth round draft pick, Bubba Derby, that question. Now of course, when I asked Bubba what piece of advice he would give his 12-year-old self, I was really looking for a jewel I could give to Lefty and his 12U teammates. I found it. Bubba: If I could talk to my 12-year-old self I would just say to always have fun and never doubt God's plan for you. That's because in the game of baseball, there are only certain things you can control. The rest, you can't. So, the best thing to do is go out everyday thankful and play with everything you have. Have fun, play hard, live in the moment and be thankful every step of the way. Great advice for Lefty and for us all. Follow Bubba as he begins his professional career with the AZL Athletics.  
Read more
  • 0

CSULB Coach Cautions Parents: Raise Men, Not Just Ballplayers

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably figured out by now that Lefty plays for a travel ball organization called MIT. What you might not know is that while MIT officially stands for Mentoring, Instruction and Training, my wife and some of the other MIT moms often joke that it should really stand for “Men in Training” (because of the important life lessons our kids are learning through baseball.) Looks like the MIT moms are onto something . . . at least that’s what CSULB’s pitching coach, Mike Steele, would say. Mike, who was an All-American pitcher and outfielder in college and a 29th-round draft pick and 3-time All-Star in the minors, has spent the last 10 years as a pitching coach—first at Michigan State University and then within the Pittsburg Pirates organization. Now that he’s at CSULB (go Dirtbags!) I reached out to him and asked for one piece of advice he could give to parents of youth baseball players. And his no-nonsense response went a lot deeper than that…
Read more
  • 0

Young Player’s Arm is Sore…Now What?

Having a sore arm is a part of baseball. Throwing a baseball is an inherently difficult and unnatural motion. And if you have a baseball player, there will most likely be a time when you hear, "My arm is sore." We can spend hours (if not days or weeks) discussing important topics like prevention, training and overuse. As a parent of a youth baseball player, I know it's my responsibility to be well-informed and his biggest advocate when it comes to injury prevention. But, what I want to know today is what do I do if I hear Lefty state that four letter word...sore. I've already heard some of his teammates use the word. So I reached out to Dr. Alex. My friend, Dr. Alexander Espinoza, graduated from UCLA medical school and, for the past 15 years, has practiced family medicine with a strong focus on prevention of disease and sports injuries. He is a member of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine and someone I would entrust with Lefty's arm and overall health. I asked …
Read more
  • 0

Mother’s Day Gift for the Baseball Mom

Mother's Day is Sunday May 10 this year. I know because I Googled it. Here is a little something to show mom the love. Happy Mother's Day to all the baseball moms! This is one of my favorite gifts for moms. Made by a small home business TwentyandBelow on Etsy run by mother-daughter duo Sylvia and Stephanie. Item Details: Take me out to the ball game! These necklaces are made out of actual leather baseballs. Each ball has been hit, fielded, and hit again... The leather is about the size of a penny. Chain length is 18-20 in. Charm is not included with the necklace, but may be purchased at the link below. Of course, you need your player's number charm. Charms may be purchased for $1.50 each here. Settings come in stainless steel or antique copper for that old-time baseball feel... You choose! Each necklace will vary in leather and stitch color. That makes each one unique... Be the first in your city to have one. These Necklaces would make the perfect gift for your team-…
Read more
  • 0

The Swing Bat Review

  Lefty and I recently had the opportunity to review The Swing Bat.  The Swing Bat is designed to improve swing mechanics by giving an immediate three-phase feed back; hear it, see it and feel it. Lefty enjoyed using it and we had fun filming this review. Check out our review in this video and read below for more information. Product Information: The Swing Bat is an excellent training tool that gets your swing on track fast. The Swing Bat provides an "auditory snap" sound at contact and an "enhanced visual" of the ball, as you "feel" the quick power being transferred at contact. You'll get a precision swing every time! It's simple to use and the results are immediate. You will be able to hit the "inside-out side" and the "curve" ball pitches into the gap and the holes with power. The Swing Bat will give you the edge needed in today's competitive hitting game. The Swing Bat is considered to be the best and most reliable hitting aid on the market today. It is being us…
Read more
  • 0

Youth Baseball Talk – Podcast

    I have a new favorite podcast called Youth Baseball Talk with Jim Cromer. One day while scrolling through iTunes I decided to look for a podcast related to a subject I think about everyday, youth baseball. I found Jim Cromer's Youth Baseball Talk and gave it a listen. The intro music began (John Fogerty's Centerfield - the best baseball song ever, right) and I was hooked. If you are the parent of a young ball player, Jim's content is right up your alley. Jim Cromer (baseball dad first, coach second) talks with a variety of guests regarding all aspects of youth baseball: development, coaching, recruiting, health and safety, the physical and mental components of player development, and much more. Weekly guests include local and national baseball experts. (more…)
Read more
  • 0

CSUN Head Coach Greg Moore Answers This One Question For Parents and Players

Over the past few months, I have reached out to NCAA and NAIA head baseball coaches and asked one question that has intrigued me for some time. The response to this question has been tremendous and some times even stunning. Over 100 coaches have provided their perspective to my question. As I am compiling their answers, I wanted to share one response from current head coach at California State University Northridge, Greg Moore. Coach Moore is the ninth head coach in Matador history and in the words of Oregon Head Baseball Coach George Horton "Greg has always been on my short list as one of the best young coaches in the country. Greg has that special balance of knowledge, teaching ability, and work ethic that only the elite coaches can demonstrate. I'm sure Greg will do a fabulous job in the years to come." Coach Moore was very open and helpful on my quest to gather the answer to this question.  He even invited me and Lefty to come up for a game (which we be doing for sure).…
Read more
  • 0

His College Recruiting Secrets Will Surprise You — My Interview with CSUSM Pitching Coach Hause

  When I reached out to Coach Hause and asked if he'd be willing to sit down for a chat about youth baseball he replied immediately and said he'd do anything he could to help. Coach Hause is the pitching coach for California State University San Marcos, which gained NCAA status last summer and was recently approved for Div II candidacy. He is one of the best and most knowledgeable pitching coaches in the region, known for his keen ability to evaluate and develop players at the professional, collegiate and high school  levels. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to glean some of his insights for The Rusty Arm readers. I pulled up to the parking lot of the CSUSM baseball field on a fall morning and found Coach Hause there waiting for me. We sat on his truck's open tailgate and had an hour-long conversation about youth baseball on everything from how to develop young arms to what he looks for when he recruits. A lot of what he said surprised me . . .   (…
Read more
  • 0

Give The Gift of Little League

  Recently, I asked minor league player Drew Heid if he could go back to his days of youth baseball would he do anything different.  He responded "No, not at all. Youth baseball was the reason I fell in love with baseball." That got me thinking.  Are there kids who may not have the opportunity to play youth baseball because of the cost? I spoke with Andy Setter, President of Vista National Little League, and he informed me that there are several players who can't afford registration fees. Registration fees range from $85 - $130. Let's give the gift of Little League for the Spring 2015 season. Your donations in any amount will go towards covering a player's registration fee. Click below to donate directly to Vista National Little League. Comment and Share after donating.  
Read more
  • 0

Player Spotlight – Drew Heid

I would like to thank Drew on giving his insight on what it takes to get to the professional level. I was thrilled when Drew agreed to answer some questions for the benefit of young players and parents. Drew plays in The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization spending time with the AA Arkansas Travelers and AAA Salt Lake Bees in 2014. In his minor league career, he has 1514 at bats with a .289 average. He was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ninth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Gonzaga University. He was rated Best Strike Zone Discipline in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim system after the 2012 season. I had Lefty sit down and read Drew's answers and then I asked him for his thoughts. Lefty said the part that made him think the most is when Drew said he always believes he's the best player on the field. Lefty said maybe he should also give himself permission to believe he's the best player on the field. But he also read that humi…
Read more
  • 0

Why Young Pitchers Should Learn A Changeup

Okay, I know it is not as entertaining as a nasty curveball. Batters won't bail, duck and swing like a corkscrew out of the box.  Most fans in the stands won't ooh and aah when they see it. It is not widely used especially in youth baseball.  It takes time to learn a grip that works and most of all, trust it.  But, done right...it is awesomely nasty!  It is the changeup. Lefty has been working on his changeup for more than a year now.  It is a process that takes time.  But I can say, it is starting to pay off.  As his velocity increases and hitters get better timing, the changeup is the destroyer of a hitter's timing.  He is beginning to use his changeup earlier in the count to more aggressive hitters to setup a sneaky fastball which may not have been so sneaky as the first pitch to the batter. A must read informative article; How the changeup has changed the game by Joe Lemire at SI.com.  Your future pitcher will thank you later.  Enjoy the journey!
Read more
  • 0

MLB Announces “Pitch Smart”

USA Baseball and MLB team up to help young players reduce arm injuries by providing a comprehensive resource for safe pitching practices. Pitch Smart - A series of practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help parents, players and coaches avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for youth pitchers. Baseball is a safe game to play at all ages, but research has shown that pitching too much — particularly at a young age — can increase a pitcher's risk of injury. GUIDELINES FOR YOUTH AND ADOLESCENT PITCHERS Each organization — whether it be a league, travel team, showcase or tournament — should establish rules to ensure that players must follow the guidelines while playing in that league. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the parent and the athlete to ensure that the player follows the guidelines for his age group over the course of a year — given that he will oftentimes play in multiple leagues with different affiliations covering different times of the ye…
Read more
  • 0

Baseball Furies

Dads, costume idea for you.  Remember this movie?  The Warriors from 1979. Not a movie for kids!  Maybe before your time but when I first saw this film, these baseball guys freaked me out! Happy Halloween!
Read more
  • 0

Player Spotlight – Brandon Bentson

I met Brandon Bentson last month while interviewing Coach Hause at Cal State San Marcos.  I asked Brandon a few questions that day and knew right away he would be a great candidate for the player spotlight.  I wish every young player could read his answer to my question on "when did you know you had the ability to play at the college level".  I can't wait for Lefty to read Brandon's inspiring words.  I know you will enjoy them too. Brandon is a 20-year-old junior at Cal State San Marcos where he hit .339 last year. He graduated from Ranch Bernardo High School in 2012 where he batted .430.  TheRustyArm: What position(s) do you play? Brandon: First base TheRustyArm: When did you start playing baseball? Brandon: I started playing baseball when I was about three years old in a recreational tee ball league in Rancho Bernardo. TheRustyArm: When did you start playing travel baseball? Brandon: I started playing travel baseball when I was thirteen years old for the California Loo…
Read more
  • 0

Butch Thompson Explains Future Of Pitching

  Interesting pitching philosophy by coach Butch Thompson at Mississippi State.  He believes that using more pitchers during a game not only gives every pitcher a key role but also creates a more effective staff late in the year instead of suffering from dead arms. By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball (From Feb. 21, 2014 issue of Collegiate Baseball) MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. — Pitching coaches have always utilized different strategies to maximize the pitching talent they have on staffs. No philosophy is more progressive than what renowned Mississippi State pitching coach Butch Thompson does with Bulldog pitchers. He utilizes two starting pitchers each game (one to start the game and another a few innings later) which is followed by a setup man and closer. If needed, he will insert another pitcher or two in games if he needs ground balls or strikeouts. He has specialists for every occasion in a game. Read More  
Read more
  • 0

Player Spotlight – Jimmy Monahan

  Jimmy Monahan is 13 years old and lives in Orange County, CA.  From the sound of it, he has a great understanding of the game. Read about what he believes got him this far and his advice to younger players...I am sure every coach would love to have a player with this type of attitude and work ethic. Good luck Jimmy!! TheRustyArm: Where do you currently play baseball? Jimmy: Currently I play for Baseball West Coast in Irvine, CA. TheRustyArm: What position(s) do you play? Jimmy: The positions I play are Pitcher and Outfield. TheRustyArm: When did you start playing baseball? Jimmy: I started playing baseball when I was 4 years old. TheRustyArm: When did you start playing travel baseball? Jimmy: I started playing travel ball when I was 10 years old. TheRustyArm: Do you play any sports besides baseball? Jimmy: I also play soccer along with baseball. TheRustyArm: Do you have private instructions or lessons? Jimmy: I take private instruction for pitching with To…
Read more
  • 0

Myosource Kinetic Bands

Lefty's team started to use these Myosource Kinetic Bands to condition.  I think it will be a great way to increase his speed an agility.  Looking forward to seeing his progress. Resistance & Exercise Bands That Provide A Comfortable, Strength Building Workout For Your Legs, Hips, And Core! Kinetic Bands are a unique resistance band training product that provides a heart healthy, strength building workout for all ages (7+). These comfortable leg resistance bands fit just above your knees and are an affordable and effective way for anyone to strengthen their legs, hips, hip flexors, and core muscles while performing normal physical activities like walking, running, jumping, sprinting, and kicking. Strengthening these areas will help improve your balance, flexibility, agility, and endurance to run faster, jump higher, kick higher, react quicker and improve athletic performance. Kinetic Resistance Bands are ideal for use during sport-specific training because athletes c…
Read more
  • 0

Field The Fun

  #FieldTheFun Keep the fun on and off the field.  Send your player's photos and encourage the fun!
Read more
  • 0

Player Spotlight – Tyler Holmes

  Tyler Holmes is beginning his sophomore year in high school.  When I received his answers to my questions, I was more than pleased to Spotlight him.  Check out his answer to the question on advice to young players.  I made sure I showed that along with all of Tyler's answers to Lefty. It is my pleasure to spotlight Tyler Holmes. TheRustyArm: Where do you currently play? Tyler:  I play for San Marcos High School and, in the summer, for the Gorillas BBC. TheRustyArm: What position(s) do you play? Tyler:​ I play middle infield, pitch, and play a little outfield​. TheRustyArm: When did you start playing baseball? Tyler:​ I started playing baseball at the age of 5​ TheRustyArm: When did you start playing travel baseball? Tyler:​ I started playing travel baseball when I turned 10​. TheRustyArm: Did you play multiple sports growing up? Tyler:​ I also played football, basketball and soccer​. TheRustyArm: Did you have private instruction? Tyler: ​ Yes, I have rece…
Read more
  • 0

Exclusive Offer From The Hitting Jack-It

Our friends at The Hitting Jack-It have offered this exclusive discount to TheRustyArm followers.

25% off all merchandise Use code:  TRAINHJ

Be sure to Subscribe to TheRustyArm and Join the Journey to receive future offers! -------->

Read more
  • 0

Use the Tee

Lefty asks daily to go out and take some batting practice.  But sometimes there is just not enough time in the day and the rusty arm is REALLY rusty.  I know hitting off a tee is not the most fun drill for a 10-year-old to do, but I encourage him to do it daily.  It doesn't require a lot of space or time or even another person.  Lefty takes the tee into the garage and uses wiffle balls.  I don't think young hitters do this enough.  Albert Pujols does.

He works out on the tee virtually every day. “When I’m hitting off a tee I’m getting loose,” he says, “but I’m also thinking: put that perfect swing on it and repeat it.”

Working out in a standard batting cage, Albert tries to hit the ball toward the right side of the back net into an area about three feet in diameter, 3 to 4 feet off the ground (roughly the same height as a thrown strike). If he were on a baseball field, the balls would be lined through the infield betwe…

Read more
  • 0

Teammates

When the games end, when all the seasons end, and when the playing is over, this is what Lefty will remember the most...his teammates. There will be teammates who come and go, but I hope he finds a few teammates that will last a lifetime.
Read more
  • 0

Father’s Day Gift

Lefty found another Father's Day gift for me in his school bag. Lefty dressed up as me coaching first base...that is my shirt, hat, watch and he claims my "sometimes grumpy face" which he found tough to make happen.  Love it!
Read more
  • 0

Summer Time Routine

There is always a lot of talk about playing year round baseball.  With summer here, I found this article by Danny Knobler on Bleacher Report about Josh Beckett and his summers.  I believe limiting pitching and throwing is the way to go during summer.

Baseball's Pitching Dilemma: 'Too Hard, Too Fast, Too Much, Too Soon'

Josh Beckett grew up as a baseball star in the baseball hotbed of Texas. He was so good at his Houston-area high school that the Florida Marlins made him the second overall pick in the 1999 draft.

He played high school baseball. He played fall ball. He played summer ball.

But during those three months of the summer, Josh Beckett almost never pitched. His father wouldn't allow it. His coach wouldn't allow it. For those three months a year, Beckett played the outfield instead.

Read more

  • 0

It’s Good To Have Heroes

I know this week a lot of us are remembering our childhood baseball heroes.         Here is mine.           I imitated everything from his windup to his demeanor on the mound.  I just could not achieve his fastball (hence the desk job).  When I asked Lefty who his baseball hero is, he said Mike Trout.  An awesome pick.  Probably the choice of most young ball players today (rightly so). But today, when I think back about my baseball heroes growing up, I not only remember Gwynn and Ryan, I remember the people who impacted my life on a daily basis. For example, my high school coach John Crow.  My college coach Dave Snow.  I took pitching lessons from Clyde Wright who paid me a dime for every strike I threw. My pitching mentor/pitching coach/pitch caller in high school Randy Stuart. And of course my mom and dad.  My mom who was one of my first catch partners at the park during those summer days.  My dad who sat on a bucke…
Read more
  • 0

Father’s Day Gift Ideas For The Baseball Dad

SUNDAY JUNE 15 Finding a gift for a dad can be pretty tough.  But, if you have a baseball dad, don't worry, I got this.  This is my wheel house.  Here are a few ideas that will bring joy to your baseball dad....trust me! Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time by Tom Limbert  $10.01 This gift book for dad collects more than 100 inspiring quotes from the greatest coaches of all time. After all, dads do what the best coaches do: they motivate, mentor, discipline, and love. Author and parenting expert Tom Limbert takes wisdom from John Madden, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda, Phil Jackson, and many more, and applies it to fatherhood. With a foreword by Steve Young and photos of famous coaches in action, dads will find a wealth of inspiration in these pages.     59Fifty On-Field Hat $34.99 I will start with one of my favorites (I hope Lefty reads this). A lid is always a good idea, however, you will score big with this twist.  All MLB t…
Read more
  • 0

Hitting Slump? Try Humming a Tune.

All baseball players go through a time when they are not performing up to their usual level. Slumps can be very frustrating and confusing. Mets third baseman David Wright once said "When you're in a slump, you go to bed at night and you lie there and your mind is racing and you think about everything imaginable: your bat model … your bat size … your pitch selection … how you are wearing your pants, but when you're going good, you sleep very well.'' Hall of Famer Frank Robinson had one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history, but in his second season, he had an 0-for-20 slump, and 35 years later acknowledged, "I didn't think I was ever going to get another hit.'' In the middle of what would be seven straight terrific seasons with the Rockies, outfielder Dante Bichette said, "Every day I come to the ballpark, I wonder if this is the last day that I'll be able to hit in the major leagues.'' Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt said "When I was really going bad, ev…
Read more
  • 0

American Sports Medicine Institute Examines Pitchers Ages 9 – 14

Researcher at the American Sports Medicine Institute believe there is a the link between overuse at a young age and future injuries.  An ASMI study published in 2011 examined 481 pitchers ages 9-14, and then checked with them 10 years later. Those who threw more than 100 innings in a year were 3.5 times more likely to need elbow or shoulder surgery or were forced to stop playing baseball.

ASMI Position Statement for Youth Baseball Pitchers

With the rise in elbow and shoulder injuries in youth baseball pitchers, the adult community needs to take steps to prevent these injuries. Research points to overuse as the principle risk factor. Poor pitching mechanics also contribute to injury risk. Another suggested risk factor is poor physical fitness.

Throwing curveballs has been suggested as a risk factor, but the existing research does not support this concern. However, a youth pitcher may not ha…

Read more
  • 0

Don’t Got Milk? Throw a Baseball!

I knew baseball was great sport, but I didn't realize the benefit you get from throwing the ball around.  In a recent article on abcc.net.au, Bianca Nogrady wrote how Exercise during youth builds strong bones for life. She refers to a study by a team of researchers with members from the U.S. and Australia that found that people who exercise when young tend to increase the size and strength of their bones, which appears to make for lifelong benefits. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes how they studied the bones in the arms of professional baseball players over the course of their lives and how their activities impacted bone size and strength. Not only can exercise cause muscles to grow bigger and leaner, now it appears it offers similar benefits for bones as well.  In this new study, the research team enlisted the assistance of 103 professional baseball players to learn more about the impact of exercise on bones.  Th…
Read more
  • 0

Rice Bucket – Build Arm Strength

#4 Rice Bucket - Build Arm Strength This is one of my favorite exercises because it does not involve weights so players of all ages can do this drill.  This drill will strengthen the wrists, forearms and shoulders.  Give this exercise a try with your player, you will be amazed at the strength developed in your wrists and forearms.

Rice bucket drills can be used as strength building exercises for ball players of all ages.  The following rice bucket drills will help pitchers develop the necessary wrist and forearm strength.

To perform these drills you will need a 5-10 gallon bucket, filled with 10-15 pounds of rice  (not cooked! - favorite disclaimer ever).  Each drill should be performed for approximately 30 seconds.

Finger Flicks Wrist Rotations Reverse Wrist Rotations Digs

Steven Ellis Baseball Pitching Tips

  Rice Rice Baby! Lefty Digging The Rice (Slippers Sold Separat…
Read more
  • 0

Don’t Try To Make Everything Perfect

I hate to admit it, but there are times when I try to make every single aspect of Lefty's game perfect and tend to focus on the negative instead of celebrating the positives. There aren't too many ten-year olds who play the game with the intensity as Lefty does.  He gives 100% on every pitch and every play.  He plays his heart out in a game as a catcher, then pitcher, then first base, then outfield.  Never complaining, always trying his best and ALWAYS encouraging his teammates. So what happens when he goes 0 - 3 at bat.  I tend to focus on his hitting and forget about the contributions he made on defense along with his positive, play hard attitude. Luckily, this article came across my screen right when I needed it.  Teacher, coach and author Bruce E. Brown described in his article Support your child athlete to create great experiences and memories how athletics are a very valuable part of the educational process.  And how parents can be an important component of making …
Read more
  • 0

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for the Baseball Mom

We all know who the General Manager of the "home team" is...Mom.  Show your love for your baseball mom this Mother's Day (Sunday May 11) with these great gift ideas. Thanks moms, for all your do!     I CAN'T KEEP CALM I'M A BASEBALL MOM LADIES T-SHIRT PRODUCT DETAILS

Tell the world just how stressful being a Baseball Mom can be in this cute tee from My Favorite Gear!

$16.99

Myfavoritegear.com

Baseball Necklace $15.00 Take me out to the ball game! These necklaces are made out actual leather baseballs. Each ball has been hit, fielded, and hit again... The leather is about the size of a penny. Chain length is 18-20 in. Charm is not included with the necklace, but may be purchased at the link below.  Etsy.com   BASEBA…
Read more
  • 0

SHOULD YOU ICE?

#3 in my journey...Icing Arms At some point in  your young player's development, you will ask yourself the same question I did about a year and a half ago.  I wrote a post called Should Young Pitchers Ice Their Arms.   I contacted Dr. Alexander Espinoza, Board Certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine, with Medicine-In-Motion and posed the question, should young pitchers ice their arms? Dr. Espinoza stated "Icing in a young thrower has not been shown to prevent injuries.  We tend to use heat for muscles and ice for joints/ligaments/tendons.  That is why a pitcher puts on a jacket when he gets on base when it is cold to keep his muscles nice and loose.  On the other hand, he will ice his shoulder or elbow after the game to reduce swelling or treat an injury.  Most of what we see on T.V. when players ice is because they are on a specific treatment protocol for a specific injury, and not necessarily to prevent an injury.  I would suggest icing a young thrower's elbow and …
Read more
  • 1

BASEBALLISM.com

If you are a baseball fan, or know one, you will love this site. I do! Clever clothing                   Caps               Signs and Posters           Follow on Facebook or
Read more
  • 0

How to Strengthen and Prevent Injury in Young Arms

THE PROPER CARE OF LEFTY'S ARM I care for Lefty's arm more than I ever cared for my own.  I am consumed by idea that his arm health is my responsibility at this age.  I am on a journey of discovery.  I spend a lot of time scouring the internet and speaking with coaches, players, physicians for information on age appropriate arm strengthening drills and injury prevention for Lefty.  How can I strengthen and prevent injury to this 10 year old arm? As I begin my research, here is one thing I have learned.  There are a lot of suggestions, but....there is no absolute guaranteed one way.  Every player is physically different.  Every arm is not the same.  What works for one, may not be ideal for another.  But, there must be some commonalities.  I want to find those.  I believe I can learn from the success of others. My journey includes speaking with current and former players.  What did they do? What worked for them?  Did they battle injury?  How did they overcome injuries? I a…
Read more
  • 1

WALL ART – SWINGS OF BEAUTY

I sent a video clip of Lefty's swing to his coach and got some good feedback.  He recommended that Lefty get his belly button facing the pitcher after contact.  He also noticed that Lefty's front knee is bent at and following contact which takes away all his power and torque produced by his lower half.  He explained the stride leg can go out bent but should straighten as the swing progresses. To encourage this approach, I printed out pictures of Lefty's two favorite players' swings - Trout and Harper.  I was shocked to find the similarity in their swings when placed side by side.  I put these photos right over Lefty's bed hoping for visions of raking to fill his dreams.
Read more
  • 0

A Truly Touching Baseball Story

This story has inspired me to " bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world".   By The Numbers: A Truly Touching Baseball Story Father Gabe Costa on CBS New York Below is a “baseball story” which an old friend sent to me a few days ago. I suspect it will get you — right in the heart. At a fundraising dinner for a  school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: “When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?” The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued, “I believe that when a child like Shay, who is mentally and physically disabled, comes into the…
Read more
  • 0

Every Team Wants a Guy Like Matt Long

"A guy that's very easy to like on and off the field, ...the grinder, Matt Long."  Taylor Ward Scout.com "Hey Matt, will you take a picture with my son?"  As I shouted those words at the Peoria Sports complex back in March, I was not sure if I would get the photo.  But true to everything I have read about Matt Long, he walked over, put an arm around Lefty and I got this photo. May not seem like the most earth shattering moment to you, but to me it was exactly what I wanted out of a Spring Training game with Lefty.  I got the opportunity to tell Lefty about Matt Long, the type of ball player I would be proud of Lefty becoming. Matt crossed my radar this year as I watched the Angel's spring training games.  Every time he was in the game, he seemed to make something happen.  According to Scout.com, he isn't big by stature or overall size at 5' 11", and 175 pounds, but what he lacks in size, he has in hustle.  Long has a combination of hitting the ball hard, good running on the …
Read more
  • 0

Lefty’s Clubhouse

 Okay, I admit it. I am kind of a cheese-ball when it comes to pre-game preparation for Lefty. Maybe it is because I enjoyed the pre-game rituals when I was playing. What player at any age doesn't enjoy  the routine of gearing up and putting on the uniform? Or maybe it is because we usually have to leave at zero dark thirty for weekend games and I have to get Lefty's gear ready the night before.  I don't know about you, but at 6 AM on a Saturday morning, all I can do is drink coffee.  Or maybe it is because I wish I was the one playing (place your bets on this one). Whatever the case my cheese-ball admission for the day is this, the night before a game I set Lefty's room up as a clubhouse. I hang his freshly washed uni in his closet. I lay out his socks, hat and glove. Sometimes I even place a chair in front of his closet so he can be like Barry Bonds. And it wouldn't be a clubhouse without music. So I ha…
Read more
  • 0

Spring Training Glove Day!

Just think...maybe one day a glove manufacturer will be begging your young player to wear their glove. Glove day! Like Christmas in February.
Read more
  • 0

Tee Ball

Lefty's first experience in organized baseball...Tee Ball!

Hard to believe that it has been four years since this picture. But I love looking at it. I don't think his passion or focus for the game will ever be captured in a better pic. As the years go on, I do enjoy watching him play more and more. I enjoy seeing him learn the game and play at a higher level. I can't wait to see him play as a 12, 13 or 14 year old. I look forward to those years but remind myself to enjoy every moment he plays right now. I have friends who have young players starting their first year of tee ball. Their excitement is contagious. And I am talking about the parent's excitement.  I was in the process of offering a few ditties I have learned over the past years to these friends like: 1. There IS crying in baseball. When does it end? Not sure. I will let you know when I find out. 2. You will hear chatter about travel ball sooner than you think (in a year or two). Ye…
Read more
  • 0

Home Plate Collisions

MLB's rules committee approved a resolution at December's winter meetings to ban home plate collisions.  The guidelines designed to eliminate home plate collisions are scheduled to go into effect this season.  In the next few days, MLB will be making teams aware of the new rule.  At this time,  the general understanding that players and coaches are working with is that catchers can't block the plate and runners must slide and can't initiate a collision. Lefty spends a lot of time catching.  He has even been involved in one minor collision at the plate.  Nobody was hurt and there was no malicious intent.  But still not fun to see your kid ran over.  For young catchers and runners, this is a very serious play to master. For the fans the play at the plate is exciting.  Runner on second base, base hit to right field, the runner rounds third heading for home, the catcher in all his gear keeps his mask on to provide maximum protection, the ball and the runner arrive at home at th…
Read more
  • 0

Hitting – Get Mad

Stepping into the batter's box and facing live pitching takes confidence. The transition from machine pitch to live pitching can be stressful for young players. No one at any level likes being hit by a pitch, but it happens . Overcoming the fear is key for young hitters. From the time I started throwing wiffle balls to Lefty for batting practice, I would intentionally let one get away and hit him with the wiffle ball. Hoping it would prepare him for what WILL happen at some point. Now thinking about it, he has been plucked once so far in a game...so far. He does not mention any concern over being hit and I don't think it crosses his mind as far as I know. Maybe because he pitches, he knows the ball will get away from you at times. Now really thinking about it, he has plucked one batter...coincidence..hmm. Nah, no retaliation, it was different teams and games.

I believe as Ted Williams did that "hitting is 50 percent above the shoulders". Besi…
Read more
  • 0

Proper Age to Throw A Curveball

The Hammer, The Hook, Uncle Charlie, The Deuce, The Yakker

Do you know the recommended age to begin throwing a curveball? Hint:  It is not 8 [WpProQuiz 2]
Read more
  • 0

Pressure vs. Resource – Which One Are You?

I find this article by Bill Ripken (Ripken Baseball) thought-provoking.  The fact that his dad, Cal Sr. - a manager in Major League Baseball, did not pressure his sons to play, is incredible to me.  I hope Lefty feels this way years from now.

The Role of Parents By Bill Ripken Every parent wants the best for their child, there’s no doubt about that. But we as parents can sometimes put unnecessary pressure on our children, especially in the sports world. As adults, we typically have a clear understanding of how hard it is to become a professional athlete. The percentage of kids who start out at tee-ball and make it to the majors is incredibly miniscule. But every parent who sees an ounce of talent in their child can’t help but hope that their child will be the exception—the fraction of a percentage who makes it to the top. Cal and I have a pretty unique perspective when it comes to parenting young athletes. When we were kids, our dad worked …
Read more
  • 0

Padded Hat for Pitchers

Would you put your young player in this hat? When it comes to the safety of Lefty, I would say yes. Major League Baseball has approved a product designed to protect pitchers from potentially dangerous line drives hit at them. After testing a number of prototypes from various companies, a padded cap manufactured by the 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox will be made available to pitchers at all levels when they report to Spring Training. Use of the equipment will be optional. MLB, which will continue to work with other companies that are developing products to enhance safety, alerted all teams of the development Tuesday morning after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Continue reading here
Read more
  • 0

One Pitch Ahead – The Mental Side of the Game

As Lefty gets older, I see the need for him to start thinking more about the mental side of the game. Last weekend we were playing in a tournament and I witnessed a few plays that caused some confusion. In baseball you have to be one pitch and one play ahead in your mind. What if the ball is hit to me? What if the runner steals? Questions like these need to be asked before every pitch. The first play was a pitcher with and 0 - 2 count serving up a pitch right over the plate. The game was tied and approaching the last innings. The batter swung at the first two pitches offered. The pitcher thought he was doing what he was supposed to do by throwing a the ball over the heart of the plate for strike three. The 0-2 pitch was smacked to left field for a single. Go-ahead run on first base. Unless you have a pretty large lead, you want to put the pressure on the batter by throwing an 0-2 pitch off the plate. Learning to pitch is the mental side of the game. The second involved an opp…
Read more
  • 0

Baseball Quilt

What do you do with your player's old jerseys?  Hang them in the back of the closet?  Put them away in a drawer or box?  Or...make a baseball jersey quilt. A friend of mine did this quilt for her son.  What a great keepsake. Not sure if she does this for others, but if she does, you will have to get in line behind me.
Read more
  • 0

Surviving Baseball Tryouts

It was 1989 and I was attending a tryout at a local college. I was up on the hill of the main field. There were four coaches sitting on buckets outside the dugout watching my every move while looking at their clipboards trying to find my name and pertinent information. Fellow players were sitting in the dugout sizing me up as their competition to make the team. And in the stands were a dozen parents doing the same. I finished my warm-up pitches and a batter steps in the box. Here we go...I take a deep breath and exhale and I start my windup. I bring my hands up to go over my head, right hand inside of my glove (which is how I began my wind-up ala Nolan Ryan), my glove hits the bill of my hat, pushing my hat back and off my head. I have no idea where my hat has gone. I just know it is not on my head any longer. I continue in my wind-up thinking the show must go on (big mistake!). I bring my hands back down from over my head. I separate my throwing hand from my glove to make the …
Read more
  • 0

Travel or Rec Ball

Well, it is that time of year again.  Tryouts for the rec season are just around the corner.  I can honestly say I did not think I would be saying these words for at least a year or two, but here they are.  This year Lefty did not sign up for the local rec league and he will be playing travel ball instead.  This was a big decision for Lefty and TheRustyArm family.  The previous two seasons we have split our time between rec and travel.  I have spent the last four seasons coaching in rec ball which I have enjoyed immensely.  But this season, Lefty will be playing for his travel team and I have been fortunate enough to be able to assist the team as...you guessed it...The RustyArmBatting Practice Pitching Assistant Coach.  Yes!  Break out the ice for the arm! I know some of you are facing the same question as we did, to stay with rec or try a travel team?  We made the decision not because we did not or do not enjoy the rec league.  I think rec baseball is a great experience.  We…
Read more
  • 0

Total Control Ball

Lefty has been using these Total Control weighted balls in pre-game hitting and practice drills for the last month or so.  Already I have seen an improvement in how he drives through the ball and finishes his swing.  He is driving balls to the outfield regularly now which he was not doing before.  These training balls are a really good design that allows you to use a small area.  As your young player swings through the ball it will only travel a few feet.  Instant feedback on whether or not they are finishing their swing!  They are not cheap, $79 for a six-pack, but they are well designed to last.  I highly recommend them!  Another thing on my Christmas list...luckily I have been fairly good this year   Total Control Sports TCB Total Control Balls - 6 Pack

  Develop maximum strength through the hitting zone with the 6-pack of Total Control Balls. With its patent-pending weighted design, start out slowly with 3 to 6 solid hits and …
Read more
  • 0

Hit By Pitch

No batter at any level likes getting hit by a pitch.  But, the truth is it is not if your young player will get hit, it is when.  It is a part of baseball and hitting.  Young players need to learn the proper way to take a hit by pitch and overcome the fear.  I have seen it happen when a player gets to kid pitch, can't stand in the batter's box, and soon his baseball career is...let's say on hold. There is a proper way to "wear" a pitch.  Luckily, Lefty's dad, moi, has a rusty arm and control is not what it used to be.  Just about every time I pitch to him using wiffle balls, I pluck him.  Okay, sometimes I mean to, but he does not have to know that.  But when I do, I encourage him to stay in the box, turn his front shoulder in towards the catcher exposing his back, turn his head away from the pitcher and tuck down.  After enough time this should become muscle memory which is key during a game when there is little time to think, but just react. If your player is approaching …
Read more
  • 0

Pitch Count

I witnessed a 10 year old throw 80+ pitches in one game this weekend.  Not just fastballs and changeups, curveballs too! What is your opinion?

[poll id="4"]

Read more
  • 0

Can You Speak Baseball?

Ever hear a coach say something to your player and wonder what the heck that means?  Take this baseball jargon quiz and impress your young player.

[WpProQuiz 1]

Read more
  • 0

The Changeup – Best Pitch in Baseball

Every young pitcher (and parents of a young pitcher) should watch this. Ted Berg and Bobby Ojeda take a look at throwing the changeup in The Baseball Show presented by Pepsi MAX.  
Read more
  • 0

Little League or Pony League

At this time of year, the Little League World Series brings youth baseball to the limelight. Lefty plays Pony baseball, not Little League.  Lefty started in Pony baseball for no other reason than there is no Little League in our city.  I would guess that is why most parents have their child in either Little League or Pony.  These are two separate organizations but both provide a great youth baseball experience.  We get asked a lot about the differences between Pony Baseball and Little League.   Heck, even Lefty has asked if he will get the chance to play in the Little League World Series.  Not unless we change leagues Lefty, but Pony does have its own All-Stars and World Series.  I played Little League growing up (I still remember the Pledge) and now coach in Pony League.  Here are a few of the differences between the leagues. Little League vs. Pony League The primary features that distinguish Pony baseball from Little League baseball are scaled diamonds and a two-year age bra…
Read more
  • 0

BASEBALL SCOREKEEPING

I know the idea of keeping score in baseball can be intimidating.  When I ask a parent if they would be able to keep score, I see the hesitation and sometimes fear in their eyes.  It's understandable. If you have never kept score, you have no idea what it entails, what to expect and you may feel too much responsibility.  But, if you are a baseball fan and/or parent, I really think you would get a kick out of knowing how to score a baseball game.  It is not as difficult as you may think.  It is a great way to learn baseball and keep track of the game. The scorekeeper knows every count, every out, every player, the lineup and of course the score.  Heck, even the umpire needs the scorekeeper to verify the count, outs, and sometimes just to chat.  Umpires need friends too, you know.  How important would you feel then?!  You can even say "Hey, Blue" without getting a stern look and being thrown out of the park if you were one of the "ordinary just sitting in the stands" parents.  …
Read more
  • 1

CHOOSING A BASEBALL BAT

What size bat should I buy?  Great question!  I get asked this question often and I by no means consider myself an expert.  I know the size bat Lefty uses but when it comes to this big purchase and choosing a baseball bat,  I think we could all use some help. I prefer not to spend a car payment on a bat for Lefty, but I also want him to have decent bat.  I also like to compare multiple bats before I make a purchasing decision. I found a really cool tool called Bat Coach on www.baseballbats.com.  This tool walks you through about 8 questions ranging from Do you know the player's approximate height and weight?,  Do you have a manufacturer(s) preference? and Do you have a price preference?  Then it provides suggestions for you to consider.  It is a quick and easy way to start your search for the correct size bat for your young ball player. I have not purchased a bat from Baseballbats.com but I did run through the tool and it gave me the size bat Lefty is currently using (sorry …
Read more
  • 0

VARSITY COACH GIVES ADVICE TO PARENTS – PART III

HOW IT WORKS TheRustyArm:  How many kids usually try out each year? And for how many spots? Coach Dufek:  Typically we get anywhere from 25-30 freshman tryout each year. We will get anywhere from 5-10 upperclassman tryout.  This does not count the returning players from the previous season.  I usually keep anywhere from 16-18 players on each team.  We have three levels at which a player can compete at, Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman.  Our returning players do not go through the week-long tryout that the newcomers do. They are evaluated throughout winter all, some will continue on in the program and some will be cut from the program because they do not have the ability to play at this level anymore. TheRustyArm:  What's the timing/process for tryouts? For example, is there a baseball "class" that starts in the fall, then tryouts, then the season? Coach Dufek:  We have a baseball class that is only for returning players. We have a winter all season and our tryouts for …
Read more
  • 0

VARSITY COACH GIVES ADVICE TO PARENTS – PART II

My conversation with Coach Dufek continues. Getting a Spot on the Team TheRustyArm:  How many players do you normally carry on a team? What percentage of them are pitchers? Coach Dufek:  I will carry any where from 16-18 players on each team. Some years we have a couple more or less. I will carry as many quality pitchers as I can. Ideally I would like to have 6 to 7 pitchers on our team. Some of those players will just pitch and some will play another position.   TheRustyArm:  Are there academic requirements for playing high school baseball? If so, what are they? Coach Dufek:  Each player is required to have a 2.0 GPA to participate in any sport. TheRustyArm:  What would parents or players be most surprised to learn about high school baseball? Coach Dufek:  Some parents will be surprised to learn that their opinion on their child's playing time is not up for discussion.  In my case, I am going to chose the most talented players to be on the team. On that team the…
Read more
  • 0

VARSITY COACH GIVES ADVICE TO PARENTS

It's been a (real) long time since I tried out for my high school baseball team. Makes me wonder what has and hasn't changed about the steps players take to get there. And if my son, Lefty, wants to play high school ball like I did, is he on the right track for today's game? Questions like these led me to talk with San Marcos High School's varsity baseball coach, Jeff Dufek. I thought it would be cool to get insight straight from a guy with 10 years of experience coaching at the high school level. And it was. Because we covered so much, I'm dividing our conversation into three posts -- The Early Years (youth baseball to high school), Getting a Spot on the Team (what a coach looks for) and How It Works (tryouts and the team makeup). I hope you find it as informative as I did. A big thanks to Coach Dufek for taking his time to give us parents a glimpse into today's world of high school baseball.   THE EARLY YEARS TheRustyArm: What youth baseball experience do most …
Read more
  • 1

Youth Baseball – Should Young Pitchers Ice Their Arms

Lefty is now playing kid pitch baseball.  He has been waiting for kid pitch for a few years now because he has always wanted to pitch.  He is getting his chance and enjoying it.  Now that he is pitching, I started to wonder if I should consider icing his arm and shoulder after he throws.  I was then asked by a couple of parents if they should do the same.  I remember icing my elbow and shoulder a lot after I pitched but that was not until high school and college.  I contacted Dr. Alexander Espinoza, Board Certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine, with Medicine-In-Motion and posed the question, should young pitchers ice their arms? "Icing in a young thrower has not been shown to prevent injuries. We tend to use heat for muscles and ice for joints/ligaments/tendons.  That is why a pitcher puts on a jacket when he gets on base when it is cold to keep his muscles nice and loose.  On the other hand, he will ice his shoulder or elbow after the game to reduce swelling or trea…
Read more
  • 0

The Hitting Jack-It System Review

You know those products you see and say, "that is a good idea, why didn't I think of that'?  When I first saw this product on TV a few years back, that is exactly what I said.  Since then, I have not thought too much about bat weights until recently.  At one of Lefty's games, I saw his teammate struggle to get a donut on his bat in the on deck circle because he had a knob cuff on his bat handle.  It seemed to make it difficult to slide the donut onto the handle of the bat.  At that time, I was considering getting Lefty a standard donut and while doing research on weights and brands I remembered this product.  I thought it was time to give it a try. The Hitting Jack-It is the first and only weighted system on the market that can be used to hit “live” (with a pitcher) batting practice.  The Hitting Jacket-It System includes three sizes to assist progressive training. 9 oz. – Ages 8 and up – Increase Bat Speed12 oz. – Ages 12 and up – Increase Strength 16 oz. – Ages 15 and u…
Read more
  • 2

“I Love To Watch You Play”

Have you ever embarrassed your child by yelling or being a bleacher coach? I have coached Lefty a lot in baseball.  I could spend all day and night coaching him.  Sometimes I wonder if he would rather have me as a coach or just a Dad.  After, and I admit sometimes during, each practice or game, I have to fight back the temptation to keep coaching (a.k.a correcting).  I sometimes bring a book to his practices to divert my complete attention away from every little detail of Lefty's performance.  Luckily, my wife gives me a good reminder to only praise Lefty after a practice or game and don't bring up the negative.  It can't be fun to have your parents pointing out your faults after each practice and game. Bruce Brown has spent 35 years as a teacher, coach and an athletic administrator at the junior high, high school, junior college and collegiate level.  He as is the Director of Proactive Coaching and speaks nationally with athletes, coaches and parents.  Bruce asked college at…
Read more
  • 2

Strengthen Young Arms with Long Toss

One of my favorite things to watch at a big league game is the players playing long toss.  Does that make me strange?  Whether it is the starting pitcher beginning his warm-ups in the outfield or the position players in front of the dug out.  I enjoy watching this part of their pregame ritual. Besides being a pregame warm-up fan, I believe long toss is the best way to develop arm strength especially in young ball players.  When I play catch with Lefty, I incorporate long toss at least a couple of times a week.  We begin at a close distance and play normal catch.  Once we are warmed up, I continue to take a few steps back to increase the distance between us.  We use a relaxed motion and crow-hop to get the ball back and forth.  We focus on stretching out our arms instead of firing missiles back to each other.  A little air underneath the ball is fine.  Once we get to a distance to where Lefty's is throwing comfortably and the ball may bounce once or twice before getting to me, …
Read more
  • 0

Mom Teaches Multiplication While Playing Catch

One family goal this summer, as Lefty heads into the third grade, is to have him memorize his multiplication tables. No summer slacking for him, enrichment must continue! Here are some facts about Lefty; he loves baseball, he loves playing catch with me or with Mrs. RustyArm, if he could play family catch with both me and mom at the same time, well he has hit the jackpot.  He likes math but he does not love sitting inside at a table during summer memorizing multiplication flashcards and problems. But that is how you memorize multiplication, right? Well Mrs. RustyArm has another way.

Yesterday, I got a text from Mrs. RustyArm, "Where is the small baseball glove I like? We are heading out to play catch." Not unusual for our household, actually pretty routine. I did not think much of it at the time. When I arrived home later that day, I was greeted by Lefty saying he had memorized his first set of multiplication problems. I was shocked. Mrs. Rusty…
Read more
  • 0

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for your Baseball Dad

Finding a gift for a dad can be pretty tough.  But if you have a baseball dad, don't worry, I got this. This is my wheel house. Every year I list a few things that I would enjoy receiving, call it Rusty's Favorite Things..move over Oprah. Here are a few ideas that will bring joy to your baseball dad....trust me! (as always, I don't get paid or perked by any of these products) Hey Lefty! Keep reading...     Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen   Finally—a fascinating and authoritative biography of perhaps the most controversial player in baseball history, Ty Cobb.Ty Cobb is baseball royalty, maybe even the greatest player who ever lived. His lifetime batting average is still the highest of all time, and when he retired in 1928, after twenty-one years with the Detroit Tigers and two with the Philadelphia Athletics, he held more than ninety records. But the numbers don’t tell half of Cobb’s tale. The Georgia Peach was by far the most thrilling player…
Read more
  • 0