Baseball Training Aids

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Baseball training aids have been around at least since the dawn of the sport, which means well over 150 years now. One could argue that a warm-up catcher or batting practice pitcher is a form of training aid, as it is the goal of each to improve players' skills. Ask a pitcher if he or she would rather watch a video describing proper wind-up and delivery techniques or have a live catcher squat behind home plate and receive 100 pitches, and the latter will win out every time.

Still, a lot of coaches turn to videos as baseball training aids for good reason: they often don't know the proper techniques they're attempting to teach. At the early teenage level anyway, coaches are selected not for their insider's knowledge of four-seam fastballs or opposite-field hitting, but rather by their willingness to contribute. This is unfortunate, as it's precisely at this age (12, 13, 14) that kids stand to absorb the most instruction. By 16, 17, and 18 most advice is coming too late. Any earlier, and that advice may well fall on deaf ears.

Make the Most of Baseball Training Aids

Books and audio tapes are okay as baseball training aids, but kids really need a visual lesson to go along with any sort of commentary or written text in order to drive the point home. That's because many of the mechanics involved in fielding and batting are subtle and cannot be adequately described through words alone. Showing the difference between two players, one of whom performs correctly and the other of whom commits errors, is the best way to illustrate a particular point.

There are other types of baseball training aids apart from books, tapes, CDs, and DVDs. Athletic companies go to great lengths designing, building, and marketing things such as fungo bats, ball machines, and weighted ball sets, each of which helps facilitate a different aspect of the sport (in this case, batting practice, fielding, and pitching, respectively). These helpers can range anywhere from a few bucks to a few thousand in the case of batting cages, which can also be rented for parties and training seminars.

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