Top 10 tips for new baseball players

Essential advice for baseball newcomers

If you’re new to baseball then you may be looking for advice about equipment, ways to master the basics, and how to improve your baseball game. With this in mind, here are realbuzz.com’s top 10 tips to have you hitting those home runs, pitching perfectly, and snaffling up those catches.

  • If you’re still growing up, then buy a baseball glove that fits, rather than one that you intend to grow into. The best way to learn fielding and catching techniques is by wearing a glove that fits well. Outfielders usually have the largest gloves and infielders tend to have smaller gloves containing a smaller pocket.
  • Having bought a glove, you will need to break it in. Playing catch with friends is the best way to break in a new baseball glove — and of course it’s fun and good practice.
  • If you don’t have the time to break in your glove, one method of speeding up the breaking-in process is by rubbing shaving cream into the pocket of the glove, placing a ball in the pocket, tying a rope or sock around the glove, and then keeping the glove in dry place.
  • Practice catching with your glove. Remember that you’ll be catching with your weaker hand so that your throwing arm is available. For example, if you’re right handed then you should wear a glove on your left hand. You may not be used to catching with your weaker hand — so practicing is a good idea.
  • When buying a baseball bat, make sure you know your league’s rules. There are slight differences between different leagues in terms of the size and weight of bats allowed, and also whether they are made of wood or aluminum — so don’t waste your money on something you may not even be allowed to use.
  • Unless you’re really confident, don’t put yourself on key defensive points such as catcher or first base when you’re playing for the first time. If you miss a chance in these positions, it will only knock your confidence.
  • When batting, don’t swing at anything below your knees or anything higher than your shoulders, as this is the area that the umpire should deem as outside the imaginary ‘strike zone’ — where the ball must be pitched to be considered legal.
  • Before hitting, don’t make the common mistake of focusing on the pitcher’s eyes — after all, the ball isn’t going to come out of their eyes! Instead, pick out a spot where the pitcher’s hand will come out of the sky to deliver the ball, and focus on that spot.
  • You can improve your throwing strength simply through doing plenty of throwing. Although you’ll have some arm strength naturally, you’ll have to work hard to improve. Do some throwing drills two to three times a week, during which you should throw the ball over different distances — such as 9m (30ft), 18m (60ft), 27m (90ft) and 36m (120ft) — for around 3 minutes at each distance.
  • Remember that everyone makes mistakes when they play sports — even when they are the very best! Don’t get upset at yourself or others when mistakes happen — instead, just try harder the next time.

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