Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Hard Ball Talks – Special Guest Cindy Zelinsky

CindyHard Ball Talks
Date: September 28, 2015
Guest:  Cindy Zelinsky, owner of Absolute College Consulting.  You can learn more about Cindy and her college preparation programs at
Topic:  Cindy’s experiences as an educator, collegiate coach and parent have provided her a unique perspective on the process of finding the right fit when it comes to pursuing a college education.  As youth coaches and parents, we see college recruiting through the lens of ESPN glamour, but in this HBT, we discussed real college preparation with Cindy.

All Skills Camp Should Be On Your Calendar! Here’s Why…


By Coach Chris Fair

Many of you have probably seen us advertising our new All Skills Camp program that begins April 21st. But what is All Skills Camp? Let me fill you in…

2 characteristics of All Skills Camp are pretty obvious..

  1. We work on ALL SKILLS (hitting, fielding, throwing, catching, base running, etc.)
  2. It is CHEAP! Only $50 for 4 weeks!

So why all skills camp??..

At Turn 2 we are always working to develop our area youth athletes. When most people think of baseball or softball “training” the thought that comes to mind is the more elite level athletes that are working towards a higher goal (i.e. the Jr. High player working to make a splash in High School, or the High School player working for that college scholarship). What about the other athletes? What about the 5 year old just getting introduced to the game, or the 10 year old that is starting to get a little more serious about the game? All Skills Camp is for them.

All Skills Camp allows our young athletes to learn multiple aspects of the game in a fun and ever changing environment. Athletes learn in a group setting with players of similar age.

As the head of our baseball department here are Turn 2, I hear so frequently the questions that can be answered by a program like All Skills…..maxresdefault


  1. My child is just starting out, what programs are out there that will teach them proper fundamentals, but overall make sure they HAVE FUN playing the game?
  2. My child has been playing for a few years, I can’t deicide if they love the game or not. I would like to put them in training, but want to be sure they have the passion for it.
  3. My child is already in skill specific training (example – hitting lessons), but I’d like to allow them to learn the other aspects of the game as well.
  4. My child thinks their team practices are boring.


Our All Skills Camp answers these questions. When athletes are young or starting out, they need to learn the FUNdamentals. The emphasis is on the FUN because that is what it should be about. None of us fell in love with the game at a young age because we were taught how to get our arm to the L-position, or learned how to add extension to our swing. We fell in love because we got to be outside, run around, throw things, hit things, and tag people. That is where it has to start. Athletes want to train because they love the game, not the other way around. Practices should be fun and informative. All these things are what our All Skills Program aims to bring to the youth in our area.

Join us for our All Skills Camp…

Date and Time Options

Ages                         Days                         Times

4 – 5 YRS                 Thursdays            5:00 PM

6 – 8 YRS                 Tues / Thurs        5:00 or 6:00 PM

9 – 12 YRS              Tues / Thurs        5:00 or 6:00 PM


Call 618.346.4646 or Register Here

Taking Care Of Your Body During The Season

                                    DURING THE SEASON


It’s that time of the year folks! The grass is getting green, the sun is shining and the season is here. I know all of us here at the facility are excited for our athletes to put all their hard work into action on the field. One of the best parts about starting the season for an athlete is the feeling of being strong, explosive and healthy. However, as a former Division I college and professional athlete, I can tell you personally that sense of strength and health does not automatically maintain itself throughout the course of the season. The honest truth is it takes a lot of discipline and consistency in many areas to stay strong, explosive and healthy. This article is going to focus on 5 areas that athletes need to be disciplined and consistent in to take care of their bodies in order to compete at their highest potential through the season.
  1. Nutrition – Being a former pitcher, I saw a big change in my velocity based on how my body weight would fluctuate. When I lost weight during the season, I lost velocity (power). When I maintained a good weight, I maintained my velocity. The same principle goes for hitters and athletes in other sports. Nutrition is so important for athletes (hence the previous two blogs!) in staying strong, explosive and healthy. What athletes should focus on most is fueling their bodies with proper nutrition and LOTS OF IT! For more on proper nutrition and 5 things that athletes should be having, follow the link below.

5 Food Athletes NEED to Have


  1. Strength & Conditioning – A consistent theme that we see in the athletic community involves mostfocus-on-your-strengths-theperfectdesign-300x300 athletes slowing down (or completely shutting down) their strength and conditioning during the season due to fear of overload. The truth is that strength and conditioning is an important part in athletes maintaining their strength, explosiveness, flexibility, and health through the season. If an athlete is properly using nutrition to fuel and recover their body, then utilizing a strength and conditioning program will be nothing but a major advantage for that athlete in maintaining strength and health. For more info, check out Coach Chris Fair’s article


Importance of Being in Athletic Shape

Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as doing too much during the season. However don’t let the fear of doing too much keep your athlete from doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING when it comes to strength and conditioning during the season.

  1. Mobility – Range of motion (flexibility) is something athletes tend to lose naturally as the season progresses due to the physical stress placed on the body during competition. Where athletes can combat this loss is by utilizing a mobility program as a source of PRE-HAB (not REHAB). Most athletes (and adults) focus on mobility after an injury versus using mobility as a way to maintain range of motion (flexibility) and prevent injuries. One resource that I personally utilize is Kelly Starrett’s He has tons of free information and videos that you can view to improve and maintain good range of motion. If you’re a little nervous about trying to mimic Starrett, CrossFit Collinsville offers great mobility sessions for athletes (and adults) of all ages.

  1. Hydration – Just like nutrition, proper hydration is the difference between being a healthy athlete and a weak athlete. The weather here in the Mid-West alone should cause athletes (and everyone else) to pay very 14_Hydration02close attention to their intake of fluids. Stick with water and drinks with electrolytes (without artificial sweeteners or high amount of sugar!). If you’ve missed Coach Chris Thomas’s article about water, I’ll leave the link below for you!


 Awesome Overlooked Benefits of Water


  1. Sleep – Sleep is recovery. Athletes with poor sleep habits will find themselves feeling more tired and weaker since they aren’t allowing their body to recover through the night. It’s quite simple, get plenty of sleep through the season to allow the body to recover and your athlete will notice a difference in their strength and focus. For more info on sleep, check out Coach Jen Doehring’s article “Is Sleep Affecting your Workouts?”

Is Sleep Affecting Your Workouts?



“Train like an ATHLETE, eat like a NUTRITIONIST and sleep like a BABY!”

And your athlete will stay stronger, more explosive and healthier throughout the season.

Practice Plan For Beginning Youth Teams

By Coach Brett Swip



Develop a throwing progression that encompasses things like:

  • Stand sideways and get the arm to move in a circular motion ( separate hands in a down and out motion then up to throw) also have them work on shifting their weight to their back leg and then to the follow through)
  • Stand sideways and use a shuffle to throw
  • Stand normal and learn to “step and throw” (walkthrough version of a crow hop)
  • Imagine fielding a ground ball and then incorporate the step and throw



  • Hand-eye coordination
  • No chicken-winging
  • Fingers up when catching


Sample Drills

  •  Lots of wiffle balls, tennis balls, and nerf balls with no gloves to start
  • Transition to using soft hands paddles to catch with two hands (you can use oven mitts if you don’t have access to paddles)
  • Catch barehanded so they can see their elbows stay down and their fingers stay up.
  • Let them use their glove only once they’ve master bare hands and oven mitts
  • Use softie balls with gloves, then move to regular hard balls when the skill of catching is achieved.
  • Assure that they are playing catch at home at least 3 times per week (the ability to throw and catch is where games are won at this age) – the inability to throw and catch is the main reason that kids quit baseball and softball at a young age.


  • Getting their feet to the ball before putting the glove up in the air

Sample Drill

  • Put a helmet on them, throw a wiffle in the air, have them run to where they think the ball will drop and let the wiffle hit them in the helmet (kids love this drill!)
  • Then progress to barehands and teach them to catch it with their elbows down and near their chest (allowing their eyes to see the ball over their fingers)
    • Then progress to gloves
  • Circle Drill – put 5 cones on the ground in the shape of a big circle, have them start at one cone and throw a ball in to the middle of the circle, they run to the middle and catch the fly ball, then they go to the next cone.  Repeat at each cone for a series of 5 fly balls from different angles.


Use a progression628x471

  1. Knees No Gloves
  2. Stool No Gloves
  3. Standing No Gloves
  4. Standing No Gloves Transitioning in to throwing
  5. Then add paddles or oven mitts
  6. Then add gloves
  7. Then add force outs
  8. Then add tag outs
  9. Then add throws to bases on the field


Start with bunting to teach them the importance of hand-eye coordination.

This will also teach them where the barrel of the ball is and how to watch the ball hit the sweet spot.  Then progress to swinging.

As you can see, I’m a believer in progressions 🙂

  1. Tees with bottom hand only with small bat
  2. Tees with top hand only with small bat
  3. Tees with both hands with small bat
  4. Tees with both hands with regular bat
  5. Soft toss with bottom hand only with small bat
  6. Soft toss with top hand only with small bat
  7. Soft toss with both hands with small bat
  8. Soft toss with both hands with regular bat

For the above progression, use various balls

(golf ball waffles, small waffles, softball sided wiffles, and regular softballs)

Then, progress to hitting heavy balls so they can learn how to drive through the ball

(16″ Chicago ball, deflated volleyball, deflated basketball, etc).

Then, progress to front toss drills followed by machine drills.


Here is the best circuit that I use to teach young kids the important parts of base-running:

1 runner) Home to 1st – have coach standing in the first base box, they run through the bag, the coach has a ball in hand, if the coach drops the ball as they run through first base they continue on to 2nd, if the coach still has the ball in hand as they run through first base, they come right back to the bag.
2 runner) 1st to 2nd – have coach standing in third base box, the runner leads off and goes to 2nd like a girl hit the ball, they pick up the coach and the coach holds their hands up to hold them at 2nd in which the runner than sticks the base, or the coach is waving them on to 3rd and the runner continues to third
3 runner) 3rd to Home – have coach at home with a bucket of balls, the coach throws a ground ball or a pop fly, the runner is learning to read the angle of the ball of the bat.  If the coach throws it in the air, the runner retreats to tag up.  If the coach throws on the ground, the runner scores.
Note: add slip and slide on a warm practice day to finish up practice and teach the girls to slide.