If you’ve just started to get into baseball, there are a few things you might need to learn before you can step out on the field with confidence.
So hey, batter, batter, batter! Swing! It’s time to make America proud!
Getting In The Zone
Every competition requires a strategy, whether it’s a solid game plan or just a Rolodex of back-up plans; it always helps to prepare.
Before your game, run different scenarios and different plays and be prepared for players to get switched out or mixed around different places.
Getting the jitters is normal, but you should try your best to alleviate your anxiety before you step out on the field.
Professional players tend to adopt pre-game rituals that help them get their heads in the game. Every preparation ritual is different, whether it’s meditation, a good luck charm, or a good old-fashioned team huddle.
Do some drills to get your body ready for a game. Some drills you can do on your own include swinging, jogging, and catching and throwing balls.
Other things you can do to prepare your body are stretching, high jumps, and quick sprints.
Knowing The Field
Part of playing baseball is getting to know the battleground. It doesn’t hurt to do a little research and grab some intel on the field you’re going to be playing on. After all, preparation is key!
Quality Of Grounds (Grass And Soil)
Two questions you’ll need answers to about the field:
- How tall is the grass?
- What kind of soil is the field composed of?
Grass length can help you figure out the speed that balls will roll on the grass. If the grass is tall and wet, balls will be slower to roll, harder to throw, and possibly trickier to pick up.
Knowing how to shift your playing style depending on whether the soil that is hard and tight, or soft or loose can give you an advantage. You should also keep an eye out for slopes, holes, and uneven surfaces.
Material And Distance Of Backstop
Stops can be composed of varying materials, depending on the field. Backstops can be made of wood, concrete or cement, netting or padding.
Knowing what the field backstops are can either be an advantage or disadvantage whether you’re a pitcher or a hitter because depending on the material and distance, you can gauge on whether missed balls will bounce back or not, and if they do, how far.
If a batter hits a ball into a backstop, it’s automatically considered a foul ball.
Because there are no official specifications to outfield fences, it’s another reason to check out the field prior to game day.
How far is the outer fence from the center field, what material is it made of, and what shape is it in?
Most major league fields will have outfield walls painted with numbers to indicate its distance from the home plate.
The shape and material of the fence can also affect play. For example, shorter fences might make it easier for balls to go over and they can either be deemed dead balls or home runs.
If a ball goes way over the wall, it’s a dead ball and no runners can move from their bases, but if it goes over the wall but within the fair territory or between the foul lines, it’s a home run.
Space Of Foul Territory
When a ball gets into foul territory, it is automatically considered a foul ball. The foul territory is housed between the home base, first base, and third base.
Not all fields are made the same, so the territory might differ according to the surface. It’s important to know the foul territory on the field you’re going to be playing on so you can make adjustments to your plays and positions.
For example, larger foul territories might make you want to reposition players to be placed more towards fair territory so they have more mobility and purpose.
There are about thirteen types of pitches recorded in the American Baseball League.
Here they are in alphabetical order: Changeup, Curveball, Cutter, Eephus, Forkball, Four-Seam Fastball, Knuckleball, Knuckle-curve, Screwball, Sinker, Slider, Spitter, Two-Seam Fastball.
Familiarize yourself with each pitch, and your particular pitcher’s style and you’re going to have a better chance of predicting the pitches and the hit range.
It’s also good to brush up on your knowledge of each hitter, figure out their style, running speed, weight, and on whether they’re left-handed hitters, right-handed hitters, or switch hitters. If you can observe their style, you can almost predict how they’ll play.
Spray Charts Are Your Secret Weapon
For competitive games, a spray chart is your best friend.
It basically tracks every ball hit by a hitter, either over the years or during a particular season. With a spray chart, you can get a sense of who the best and worst players are, and which players are likely to hit home runs, foul balls, etc.
Ready To Hit The Field?
When it comes to baseball, doing your research before a game can really go a long way. Once you’ve got these fast baseball tips down, you’ll be ready to batter up! Good luck!
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