Baseball is a truly iconic sport, and some would say one of the most exciting there is. Although the sport is practically unavoidable in the United States and Canada, getting into the sport isn’t always easy if you live in the wrong area. Even in a country where baseball is widespread, other factors can make it a little difficult to seriously get into the sport. If you’re interested in the sport but you’re a little confused about getting into it, then this post is for you. Here’s a helpful, universal guide for starting baseball.
To begin with, you’ll need a few pieces of equipment. As you probably already know, the bare minimum is a glove, bat and baseball.
To ensure you don’t waste your time and money, you should make sure the equipment you buy is right for you. Luckily there are some simple tests for checking this. When you stand a bat on its end, the other end should be in line with your waist.
Weight is also an important factor to consider. Your strength and hitting style are pretty important when choosing a weight. However, seen as you’re a novice, you probably don’t know that much about your playing style yourself! Because of this, you should go for something mid-range, possibly leaning on the lighter side. Lighter bats allow for more speed and control, which is important for new players.
Although you probably don’t have any strict preferences now, it still pays to do a little research into the available gear. There are many places to start, such as www.thebaseballdiamond.com.
To get a good start, you’ll need to learn a few fundamentals about baseball technique. If you don’t know the right way to throw, you might have some pretty embarrassing mishaps early on. Like with any sport, you should do a few stretches before getting into it.
Throwing side-arm or underhand isn’t good for the arm, so try to get a good overhand going as early as possible. A good way to start is standing around 15 feet from your partner, and simply tossing the ball back and forth. In that initial session, focus on your wrist movements as opposed to the rest of your arm. After each overarm throw, your wrist should whip forward and finish pointing to the place you want the ball to go to. That last flick is where most of the accuracy in any throw comes from.
If you really want to work on your accuracy, then it might be worth practicing this one maneuver by yourself. Here’s a more detailed article on good pitching: http://www.active.com .
Catching, too, has a right way and a wrong way to go about it. One common rookie mistake is catching the ball in the pocket (palm) of the glove and not the web. If you fall into this bad habit, half the balls you attempt to catch are going to bounce straight out! Always try and catch the ball in the webbed pocket. If it’s thrown fast enough, the force of the baseball will close the web around it immediately. After the moment of impact, close your free hand over the ball.
Catching straight throws is fairly straightforward, but ground balls are a little more challenging. When one of these is coming to you, crouch, bend your back and place your throwing hand over the back of the ball. If it’s a slow ground ball, run toward it, keeping your glove low so that you can scoop it up. Going for pop flies is even more tough! Keep an eye on the ball, get under it as soon as possible, and try not to block your own vision with the web of your glove.
Next, hitting. It’s been said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports, so you might find hitting extremely difficult when you start. However, once you get a fundamental technique down, every part of it will start to become easier. Begin hitting off a tee if you can. If you’re starting baseball fairly late, don’t be embarrassed about using one of these. Many people falsely look at them as kid’s equipment, but even major league players use batting tees to perfect their swing.
When hitting, you want to put your weight mainly on your back foot, and take a slight step forward just before you swing. Keep the bat parallel to the ground as you swing, and ensure that your arms are extended fully. Your head should stay as still as possible through the whole of your swing. To do this, make sure you keep your eyes focused on the ball all the way up to the moment of contact.
Though there are certain “don’ts” about batting stances, they vary greatly from player to player. Do some of your own research and experimenting, and try to find a stance that suits you best. When you combine your stance with all these other techniques, you’ll have a fair chance of hitting the ball every time.
Once you start getting a good feel for hitting, you should also practice bunting. If you’re right-handed, do this by gripping the base of the bat with your left hand, and holding the neck of the bat a few inches from where the grip ends. Then, lightly tap the ball with the face of the bat. Again, this might feel a little strange to begin with. However, it won’t take long to pick up. Ask any experienced player, and most will tell you that a good bunt is easier than a good hit.
These steps ought to help you get into the sport of baseball. Get all the right equipment, and practice the techniques described here over and over. If you have a passion for it, you’ll get good so fast that it might surprise you!