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Tip of the Week

Baseball Excellence Proudly Presents the Free Tip Of The Week! Every week we send you valuable hints and tips taken from our Newsletters, Videos, books or simply subjects chosen at random. They include tips on pitching, hitting, fielding, coaching, base running, catching, conditioning, and a sound mental approach to the game.
September 23rd, 2013 Tip of the Week

Baseball Excellence Proudly Presents the Free Tip Of The Week! Every week we send you valuable hints and tips taken from our Newsletters, Videos, books or simply subjects chosen at random. They include tips on pitching, hitting, fielding, coaching, base running, catching, conditioning, and a sound mental approach to the game.    


"Can be one of the prettiest plays in baseball if done right." 

Picks are one handed short hop catches of throws from other fielders. They are aggressive and from the "ground up" (and slightly out). They can and should be routinely performed while the fielder is getting as low as possible to set his feet for a possible throw or tag. One of the major reasons youth players do not pick well is they don't get their legs and glove tips low enough before the throw arrives.

The forehand pick is very wristy. The ball is attacked in a quick palm up motion. This skill also serves the player on the gloved "do or die play". During the back hand pick the wrist is locked the entire time. The ball is attacked in a straight out and up motion. This skill serves the player well while backhanding a ground ball as well.

Every infielder (including pitchers) need to perform picks instinctively. Picks enable cut off and relay men to make outfielders look good just like the first baseman's job is to make the infielders look good. No player should ever expect a good throw!

The player needs to make quick decisions on which balls to pick and which balls to block. 

The secret of "picking" is to set your feet so you can perform your short "stretch" and catch the ball from the "ground up". On both picks (forehand & backhand) you have to get your fanny very low and glove tips literally to the ground when the throw is half to 3/4 way to you.


Young players often will not get their glove tips on the ground. (Lazy?) This has to be constantly reinforced.


The ball is caught aggressively (on the short hop) on the way up from the ground. DO NOT move or rock glove back first. There are no "soft hands" on picks. The glove should travel from the ground to shoulder height in less than a second.

The ground up technique increases your chances because you don't have to worry about the ball traveling under, only over your glove. We never say a word if our infielder misses a ball that goes OVER his glove.

There is a lot of wrist action on a forehand pick. The glove action is an aggressive palm up action as the ball is caught and the glove travels up and out all the way to shoulder height. This quick palm up action keeps the ball from flying out of your glove. The fielder should catch the ball in the webbing of the glove only; not the pocket.


There is zero wrist action with the backhand. It stays locked. The elbow starts bent and relaxed at about a 45' angle and remains that way as the catch is made and the glove travels aggressively up, keeping the body low.

The glove travels more outward (away from body and toward fielder) on forehand picks than it does on backhand picks.

Picking is easy once you get the hang of it but it takes a lot of practice. Some teams have their infield make low throws in practice and in between innings but we believe that infielders should never intentionally make a poor throw.

At the higher level, Infielders are taught to "get it and get rid of it" quickly. It is your duty to expect a low and errant throw each time and turn them into "routine" outs.


"He can pick it," Jack Snow (Former tight end for the Los Angeles Rams) said. ``We spent a lot of time when he was growing up--we'd go over to the park, and I always had a bucket of balls, about 50, 60 balls, and I'd always throw balls from second base and shortstop and third base and the pitcher's mound. We'd go through 200, 250 balls every time. We'd go out, and he had to field every one cleanly, and I made them all on hops. I never threw them perfectly to him. He had to pick every one or we'd start all over again. And it worked. J. T.'s won six Gold Gloves.''


There are a few drills you can do.

  1. 1.     Have your infielder stride out with his left foot forward as if he were making the pick, and bounce short hops to him using his hands only. Throw to both sides as well as in the middle of his body (The more difficult play).
  2. 2.     To your first basemen hit sharp fungoes from the second base position. These balls take unpredictable bounces and will give your players a good workout.


The fear factor may come into play with younger players. They may have a tendency to turn their heads as the ball approaches. This fear must be overcome if they are to be effective infielders. Coach Grant has had players put on a catcher's mask until they could put that fear behind them.


There may be some pain involved as well as they are learning this skill. They are bound to take balls off the underside of their forearms. You can have them wear long sleeve shirts or a double set of wrist bands up on the forearm.  

QUOTES of the Week

The following is for Phil Rognier's Baseball Intelligence August 2013 email. Phil is a wise man and I appreciate being able to share his words with you.


Having gone to college "way too long", living over six decades, and believing that baseball is the truly only real educational game/sport, I deem it time to declare officially that "Baseball is life"(or vice versa).


The intrinsic value of baseball and its preparation for a productive life begins with tee ball and proceeds through vicarious playing later in life.  As a youngster, one learns, hopefully, to "play fair", how to cooperate with others, self-discipline, a good solid work ethic, how to relate and deal with other races and types of people, to live with intention, to learn to deal with results(good or bad), not to quit no matter what, and of course, that the umpire IS always right!!  These "lessons" are invaluable in developing good marital, parental, and societal skills, and are generally applicable in everyday living.  Baseball and life are cooperative ventures that are predicated on creating positive relationships and perpetuating the great American way


Baseball and life are heterogeneous and demand the understanding of all types of people, and necessitate "moving your cheese" within an organized societal structure.  Without the ability or patience to change or adapt within our community leaves one "hitting below the Mendoza Line", and with little self-esteem or personal success.  It is imperative that each person plays by the rules  and learns the over riding precept that we are ALL on the same team but as individuals, we have an obligation to work together, be accountable and responsible for our actions, while at the same time developing our own personality, career, and individuality.  No can do?  Hence, you are out in both baseball and life...


"Baseball is a lot like life.  The line drives are caught and squibblers go for base hits. It's an unfair game." 

Rod Kanehl "


Coach Phil Rognier 



Baseball is a game that can even out the uneven. And that is why it is a great game... and a fair game... and an American game. And I am proud to be an American and have the opportunity to coach baseball.

Old Coach


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