Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Let me see your calendar

October 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Off-Season

You say you are a serious ball player with aspirations to play in college or the pro level?  Yeah? Prove it.  Let me see your calendar. Playing college or pro baseball is not something you can just wake up and decide to do when you are 20 or 25.  It takes a lot of work […]

Embarrass yourself before someone else does

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side

Ever get called out by a coach or a teammate?  Play long enough and every player will have that happen to them at least once.  It could be a teammate who jumps you for not running hard down the line.  It could be a coach jumping you for not trusting your stuff and becoming timid […]

Don’t eat the cheese

October 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up, Off-Season

During the fall, many players and teams use their time (and better weather!) to identify areas where they struggled during the spring and summer and work  to improve upon them.  This is especially true for those who had poor seasons. This time of year, I don’t tend to worry about the players and teams who […]

Do pitchers lead with the hip or the foot?

October 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching, Video Posts

There are many debates in baseball that still rage on today.  One of them involves whether it is better for a pitcher to lead with his front foot or whether he should lead with his hip when he starts his movement towards home plate.  The “foot leaders” camp are often described as advocating the “Drop […]

Confidently unorthodox

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Infield, Second Base, Shortstop, Third Base

“When you catch the ball, use two hands.”   “On grounders, square up and get in front of the ball.” “Don’t show-off and flip the ball with your glove.  Take it out with your hand and throw it properly.” The comments above are certainly in the “old school” camp of baseball coaching.  You can’t go wrong […]

The way you do anything is the way you’ll do everything

September 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up

“The way you do anything is the way you’ll do everything.“ I heard this quote the other day and I think there is a lot of truth in it when it comes to life and baseball. Human beings are creatures of habit.  How we act and think today is very likely to be the same […]

The Bunting Tee Drill

September 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Video Posts

The batting tee is probably the most versatile tool for baseball players.  It can be used for drill work in almost every area of the game.  Today’s video tip shows how you can use a tee to practice two specific types of bunts. Written post for push bunting: http://www.baseballbytheyard.com/the-underrated-push-bunt/ Base hitt bunting footwork for left-handers: […]

Stealing on first-move (Part 3)

This is the final post in a three part series on stealing first-move on a left-handed pitcher.  In Part 1, I explained what stealing first-move is and why it can be an effective strategy.  In Part 2, I discussed a variety of things the offensive team needs to be aware of and do in order to be […]

Stealing on first-move (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series I discussed what stealing first-move means and why it can be a very good option when a left-hander is on the mound.  In Part 2 I wanted to cover some of the little things the offense needs to do in order to increase the chances of the play turning […]

Stealing on first-move (Part 1)

September 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Base Running, Coaching, First Base, Pitching

This is Part 1 of a three part series on stealing second base using the “first-move” method.  Today I’ll focus on what stealing “first-move” means and why a coach/runner would do it. Up first is What does it mean to steal on first-move? Stealing on a pitcher’s first-move involves a runner who breaks towards second […]

The Jam Drill

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

When a batter smokes a line drive right at someone, you may hear a coach say “Don’t worry.  They’ll even out.”  What he means is that someday the hitter will get a bloop hit and the two will even out. Never was there a more false statement in all the world.  That’s because they never […]

A better leg kick for pitchers

September 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching, Video Posts

Young baseball players who are just starting to pitch typically need to focus on being very efficient and under control to help them throw more strikes.  However, as kids get older and the distances of their pitch increases, there is a need to develop more power in their mechanics.  A better leg kick is one […]

How to jump over runners on double plays

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Shortstop, Video Posts

Over the past several years, Major League Baseball has instituted some rule changes about sliding in order to better protect middle infielders on double plays.  However, as I state in today’s video, middle infielders no matter what the level should never assume the runner coming at them is going to follow the rules.  Proper footwork around […]

Two tips for catching low strikes

August 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching

One big job for catchers is to help their pitchers get more strikes called on close pitches.  How they receive/catch the ball can play a large role in that.  In today’s video, Coach McCreary shows catchers two ways they can get more strikes called on low pitches.

What sport are you playing in the fall?

August 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Off-Season

Over the past couple decades, specializing in one sport (especially baseball) and playing it year-round has become a popular trend.  It’s a horrible trend in my opinion and doctors, college coaches, and professional scouts agree.   Doctors are sounding the alarm because they are seeing more and more repetitive-motion injuries in young kids.  These injuries […]

The mini wind-up for pitchers

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching, Video Posts

Learning how to pitch can be a difficult thing for young pitchers.  Bad balance, not staying on their line, and simply bad body control add contribute to young pitchers not being to consistently throw strikes.  Usually less movement is better when instructing young pitchers which is why many coaches recommend young pitchers throw from the […]

Touch the front of first base!

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Base Running

Here is a painful reminder why a runner always needs to touch the FRONT part of the bag at first base.  No exceptions!  I’m hoping Harper’s knee injury is not serious. Touching the front gets you to first base more quickly and you don’t land on the slippery part of the bag with your spikes […]

Tip for catchers to help their coach on close pitches

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching, Coaching

“COME ON, UMP!  WHERE’S THAT PITCH?  LET’S GO!”” Sit close to a field and you will hear a lot of variations of the phrase above.  Quite often, what follows will be the umpire calling time-out, taking his mask off, and telling the coach(es) to pipe down or else they will be watching the rest of […]

Tips on diving back to first base

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Base Running

The photo to the right shows a runner properly diving back to first base on either a pick-off by the pitcher or an after-the-pitch pickoff attempt by the catcher.  Either way, the process of diving back to the bag is the same.  I’ll make a future video demonstrating all this but for now, let’s list […]

The underrated push bunt

July 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

In my opinion, one of the most underrated plays in baseball is the push bunt from right handed hitters.  Someday I’ll make a video demonstrating how to do it properly but today we’ll just get into the benefits and the purposes of it. First, the benefits. It confuses the 1st baseman and the pitcher.  The […]

You only “pitch” when you are in the stretch

July 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching

How many times have you seen a pitcher warm-up before a game or throw a bullpen between starts and never (or almost never) throw any pitches from the stretch?  I lost count. Think about it … when you are pitching in a game and you are in a jam, that means runners are on base, […]

Improve the last warm-up pitch before the inning

July 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching, Pitching

We’ve all seen it a thousand times … the catcher yells “Comin’ down!” before the last warm-up pitch by the pitcher.  At the higher levels, the catcher just puts his throwing arm out to the side and doesn’t yell anything.  The extended arm alerts the middle-infielder to be at the bag after the next warm-up […]

Three ways to quicken your transitions from catching to throwing

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Infield

The photo on the right is my son about to throw a ball to a teammate in this year’s SE Pennsylvania 10u Ripken State Tournament Skills Night.  The event they are participating in was the Around-the-horn competition.  The ball starts at home plate and is thrown to third – second – first – and back […]

The importance of being aggressive early at the plate

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Mental Side

As all of my readers know, baseball is a very cerebral game.  The difference between winning and losing & succeeding and failing at the game often is more about what is going on between the ears and not in the physical things you can see.  No area of the game is immune to this either. […]

The shortstop’s priority when holding runners on

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Shortstop

There are a boatload of little things that shortstops should do in order to effectively hold runners on at second base.  However, one stands out as the top priority and that involves getting the runner (and third base coach!) comfortable with you being just off the runner’s left shoulder. Unfortunately, many shortstops position themselves here […]

Sometimes you have to pack the parachutes

July 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Make Up, Mental Side

I recently heard an inspiring true story from a friend/coach.   It goes like this … Captain Charlie Plumb was a fighter pilot in the 60’s during the Vietnam War.  While on a mission, his jet was shot down.  He was able to eject but unfortunately for him, he had to parachute down into enemy […]

Good outfield jumps are mental

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Outfield

One of the things I always stressed to my players, especially the outfielders, is that on every foul ball, I should see all seven fielders behind the pitcher move in the direction of the foul ball.  For example, if the batter fouls a pitch down the right field line, all seven fielders behind the pitcher […]

Happy July 4th week

July 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Misc

Hi everyone! No posts this week.  I hope you and your families have a relaxing and fun 4th of July week!   Next post will be Monday.  Good luck if you are playing this week!   Coach McCreary

If you know a young player, make him watch this

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Misc

Young American kids typically wear $80 spikes.  They use $300+ mako bats.  They play on nice fields and they carry baseball bags filled with 20 pounds of other gear.  Some are the best players in their area.  They have dreams of playing professional baseball and assume their previous success in the game will carry well into […]

How to improve your pitching machine

June 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Coaching, Hitting

I’m not a gigantic fan of pitching machines mainly because they are so unrealistic to how a ball is going to be pitched to a batter.  Here is a picture that shows the obvious problem.   No pitch will ever shoot out of a pitcher’s belly button.  The ball will usually be released above and […]

Base running – A yard makes a big difference

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Base Running

If you have been a reader of this site then you probably know the story of why I call it Baseball By The Yard.  If you don’t, watch the video on my Home Page that explains the story and the significance. The other day I was working with some older base runners at a high […]

How to rub up a baseball

June 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Coaching, Pitching

As a former pitcher, it bothers me every time a sparkling white, brand new baseball is thrown into a game.  If the game balls are my team’s responsibility then they will always be rubbed up.  It’s just habit. Watch today’s video tip to learn the why’s and how’s of correctly rubbing up game balls.

How to autograph a baseball

June 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Misc

I’m a stickler for doing things right when it comes to the game of baseball.  Right down to how to autograph a baseball. In today’s video tip, I show the wrong way and the right way to do it.  If you are going to do it, do it right!

Pitchers – warm up in the same direction

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching

As a pitcher, I don’t think I warmed up in a real bullpen until I got to high school.  And even then I think only one or two fields had them.  Most of the time a catcher and I would find an area in the outfield, walk off about 60 feet, and start throwing.  No […]

Knob to the ball v Hands inside the ball – What’s the difference?

June 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

I’ve said numerous times on my site that one size never fits all when it comes to teaching baseball.  Everyone plays and learns differently and therefore requires unique methods of instruction.  This is true right down to the phrases that players and coaches use. Two popular phrases in hitting are “keep your hands inside the […]

Proper helmet throwing

June 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

I’m a HUGE Domingo Ayala fan.  In my opinion, this is his best work yet.  Check out all his other videos HERE.  Enjoy!  

Slumps and the common cold

June 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

Sooner or later, everyone will catch a cold just like every batter will find himself in a rut or a slump.  The two are very similar because no matter what you do, you are going to have both for a few days.  Neither one has a cure and both are a nuisance. Although a common […]

Be on second base!

May 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Base Running

You see it all the time in the big leagues on TV.  A player hits a pop-up, slams the bat down, and runs about 60% to first base.  Most of the time, the fielder catches the ball and the batter trots back to the dugout after half-heartedly rounding first base.  Until the ball drops. The […]

Pitchers and the Spotlight Effect

May 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Mental Side, Pitching

If you ever took a psychology course then you probably know that there are many things that can impact how we perceive the world around us.  Quite often our perceptions are flawed as a result.  Concepts like confirmation bias, the fundamental attribution error, and hindsight bias are just a few of the things that humans […]

Within three pitches

May 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching

Successful pitching at any level is not rocket science.  Get ahead and force them to put the ball into play.   There are very few situations in the game where a strikeout is necessary.  2nd and 3rd and no outs would be an example.  Every other situation calls for the pitcher to force the batter […]

The good and bad of golf during baseball season

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

There have been several times where I have watched a batter for the first time during a hitting lesson and asked the player, “How long have you played golf?”  The response has always started with a look that said “How did you know I played golf?” and then finished with an actual answer like “a […]

Accelerate the barrel through the zone

May 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

One of the hundreds of baseball sayings my dad passed on to me growing up was, “The ball will not jump off the bat by itself.  You have to make it jump off your bat.”  I find myself saying that to many of the hitters I work with these days. Younger kids who are learning […]

Strikeouts are killing baseball

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

When I was in the Twins organization, I had a teammate who was a power hitter who struck out a lot.  Another teammate was kidding him about his strikeout totals and the power hitter said the following: “An out is an out.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a ground ball, a pop-up, or a strike […]

Baseball has a problem

May 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Pitching

A friend sent this photo from a game he was watching yesterday.  Yes, “TJ” stands for “Tommy John” surgery.  And this is only one team at one level. Folks, there are serious problems in the game of baseball.  Red flags should be waving and alarm bells should be sounding at every level.

Why don’t more catchers drop a knee?

May 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Catching

Being a catcher has to be the most physically demanding job on a baseball field.  Heck, my knees hurt just warming up a pitcher for a few throws.  I can’t imagine squatting down day in and day out over the course of a 162 game schedule. This is why I can’t understand why more catchers […]

Cardinal sins of base running

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Base Running

If you have watched MLB highlights over the past few days then you probably have seen this play from Yadier Molina. The base runner who went to third on the walk broke three (yes, a MLB player committed THREE!!!!) cardinal sins on one single play.  Here they are: The runner rounded a base when a […]

10 reasons to front-toss

April 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Coaching, Hitting

There are several ways to practice hitting.  Live BP and hitting off a tee are popular ones.  All have value but in my opinion and all things considered, front-toss is king.  Here are ten reasons why in no particular order. Safety disclaimer: Whenever you front-toss, please use caution and make sure the screen in front […]

Beating a slow pitcher with your feet

April 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

Ask any Major Leaguer who they would rather face – a hard throwing guy bringing it 93mph or a soft throwing guy who throws anywhere from 75-86 mph – and I bet well over 85% of them will say “bring on the hard thrower!“ To counter slow pitching, many coaches suggest/demand that their batters move […]

Snap your swings like a boxer

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting, Video Posts

Today’s video tip involves a phrase I have been using with my son recently in order to increase his bat speed.  The phrase is “snap your swings.”  As you will see, it is related to the sport of boxing.

What are your hitting cues?

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Hitting

Every hitter has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.  Some are great at pulling the ball but not so great at staying back and going the other way.  Others are just the opposite.  The important thing is to know what they are.  If you do then you can better address them in practice and […]

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