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Southington Knights Travel Baseball

Our program is a non-profit, competitive travel baseball organization supporting athletes ages 8-18 years old.  Southington Travel is focused on the foundations of developmental baseball with the ability to expand our athletes to an elite level play with our affiliation with AAU. 

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#Commitment

 

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    Coaches Corner

    Knights Offensive Attack Guide

    By STKB 02/02/2022, 9:45am EST

    Knights Baseball Offensive

    Attack Guide

    Philosophy:

    Commit to the approach. You don’t pick and choose when to follow the approach. It is a part of your arsenal. Buying into this product means you will stay with it through successes and failures. You will fail more times than you succeed, staying consistent in your approach / plan of attack at the plate will bring consistency to your game. Accept failure, learn from it, move on, and apply what you have learned.

    Ages 9-12

    1. Stay in the strike zone. Be patient. As hitters, if we focus on the strike zone and swing at pitches that we can handle, we have a better chance of making solid contact. “Your” pitch will come, we don’t have to chase outside the zone to find it.
    2. Square up the baseball. Balls consistently hit on the barrel will find grass more often than balls hit off the handle/cap. Fighting to make solid contact promotes barrel control which become vital when velocity increases.
    3. Commit to hitting the ball on a line. Trying to lift the baseball will only create bad habits. Line drive mentality will create a move level bat path... miss hits will result in deep fly balls and hard grounders.
    4. Use the middle of the field. All hitters should be trying to hit the ball “back where it came from”. Middle of the field timing insures we are seeing the ball and making a conscious effort to let the ball travel. “Pull happy” hitters are one dimensional and will struggle with timing when off speed pitches come into play later.
    5. Every at bat is an opportunity to succeed. Whether you are 0-3 or 3-3, your fourth at bat is an OPPORTUNITY to get a hit. Treat every at-bat like it is your only at bat of the game.

    Ages 13-15

    1. ZONE IT UP. Hitters should be looking for their pitch. Free swinging is no longer an option. Unless there are two strikes, we are looking for pitches in our sweet spot to do damage and hit the baseball hard.
    2. Looking away. The majority of pitches thrown at the high school level are fastballs and breaking balls on the outside corners. As hitters, it is our job to make sure we are ready to hit the ball out over the plate. The only way to do this is to use the opposite field. Trying to pull pitches on the outside corner will result in weak contact. If we are anticipating the pitch to be away, we should be able to let the ball travel and use the middle to opposite field.
    3. Having a plan pitch to pitch. At this level, it is no longer see ball hit ball. As hitters, we must come up with a pitch-to-pitch plan that allows us to make adjustments based on what the pitcher is doing. It is important as hitters to try and pick up pitcher’s tendencies and adjust to what they are doing as quickly as possible. For example, if you are looking for a curveball and you get a fastball, you take it and move on. Commit to your plan and trust it.
    4. “Flush it”. The best hitters in the world are where they are because they make adjustments. They also don’t let the umpire or themselves beat them. This means after a bad strike call or a bad swing/at-bat, they step out of the box, reset, and move on the next pitch. STEP OUT, RESET, ADJUST, ATTACK. The longer we dwell over the bat swing or the terrible at bat we just had, the bigger hole we dig for ourselves.
    5. FAILURE IS PART OF THE GAME. You are going to get out more times than you will succeed at the plate. Accepting that is going to make you a better hitter. Control the Controllable, you cannot control the ball after it hits the bat… What you can control is swinging at good pitches so we can make solid contact and hit the ball hard. A hard line drive caught by the center fielder > pop up that drops in the outfield. Stats do not define a player, forget about the numbers. Focus on hitting the ball hard.

    ***You are just as much in the game on the bench watching than playing. Watching what is happening before your at-bat will give you and edge. We are always looking for an edge.***

    Ages 16-18

    1. ZONE IT UP. Hitters should be looking for their pitch. Free swinging is NOT an option. Unless there are two strikes, we are looking for pitches in our sweet spot to do damage and hit the baseball hard. Understanding which pitches we handle better than others is important. WE DO NOT get beat in OUR ZONE. If we are ready to hit, we shouldn’t miss pitches that we are looking for.
    2. Having a plan pitch to pitch. At this level, it is no longer see ball hit ball. As hitters, we must come up with a pitch-to-pitch plan that allows us to make adjustments based on what the pitcher is doing. It is important as hitters to try and pick up pitcher’s tendencies and adjust to what they are doing as quickly as possible. Being able to adjust pitch to pitch give you a better chance of succeeding in your at bat. When in doubt, LOOK AWAY/REACT IN. Hit the ball where its pitched.
    3. Gap to Gap timing. We are looking to do damage to the baseball. When we get the pitch we want and we pull the trigger, we should be looking to drive the ball into the gaps ( inside pull side gap / away oppo gap ). This DOES NOT mean we are trying to lift the baseball. Hard line drives over the second basemen and shortstop should be the focus.
    4. “Flush it”. The best hitters in the world are where they are because they make adjustments. They also don’t let the umpire or themselves beat them. This means after a bad strike call or a bad swing/at-bat, they step out of the box, reset, and move on the next pitch. STEP OUT, RESET, ADJUST, ATTACK. The longer we dwell over the bat swing or the terrible at bat we just had, the bigger hole we dig for ourselves. *The older you get, the less likely you are to get “mistake” pitches. The one you take after still dwelling on the last pitch might be the only one you get.*
    5. Be yourself. Understand what kind of hitter you are. Don’t try to be someone you are not. The best version of yourself is what got you to this position. Continue to master YOUR craft and become the best version of yourself. Simplify your goals as a hitter, commit to them and execute to the best of your ability. Stay in your comfort zone. BE CONFIDENT, embrace challenges and fight like hell to win each pitch.

     

    Week 1

    By Coach Marc LeFort 12/15/2021, 11:30am EST

    Find out what our players were working on this week

    Hello Blue Knight families,

    It was an awesome start to our winter workout sessions. The coaching staff thought that it would be a great opportunity to express to our families the on-goings in our hitting and fielding workouts. As part of our coaches corner, parents and players are welcome to view this section of our website in order to have some insight to what you players are learning. Also, this can be an opportunity to help encourage and reinforce our message to the players on our philosophies. This is a great way to help your sons outside of their weekly workouts. Lastly, we will randomly post valuable images, videos and articles that are important to all that view. This is what they learned so far......

    Hitting- Grip, Stance, Load and Finish

    Grip

    • In fingertips, with door knocking knuckles are lined up.

      • In order to figure out if knuckles are lined up, here are a couple things we have them do

        • Once they have grip on the bat, point both index fingers. Both should be pointing forward, not crossing over.

        • Hold bat over head and in an ax/chopping motion, swing downward, catching the bat just before hitting the ground. At this point, the player should “feel” the bat in their fingers.

    Stance

    • Building from the bottom up.

    • Feet should be about just outside shoulder width apart

    • Toes should be slightly pointed inward.

      • Athletic stance, knees bent and chin in the middle of body. Should feel weight evenly on both front and back legs/feet.

      • By having the front toe slightly pointed in, the player will be less apt to “open up” or pull their shoulder away from the plate, allowing them to have better coverage in order to hit the ball. The back toe will allow the player to start the load and help carry out the back hip drive as the swing begins.

    • Bat should be held around shoulder level, in a relaxed position. Elbow also in a relaxed position, not normally up or pointed straight back. By being relaxed, it allows for players to stay relaxed and begin the loading process.

    Load

    • The load is the process that allows players to get in rhythm with the pitcher.

    • It also allows the hitter to get his hands and body in motion in order to make solid contact with the pitch.

    • The player should feel a “separation” as their hands slightly move back, “showing” the knob of the bat backs towards the catchers mitt. As the separation begins,the front foot should slightly stride towards the pitcher.

    • After this, this will help engage the hip drive.

    Finish

    • On the start of the swing, the knob of the bat drives back towards the pitcher, allowing the barrel to follow.

    • As the swing is happening, the back elbow should “tuck” close to the body, creating a strong “L” with the backside arm. This allows for the player to have a short, compact swing.

    • As the barrel is extending through the hitting zone, the back foot will help the hip drive by pivoting up onto the toe, finishing off the swing.

    Throwing/Fielding

    Flip Drill

    With a ball in hand, player should hold throwing side elbow on top of glove at shoulder level. They should practice snapping wrist and fingers forward towards target, almost as if they are poking them in the eyes.

    This teaches the player this is how they finish off their throws. Also, they are working on 4 seam grip and accuracy when finishing.

    Y Drill

    Facing sideways, player will move from V slot position with their arms. (Ball/glove  is under chin, elbows down in a relaxed position.) to the Y position. The front arm is the players "steering wheel" showing elbow/forearm towards target. Throwing side arm makes a small half circle, working down to up. Elbow will come up to shoulder level, showing the baseball away from throwing target. 

    By showing the ball forward, it becomes a pushing motion, not allowing the ball to have maximum velocity and "carry" on the ball.

    Approach and presentation to groundball

    Pre-pitch to pitch motion should be "prep steps" having feet move getting ready to move in any direction in order to field ball.

    As ball gets into hitting zone, player should make a small hop, allowing them to stay athletic on the balls of their feet, not landing flat footed or in their heels.

    This will allow them to react to the speed and direction of the baseball. 

    As they approach the ball, player should move slightly to the right of the ball, allowing them to read the speed and hops of the ball. This is also because the majority of the movements is towards the right side of the field, either towards 1st or 2nd base. The ball should be fielded with a right step, left step and present the glove to the ball, with a slight pushing out motion, allowing them to come through the ball, with hands at 7 and 2 on clock positions. Once fielded, the ball should be funneled into chest getting into V slot position. As they move towards the target, players should use back toe to front heel motion and step to target. Left handed players do everything in reverse.

    Drills- All drills start with approach explained above, All done with 100% game intent

    Attacking One Handed Drill

    Attacking a ball in front to their glove hand and backhand

    Crossover

    Same as above, focus being on the crossover step, present glove opened to ball with proper body posture. This should be done in both directions. 

    Drop step

    Same as above, focus on drop step on an angle, present glove opened to ball with proper body posture. This should be done working on drop step with both right and left leg.

    Shuffle Drill

    Approach normal 2 hand groundball in between feet, funnel and shuffle approximately 5 yards as explained above.

    Coaches Corner

    Knights Offensive Attack Guide

    By STKB 02/02/2022, 9:45am EST

    Knights Baseball Offensive

    Attack Guide

    Philosophy:

    Commit to the approach. You don’t pick and choose when to follow the approach. It is a part of your arsenal. Buying into this product means you will stay with it through successes and failures. You will fail more times than you succeed, staying consistent in your approach / plan of attack at the plate will bring consistency to your game. Accept failure, learn from it, move on, and apply what you have learned.

    Ages 9-12

    1. Stay in the strike zone. Be patient. As hitters, if we focus on the strike zone and swing at pitches that we can handle, we have a better chance of making solid contact. “Your” pitch will come, we don’t have to chase outside the zone to find it.
    2. Square up the baseball. Balls consistently hit on the barrel will find grass more often than balls hit off the handle/cap. Fighting to make solid contact promotes barrel control which become vital when velocity increases.
    3. Commit to hitting the ball on a line. Trying to lift the baseball will only create bad habits. Line drive mentality will create a move level bat path... miss hits will result in deep fly balls and hard grounders.
    4. Use the middle of the field. All hitters should be trying to hit the ball “back where it came from”. Middle of the field timing insures we are seeing the ball and making a conscious effort to let the ball travel. “Pull happy” hitters are one dimensional and will struggle with timing when off speed pitches come into play later.
    5. Every at bat is an opportunity to succeed. Whether you are 0-3 or 3-3, your fourth at bat is an OPPORTUNITY to get a hit. Treat every at-bat like it is your only at bat of the game.

    Ages 13-15

    1. ZONE IT UP. Hitters should be looking for their pitch. Free swinging is no longer an option. Unless there are two strikes, we are looking for pitches in our sweet spot to do damage and hit the baseball hard.
    2. Looking away. The majority of pitches thrown at the high school level are fastballs and breaking balls on the outside corners. As hitters, it is our job to make sure we are ready to hit the ball out over the plate. The only way to do this is to use the opposite field. Trying to pull pitches on the outside corner will result in weak contact. If we are anticipating the pitch to be away, we should be able to let the ball travel and use the middle to opposite field.
    3. Having a plan pitch to pitch. At this level, it is no longer see ball hit ball. As hitters, we must come up with a pitch-to-pitch plan that allows us to make adjustments based on what the pitcher is doing. It is important as hitters to try and pick up pitcher’s tendencies and adjust to what they are doing as quickly as possible. For example, if you are looking for a curveball and you get a fastball, you take it and move on. Commit to your plan and trust it.
    4. “Flush it”. The best hitters in the world are where they are because they make adjustments. They also don’t let the umpire or themselves beat them. This means after a bad strike call or a bad swing/at-bat, they step out of the box, reset, and move on the next pitch. STEP OUT, RESET, ADJUST, ATTACK. The longer we dwell over the bat swing or the terrible at bat we just had, the bigger hole we dig for ourselves.
    5. FAILURE IS PART OF THE GAME. You are going to get out more times than you will succeed at the plate. Accepting that is going to make you a better hitter. Control the Controllable, you cannot control the ball after it hits the bat… What you can control is swinging at good pitches so we can make solid contact and hit the ball hard. A hard line drive caught by the center fielder > pop up that drops in the outfield. Stats do not define a player, forget about the numbers. Focus on hitting the ball hard.

    ***You are just as much in the game on the bench watching than playing. Watching what is happening before your at-bat will give you and edge. We are always looking for an edge.***

    Ages 16-18

    1. ZONE IT UP. Hitters should be looking for their pitch. Free swinging is NOT an option. Unless there are two strikes, we are looking for pitches in our sweet spot to do damage and hit the baseball hard. Understanding which pitches we handle better than others is important. WE DO NOT get beat in OUR ZONE. If we are ready to hit, we shouldn’t miss pitches that we are looking for.
    2. Having a plan pitch to pitch. At this level, it is no longer see ball hit ball. As hitters, we must come up with a pitch-to-pitch plan that allows us to make adjustments based on what the pitcher is doing. It is important as hitters to try and pick up pitcher’s tendencies and adjust to what they are doing as quickly as possible. Being able to adjust pitch to pitch give you a better chance of succeeding in your at bat. When in doubt, LOOK AWAY/REACT IN. Hit the ball where its pitched.
    3. Gap to Gap timing. We are looking to do damage to the baseball. When we get the pitch we want and we pull the trigger, we should be looking to drive the ball into the gaps ( inside pull side gap / away oppo gap ). This DOES NOT mean we are trying to lift the baseball. Hard line drives over the second basemen and shortstop should be the focus.
    4. “Flush it”. The best hitters in the world are where they are because they make adjustments. They also don’t let the umpire or themselves beat them. This means after a bad strike call or a bad swing/at-bat, they step out of the box, reset, and move on the next pitch. STEP OUT, RESET, ADJUST, ATTACK. The longer we dwell over the bat swing or the terrible at bat we just had, the bigger hole we dig for ourselves. *The older you get, the less likely you are to get “mistake” pitches. The one you take after still dwelling on the last pitch might be the only one you get.*
    5. Be yourself. Understand what kind of hitter you are. Don’t try to be someone you are not. The best version of yourself is what got you to this position. Continue to master YOUR craft and become the best version of yourself. Simplify your goals as a hitter, commit to them and execute to the best of your ability. Stay in your comfort zone. BE CONFIDENT, embrace challenges and fight like hell to win each pitch.

     

    Week 1

    By Coach Marc LeFort 12/15/2021, 11:30am EST

    Find out what our players were working on this week

    Hello Blue Knight families,

    It was an awesome start to our winter workout sessions. The coaching staff thought that it would be a great opportunity to express to our families the on-goings in our hitting and fielding workouts. As part of our coaches corner, parents and players are welcome to view this section of our website in order to have some insight to what you players are learning. Also, this can be an opportunity to help encourage and reinforce our message to the players on our philosophies. This is a great way to help your sons outside of their weekly workouts. Lastly, we will randomly post valuable images, videos and articles that are important to all that view. This is what they learned so far......

    Hitting- Grip, Stance, Load and Finish

    Grip

    • In fingertips, with door knocking knuckles are lined up.

      • In order to figure out if knuckles are lined up, here are a couple things we have them do

        • Once they have grip on the bat, point both index fingers. Both should be pointing forward, not crossing over.

        • Hold bat over head and in an ax/chopping motion, swing downward, catching the bat just before hitting the ground. At this point, the player should “feel” the bat in their fingers.

    Stance

    • Building from the bottom up.

    • Feet should be about just outside shoulder width apart

    • Toes should be slightly pointed inward.

      • Athletic stance, knees bent and chin in the middle of body. Should feel weight evenly on both front and back legs/feet.

      • By having the front toe slightly pointed in, the player will be less apt to “open up” or pull their shoulder away from the plate, allowing them to have better coverage in order to hit the ball. The back toe will allow the player to start the load and help carry out the back hip drive as the swing begins.

    • Bat should be held around shoulder level, in a relaxed position. Elbow also in a relaxed position, not normally up or pointed straight back. By being relaxed, it allows for players to stay relaxed and begin the loading process.

    Load

    • The load is the process that allows players to get in rhythm with the pitcher.

    • It also allows the hitter to get his hands and body in motion in order to make solid contact with the pitch.

    • The player should feel a “separation” as their hands slightly move back, “showing” the knob of the bat backs towards the catchers mitt. As the separation begins,the front foot should slightly stride towards the pitcher.

    • After this, this will help engage the hip drive.

    Finish

    • On the start of the swing, the knob of the bat drives back towards the pitcher, allowing the barrel to follow.

    • As the swing is happening, the back elbow should “tuck” close to the body, creating a strong “L” with the backside arm. This allows for the player to have a short, compact swing.

    • As the barrel is extending through the hitting zone, the back foot will help the hip drive by pivoting up onto the toe, finishing off the swing.

    Throwing/Fielding

    Flip Drill

    With a ball in hand, player should hold throwing side elbow on top of glove at shoulder level. They should practice snapping wrist and fingers forward towards target, almost as if they are poking them in the eyes.

    This teaches the player this is how they finish off their throws. Also, they are working on 4 seam grip and accuracy when finishing.

    Y Drill

    Facing sideways, player will move from V slot position with their arms. (Ball/glove  is under chin, elbows down in a relaxed position.) to the Y position. The front arm is the players "steering wheel" showing elbow/forearm towards target. Throwing side arm makes a small half circle, working down to up. Elbow will come up to shoulder level, showing the baseball away from throwing target. 

    By showing the ball forward, it becomes a pushing motion, not allowing the ball to have maximum velocity and "carry" on the ball.

    Approach and presentation to groundball

    Pre-pitch to pitch motion should be "prep steps" having feet move getting ready to move in any direction in order to field ball.

    As ball gets into hitting zone, player should make a small hop, allowing them to stay athletic on the balls of their feet, not landing flat footed or in their heels.

    This will allow them to react to the speed and direction of the baseball. 

    As they approach the ball, player should move slightly to the right of the ball, allowing them to read the speed and hops of the ball. This is also because the majority of the movements is towards the right side of the field, either towards 1st or 2nd base. The ball should be fielded with a right step, left step and present the glove to the ball, with a slight pushing out motion, allowing them to come through the ball, with hands at 7 and 2 on clock positions. Once fielded, the ball should be funneled into chest getting into V slot position. As they move towards the target, players should use back toe to front heel motion and step to target. Left handed players do everything in reverse.

    Drills- All drills start with approach explained above, All done with 100% game intent

    Attacking One Handed Drill

    Attacking a ball in front to their glove hand and backhand

    Crossover

    Same as above, focus being on the crossover step, present glove opened to ball with proper body posture. This should be done in both directions. 

    Drop step

    Same as above, focus on drop step on an angle, present glove opened to ball with proper body posture. This should be done working on drop step with both right and left leg.

    Shuffle Drill

    Approach normal 2 hand groundball in between feet, funnel and shuffle approximately 5 yards as explained above.

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