14 Non-Sexy Ways to Help Your Team Win


1. DON’T walk batters with 2 outs and nobody on.

  • Over 60% of balls put in play turn into outs. Make them earn it!
  • “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.”  Sandy Koufax

2. Hang a shutout inning on the opposing team after your team takes the lead

  • It’s always discouraging for a team to score go ahead runs, only to give them right back the very next half inning. Get that killer instinct on the mound.  Do all you can do to not let down once your team goes ahead.


3. Take pride in blocking the ball!

  • “If I can touch it, I will at the very least keep it close.”  That should be your mentality.

4. Backing up first base on a ground ball with nobody on base

  • It’s one of the little things that scouts notice and teams appreciate. Keeping a runner at first after an errant throw can make all the difference in a close game.


5. Diving to keep a groundball in the infield with a runner on 2nd

  • If there is ANY chance you can knock the ball down – lay out!  Take pride in trying to get to EVERYTHING on the ground with a runner on 2nd in order to keep him from scoring.

6. Catch everything! Scooping balls out of the dirt should be second nature to everyone, not just 1st basemen.

  • All infielders should practice scooping to the point where they can do it without thinking.  If you’re not good at it – practice!


7. Hit the cutoff man to prevent the opposing team from taking the extra base.

  • Of course there are do or die moments in some games when the outfielder should just ignore the cutoff man and throw all the way home, but these situations are few and far between.  Keep the opposing team from taking extra bases by keeping your throws low.

8. Making the extra effort to cut off balls in the gap instead of letting them get to the wall.

  • Turning a double into a single or stopping a runner from scoring from first can be huge.


9. Be able to bunt

  • Whether it’s a squeeze, a straight sacrifice, or a push/drag bunt to move the runner to 3rd: being able to bunt when called upon makes your team better.  Being a good bunter is part technique and part having the balls to just stay in there and get it down.  It’s a mentality.

10. Driving in a runner at 3rd with less than 2 outs

  • Know the situation and how the defense is playing. If the infield is playing in, look for a ball you can drive.  If the infield is playing back and conceding the run, look for a ball you can hit hard on the ground.  Hear what Don Mattingly has to say on situational hitting.

Base Runners

11. Know where the outfielders are playing when you’re on base

  • This can make all the difference by not hesitating when taking the extra base or scoring on a base hit. You should check where the outfield is playing every time a new batter comes up.

12. Stretching a single into a double with 2 outs and nobody on.

  • With 2 outs and nobody on, your job is to get in scoring position by any means necessary.  If an outfielder would have to make a good throw to get you out – GO! MAKE HIM MAKE THE PERFECT THROW, especially at the high school level.

On deck Circle

13. Be alert on the on deck circle with men on base

  • Be ready when you need to tell a teammate where to slide if there’s a play at the plate.

From the Bench

14. Always be into the game and ready to step in, when the coach calls your number.

  • Anticipate when you might be called upon in games where you don’t start.  Always be into what’s happening, even if you’re watching from the dugout.  Don’t be surprised, be ready.

This is by no means an all inclusive list. What are some other non-sexy ways to help your team win?



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  • Andrew Kamm

    This is a great list. From a coaching perspective these are all a must. As a coach #7 and #10 were two that really stood out to me. Baseball is a game of inches. Miss a cut off man by an inch and you lose an extra base which could lead to a run. On the other hand, as a base runner you’ve got to be ready to take bases at every opportunity. So stay alert.

    Concerning #10 you have got to take advantage of that opportunity. Over the course of a 50 game collegiate schedule those are 10 RBI’s that you have to have. Which could lead to an extra win or two.

    If you can build an entire team that is committed to the ‘non-sexy’ details you can steal 10 games over the course of an NCAA season. That could be the difference between a middle of the pack finish and a conference championship.

    Love the work Franco. Keep it up. When are you headed to Jupiter?

    • http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com Franco

      Thanks for your feedback coach… It doesn’t matter what level of baseball you’re playing at- The things on this list makes a difference.

      I already made my trip to Jupiter and saw the Mets play the Cards. Your boy Albert k’d 3 times. The good news is that it’s only spring training and I think he’ll be fine!

  • Ryan

    Great List Franco. This should be on the bulletin board of most college programs.

    • http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com Franco

      Thanks Ry. I would venture to say that successful college coaches stress these things on a regular basis. A handful of them (coaches currently in the top 25) helped me put this list together and I know they stress this in practice and of course the games.

  • http://diamondhoggers.com Clint

    Anticipate when you might be called upon in games that you don’t start. Always be into whats happening, even if you’re watching from the dugout. Don’t be surprised, be ready.

    This was my favorite. Well said. When I think back on my life and when I’ve had a really nice at-bat off the bench or a big pinch hit, I was sitting there watching the game play out. I was visioning myself in a situation or two. And by the time I got the call to go hit I knew a few batters ahead of time that it could mentally shake out that way so I was getting loose with a bat but more importantly mentally prepared to go out and hit.

    The times where I just kind of went through the motions and joked with teammates throughout a game with the ‘if I get in, I get in’ attitude I never quite made much happen.

    • http://www.nextlevelballplayer.com Franco

      Great point Clint. It takes a little extra to stay in the game mentally when you’re not playing, but if you take the game serious, it’s hardly a sacrifice.

  • Todd The Topspinner

    Awesome list – I totally relate and I can even make parallels to my own sport of choice… table tennis, in particular #13. Everytime I’m on deck, I’m focusing, watching, and waiting to attack my next opponent. This is not a time to zone out and stretch your muscles, but rather mentally prepare yourself to smash that ball, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a ping pong ball or baseball, you just gotta whack that ball.

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  • http://www.artofbaseball.net Mark Brooks

    This is a fantastic list. It really is about the little things. Great article!