Pocket Radar, Ball Coach edition, $299.99 If there's only resource tool you can spend on, this is the one. From measuring pitching velocity to bat speed, the Pocket Radar is indispensible. As accurate as Stalker and Juggs, yet cheaper. And dead simple to use plus convenient size to carry around. No-brainer.
Smart Coach Radar App System, $399.99 This innovative version of the Pocket Radar uses an app on your mobile device to automatically record video clips with embedded velocities, allowing you & your players to watch the videos and make adjustments in real-time to see if those adjustments help or hurt your velocity, whether pitching or hitting.
J-Bands (Junior or Adult), $40.95 J-Bands are a crucial part of arm care, as well as developing arm strength. Several colors to choose from. Select Junior size for ages 12 and under; Adult size for ages 13 and up.
Whiffle balls, $8.17 for 12 Whiffles are a staple of my practices and pre-game routines. It helps warm up batting eyes and refining batting movements without needing a lot of field space. Buy two packs, put them in a Home Depot bucket and you're good to go.
Whiffle balls, $16.97 for 12 If you want "squishy" whiffles (i.e., whiffle balls that are gentler in fragile environments), I like these balls. I can't guarantee they won't break windows but since they flex on impact, they are definitely safer than the hard plastic whiffles. The color also makes them easy to find, even in taller grass. (Note: many of the balls cracked within the two-year warranty period so keep an eye on yours if you want replacements.)
Golf whiffle balls in 5 different colors, $13 for 49 With these various-colored balls, you can implement different training games (e.g., throw two at a time and call out which color the batter should hit). The point of these mini-whiffles is that due to their much smaller size, the batter needs to concentrate more during their swings to hit these. Do NOT make the mistake of lightly tossing them during practices or pre-game; throw them with pretty good velocity instead.
Lightning Rod, $27.95 Perfect complement to the mini whiffles. The Lightning Rod is thin, making hitting the mini whiffles doubly difficult. And the Stick is light so kids can swing it a lot and not get fatigued. Bonus: comes with 3 mini whiffles.
Driveline plyocare weighted ball set, various prices Driveline Baseball recommends using these to help train youth arms pitching mechanics without hurting arms through constraint training and general arm care. The heavier balls are useful for naturally decelerating the arm. Driveline has a program that uses these pylocare balls for 9-13 year olds and high schoolers.
Elite Swing Mechanics: Understanding & Developing Swing Mechanics Used By Elite Hitters, $30 E-book by Bobby Tewksbary Do you know what the best hitters in the world do with their swing? Perhaps more challenging, do you know how to teach it? Comes with video and audio files.
Building The 95 MPH Body, $40 E-book by Ben Brewster 129 pages! Nutrition information, program information, research studies. Endorsed by Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball, Vanderbilt University pitching coach Scott Brown and others. Enter the special YBE listener code YOUTHEDGE at checkout to get $10 off—only $30!
Heads Up Baseball 2.0: 5 Skills For Competing One Pitch At A Time, $30 Book by Dr. Ken Ravizza & Dr. Tom Hanson There are other mental game books out there, but none are as easy to read and understand in layman's terms nor as widely acclaimed as Heads Up Baseball. Now completely revised.
Travelball: How to Start and Manage a Successful Travel Baseball Team, $29.95 Book by Ron Filipkowski Starting a travel program and don't know where to begin? Wanting to start a program but haven't started yet? This book is packed with practical tips and strategies that will inspire you to get started right now!
The Science Of Hitting, $11 Book by Ted Williams Brilliant, albeit slim, book with practical advice from the last hitter to hit .400 in a season. A good coach friend of mine buys a copy for every assistant coach on his team (he has a new staff every year).
General coaching philosophy
The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, $10.25 Book by David Epstein In the nature vs. nurture debate for sports talent, Epstein takes a decidedly nature stance. There's even a chapter on baseball. This book won't exactly inspire you as you coach your kids but it will certainly give you food for thought...which ultimately is my job here. And that is why this book is on my "Recommended" list.
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How, $15 Book by Daniel Coyle Is talent an issue of nature or nurture? Coyle makes a strong case that it's nurture: if you practice hard enough and smart enough, you can be world-class. I found this book to be very inspirational in nurturing kids of all skill levels on your team. For coaches in house/rec leagues, this book will be one of your all-time favorites.
The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery Of The Most Valuable Commodity In Sports, $7.65 Paperback book by Jeff Passan If you want to know tons of info about Tommy John surgery and not just that "it's an epidemic", this is required reading for all youth baseball coaches. If you prefer the Kindle ebook, it's cheaper.
The Little Book Of Talent: 52 Tips For Improving Your Skills, $15 The Talent Code is a great book but it's more theoretical. This book gives 52 practical tips for applying the theory. It's not baseball-specific, so you'll have to use your creativity to apply these tips to youth baseball. But it'll get your coaching juices flowing. And it's a short book, so you can devour it over a couple short sittings.
Driveline Plus, $189/yr One stop shop for baseball player development Driveline Plus is the best youth baseball resource for parents and coaches, a growing library of the best information on baseball player development. Members will find videos on how to rethink youth baseball training, discounts on Driveline gear, and inside access to Driveline trainers.
EliteBaseball.tv, $12.99/mo or $97/yr Online baseball instruction In an era when 'squish the bug' and 'swing level' are still taught, trust Justin Stone for top-notch baseball teaching. Check out the site's entire catalog of content for 48 hours free! If you like it, it's just $13/mo or $97/year, which is still a bargain.
Cornerstone Conditioning Program, $77 Offseason baseball conditioning program Kyle Nelson (episode 7)'s program focuses on baseball-specific movements and makes it easy for you with a pre-made periodization schedule and daily workout calendar. Normally $97, it's discounted to $77 for YBE listeners.
Creating your own web site
Email service: ConvertKit, starting at free I've tried AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse and they all had material flaws that I had to work around to get stuff done for this blog. ConvertKit is much more intuitive. If you're starting from scratch, it's free for up to 1,000 subscribers; if you're migrating from another service, plans start at just $9/month for up to 300 subscribers. Just a month-to-month commitment, and there's even a free trial so you can see if it works for you.
Web host: A Small Orange A Small Orange hosts your site on screaming fast SSDs, and independently confirmed by Cloud Spectator to be faster than Blue Host, Go Daddy, Host Gator, etc. (ASO was also tops for uptime at 100%). Top customer service too: knowledgeable, responsive...and U.S.-based! Starter plan is just $2.92/mo. I host three web sites on ASO and couldn't be more satisfied. UPDATE: I no longer endorse A Small Orange. The inadequacy of their technical support is appalling. In 4 of the last 5 support sessions, they were unable to resolve my issue in the same session. Further, the level of technical ignorance was shocking (when I know more than the support rep, something's wrong). What a fall from a company that was once a rock star in technical support.
WordPress themes: StudioPress, prices vary by theme Gorgeous, mobile-responsive, SEO-ready, secure, HTML5-based themes that are built on the super-flexible foundational code of the Genesis framework. I've tried other themes but StudioPress themes rocks it. I use StudioPress on all my web sites. Check out their themes; there's sure to be one you'll love.
Want MORE Edgy Info?
Never miss an article! Enter your info to get more practical, actionable youth baseball coaching info like this.
Are you a new coach? I have a free 15-day email course just for you, where I walk you through coaching a team for an entire season over the course of 3 weeks.