TIP of the MONTH

Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista

November 1, 2016



It has been said that good pitching and good defense wins baseball games. I do agree, but if you don’t have an offense that scores, you can’t win!  I’d like to have an offense that scores early in the game and scores often, as well as a good defense and good pitching staff. Most teams are made up of players that vary in talent. The key to putting a good baseball team together is having a good mix of hitters, fielders and pitchers.


Winning a baseball game is the result of winning individual battles (every pitch, every at-bat & every inning). Each pitch, each at-bat and each inning is a battle. Win the individual battles and you will win the game.


Let me start with the OFFENSE. Speed is something that can’t be taught. A team with speed increases their chance of scoring runs by beating out an infield hit, stealing bases, going from first to third and scoring from first and second base on a hit. Players with speed can put pressure on the opposing defense and the pitcher. Hitters that can move runners, hit the sac-fly, execute the hit and run, hit to the opposite field and make a productive out can all contribute to scoring runs. It also helps to have the hitter who can come through with two outs, extend an inning and have their best at-bat when the game is on the line. Bunting can be an important offensive weapon. A team needs a couple of players that, when called on, can get the bunt down. It is also nice to have a few power hitters in the line-up. Not necessarily a home run hitter, but a hitter that can drive the ball deep in the gap or over the outfielders head. In my opinion, the most important offensive trait required to win a ball game is having a high OBP (On-Base-Percentage). Hitters that have a high OBP, that get hits, work the count, take the walk and get on base are a big factor in scoring runs.


Any good baseball team needs a variety of PITCHERS. Every team has a best pitcher. Not every team has an ace pitcher. An ace pitcher is the one that can stop the losing streak. A team can win with good pitchers. Good pitchers work fast, throws strikes and changes speeds. High velocity is not a requirement to be a good pitcher. A good baseball team needs pitchers to fill different roles. A good baseball team needs pitchers that are prepared to pitch both physically and mentally.


Now let’s talk about the DEFENSE. A good defense is measured by the number of outs that are given away, the fewer the better. All good teams need to be strong up-the-middle. Up-the-middle is the catcher, shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. All good teams must have a good catcher. Good catchers work well with the pitching staff by reading the batters (stance & swing), calls the pitches, throws quickly and accurately to curtail the running game. A good catcher also needs to field bunts, catch pop-ups, block pitches in the dirt and be the field general. The more players that play multiple positions the better. Playing multiple positions helps with injuries and gives the coaching staff more flexibility and helps to increase player’s playing time. It is important to have a roster of defensive players that make the routine plays. Nothing hurts more than giving away routine outs. Making all the routine plays, always gives you a chance to win.


All good teams need player LEADERSHIP. Being a leader doesn’t have anything to do with talent. It’s all about the player’s character. Do they play the game the right way? Do they set an example with their hustle and work ethic? Do they have the desire to succeed? Do they want to play at the next level? Do they respect their teammates and the game of baseball?


The players and coaches on a good team need to trust and respect each other. The players need to buy-in on the coaching philosophies. The players need to be team-players and not all about individual accomplishments. A player can win a game via the base hit, a sacrifice fly, a sac-bunt or by taking a walk. Good teams fine ways to win!






Coach Jerry “Kal” Kalista


NOTE: Direct any questions or comments to Coach Kalista at