All Access High School Baseball Practice with Mike Woods
on September 10, 2012
The 2 discs together, eat up considerable time so I'll attempt to provide a comprehensive analysis without turning this
review into a miniature War & Peace. Overall, it looks like the discs cover 2 different in season practice sessions so I'll
go disc by disc.
DISC # 1 opens with the players engaging in dynamic stretching. Coach Woods explains that this type of stretching is
superior to static stretching but that is as far as he takes it. Dynamic stretching is considered to be superior but why it
is is never explained. Maybe there are coaches who have never heard of dynamic stretching and are unaware of how the
stretches are performed. Dynamic stretching is an excellent idea which would have been more effective if coach Woods
had taken the viewer through the stretches that the players are performing, explaining which body parts are targeted and
how to perform them.
After the stretching the team engages in some base running drills, focusing on getting a jump on the pitcher. We then
go to team throwing with the focus being on the catchers prep work. In 9 min. the catchers are able to take numerous
reps while covering glove / throwing hand exchange, throwing footwork & distance throwing with proper footwork.
The catching segments are the strongest part of the 2 discs. The drills, blocking, receiving, receiving with throwing footwork, are performed crisply with coach Woods providing an informative running commentary & correcting mistakes.
Next we move to to the infielders. This, too, is a well done segment as the players go through several drills focusing
on a quick glove to throwing hand exchange & staying down on short hops. The 1 - hop gauntlet drill deserves special
mention. The players then take their positions for fungos and this drill is crisp, providing multiple reps on various type of grounders.
From here on, the presentation goes downhill. The camera is too far from the action for the 1st & 3rd defensive drill
plus the angle cuts off 1/2 of the field so anything involving the 1st & 2nd basemen can't be seen unless the player runs
into the shot. No explanation of which offensive play is being used and what the defense will do to try to counteract it.
We can barely hear , because the camera is too far away, coach Woods as he calls out various situations & plays. This
problem reoccurs in Disc # 2. It really isn't that important since the names of the plays & defenses are meaningless
because they haven't been explained. We are left to figure it out by ourselves.
The next segment is infield - outfield which, because of the camera setup, doesn't come off well.
The live BP segment, which concluded disc # 1, had me scratching my head. It lasted 18 minutes & consisted of coach Woods throwing BP to the entire squad. Was it necessary to show the entire team doing the same thing for almost 20 minutes ? I understand that this is an in season practice but, for the purposes of this taping, if coach Woods had taken
up a position along the 1st base line and explained how the players rotate through & shown the location of the other
hitting stations, we would have a better understanding of what the players were doing before & after they hit on the
main field. Let one of the assist. coaches throw BP & walk around & show what everyone else is doing. Keep the 18 minutes in mind because these extended time segments or "time fillers" come up again in Disc # 2.
Disc # 2 is basically a rerun of Disc #1 except we now see the outfielders in action & the team defensive period deals
with bunt defense. The outfield portion begins well enough with the players working on the proper way to field various
base hits & fly balls and playing balls that hit the fence but, for the most part, don't bounce away.
The last outfield segment has to be seen to believed. Ostensibly, the players are taking balls off the bat in BP but what
we see, for 15 minutes, is the outfield coach standing in CF while the players periodically run through the shot fielding batted balls. The coach, when he isn't talking to himself, always appears to be interacting with the same 2 - 3
players because they are nearest to him. Taking balls off the bat during BP is self explanatory. We don't need to watch
15 minutes of nothing.
Team bunt defense suffers from the same poor camera setup as the 1st & 3rd segment. There is a lead up portion that
has an assist. coach rolling bunts to to P, 3B, 1B & C who react to the rolled ball. This part also suffers from a lack of
introduction / explanation from coach Woods and, once again, we have to decipher what is happening on the screen as
various defensive & offensive codes are called out. We are told that the back pick at 1B with men on 1st & 2nd is a key
part of the defensive scheme but we never see it executed since the camera cuts out the right side of the infield.
Next stop is the batting cage where the focus is on going to the opposite field. It's an interesting piece using 1 righty
& 1 lefty batter but instead of leaving it there, 2 more righty batters are brought in to execute the same skill. I'm getting the
feeling that the well is running dry and the producers are trying to fill time.
That feeling remains as the next sequence shows players working a T - drill attempting to hit line drives into a net
as the " T " is moved from high to low. This time 5 players are used to do the same thing.
The final segment shows players during the live BP session. No audio,explanation or introduction. Just video of the kids
taking cuts & putting down bunts. This goes on for 40 minutes. That's correct. 40 minutes.
Lets do the arithmetic. Disc # 1 - live BP which is basically 18 min. of nothing. Disc # 2 - 15 min. of outfield nothing
and the 40 min. of watching 16 - 18 yr. olds take BP. Add it all up & it comes to 73 minutes of dead time. Interestingly,
considering all this wasted time the pitching staff, except for a brief period of PFP work, never appear in the presentation. We have no idea about their practice routine except for coach Woods making reference to some one
throwing a bullpen. The most important part of the team is invisible for these two practices.
The real shame is why the producers tried to make a lot out of a little. 73 minutes is the length
of a disc. If they had junked the filler they would have been left with a reasonably good presentation that could have been 1 disc long, combined with a significant upgrade in camera work
I cannot give this product anything higher than a 1 because of poor production. The content, mostly due to the catching
& the infield segments would rate high but the bad stuff brings the whole thing down. Can't go higher than 2 1/2 - 3.
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