Hitting Advice For Youth Players
Hitting Advice For Youth Players
Whether you’re a parent teaching your own kids to hit or a Youth League Coach who needs some simple practice drills, the following Coach Pitch Hitting Drills are great for setting a solid hitting foundation.
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Weak Lower Half With The Batting Stance: When setting up in a baseball stance for the first time, you may find that kids will not get into an athletic and balanced lower half.
The Hitting Project Quick Fix: Have the kids spread their legs out in a straight line with their feet shoulder width apart. Once they have reached this position, instruct them to stride out another 3-6 inches. Next, ask them to bend slightly at the knees into each other (don’t bend knees over toes).
KEEP THE HEAD ON THE BALL
Pulling The Head Off The Baseball: The biggest mistake young hitters tend to make is not keeping their head down for the entire baseball swing (even after the point of contact).
The Hitting Project Quick Fix: We created The Red Hat Drill to train kids to keep their head down when swinging.
FRONT FOOT STRIDE DRILL
Load and Stride Problems: When striding toward the baseball, young kids have a tendency to either over-stride away from home plate (stepping in the bucket) or dive toward home plate (diving into the plate).
The Hitting Project Quick Fix: The front foot stride can be influenced by the subconscious mind, meaning if a young kid has a fear of being hit by the baseball his subconscious mind will trigger his front foot to step in the bucket to avoid being hit. Another subconscious trigger for stepping in the bucket can result from trying too hard to pull the baseball. In both of these scenarios, you should instruct the kids to focus on seeing the baseball out of the pitcher’s hand (close your mind and open your eyes) and try to hit the ball over the second baseman’s head (for a right-handed hitter) or short stop (for a left-handed hitter). A good hitting approach and proper visual techniques will ultimately help a hitter to control his front foot stride. This hitting approach should be used along with training the stride with simple-to-follow hitting drills for kids.
Wrong Batting Grip: Young players will often grip the bat with hands apart, grip the bat too tight, or grip the bat too far in the palm of the hand.
The Hitting Project Quick Fix: Teach the kids to line up the handle of the bat to the knuckles of their hands. Once everyone is happy with the position of the bat handle in the hand, instruct the kids to gently lift the bat to their chest area. Check that they are not gripping the bat too tight (look for whiteness around the knuckle area and muscle tension in the forearms).
The Hitting Project always recommends to keep hitting simple, especially with kids -- focus on a head down/opposite field approach and good mechanics will follow.
GOOD HITTING APPROACH
At The Hitting Project we like to feature opposite field hits, unlike other hitting websites who like to feature the home run swing. Teaching home run mechanics is dangerous, especially for young hitters – it is vital young hitters learn to stay back and drive the baseball back up the middle and to the opposite field.
With runners in scoring position, the hitter does not have to do too much with the pitch – pitchers are known for working the outside corner when there are runners on base. They are trying to get the hitter to roll over on a pitch away. If the hitter tries to hit this pitch out of the ball park then the result will be a swing and miss or a weak ground ball.
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