Coaching up here in Northern California, Little League (10-12 year olds, Majors). The one thing I have the biggest problem with is kids pulling their heads as they swing and not keeping their eyes on the ball. I've tried a lot of home remedies, but nothing works consistently. Any hints?
You are correct this is a problem and you're correct until he can once to stay in and look at the ball while he swings it will not happen.
The first and foremost thing is that they have to get in the right sequence: have to step and get their foot on the ground, rotate their hips,then bring the bat through the strike zone hands first.
The best drill that I've found for this is a version of the soft toss drill. Get a screen (probably a pitcher L-screen) and have the batter stand at the plate (preferably in a cage) and soft toss directly at him both underhand and overhand just like your throwing pitches over the plate, using a screen to protect yourself. This will allow him to concentrate on the three steps and not worry about how hard he's going to hit it or if he's going to get it and he can keep his head down and see the ball all the way and even trying to see it come off the bat.
Hope this helps and if we can help you more with getting DVDs or conversation please just let me know.
Coach Arnald Swift
Parents, as your boy or girl gets better and progresses into the sport of baseball and/or softball they're going to be faced with tryouts. Where a coach or set of coaches trying to determine if he or she can play on their team regardless of whether it's elite travel or just regular league many times were faced with the try out. If the tryouts are well-run you should be able to see comparisons between your player and the other players and how they can hit, run, throw, field, and at times how well they understand the game through situations.
All tryouts try to create measurable's so that they can validate their choices both to themselves and the parents. Many times parents don't see, in fact most always, their child/player in the same light as the coaches that are doing the evaluation. By measurable's we mean something that the player can do that we can physically and mathematically major.
Typically these are: running speed how fast over the distance from home plate to second base, arm speed how fast does he throw the ball from the pitcher's mound and from the shortstop position to first base -- this is measured with radar almost always. On the batting aspects New technology is allowing for a measurable on the bat speed, bat angle, exit speed of the ball off the bat all these things are done using a machine or a batting T so that little or no difference between one boy/girl to the other.. Something we always try to avoid is the human element in a tryout,
you should note as a parent or try out administrator that there needs to be opinion place for somebody that knows the game and knows athletes to be able to comment on athletic ability, quickness, correctness of throwing motion, correctness of hitting technique,, awareness of the situations when placed into the field or at the bat and a situation is simulated.
But that human element does enter into when we determine if the player has a good attitude, hustle, pays attention, will be a good team player and that the parents and the player understood what they're trying out for and most the time with the costs going to be both in time and in money.
All these are things that you as a parent and as a coach trying out need to consider, this article is a long ways from inclusive but I would hope it gives you some thoughts of what you're going to be faced with or what you have to do in tryouts.
Coach Arnald Swift
My question is what can we do about a hitter that is habitually late with her swing? It doesn"t seem to matter if the pitch is fast or slow!! Her mechanics and bat speed are great! She will be a sophomore at UW Whitewater this year. If she doesn't correct this problem soon, I don't think she will make the team this fall.
You're concerns are well-founded, because if the situation is as you describe no matter what pitch speed or type that she is always behind and misses the ball or hits it to the right side I will almost guarantee that
she's thinking too much.Here's a few things that you might try and ask her to do which by the way she has to do you can't do that for her.
1. While she is standing in the on deck circle she is to review several facts so she's not in her mind before she ever gets into the box-- what did this picture to me last time, what's the situation I'm going to be faced
with outs, runners, defensive position anything that could affect my time at bat she needs to have those answered within her mind before she ever gets into the box.
2. During practice she needs to be told to swing at and hit every pitch no matter what. What this is going to do is take away any thought process and you will be amazed many if not all the pages she puts the bat on.
I've even done this as a coach in a game but I'm going tell you right now her coach is not going to allow it during college game but she might pull it off in practice situations, scrimmages, doing our own.
3. Do this drill against the machine or against a real pitcher and that is what the bat down and watch the ball making a decision whether to swing or not mentally and never really doing anything if she could find the
time and the ability to look at 10 to 15 pitches with no bat it will make a big difference in how she's looking at pitches and in making the decision.
Because in a nutshell that's the problem she's thinking too much and therefore always late and always behind so we need to try to get as much of that out of the way before she gets into the box.
I hope some of this create some thought and even some help and best of luck let me know how it all works out.
Coach Arnald Swift
My son is 8 years old, he has been playing baseball since he was 4 and I've worked with him since he was 2. My question is he kills the baseball when I throw him BP and when I pitched to him last season in coach
pitch but now he has to hit off of player pitchers and he is pretty much not swinging the bat at all. He just stands there and when I ask him about it he says that the pitches were not strikes. How do I remedy this? He just made a 9 year old select team and I have to fix this before the season starts or he is either going to lead the league in walks or strike outs via looking.... What is frustrating for me is he has a ton of power, he is
4'9" 100lbs and hits lefty, I know how to fix mechanical issues but this one is mental.
Let's make sure of one thing first off the bat does he have good mechanical skills and does he batting practice pitching, tee work, soft toss work well and consistently. My guess is you're going to answer yes then I have to agree 100% that it's all mental. What your boys doing is he thinking way too much and not just seeing the ball and hitting it. I don't know if you have control on are not but if I was his coach and I saw these things I would start to correct it by telling him that he has to hit the next pitch no matter what and if there are runners on base and we can collect hit-and-run, but in reality what were trying to do is take the decision-making out of his hands and make him swing at the next pitch the matter where it is. You will actually need to do this for an entire game and yes he may swing at some bad pitches anyway make an easy out or two but he will swing the bat he will make contact I promise you that. It's a very odd thing when you take away the decision-making, batter that actually is pretty decent they almost always get the ball the matter where it is in the strike zone out of the strike zone it doesn't make a difference they will make contact because their swing is good and they're not deciding if I should or shouldn't swing they know that already so they're just trying to get the ball and they will. Now if you can't do that a game because you don't have the control and what you need to do is go in the cage and tell him swing of this one no matter what don't swing at this one no matter what and start to take away the decision-making. You're just trying to get him comfortable with looking at the ball coming at him and swinging at it not whether it's a ball or strike not whether it's a curve or fastball just see the ball and hit. You will be amazed at how effective that is.
Please let me know how turns out.
Coach Arnald Swift
My 8 year old has a good swing but does not hit the ball in the game. We play in a coach pitch league so the pitches are normally very good. Can you give me some suggestion for us to work on.
I do understand your problem with little kids. As a matter of fact I do have a couple of things that you can do that will really help.
First and foremost you need to find yourself a protective screen for in the cage and place it in front of home plate. Then get you a 5 gallon bucket and turn it upside down and set behind the screen set up about 10
feet away from the batter. Now what you need to do is reach around the outer edge and underhand toss the ball to your batter. This is called front toss in it works with little kids better than soft toss from the side. You
will notice very quickly that for some strange reason, it must be the physics, that little kids can hit a ball thrown underhand. Then after you've done at for a couple of rounds give each kid like five swings have them
hurry in and out so they keep moving like you said the attention span is a big deal. Then in the third or fourth round flip it over hand from the same position so that you're down to there level and not standing above
them. You will be surprised how much better they hit I wouldn't even worry about the pitching machine until the game. What you're trying to develop his hand eye coordination.