Advice For Kids – Mechanics of a Swing and Hitting

  1. Always make sure you are as relaxed and as comfortable as possible. Deep breath before each pitch
  2. Keep it as simple as possible. Minimal movement in the batter’s box
  3. Don’t get into your stance until the pitcher is ready to start his motion. You don’t want to be in your stance too long.
  4. When choosing a bat always think lighter is better.
  5. If you take a bad swing step out and take an easy practice swing as a reminder of a good swing.
  6. Don’t swing at an off speed pitch unless you have two strikes.
  7. Look in react away. You have more time to hit an outside pitch so you need to look inside then react to an outside pitch.
  8. Always think about hitting the ball back up the middle.
  9. Practice with a wood bat because it’s a little heavier and has a smaller sweet spot.
  10. Batting Tees make great hitters…USE THEM AT EVERY LEVEL!
  11. Take swings off of a balance beam (2×6) to help you stay on the balls of your feet and balance.
  12. Keep your head still throughout your swing so your eyes, which are focused on the ball, are not moving around.

YOUR STANCE

  1. Feet should be a little wider then your shoulders.  Make sure they are straight.
  2. Knees should be slightly bent.
  3. Pick the bat up and rest it on your back shoulder so its making a 45° angle (like you are posing for a picture).
  4. Make sure your knuckles are lined up (check by pointing your index fingers so they are going in the same direction.
  5. Try to keep the bat in your fingers and loose, not your palm as much as possible.

The Swing

Load – first thing you do is a load slowly.  Hands go 3-4 inches back towards the catcher. (STRAIGHT BACK!!!)  As you are doing this, your weight should slowly shift towards your back foot.  Make sure your hands never stop.

Soft Step – once you have started your load take a small soft step with your front foot.  This should be straight towards the pitcher and only a few inches. Keep your front foot closed.  Draw a line or make one with tape and keep your feet on it throughout the swing.

Knob to the Ball – throw the knob of the bat at the ball, (think throwing your hands to the ball).  Do not drop your hands after your load throw them towards the ball.

Rotate the Hips – as you are throwing the knob you are turning your hips. This is where your power comes from. Rotate your back hip so it ends up even with your front hip. Your belly button should almost be pointing at the pitcher.

Weight Transfer – as you start to throw your hands your weight should start shifting forward.  It should end up inside of your front leg. Make sure you are still balanced( If you drop your back knee to the ground after your swing you will see this).

Contact – as you are making contact your arms should be making a “V” and your head should be down looking at the ball hitting the bat. Practice keeping your head down and not looking for the ball after contact.

Following Through – after making contact your head should remain down resting on your back shoulder.  Your bat should continue around ending up across your back. Stop to check yourself after you swing (head down, back foot turn, knees bent, bat across your back, feet in a straight line, balanced, small front step).

Hitting Drills

Fence Drill – The player stands with a bat facing a fence. He should then take the bat and put the end against the fence lightly. The end of the handle should make slight contact with the player’s mid-section. He can now take his normal batting stance at that distance from the fence and take about ten or fifteen swings. If the bat is making more than light contact with the fence, the batter is not bringing his hands through first, which he should be. To get a player to bring his hands first, have him take his normal step as if to swing, only have him “throw” the end of the handle of the handle towards the ball. If he continues to do this, it will increase his bat speed.

High Tee Drill – Elevate the tee so its letter high. Take swings trying to hit ground balls. This forces you to throw your hands out to the ball.

Hip Turner – While holding the bat in your arm behind your back, assume a normal batting stance and watch an imaginary pitch being delivered. Execute a stride and quick turn using the bat to help turn the hips faster. Finish in the proper contact point position. You can also put a ball on the tee and hit it as you bat comes around. This forces you to rotate your hips completely in order to hit the ball.

Balance Point Swinging – Get to a balance point like a pitcher would picking up your front knee to make a 90 degree angle while in your hitting stance. Stride with your front foot and load. Then instructor will say swing. Make sure you stay back and don’t leak out on your front foot. Should be done on a tee or soft toss. You can also have them stride and keep going back up so they stay soft when landing on their front foot.

High Low Soft Toss – Take two balls at a time and throw them up in the air making one ball high and one ball low. Then call out which ball you want the batter to hit. This should be done from the same spot you normally do long toss. The player should look at the low one and react to the high one if it’s called.

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