Ask the Coach at Baseball Tips
Dan in Boca Raton, FL says:
My grandson is nine years old. He is athletic and plays all the sports you can think of. He has played recreation baseball since he was five. Last year he started live pitching and got hit a few times, which resulted in him being more concerned about avoiding the pitches than hitting them. He missed the all star team because of this. He did perform in one tournament where he excelled at fielding and throwing. He also bunted effectively. The team won the tournament. I am looking for help to teach him how to hit and to get him over this fear at the plate.
Coach Swift answers:
This is a common problem and can usually be fixed. You need to do the following over the next week or so. It will take about 10 sessions.
- Take the bat away from him. What we need to do is pitch to him and have him only watching the ball. Don’t ask him to swing, just stand in there and watch the ball. This can be done by live throw, or ideally by a machine.
- Now throw whiffle balls, safety balls, foam balls, something like that. Throw at least 20 pitches per session and twice a day if possible. Do this for 3 days.
- Move up to tennis balls, doing the same routine for 3 days.
- Now baseballs. Again the same routine for 3 days.
- Now have him stand at the plate with a bat, but do not swing. Normally you’ll use soft/safety balls for 2 days.
- Same things with baseballs for 2 days.
- Now throw balls with him with at-bat, and let him stride into the pitch.
- After about 300-400 pitches let him hit.
It is very important that you spend the 2 weeks doing this and not letting him swing. Just watching the ball. Throw easy for the first few days.
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Coach Arnald Swift is the Director of Customer Relations at Baseball Tips. He joined the staff in 2003 after retiring from the high school coaching ranks in Colorado. If you have a question you’d like Coach Swift to answer, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org