My 10 year old grandson has been playing baseball since he was five, with one year off last year.
Since t-ball he has had a fear of the ball. He has stepped back from catching, stepped out of the batter’s box because of his fear of being hit.
How do we coach him to help him get over this fear?
Below is a stock answer for concentration and pitch recognition along with being confident at the plate.
Try it and I believe that the boy will start to hit and catch better.
For catching take way his glove and play catch with a foam ball or plastic ball then get a baseball and do the drill I talk about below. We have to get over any fear and use to the ball. Believe it or not when they first start the glove just gets in the way so eliminate it most of the time.
As simple as this sound get a piece of plywood, prop it up at and angle, have him or us throw the ball up the board and then field it as it rolls back down.
The for fly balls or high throws, throw the ball onto a roof and catch it as it comes off, it is fun and teaches throwing and eye hand coordination. Use a rubber ball or tennis ball gives a safer aspect to it if you so desire.
Coach Arnald Swift
Here is a solution that has worked will with me to solve your problem and to use as a drill to prevent the problem with players. This can be modified to fit a kids needs, and/or time available.
Let me offer up an article that I wrote about fear of the baseball as my first suggestion.
I have a good answer for that problem which is very common, unfortunately, with anyone that is afraid of the ball for what ever reason.
This is a stock answer that I have written to help this problem. I coach 34 years and had every age and ability level. It takes the full 6 days to work it out and you and the boy have to do it but i have not ever seen it not help a great deal with the fear factor.
I have a decent way to get over the fear in the box. You have to do it like I described but it will work.
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.
1. 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, step just stand in there and watch the ball. This can be done by live throw, or ideally by a machine.
2. Now throw whiffle ball , safety balls, foam ball something like that. Throw at least 20 per session and twice a day if possible. 3 days.
3. Move up to tennis balls same routine. 2-3 days
4. Now baseballs same routine 2- 3 days
5. Now have him stand at the plate with a bat but do not swing normally with the soft/safety ball for 2 days
6. Same things with baseballs. For 2 days.
7. Now throw balls, have him with at bat, and stride into it do not swing just stride
8. After about 300-400 pitches you have been thrown 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.
I like what you’re doing I will tell you that right off the bat and 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.