Is Over Swinging a True Mythical Beast??
My son, who is 11, has a tendency to overswing. He is a very streaky hitter. When he is on, he is unstoppable. When he is not, he really struggles. We do play travel ball a lot, so we have plenty of time to work through it. But, it is a constant battle to not over swing. He swings a minus 5 wood bat in the cage and a minus 9 in games. Should he go to a heavier game bat? He has been taught proper mechanics. When he is on, I have yet to see a fastball he can't handle on the field or in the hitting tunnel up to 70mph. We just want to eliminate such drastic ends of the spectrum, if possible.
Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Travis, thanks for your question...there's good and bad news...
I always start with the bad news because without the bitter baby, the sweet ain't as sweet :P The bad news is over-swinging is an ongoing battle, even for Major Leaguers.
The good news is there are solutions, the best of which are mental...
Adopting a less is more tempo-ed approach, as far as technique is concerned, at the plate is the best way to go. When tempo and technique get together, then we see those unstoppable moments.
Moments when your son doesn't even feel the ball when he makes contact. OR, is not even thinking about anything but "see and hit." I preach swinging as hard as possible under complete control, or 85% of a full hard hack.
Another good drill to use is have your son hold a nice balanced finish after he completes a swing. If he's falling to one side or the other, then he's over swinging. A physical indication could be he's over rotating the back foot.
You see Travis, often times over swinging is caused in slumps, when the hitter is trying way to hard, or most likely, is super frustrated and taking imbalanced angry cuts.
One more mental reason for over swinging is NOT having a proper mental approach at the plate. If you haven't signed up for The Dugout Newsletter, I suggest you should, because as a free bonus I give a plate discipline 101 report where I go over an effective plan of action I learned at Fresno State under the 2008 College World Series head coach Mike Batesole in '03.
Finally, physically, the baseball swing is powered by the hips, and the arms fall strategically behind, so there shouldn't be any tension in the upper half. I'm going to be releasing a ton of information on how to do this in the coming week, so please stay tuned. Swing Smarter is saying goodbye to the Down & Through method of hitting and moving to a more sound approach that gets way better results at the plate.
Also, about using a heavier bat, he can try a heavier aluminum bat in the games but it may lead to other compensations because the issue may be in his mechanics (swinging too much with his upper body, over rotating his back foot), or as simple as between his ears.
I hope this helps Travis, please leave a comment if need me to elaborate more. I love to hear it!