Secrets of Turning Timidness at the Plate into Controlled Aggression

by Richard Dean
(Oxford, AL)

For the most part my sons swing is good. I am sure there may be some little things that you or Chas might could help him with. However, my question is concerning his aggressiveness.

I know that each kid is different and thought perhaps you or Chas have run across some kids that swing late mostly out being timid in their decision to swing and wondered if you have any suggestions or drills that might help.

The only thing I know to do is get him plenty of reps. When he makes contact it is fouled off due to swinging late or he crushes the ball not much in between. He is 8 and in a pitching machine league.

Swing Smarter Response:
Hey Richard, great question. Really what we want to see is controlled aggressiveness at the plate. A couple reasons why a young hitter like your 8-year-old son is too timid in the box:

  • He's thinking too much on technique, or

  • Machine pitch could be disrupting his timing


8-year-olds aren't any different than 21 year old collegiate athletes when it comes to thinking too much at the plate. It happens across the board.

A lot of the time, thinking too much at the plate is going over too much in a short amount of time. You see, the brain has to catch up to what the body wants to feel.

This is why I say, "make small circles," when learning a new swing movement. In other words, break down the swing into easy to follow distinct steps, and move in slow motion.

We do this until the brain has a chance to catch up, then we start moving to more of a game speed. I do this with all my kids from 8 up to my 18-year-old high schoolers.

Check out this submission on how to use drill progressions to your advantage.

Wheel Pitching Machines are the Devil

Yep. They are, and let me tell you why they're the worst thing for grooving a good timed swing. I absolutely hate how these machine pitch leagues are run...I wish it was like the good ol' Rookie Ball days when kids pitched to kids, and coaches spent more time guiding these kids into better quality pitching and hitting mechanics.

Can you believe I never played tee-ball when I was 6 and 7 years old?! Nope, I don't think it was around pitched to kids, and the only time coaches pitched was when the bases were loaded and the pitcher walked the hitter.

AND, I think I turned out just fine ;-)

Unfortunately today, this isn't a reality, and we have to do what we have to do, soft coaching aside.

So, my suggestion is, work Chas's hitting technique as much as you can and get your son as many dry swings, tee, soft toss, and live front toss where he can time the ball.

Life is short, and soon this machine pitch phase you guys are in will be over, and your son will be more ready than any of his teammates will be.

Try not to get too wrapped up in swing "results" at this point, and focus more on your son's swing "goals." The link above explains these two concepts more thoroughly.

Also, read this article about why I HATE wheel pitching machines.


The last bit of advice I stole from Chas is what he tells all his hitters (and me to mine):

"Swing hard, just in case you hit it!"

I hope this helps Richard, keep up the good work, and above all, stay the course.

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