Swing and Miss Issues at the Plate
by William Olsson
Just came across your site and thanks for putting together such great information. I have an eight year old who plays coach pitch. Most of the time he hits the ball really hard.
From time to time he has a game or a practice, or two, where he just can't seem to make contact with the ball at all, or at best fouls it off.
The first couple of times we thought maybe he needed his eyes checked because it seemed like he just wasn't seeing the ball. It happened once when he got a new bat so I thought it was probably just a mental thing...
He's only eight, so he could easily lose focus thinking about his new bat or something. I can't tell what he's doing different when it happens but it frustrates him to no end. So if you have any suggestions of what to look for I'd appreciate it. Thanks again for the great site.
Swing Smarter Response:
Hello William, and thanks so much for the submission...also the picture, it tells a great deal about what's going on...
Getting his eyes checks was a smart thing, and yes 8 year olds have a tendency to have the attention span of a gnat ;) But I think there are three things working against your son in this case, judging by the photo.
I first want to say how awesome his lower half is, you must have been teaching him well, for an 8-year-old to be executing almost perfectly from the waist down. I wouldn't change too much there, maybe just a little more weight back on the rear leg, so the front leg has more of a micro bend in it, rather than what is happening in the picture.
Three issues here...
Look where his eyes are...he's trying to see how far he's going to hit it before he hits it! A natural problem with young hitters his age. So, the first solution would be to get him to not swing so hard...get him into a 75-85% of his hardest swing tempo, less is more.
The other thing is his barrel is dragging through the zone quite a bit, so we need to shorten his stroke a bit. The way it stands now, he's losing bat speed before the barrel even gets into the "contact zone."
Addressing the eyes tracking issue, check out this inexpensive hitting aid review we did for the Big League Eyes HERE...these little hitting tools pack a hefty punch and will fix this issue very quickly. Also, check out the comments other fathers, coaches, and players have added to the review...they love these small but mighty things.
About shortening your son's swing...
I have three Swing Smarter articles for you to read:
- Hitting Down on the Ball AND the Secret to YOUR Success
- Conquer Batting Mechanics With A Concept NOT Too Many Understand, AND
- Powerful Baseball Drill & Jack Clark's Gold Nugget
Plan of attack?
Target one issue for at least 1 week, or until your son "gets it." Start with the Big League Eyes hitting aid, then work on a less is more
swing tempo, and lastly go to work on shortening his swing. It should take probably 1 month to get your son swinging like an Albert Pujols machine ;)
Let me know how it goes...