batter stiffins up at point of contact
Solid base to hit from
Jason asked: My 14 yo son has developed a habbit of straightening his knees and going to his toes at the point of contact, which as you can only guess creates tons of soft ground balls.
The times he stays down through contact he's hitting 230' ropes to the RC gap for stand up doubles; but those times are not very often.
Is it a mechanical issue or just a bad habbit he started? He's right handed.
Rick answered: Jason, thank you for your question.
It would be interesting to know why he has started with this process.
It is awkward at best, as soon as he goes up on his toes, he no longer has a solid platform to hit from.
The good news is that he apparently is still making contact. When he goes up on his toes, he changes his eye level, which creates tracking problems with the ball. Doesn't take much to get them off the ball.
I would start by asking him why he has started doing this. It can't feel comfortable.
Whatever his reasoning, if he thinks through an at bat, he should be able to relate to the loss of power and balance, when he moves up on his toes.
Mechanics, or hitting progressions, are something you work on so that your body reacts without you thinking about it.
When you get into the box to hit, all you should be thinking about is,"see the ball".
As you look at the photos above, each one of those hitters is hitting from a solid base of support. While each one of them has a little different stance and way of getting to the point of contact, all successful hitters are solid and balanced when they hit the baseball.
The more you can turn your hips without turning your shoulders, the more power you generate. From a position of up on his toes, I would guess he is unable to turn his hips at all, resulting in the ground balls you described.
More time on the T, as well as just setting up, swinging in the back yard with no ball. Get the balance back.
I would be interested to hear what his thought process was. Often times young players hear someone describe something, and their interpretation of what was said isn't what was meant.
When you find out his thought process, please let me know what it was.
Get him to put his front foot down slow and early. Should land on the ball of his foot. Ball of the foot will be balanced, if he raises up on his toes, the balance is lost. Wants to keep that front foot closed, hip rotation comes from "squishing the bug", turning the back foot.
All that happens before his hands start, hands are the last to go.
Good luck as you move forward. Very solvable problem. Things such as this come up with hitters all the time. Even the best on the planet are not immune to issues. It can be a funny game.
Look forward to hearing from you!
Yours in baseball,