Should little league batters "take" a pitch to advance a runner?
by Robb O.
Photo Bill Stanton: Checkswing.com
Robb O asked:
Rick answered: Thank you for your question Robb.
My answer to your question is a definitive no!
The least dangerous player on a baseball field is a hitter who won't, or can't, swing the bat.
Hitting a baseball consistently is one of the most difficult athletic skills there are.
Hitting, when behind in the count is even more of a struggle.
Possibly a more constructive way to move those runners would be a bunt and run, or a hit and run. The base runners get the opportunity to read pitchers and get jumps. Hitters get the opportunity to swing the bat, rather than take pitches.
At first glance, the ability to lead off and steal bases is an exciting and advanced thinking type of rule. It sounds like, at least in your 10u league, the rule leads to a modification of the true game, leading to hitters taking pitches so that the runners can advance, just because players abilities are not yet developed enough to make the rule exciting, like it will be later in their development. Certainly not an intention of the rule when it was created; but a result in reality.
The am a believer that hitters need to go to the plate with a plan, part of which is to go swing the bat, early and often. Some thoughts on this part of the game can be found at the following pages on the site:
Let the kids have the opportunity to hit ahead in the count, to develop a plan for each at bat and put that plan into action from the first pitch of every at bat.
Good luck as you all go through the rest of your season, 10u is a great baseball age.
Yours in baseball,
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