The Ole Ball Game

Should my son bat left handed or right handed?

Miguel Montero, head squared to pitcher.

Miguel Montero, head squared to pitcher.

Miguel Montero, head squared to pitcher. Paul Goldschmidt, head squared to pitcher. Raul Ibanez, head down, eyes on the baseball Cody Ross, balanced swing, hitting through the ball

Rex asked: My 11 year old son is right handed, but left eye dominant.


He is batting right handed. He has been having trouble hitting the ball.

Just curious if he should be batting left handed since he is left eye dominant.


Rick answered: Rex, thank you for your question.

From the wording of your question, it sounds like this a recent occurrence, not a problem he has had previous.

If that is correct, I would suggest looking at his mechanics, before attempting to make a change to the other side of the plate. Below are some things to look at and evaluate.






  • Does he have his head square to the pitcher? If not, he will only be seeing the ball out of one eye. As you look at the first two pictures above, you can see just how squared up with their head, these hitters are.





  • Is he loading and striding, on line, directly back at the pitcher? Striding off line,"stepping in the bucket", causes a hitter's head and front shoulder to pull off the ball and his hands to drop, causing a long, looping swing, which will make him late and generally under pitches.





  • Is he seeing the baseball? Tracking the ball from the pitcher's release point all the way to the hitting zone is essential. It is not unusual for hitters to lose track of the ball, somewhere in between. As you look at the third picture, Ibanez has his head and eyes right down the bat, directly to the ball.





  • Does he finish balanced over his knees, in the same footprints he loaded into? The fourth picture, Ross is balanced, swinging to and through the baseball. His back foot has rotated to let his hips open up, his front shoulder has stayed closed to get his bat through the hitting zone.




While each of the mechanics plays it's part in a hitter's swing, "seeing the baseball all the way to the bat", is the most essential.

Before looking for answers to a hitting problem elsewhere, the player should ask himself this question:"Am I seeing the ball well?" If the answer is no, then he must ask, "Why not"?

Too often, hitters who are struggling make immediate changes to their mechanics, to his physical approach. This compounds the difficulty.

Muscle memory allows a player to have a consistent mechanical approach, unless the player inhibits his muscles by thinking too much. He gets in the way of his natural, physical function. He becomes a self-conscious hitter, thinking about all manner of things which distract him while in the box. He's got everything on his mind. Everything except the baseball.

It is hard to remember that this elemental skill is not only prerequisite to being a good hitter, but without it all other skills are negated.

The ability to simplify is the ability to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may express itself.

Focusing on the ball is simply necessary.(H.A Dorfman ~ The Mental Keys to Hitting.)


Tribute to Harvey Dorfman is a page on my site which will provide some additional insight into Mr. Dorfman's abilities, as they relate to Baseball's Mental Game. It chronicles two MLB players with whom he had a tremendously positive effect.

Using his techniques, I have found success working with High School players since 1993. He truly understood what takes place in a player's mind and how to work through the issues that come up.

I would be interested in hearing how things go for your son as you both move forward.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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