The Ole Ball Game

batter stiffins up at point of contact

Solid base to hit from

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,


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Nov 15, 2013
Sounds like you are on the right track
by: Rick, theoleballgame

Along with the tee, you can also short toss him pitches middle out, have him wait and hit the ball to the opposite field.

Short toss him in, middle and out; but mix up the speed on the pitches. All designed to make him set back and wait.

While the stride is timed to the pitcher's fastball, you have to be able to hit off speed stuff. The only way to do that is to stay back.

Often hard for young kids to do, as they are afraid they won't get around on good fastballs.

Add an additional dimension and have him say ball, at the moment he sees it at the release point. Helps get them focused in on that spot. Once they are getting that, have them say hit when they swing.

The more things they do which make them concentrate on seeing the ball, the better hitters they will become.

At some point the mechanics are solid and ingrained and they are free to "simply" see the ball.

Thanks for your reply.

Yours in baseball,


Nov 15, 2013
think i figured it out
by: Jason

Thank you for your input. I worked with him last night on the tee for about 30 minutes. It was a difficult find but I think i found it. After his front foot would land instead of his hips leading the way, he would go with both his hips and his hands at the exact same time which was forcing his body weight forward and to the ball. Since he was "ahead" of the pitch it was an automatic reaction to slow down just to make contact. now i have him going back through his progressions of 1. Step 2. Hips 3. Hands while hitting tee. Thank goodness its the offseason.

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