The Ole Ball Game

Hitting in the game

by Tom
(Hackettstown, Nj)

Tom Asked:

Hi, My son is 8 and a pretty good ball player for his age. Better than his old man was...He has only been hitting against other kids for less than a year and he really is not hitting the ball...He crushes the ball in practice or when an adult pitches to him but in the game he changes his approach to the game. He is the best fielding player on both his teams by far. He plays first base and the coaches will put him in the outfield if they are playing a good hitting team and he thrives. But at the plate its a stuggle and ALL the coaches and parents know he can hit the ball.

Any thoughts on what I can have him do to start hitting the ball during the games? He has a beautiful natural left handed swing. He practices constantly. I even make him step away from the game a couple of days a week because he will play forever and i don't want him to burn out. Thx

Rick Answered: Thank you for your question.

It isn't unusual for young players, who are moving from tee ball and coach pitch, to struggle with hitting against other kids.

This would be their first introduction to the possibilities of getting hit by a pitch, which is a realistic concern for virtually everyone who has ever played the game. That concern may be occupying his thought process when he steps in the batter's box, causing him to stride off line, the ole step in the bucket, or not focus on seeing the ball out of the pitchers hand.

If his thoughts are on self preservation, it is a hard task to hit the ball.

Mechanically, I would suggest talking with him about seeing the ball out of the pitchers hand, striding early straight back at the pitcher, so his stride foot is down and his hands are loaded as the pitcher releases the ball.

If he is concentrating on those two things, it may help free his mind of other thoughts, so he can hit.

If he is worried about being hit, I have a page on the site, fear of being hit which has some ideas for providing young players with a plan to lessen the fear of being hit with the ball.

Sometimes all it takes is for them to feel they have a plan to deal with and/or minimize the affect of the situation.

Hopefully there will be something there that will help with his situation. I am sure it is frustrating for him.

Please let me know how it is going with him. I would be interested in hearing what he is feeling when he steps in the batter's box in a game.

Good luck as you go forward. I look forward to hearing back from you as you and your son progress.

Yours in baseball,


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