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Thread: Making the switch from right to left

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    Checking out the clubhouse skychief's Avatar
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    Default Making the switch from right to left

    Looking to switch daughter from batting right to left side. A little back story, daughter is left handed but was taught early on, in a local Rec league, to bat from right side. I honestly donít think they realized that she was left handed until close to their first game, lol. She was a quick learner and hit hard, so nobody wanted to mess with anything and I was new to this, so I just listened to them. In the spring she will be going into her first year of 12u travel ball and her swing has become really inconsistent, so I think itís time to finally try this switch. Since this will essentially be like starting over, do you guys have any tips on where to start first? Should I work on her legs, coil, first and work up? I never could teach her how to turn the barrel from the right side so any tips on accomplishing that? How would you go about this if starting over?There is such a wealth of knowledge here so any tips, or suggested drills, would be greatly appreciated!

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    I can talk softball all day CoachJD's Avatar
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    Have you had her take a few swings from the left side without any instruction? If so, how does it look?

    Others here with more knowledge might disagree with me, but I always want to see what a hitter wants to do naturally. You may be surprised to find she does a lot right. Then you'll have an answer on what you should work on. If you go into it by loading her up with information, she might get overwhelmed before she even gives it a shot.

    Oh, and don't let "it feels weird" stop you/her. A lot of things "feel weird" at first.

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    Checking out the clubhouse skychief's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply Coach! Had her take a few swings tonight and it looks pretty stiff and, of course, feels weird but it didn’t look as bad as I thought it would! She’s also a pitcher so I’m hoping that that motion might help this transition. I’m hoping that with that being her dominate side this transition will catch on. I do feel like this is a good opportunity though, to build things correctly from the start!

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    I can talk softball all day Rooster's Dad's Avatar
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    Yes, go back to lefty and get lots of practice. There is something special about lefty power hitters.

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    I'm a fan Ryan2's Avatar
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    My DD is RHT we switched her to the left side because of her speed. Once you commit it will be a little rocky at 1st. But don’t go back once you commit. The offseason is the best time to start. I know everyone’s offseason is different amounts of time. So plan this out. Don’t just do it 2 weeks before tryouts

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    I can talk softball all day go4um's Avatar
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    I've probably switched about 100 players to LH. It is interesting that the player's natural throw hand usually influences what kind of swing they initially have when switching to LH hitter. Your dd throws LH so I would predict she will tend to have dominant back arm swing where at some point in the swing her weaker front arm will slow down/stop and probably drop to her side instead of continuing on an upward path for a typical belt high pitch. So her swing will probably look flatter. Also would guess that as a LH she will be turning the barrel like crazy...just the opposite of her RH swing. Players like this can crush some balls, usually dead pull hitters. But the problem is that this means she will probably have a smaller hitting zone and will struggle with some pitch locations. I've had the most success in these cases by doing a lot modified front arm swings so she makes a habit of keeping that front weaker arm moving up. "Modified" refers to keeping the back arm in contact with the swing process by open fingers or gripping under front wrist, etc. We use a tiny tee ball bat and sponge balls.

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    Checking out the clubhouse dkame's Avatar
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    My daughter was a late switch to left during the off season before second year at 14U. My experience and that of her hitting coach is that it can generally be done without issue but it will take about a year to get back to where she was as a righty. One of the advantages is that you can start her swing mechanics from scratch with no bad habits. So if you switch, you want to start with sound fundamentals. My daughter's tendency was to compensate by moving her lower body forward to help drag her arms. So you have to watch out for those kinds of things. A couple of thoughts... 1. If she is a relatively fast runner, which gives her a definite advantage from the left, work a decent amount of time on bunting (sneaky bunt or drag bunt) in addition to explosive sprinting drills (high hops, etc.). This way, when her power is still developing, she will feel good about being able to get on base - she will feel great about beating out throws to first that she wouldn't have been able to batting from the right. 2. Don't give in to switching back to the right. Stay left and stick with it. And let her team coach know what she is doing and that you are committed to it. My daughter went all the way down to last in the order but got back up to the second spot by the end of the season (but still lacking power). The initial struggles and snide comments from the coach can be frustrating but keep encouraging. 3. There will be a magic day when the pop comes back all of a sudden and the world looks better than before. Keep on practicing to make sure bad habits don't start creeping back in. 4. Your daughter really has to want it. It is hard work - no getting around that.

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    Checking out the clubhouse skychief's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone, it’s encouaging to see so many that have done this successfuly! Anyone have any go to drills that they used to help in this transition? What would you do on a daily basis to help facilitate this move? I discover new drills and tips here, on a daily basis, but never know which are worth the effort because a lot of threads seem to have strongly mixed opionions, lol. We will stick with this as I feel that if we jump in, it’s going to be very hard to go back!

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    In practice DD bats lefty very occasionally, never has done it in a game.

    I like advice to let her hit for a little bit before trying to fix anything.

    (I am easily amused. I asked DD why Sally was batting lefty this year is she trying to prove she can not hit from either side? DD .. I do not care shut up)
    Last edited by quincy; 12-05-2017 at 09:04 PM.

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    Chris Delorit Fastpitch Chris Delorit's Avatar
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    Alot of good suggestions so far.

    It's a good age for a switch. Cognitive processing and physical skills are starting are becoming a little more precise by 12U. A competant LH has the possibility of some competitive advantages over a similarly skilled RH.

    You could work small and work uphill. Her comfort level will take a little time to develop. In your case, make the tee your best friend. It's not your only tool, but a good one for working on all kinds of fundamentals. Stance, vision, footwork, torso, upper body, hands, head...you get the picture. It's also great for movements & muscle memory. You can also isolate the upper & lower halves, as well as develop those pieces harmoniously. For example, you could start small with contact bunts, push, pull, slaps and work up to full swings. Dry runs to start, move to whiffles or softies and then to softballs. From there you can work through similar soft toss drills, as well as live swings. Keep it interesting and make it competitive. it's also great if it becomes self-competitive, as long as it doesn't progress to the level of competitive frustration.

    I like the idea of working through progressions to help develop a multi-dimensional athlete. Kind of like crawl-walk-run. I've also coached with others who prefer only slappers, or only power hitters. There's all kinds of ways you can approach it, that choice will be one that you'll have to choose.

    Best of luck skychief,
    Chris
    Last edited by Chris Delorit; 12-06-2017 at 01:27 AM.

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