Didn't want to hijack Shawn's high knee lift thread below, but it did get me thinking about my DD's swing.
After encouragement from her hitting instructor, first year 12U DD added a knee lift/kick to her swing this past winter for the first time since she started playing four years ago. It's not quite a la Josh Donaldson, but she does bring her front (left) knee back to her right leg, though not as high as he does. Her instructor just wanted her to have some backward movement with the front foot before she went out to toe touch, whatever my DD thought was comfortable, even if it was just an inch. She chose the full monty.
When she squares one up she seems to hit the ball a bit farther now, but she struggles, more than she did pre knee lift, trying to time faster pitchers, which in our travel circle would be girls throwing 46-50ish mph.
My question is: during a game, how long should she stick with this leg kick if she is struggling to make contact against the pitcher? Should she:
a) Stick with it for the duration of every at bat because she needs the experience using it if she hopes to get better at timing with it, even though she may have many o-fers during tournaments (and risk losing confidence)?
b) Use it for the first one or two swings during an at bat and if she feels she can't catch up to the speed she should use a different strategy for the remainder of the at bat: such as ditching the knee take back and just go forward to toe touch like she used to, or maybe even just go out early to toe touch.
c) Some other strategy.
If she continues to struggle for the next few weeks I think it's her instructor's intention to reevaluate and likely dial back the knee lift a bit, even if just temporarily.
Obviously lots of cage reps and hitting live pitching in practice would go a long ways to helping her, but the reality is the only reps she'll be getting hitting a pitch in a typical week during the season are:
- a roughly once a week instruction for 45 mins (tee, front toss and machine)
- maybe a 30 min session or two of front toss from me
- 25-30 coach pitches during team hitting practice once a week (weather has made this less frequent).