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Batting lefty

Jun 3, 2009
83
6
Our local league provides a 4 yr old "Skills & Drills" program, followed by a T-Ball program for ages 5-6, and a softball program for girls 7-12. There has been some discussion about whether it would make sense to universally recommend that girls entering the program at a young age be taught to bat left-handed? Would greatly appreciate some thoughts on whether that's a good or bad idea...
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,898
83
Dallas, Texas
So, the plan is to create a race of super slappers so that your league can take over the softball world, eh Blofeld?

There are so many things wrong with the idea that I don't know where to start, so here's a short list:

(A) There is not enough time during a practice session. I've coached at every level you mentioned. Two hours a couple of times a week isn't enough to cover the basics, let alone throwing in "how to bat left handed".
(B) The idea is out-of-date. The new bat technology and batting instruction has reduced the importance of slap hitters. The short game ain't what it used to be. Players that five years ago couldn't get the ball out of the infield are now routinely knocking it out of the park.
(C) In order for slap hitting to be effective at advanced levels, the players have to be very, very fast--something around 2.7 seconds to first base. Those players are few and far between...perhaps 1 out of 50 girls are fast enough. So, you are wasting a lot of resources to help only a few players.
(D) It is hard enough to teach hitting right handed.

Ray
 
Jan 15, 2009
585
0
Slugger

I have to disagree with you. The goal of playing college ball isn't the goal of every kid playing softball. If 10% of girls who ever pick up a bat have a real desire to go on and play college, 90% probably want to play at their High School Varsity level.

Speed still helps, but I've seen pretty effective slapper/draggers in HS ball that are in the 3.0/3.1 range. The defense just isn't that good or consistant and that can make slapping/dragging a highly successful technique.

Plus what the OP is talking about is working with kids that are just starting out. Every player has a moment where they first pick up a bat and take a swing and I think it's legitamate to cosider that it's a slightly better decision to start as a lefty rather than as a righty so that later when you do learn slapping/dragging you aren't switching sides and potentially being asked to relearn how to hit for power from the other side of the plate.

When just starting I don't think it is much different to learn from the left or right side regardless of your handedness. I see multi-generational baseball/softball families figure this out all the time and the kids all start as lefties from the get go.
 
Aug 4, 2008
2,364
0
Lexington,Ohio
I agree. If you have a kid with speed teach them early to bat left and stay there. Speed is still a weapon. Bat's do not change speed. I will take the kid to lead off that can get on base, bunt.,slap, duck hit and never hit a extra base hit. It is easier to get on base doing the above than hitting for power with a new bat. Batter's fail 66% of the time, but most bunters and slapper rarely K. They cause defenses to make mistakes and move runners. Talk to a college coach and they will tell you they are after the lefty with speed. I do agree with the 2.8 for college, but high school and travel ball 3.0 will get you on base more than it will get you out. We time every one at college slapper camps and they get on the radar real quick when they hit 2.9 or better at a young age.
 
Jun 3, 2009
83
6
Really, the goal is simply to try to help each player develop into the best player they can be. And, while we'd never consider suggesting right-handed boys hit left-handed, there's a perception that there's an advantage, given the way the game of softball is played, for girls to be hitting left-handed.

The primary reason not to encourage girls to hit from the left side from the get-go would be if that somehow puts them at a disadvantage. If they've never swung a bat before, I'm not sure hitting opposite their "natural" side would have any detrimental effect at all.
 
Jun 20, 2008
235
0
If they have never picked up a bat before, you should absoutely IMO start them out from the lefty side.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
0
I like the lead arm being the strong arm. I like being a step closer to first. For boys I like being able to pull the ball through the right side with F3 holding a runner on creating a hole. For girls with 60' bases I REALLY like being closer to first. And yes, college coaches LOVE versatile left siders. If you can play a varied short game as well as drive the ball from the left side you can attract a lot of attention. If you got to watch ULL left siders dump it short, pop it over the infield and drive it in the gap you have a picture of what I'm talking about. If ULL, known for a home run focus, will put four left siders in the line up, I think that says a lot.
 

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