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daughter needs help

Mar 12, 2009
my nine year old has recently become scared while in the batters box. She did not have any problems with the pitching machine , only with live pitchers any suggestions on how to help her get over this?
Jan 15, 2009
Get her a longer bat :)

Progress from pitching machine to front toss using lite flites and/or wiffles. Throw some at her so she can see she can dodge and also see that occasionally getting hit isn't the end of the world. Do some live BP with softies.

If you teach her to be in an athletic balanced position in the batters box there is no reason why she can't get out of the way of a wild pitch at that age. Some kids instincts are poor in how to avoid getting hit, turning your back to the pitcher and closing your eyes is a natural reaction at that age if she does that and gets hit often as a result you may actually have to practicing dodging the ball until her reactions allow her to have a good chance at avoiding contact.

I would try being direct with her as well and explain that if you can't stay in the box for fear of getting hit, there is always soccer. :) It's important to not get angry with her about it. Just be supportive but firm that she needs to stay in the box and take her licks that's what softball players do.


Crazy Daddy
Oct 31, 2008
I am pretty sure that every softball player goes through what your DD is going through, to some extent. I have 2 13 year olds that have been playing for a few years that are going through it right now.

I think SnocatzDad is right on the money. Make sure she is balanced in her stance, focused on the pitch, ready to hit the ball and prepared to dodge if necessary.

Be honest with her about getting HBP. Let her know that it does happen but the more prepared she is, the less chance that it will be a regular occurance.
Jan 20, 2009
Teach her how to get hit by a pitch. Don't lie to her and tell here she can get out of the way.

The best approach I have heard is the the "turtle":
a.) tuck in the neck
b.) tuck in the elbows
c.) hunch the back
d.) do all of the above while turning towards the catcher.

Tell her she hopes to get hit on the bohunkus which is why all the padding was put there.

Tucking the neck and elbows reduces the chances of getting hurt bad, instead of it just hurting bad.

Also hunching the back provides an obtuse angle for the ball to bounce off of her, rather than straight into her.

One more thing. Don't ever try to convince her to enter the batter's box and not be a bit nervous and use this quotation: "Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to do you job in SPITE of your fear".

Jan 15, 2009
Teach her how to get hit by a pitch. Don't lie to her and tell here she can get out of the way.
I'd disagree, most of the time contact can be avoided and given the pitching speed of your average 9 yr old I'd say nearly 100% of the time it can be avoided. The only time a kid is really going to have trouble getting out of the way is if they are squaring to bunt which is a difficult position to move out of quickly.

The best approach I have heard is the the "turtle":
a.) tuck in the neck
b.) tuck in the elbows
c.) hunch the back
d.) do all of the above while turning towards the catcher.
My problem with this method is you go from a fairly thin profile facing the pitcher with a mask protecting your face seeing the ball and having an opportunity to move away from the ball to according to your cues above turning your back on the ball, tucking the back of your neck (which you now have exposed to danger) I can guarnatee if you turn towards the cathcer and put that wider profile facing the pitcher you will get hit more often and I don't care what deflection angle you create with your back that will hurt.

On the pitch, the player should be transfering their weight towards the pitcher and rotating towards the ball and that makes it difficult to reverse that and turn towards the catcher.

Actually this sounds like a youth baseball method that doesn't account for players who have a face mask on that protects their most valuable assets while allowing them to still face forward.

I agree with tucking the elbows in and would add tucking in the hands as well. The worst injuries I see are those where the ball hits the hands still wrapped around the bat, with the added bonus of it being a strike as opposed to a HBP free base.


Aug 21, 2008
Boston, MA
Nothing to add, just I agree with 9 yo pitching not being too intense and fear of the ball, whether batting or fielding, is fairly common.

When DD was 10 or 11 she was HBP from a fast pitcher. She was hit on the thigh where, even though she was wearing pants (not shorts), you could clearly read the stitches from the ball after the game. But at U10, I haven't seen really fast pitching like that.
Jan 14, 2009
Atlanta, Georgia
I consider 10u and 12u FP a contact sport for batters. Anyone who has sat on a bucket and caught their DD knows how much it can hurt if the ball hits a bone just in the right spot. Makes me winch just thinking about it. I've always maintained that a hitter needs to be completely comfortable and confident at the plate to hit effectively.

As soon as my DD was old enough to play 10u I bought her the 9mm thick hexpad shorts and an elbow guard. Combined with her shine guards and heart guard protector which covered some of her rib cage, almost her entire front side from her bicep down was protected.

I got the idea while watching the FP College world Series. One of the hitters got beaned right in the rib cage. Between innings the hitter was interviewed and asked if it hurt. She calmly says no and lifts up her jersey showing her hexpad undershirt.

Pro players in a variety of sports are wearing protective gear underneath their uniforms. Basketball and soccer are loaded with players wearing it.

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL
This is going to seem kind of extreme, but it worked on me as a kid, and worked on my son when he had the issue. Basically, take her for batting practice, and throw a few at her on purpose. Not real hard, but enough that it puts it in context for her.

What I've found is often the fear of getting hit is worse than the actual act of getting hit. Once she's experienced it (or gotten out of the way) it won't seem so bad to her.

One warning: she won't be happy with you. But if it helps her get over the fear, she'll thank you in the end. I know my son thanked me.

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