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DD wimps out at the plate

My 12U DD kills the ball at practice, cages etc. Coaches tell her the mechanics look good. But at the plate in a game she has no power, wimpy grounders or infield pop ups. Last year her 10U coach laid into girls for swinging at bad pitches or swing and misses. So now she just wants to meet the ball to put it in play. No power. How can I get her to let loose and try ripping some likes she does away from a game? I have tried talking to her about not being afraid to strike out or swing at a bad pitch sometimes. She agrees and really wants to try but when she gets to the plate during a game she does the light swing thing.
 
Jun 16, 2008
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I'm not an expert on mechanics, but I have 3 daughters and I coached young girls for several years. One of the biggest issues for girls is they don't want to let anyone else down. In her mind a strikeout may equal failure. She may be afraid she'll strike out so she just wants to put the bat on the ball. She also may be taking too long to decide whether she should swing. This will result in her getting jammed frequently as she'll be making contact with the ball too deep in the zone.
I would focus on the easy things to fix right now and keep this simple.
1. Redefine a successful at bat for her. It should be to make good decisions about which balls to swing at and to swing the bat with the intent to do great harm to the ball. The strike out is irrelevant. If she strikes out, then she should be able to tell you that she made good decisions at the plate. This should give her more confidence.
2. Her only decision is whether she should STOP her swing. This will make her more aggressive. A lot of players will take too long to decide between balls and strikes. They then try to prepare to swing the bat. She should treat every pitch like it is going to be a strike. She can stop her swing once she sees differently.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
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My 12U DD kills the ball at practice, cages etc. Coaches tell her the mechanics look good. But at the plate in a game she has no power, wimpy grounders or infield pop ups. Last year her 10U coach laid into girls for swinging at bad pitches or swing and misses. So now she just wants to meet the ball to put it in play. No power. How can I get her to let loose and try ripping some likes she does away from a game? I have tried talking to her about not being afraid to strike out or swing at a bad pitch sometimes. She agrees and really wants to try but when she gets to the plate during a game she does the light swing thing.
Poor coaching. Everyone swings and misses and 10U kids are going to swing at bad pitches because they are young and because the umps they get often call huge zones either out of necessity to avoid a walkathon with 10U pitchers or out of the young ones often get the newbie umps. Heck, I see hitters at the WCWS swinging at bad pitches so how does 10U genius coach figure it's ok to lay into 10U kids for swinging at bad pitchers? Teach? Encourage? Suggest? Train? Sure! Lay into? AWWW #$%%^% NO! Make sure she knows she has full permission to swing hard and miss. Encourage aggressive swings and do not criticize her pitch choice or swinging K's until she is past this problem.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
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I thought your post was excellent. Especially the part about redefining a successful at bat. Very insightful.
 
Jun 24, 2008
26
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1. Redefine a successful at bat for her. It should be to make good decisions about which balls to swing at and to swing the bat with the intent to do great harm to the ball. The strike out is irrelevant. If she strikes out, then she should be able to tell you that she made good decisions at the plate. This should give her more confidence.
I essentially took this approach with my 9 y/o who was in her first year of TB and it worked well once she decided to trust me on the idea. We made her successes for the weekend at the plate based on whether or not she was executing the fundamentals we were currently working. In fact, it made it easier for her mentally because I was able to take the blame when she struggled to make contact. I would tell her she was doing everything we'd worked on and that I hadn't taught her that what she needed to know to make better contact yet.

Something else I told her that seemed to stick, not only in hitting but elsewhere, was that you sometimes have to make bad decisions in order to learn how to make good decisions.

Kids have to give themselves permission to make mistakes. Of course, so do parents, but that's another post.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
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Well said. Both of you. Much more there than a casual reading of both these posts would reveal IMO.
 
I'm not an expert on mechanics, but I have 3 daughters and I coached young girls for several years. One of the biggest issues for girls is they don't want to let anyone else down. In her mind a strikeout may equal failure. She may be afraid she'll strike out so she just wants to put the bat on the ball. She also may be taking too long to decide whether she should swing. This will result in her getting jammed frequently as she'll be making contact with the ball too deep in the zone.
I would focus on the easy things to fix right now and keep this simple.
1. Redefine a successful at bat for her. It should be to make good decisions about which balls to swing at and to swing the bat with the intent to do great harm to the ball. The strike out is irrelevant. If she strikes out, then she should be able to tell you that she made good decisions at the plate. This should give her more confidence.
2. Her only decision is whether she should STOP her swing. This will make her more aggressive. A lot of players will take too long to decide between balls and strikes. They then try to prepare to swing the bat. She should treat every pitch like it is going to be a strike. She can stop her swing once she sees differently.
You hit the nail on the head. I talked to her about #1 and we got past that. #2 is her problem. She just can't get to that point mentally.. She says she understands the need but can't. We worked on her loading, hands back, stepping straight but by the time she decides to swing she can just get the bat on the ball, no power.
 
May 12, 2008
2,217
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You tell her to go up there for a few at bats and swing at every pitch. Literally. If it ain't rolling on the ground she's hacking for all she's worth for one or two or three at bats. Whatever it takes to get past this. Plenty of time to slowly back off to being reasonably selective...LATER.
 
Jun 2, 2008
62
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My daughter is doing the same thing as described above. She executes mechanics beautifully in practice. She focuses on all aspects and knows exactly when she didn't execute. Get to the game, swing stops, slow grounders to right side. She kills chang-ups though. I have seen her hit 180ft shots in practice - can't get the ball out of the infield in games though. Rarely strikes out. I just feel she is more concerned with making contact then hitting the ball hard. I do believe she is deciding too late to swing as suggested above.

So how do you fix it. I like the suggestion to have her swing hard at everything that isn't rolling, and work on selection later. Any other suggestions.

Thanks
 

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