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Hands creeping forward

May 21, 2008
First off, thanks to Mark the mods and everyone else for a well thought out message board.

Here's the Issue: 10U travel team. We have a girl who starts out in her batting stance looking OK, but during the pitchers pre-motion she pushes her hands slowly forward as she gets tense, and then she tries to either yank her hands back and swing all at the same time, or just swing from hands under her chin. Of course she is either late or real weak and rarely hits anything. It looks like a slow,fast yo-yo deal...it's a mess.

How do we teack her to keep her hands back, so she can go staight to the ball?
BTW, so far all anyone has come up with is telling her "keep your hands back" She's heard it a thousand times and now she just gets more upset with every pitch and keeps doing it every time.
Help please:)
May 7, 2008
Great Basin...

There is some differing opinions in the forum about whether there are differences between the softball/baseball swing. I am sharing from the point of view that they are the same (son and dd both play). They took lessons from a batting center, and learned the same way. Along with that, my father sent Cal Ripken's DVDs on batting around three years ago to my children. They found these DVDs enhanced what they learned at the batting center. It really helped their bunting. Cal and Billy Ripken emphasize loose hands, quick bat...you have to go back to go forward.

On Youtube, there is some poor footage taken at one of their clinics, but the audio is very good. You can see if it helps and purchase the video. They address the stance, rhythm, swing, etc. Firm believers of using the T.

Hope that helps some. There is a lot of information contained in the different threads about hitting from highly experienced coaches/hitters.

Best wishes,

May 7, 2008
Take something like one of those swim noodles and hold it out there, so that when she is in the proper position, her hands are touching it. As she starts to creep her hands forward, she can feel that she is no longer touching it.

Use your digit camera to take pictures for her and use video, too.

Ken Krause

May 7, 2008
Mundelein, IL

Changing a hitter's swing can be tough, especially when the cause of the bad swing is related to tension. There are likely a couple of things at work here.

One is a focus on the consequences of hitting instead of the process. Hitting results in a lot of failure. Kids hate to fail. But some handle it better than others. Those who have a hard time with it will get themselves all uptight, and then even good swings will break down. Those with swing problems already will be in serious trouble.

So if you detect that kind of tension, first try getting her to relax. Teach her to focus on taking a good swing rather than what happens as a result of the swing.

Then there's the physical side. I'd have her work off a tee a lot. Get her to have decent swing off the tee (there are plenty of resources around here if you're not sure what a good swing is). Move from there to soft toss, then a pitching machine for speed, then finally into live hitting.

Now, since you're in-season you may need to shortcut some of it in order to bring her to basic competence. I'd suggest doing the mental stuff as part of the tee work, and then work into live pitching, maybe with wiffle balls. If she's willing to put in the time it should work. If not, there's not much you can do.
May 12, 2008
Teach her to focus on taking a good swing rather than what happens as a result of the swing.
YES!!!!!!!!!! Changing the goal in their minds. Getting them process oriented rather than result oriented. Getting them to the point they are unhappy with a base hit when the swing stunk and happy with a great swing even if it went for a line drive out or even if, heaven forbid, the pitcher just threw a great movement pitch and made her miss. More good swings put on good pitches will yield good results over time. Now we are putting good swings on good pitches...then we can work on anticipation and recognition and the rest of the mental side of hitting.
May 21, 2008

I believe I made a bit of progress last night using a foam ball pitching machine and a fun, stress free enviroment.
With the first pitches, I could see her upper body and shoulders tense up, and sure enough she would creep those hands forward and she'd get nothing but behind the ball and mad. I noticed that when ever I managed to change her mood she'd loosen up, and the creep would stop and bingo! she was hittting shots again.
After seeing this and pointing it out to her, I choose to try building an indicator into her batting routine. Simply this involves deap breath, a movement and stance that she preforms each time she steps into the batters box that will remind her to relax her upper body, loosen her shoulders and shed her stress and tension. Last night with the foam balls, even coming very fast, it seemed to work quite well. Hopefully, this will continue later with real balls and live pitching.
May 7, 2008
YES!!!!!!!!!! Changing the goal in their minds. Getting them process oriented rather than result oriented.
Mark H...well said. When my dd takes pitching lessons, she needs both visual and kinestic instruction so she can feel it work. I believe it is more of our right brain that initiates this process. When my children took batting lessons, they were taught to swing down, across the plane, through and up. The instructor told us that this initially would create a lot of infield hits, but eventually, the ball would begin to rise and go further. He was right. He emphasized the rote memory.

One more plug for juggling. It works the non-dominant side of the brain and is great for eye and hand coordination. On a previous thread, I listed the numerous benefits and a couple of great links.


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