Hitting a baseball well is a lot harder than it looks. I used to be pretty formidable as a hitter when I was a teenager. Now, not so much! Like a lot of parents, you might have kids who are only just discovering the nation’s favorite pastime. If you’re looking for a way to encourage and help them, then working on their hitting is a great place to start. Here are a few good drills to try.
Before you even start pitching to your kid, it’s a good idea to do some foundation work. Any coach will tell you that being a good hitter has a lot to do with the stance. Get your kid into the habit of good body movements, and you’ll save them a lot of work further down the line. You may even learn a few things yourself doing this! Have your kid stand with their chin resting on their front shoulder (left for a right-handed batter). Then, have them do a few slow practice swings. As they swing, their back shoulder should come smoothly around, and their chin should end up resting on it. Get them used to the feel of this, then observe it in action with a batting tee. You can buy these at http://www.tannertees.com/tanner-tee-the-original/ .
The balance of a person’s stance is also very important if they want to be a hitter. Getting your child to find a good sense of balance early on will take them a long way. Start them off with their feet roughly shoulder width apart. This is a flexible, handy starting point. As they develop their batting style, your kid might ease into a wider or more narrow stance. The important thing is that the swing doesn’t throw them off balance. Have them do some more practice swings, and pay attention to their feet. They should stay pretty rigid, but obviously there’ll be a little swaying. It will be easy to see if they’re being thrown off balance, which is what you want them to avoid. You should be able to start gentle pitching at this stage. You may want to use a tool like this: http://baseballcoaching.tips/batting-average-calculator/ to see how they’re coming along.
Finally, pay attention to what their hands are doing. To start with, your child will probably keep their hands at chest level, and the bat in straight up in front of them. This is the “official” stance for training. However, like their stance, your child will gradually find a holding position which is more comfortable for them. The most important thing is that your kids don’t drop their hands. This is a common bad habit which a lot of new players pick up. It can be hard to get out of, and will really hold your kid back. If you notice them dipping their grip from their chest to their belly, point this out and try to wean them off.
These three drills will give your kid a brilliant start at hitting. My last tip is not to keep it light and remember that they’re not in MLB!