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Thread: bp: how many swings?

  1. #1

    bp: how many swings?

    When I do bp with my boys (ages 10 and 5), I generally pitch an entire bucket to them (about 40 balls). I've experimented with capping it at 20 pitches, thinking they might get tired by then. Most of the time they seem eager to keep swinging away, though.

    I noticed recently that in MLB guys generally take maybe 8 pitches or so before stepping out and letting another hitter in (I guess they work in groups of 4 or so and rotate around for 15 minutes).

    I assume this is because standing in for pitch after pitch is not productive, maybe their concentration starts to wane.

    What's your experience regarding bp? Should I strictly limit the number of swings at any one time? Last night, for example, I pitched a bucket to my 10 year old and he was making contact pretty much the entire time. I suppose he was "resting" a bit more between pitches after the first dozen or so, and I waited until he was ready before letting loose with the next pitch. But do you think it would be better to just have him do a limited number of swings?

    In a team practice setting, with more players waiting to hit, I can see where rotating around frequently would be beneficial.

    Thanks for your opinions.

    BTW, for those of you who might remember some of the threads this past spring about the 10 year old struggling a bit in his first year of majors LL (he was 9 at the time), his hitting is really coming along. Still working on the fear of the hard-thrown baseball, though, which he instinctively shies away from and tried to catch off to the side of his head/body. Tried suiting him up in catcher's gear and having him stand and catch balls hurled by the pitching machine at 60', hopefully he'll get over it!)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megunticook View Post
    When I do bp with my boys (ages 10 and 5), I generally pitch an entire bucket to them (about 40 balls). I've experimented with capping it at 20 pitches, thinking they might get tired by then. Most of the time they seem eager to keep swinging away, though.

    I noticed recently that in MLB guys generally take maybe 8 pitches or so before stepping out and letting another hitter in (I guess they work in groups of 4 or so and rotate around for 15 minutes).

    I assume this is because standing in for pitch after pitch is not productive, maybe their concentration starts to wane.

    What's your experience regarding bp? Should I strictly limit the number of swings at any one time? Last night, for example, I pitched a bucket to my 10 year old and he was making contact pretty much the entire time. I suppose he was "resting" a bit more between pitches after the first dozen or so, and I waited until he was ready before letting loose with the next pitch. But do you think it would be better to just have him do a limited number of swings?

    In a team practice setting, with more players waiting to hit, I can see where rotating around frequently would be beneficial.

    Thanks for your opinions.

    BTW, for those of you who might remember some of the threads this past spring about the 10 year old struggling a bit in his first year of majors LL (he was 9 at the time), his hitting is really coming along. Still working on the fear of the hard-thrown baseball, though, which he instinctively shies away from and tried to catch off to the side of his head/body. Tried suiting him up in catcher's gear and having him stand and catch balls hurled by the pitching machine at 60', hopefully he'll get over it!)
    I believe that pausing after 10 to 15 swings is always a good thing. It gives the muscles a rest, and it gives you time to evaluate what you did and what you want to do in the next round.

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    Hitting off a tee, you go forever... Until you establish the right feel. There is no time constraint that the moving ball provides, so thought process is very controlled.


    With thrown BP, usually you rotate to keep concentration. Rounds have a purpose. A lot of young kids will take empty swings after a certain point. If you are just having fun and taking hacks, that is ok. But if you are working on stuff, work on something, accomplish it, then get out. The time outside the cage is just important. More details work can be done in between rounds. I suggest getting a mirror so they can see themselves going through some of the movements between rounds.

  4. #4
    I purchased a Swing-away and it's the best piece of equipment I've bought in 15 years. Your kid can get more swings than off a tee in the equivalent time.
    I can also make videos of my kids swing and it's easier to make minor corrections to his mechanics.
    This is not to take anything away from pitching batting practice which I believe is superior. It just saves my arm a little.

    http://www.swingaway.com/product_inf...products_id=30

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbooth View Post
    I believe that pausing after 10 to 15 swings is always a good thing. It gives the muscles a rest, and it gives you time to evaluate what you did and what you want to do in the next round.
    Agree with Jim, They learn nothing once they get tired. I stopped at 15 and rotated my players through several times.
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  6. #6
    OK, so even if you're just working one on one keep it to no more than, say, 15 swings at a time. I'll buy that. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Maybe I can rotate the two kids and let them each have a couple rounds of 15.

    I definitely agree that letting fatigue set in is a bad thing.

    To be honest, at this age I'm really intentionally being very minimal in my advice and tinkering with mechanics. We watch a little video and I point things out to them when we're watching the pros, and I offer some suggestions at the T, but my gut sense is that at this stage (especially the 5 year old) it's best to establish a few basic fundamental guidelines and then let them just swing the bat naturally. My observations (and my own experience) is that too many mechanical tips can get them thinking so much that they are less able to just relax and focus on seeing the ball.

    I do a little more "coaching" on the T but the more I spend time with the kids the more I feel that young kids just need to focus on having fun playing ball (with a little guidance or intervention to keep the fundamentals on track).

    A little different with fielding, as they really do need to build up some muscle memory with fundamentals to succeed, and they need to engage their minds with each pitch in order to react correctly and make the appropriate play.

    But in the batter's box, these days I'm inclined to let them swing away and develop a feel for getting the bat head on the ball. So far so good. As they get older we'll probably do more refinement and tinkering on the swing.

    I wish I could lick this fear of the hard thrown baseball, though--at 10 y.o. you'd think he'd be beyond that (hasn't been hit in the face or anything), but it seem to be an instinctive flinch response. He knows he's doing it and gets very frustrated by it, but can't seem to work past it. Even a 30-40 mph throw will cause it if it's headed for his face/upper chest. I reassure him that he'll get over it with practice, and am trying to come up with games (my euphemism for drills) to help build confidence that, yes, he will catch any ball flying towards his face.
    Last edited by Megunticook; 10-25-2011 at 07:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megunticook View Post
    I wish I could lick this fear of the hard thrown baseball, though--at 10 y.o. you'd think he'd be beyond that (hasn't been hit in the face or anything), but it seem to be an instinctive flinch response. He knows he's doing it and gets very frustrated by it, but can't seem to work past it. Even a 30-40 mph throw will cause it if it's headed for his face/upper chest. I reassure him that he'll get over it with practice, and am trying to come up with games (my euphemism for drills) to help build confidence that, yes, he will catch any ball flying towards his face.
    This is not uncommon at this age group. I wouldn't fret a whole lot about it. By the time they're 12 or so most, though not all, have lost this fear. Drills can certainly help, but sometimes it just takes time for the player to realize that they indeed can avoid getting hit, or that by using technique it's not that bad when they actually do get hit.

  8. #8
    My kid just bought one of those swingaway's. It's a very nice tool and something he'll use off season.

    To the original question, I always felt that batting practices should be built upon. First tee work, then front toss, then live pitch, and you build upon each level. I can't throw BP (torn shoulder) so all of our BP was thown by my coach (team partner) or indoors. We'd rotate kids out after about 10 to 12 swings, unless we were doing live game simulation, then they were removed when the walked or struck out.

    I saw a trainer once soft toss a bucket to a kid he was working with as quickly as possible, so the kid has to swing and set again to swing very quickly. It was more like cardio and you knew the kids arms were screaming about halfway through. His form suffered but his arm speed improved.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jbooth View Post
    I believe that pausing after 10 to 15 swings is always a good thing. It gives the muscles a rest, and it gives you time to evaluate what you did and what you want to do in the next round.
    This.

    A bodybuilder that trains also does sets. he doesn't do 100 reps in a row. he will do a set of 8-10, then break for 2-3 minutes and then do another set.

    I think that should be done similarly in baseball. too many guys just grind reps till they are physically and mentally fatigued and their mechanics break down. especially in pitching that is dangerous.

    so I would prefer to do a set of about 10 high quality swings, then break for two minutes (let the other kid hit) and then do another set. that will increse quality.

    In pitching it is the same. an inning is about 15 pitches on average. so why throw 60 pitches with no pause?
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  10. #10
    How about 5 quality, purposeful swings.

  11. #11
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    Towards the end of last season, I messed around with only giving the kids 10 swings (at good pitches from me, so sometimes 15 pitches!) of live bp. At first, many didn't get in any good work, but after a few times of doing this, it certainly seemed to force them to focus, knowing that they only had a limited number of opportunities. I'm possibly coming to the notion that too many pitches in bp is a waste because they just don't concentrate all that much when they know they have 40 pitches coming. You can see the same results when you hold a home run derby-type competition.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Roothog66 View Post
    I'm possibly coming to the notion that too many pitches in bp is a waste because they just don't concentrate all that much when they know they have 40 pitches coming. .
    I always like to introduce a situation, whether it be starting with a 2-1 count or a runner (invisible or real) on first or second and make them hit to the right side. Something to get them to think about WHERE to hit the ball, and then do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omg View Post
    How about 5 quality, purposeful swings.
    At younger age groups, I like more swings, but for high school I like 5 swings a lot. For those interested in their kids going on, here in California many of the showcase events use 5 pitches per player, so getting used to the 5 pitches before the next player comes in will prepare them for college tryouts.

  14. #14
    I learned something from this thread...
    While it should have been obvious, I should have realized that when we do have the chance for live BP, I need to do a couple of sets of 15-20, rather than a whole bucket of balls without a breather.

    We have the "Bat Action"...
    http://www.bataction.com/

    I will sometimes bring it to a team practice, but it mostly gets used at home. My son, who's almost eight, uses it 2-3 times per week. He'll hit fifty on non-game days, twenty-five if it's game day. We don't do as much live BP as we used to, but I think this piece of gear is worth the price.
    Last edited by johnlanza; 10-25-2011 at 10:54 AM.

  15. #15
    are you guys talking about pre game BP or a workout?
    Last edited by dominik; 10-25-2011 at 11:16 AM.
    I think walks are overrated unless you can run. If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps, but the guy who walks and cant run, most of the time hes clogging up the bases for somebody who can run. Dusty Baker.

  16. #16
    The Ultimate Hitting Machine (http://shop.beebesports.com/product....1&categoryId=2) is a good hitting aid that kids can use to get a lot of swing reps in daily by themselves. This is similar to self toss, but the machine tosses the ball in the air when the batter steps on the launch pad. You can adjust machine to toss the ball at a higher toss, and have batter wait and swing as ball starts back down (for younger kids learning timing and hand-eye corrdination), or you can adjust machine for a lower toss and batter swings quick before ball starts back down. It's real easy for kids to use, and kids get to practice hitting a moving ball.

  17. #17
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    Was with a couple MLB players taking BP last winter and one of them told me that they have been told that the body can only tale 7 swings in a row at maximum level. After 7, they got out.

    SC

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    When the kids were 7/8 I used to throw 25 and realized pretty quickly that they get tired and their mechanics break down. At 12u we have soft toss station and live bp is 10 cuts and cycle around depending on time. Last time threw we work counts/ locations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swing Coach View Post
    Was with a couple MLB players taking BP last winter and one of them told me that they have been told that the body can only tale 7 swings in a row at maximum level. After 7, they got out.

    SC
    Makes sense to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Patterson View Post
    Makes sense to me.
    Agree. Just go to a game early to watch BP and you'll see it. They get in some swings and then get out.
    "Smith corks it into right, down the line. It may go...........Go crazy folks! Go crazy! Jack Buck

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Swing Coach View Post
    Was with a couple MLB players taking BP last winter and one of them told me that they have been told that the body can only tale 7 swings in a row at maximum level. After 7, they got out.
    SC
    Thanks for sharing that; confirms what I suspected when I observed they rotated to the next guy in the bp group after 8 swings. I think I'll try keeping my kids to under 10 swings at a time, maybe have them alternate.

    By the way, there are some cool videos of Pujols and others doing bp and facing live pitching during spring training this year:

    short one of Pujols bp (see if you can spot the glaring safety issue in this one--I was surprised the Cards would allow this given the investment these guys represent):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2XG-...DD3CC59D0ED233

    longer one of Pujols and Holliday facing Carpenter, great camera angle:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=5LQV7jpMRXs
    Last edited by Megunticook; 10-26-2011 at 08:15 AM.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by JRH11 View Post
    Agree. Just go to a game early to watch BP and you'll see it. They get in some swings and then get out.
    You know, I've taken the kids to 3 day games at Fenway (we live 4 hours away so a night game is not a great idea with little ones), arriving when the gates first open, and much to my surprise they do not do bp before day games. I remember as a kid in the late seventies/early eighties going to day games all the time and there was ALWAYS bp--can't believe they don't do that anymore. I realize with a night game the previous evening they might not get out of the clubhouse until 11:30 or so, but you could still get a solid 8 hours of sleep, have breakfast, and be back to the ballpark by 10. Yeah, the season's a grind, but if I was making seven figures plus I don't think I'd complain about having to show up in the morning to get some work in.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Megunticook View Post
    You know, I've taken the kids to 3 day games at Fenway (we live 4 hours away so a night game is not a great idea with little ones), arriving when the gates first open, and much to my surprise they do not do bp before day games. I remember as a kid in the late seventies/early eighties going to day games all the time and there was ALWAYS bp--can't believe they don't do that anymore. I realize with a night game the previous evening they might not get out of the clubhouse until 11:30 or so, but you could still get a solid 8 hours of sleep, have breakfast, and be back to the ballpark by 10. Yeah, the season's a grind, but if I was making seven figures plus I don't think I'd complain about having to show up in the morning to get some work in.
    It's not that they are lazy. Often, the grind of taking bp, infield, and traveling is overload. And counterproductive. Considering the games last 3 hours plus, we are often talking about a 5 hour ordeal: home hits, visitors hit, home takes infield, visitors take infield,travel, maintenance, conditioning.....

    Need to be sharp for the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbooth View Post
    I believe that pausing after 10 to 15 swings is always a good thing. It gives the muscles a rest, and it gives you time to evaluate what you did and what you want to do in the next round.




    yea there pro warming up that should do it

    drill
    Yogi Berra was asked by a reporter "How do you catch a knuckle ball?" He came right back and said "When it stops rolling"

  25. #25
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    Originally Posted by jbooth
    I believe that pausing after 10 to 15 swings is always a good thing. It gives the muscles a rest, and it gives you time to evaluate what you did and what you want to do in the next round.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drill View Post
    yea there pro warming up that should do it

    drill
    Were you drunk when you wrote the above? I have no idea what that sentence means. It isn't remotely close to a coherent or grammatically correct sentence. Would you care to try again?

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