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Thread: Hitting - When It's Not A Mechanical Issue

  1. #1
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    Hitting - When It's Not A Mechanical Issue

    Another HYPOTHETICAL situation. Could be 8U, 11U or 13U. Pick one. Or, make a general point that covers all three. The main issue is that we're discussing the first age that a player faces live pitching on a NEW SIZED FIELD for him...meaning "not coach pitch" 46/60, 11U 50/70 or 13U 60/90.

    In terms of mechanics, the kid is fine. You have seen the slo-mo video. You have seen the stills. Yes, he's not perfect. (Who is?) But, it terms of hitting "mechanics" there are no major flaws and the kid is pretty spot on in terms of the swing, for a kid his age.

    Yet, the results are not there. It's not consistent hard contact. He struggles getting the ball out of the infield.

    If you had to guess as to what the problem is, what would you say? Timing? Vision? Lack of physical strength? Something else? Usually, what is the main culprit for batting woes when it's not mechanics? (Again, when the player is first playing on a given sized field.)

  2. #2
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    What you're describing are mechanical issues.
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  3. #3
    There was a .400 hitter named Krantz
    Who had the most unusual stance
    But with the coach's correction
    His stance is perfection
    Now he can't hit the seat of his pants.

    I read that a while ago and always think of it. What you're describing is a strength issue. His 'fine' hitting mechanics don't complement his strongest muscle group. Just have him hit the ball with the stick as hard as he can without worrying about mechanics. Dropped elbow, fine. Bug squishing fine. Just hit the thing hard.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    There was a .400 hitter named Krantz
    Who had the most unusual stance
    But with the coach's correction
    His stance is perfection
    Now he can't hit the seat of his pants.


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    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    What you're describing are mechanical issues.
    Can you expand on that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry View Post
    What you're describing is a strength issue. His 'fine' hitting mechanics don't complement his strongest muscle group.
    Interesting point. What if the player has no muscles?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Francis7 View Post
    Interesting point. What if the player has no muscles?


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    Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

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    Scary that you had that GIF so readily handy for recall!

  9. #9
    No 1. nonmechanical hitting flaw is fear

    scratch that, IMO #1 hitting flaw is fear



    fear is the swing-killer; fear is the little-death that brings total annihilation, etc...

  10. #10
    Could be confidence, could be pitch-recognition, could be a litany of things...

    Maybe he just likes cage-bombs...?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbrages View Post
    No 1. nonmechanical hitting flaw is fear

    scratch that, IMO #1 hitting flaw is fear

    fear is the swing-killer; fear is the little-death that brings total annihilation, etc...
    I think, in the case where it's fear or lack of confidence, that's usually pretty obvious. That's hard to hide.

  12. #12
    I have seen kids do well in a BP situation, but against live pitching they get jumpy. They start jumping and lunging at the ball. Thus, their mechanics go to %#^&.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francis7 View Post
    Another HYPOTHETICAL situation. Could be 8U, 11U or 13U. Pick one. Or, make a general point that covers all three. The main issue is that we're discussing the first age that a player faces live pitching on a NEW SIZED FIELD for him...meaning "not coach pitch" 46/60, 11U 50/70 or 13U 60/90.

    In terms of mechanics, the kid is fine. You have seen the slo-mo video. You have seen the stills. Yes, he's not perfect. (Who is?) But, it terms of hitting "mechanics" there are no major flaws and the kid is pretty spot on in terms of the swing, for a kid his age.

    Yet, the results are not there. It's not consistent hard contact. He struggles getting the ball out of the infield.

    If you had to guess as to what the problem is, what would you say? Timing? Vision? Lack of physical strength? Something else? Usually, what is the main culprit for batting woes when it's not mechanics? (Again, when the player is first playing on a given sized field.)
    I'm surprised at how many answers are not discussing nonmechanical issues. In the MAJORITY of cases I see kids struggle against live pitching, it has nothing to do with mechanics or strength. First, I think it's helpful to break down hitting into 3 parts:

    1) Mental readiness
    2) See the ball
    3) Hit the ball

    Mechanics only matters for #3 and it's not the only factor. For #3 I have seen kids fail by having their mechanics go down hill by using an inappropriately sized bat, being afraid of the ball, etc but yes - #3 is usually a matter of mechanics.

    #1 and #2 if done really well can sometimes allow a younger hitter (12 or below) against average pitching and a small field to be a very good hitter in spite of poor mechanics.

    #1 requires a mental frame of mind that assumes each pitch will be perfect. You abort if it isn't a perfect pitch. I have seen so many kids come up to plate looking for a walk, or more often just not being ready to hit until they are sure if it's a strike or a ball, which is too late. Lack of confidence can also mess up readiness.

    #2 can be thrown off by poor eye sight, lack of experience, or simply not having much eye/hand coordination talent. Takes a lot less eye/hand coordination to hit at the cages than it does vs live pitching.

    I have seen many players who hit very hard line drives or hard grounders at the cages for the most part who strike out a ton and overall do poorly at games. Last year I had all our players reviewed at one practice by one of the best batting instructors at the cages and the kid who literally had the fewest hits on the team come out with flying colors - the batting instructor was very impressed and wanted to know more about him. In games - some combination of low confidence and not being able to see the ball well led to mostly poor results.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeG View Post
    Last year I had all our players reviewed at one practice by one of the best batting instructors at the cages and the kid who literally had the fewest hits on the team come out with flying colors - the batting instructor was very impressed and wanted to know more about him. In games - some combination of low confidence and not being able to see the ball well led to mostly poor results.
    Joe,

    Want to make sure I'm reading this right - is your last sentence referring specifically to that player, or are you applying that as a general statement to everyone? (if the shoe fits...). I guess it doesn't really matter either way, as I'm much more curious as to whether that hitter was able to improve in the past year?

  15. #15
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    There is a player on my son's team that is incredibly rock solid in production, but one you wouldn't say "what a great looking swing". He just goes up there and somehow finds a way to hit the ball. No monster shots, but very consistent. He also doesn't have the best fielding mechanics, but is probably the most consistent infielder as well. I do attribute his production greatly to just having zero fear and hes badass competitor.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmachine3 View Post
    There is a player on my son's team that is incredibly rock solid in production, but one you wouldn't say "what a great looking swing". He just goes up there and somehow finds a way to hit the ball. No monster shots, but very consistent. He also doesn't have the best fielding mechanics, but is probably the most consistent infielder as well. I do attribute his production greatly to just having zero fear and hes badass competitor.
    Give me 9 of these kids, all day, every day. Results are what matter. Looking "cute" does not if it isn't getting the job done.
    Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chief2791 View Post
    Give me 9 of these kids, all day, every day. Results are what matter. Looking "cute" does not if it isn't getting the job done.
    This particular player also isn't that great at some coordination drills like footwork ladders and such, but game time, he just get's it done.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Francis7 View Post
    Another HYPOTHETICAL situation. Could be 8U, 11U or 13U. ....the first age that a player faces live pitching on a NEW SIZED FIELD for him...meaning "not coach pitch"

    In terms of mechanics, the kid is fine. ...the kid is pretty spot on in terms of the swing, for a kid his age.

    Yet, the results are not there. It's not consistent hard contact. He struggles getting the ball out of the infield
    Not swinging hard enough. Probably swinging tentatively because of adjusting to the new pitching distance.
    Skip

  19. #19
    How about not going to the plate with a plan?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gags View Post
    Joe,

    Want to make sure I'm reading this right - is your last sentence referring specifically to that player, or are you applying that as a general statement to everyone? (if the shoe fits...). I guess it doesn't really matter either way, as I'm much more curious as to whether that hitter was able to improve in the past year?
    I was referring to one specific 12-year-old player who was the tallest player on the team at about 5' 5" or so. His mechanics were not perfect by any means but they were pretty good, he hit balls at the cages very hard. I would guess they would be 180' to 200' bombs, maybe some further than that, had they been on our 50/70 field.

    He got 6 hits in 51 plate appearances. 11 strikeouts. Looking at his spray chart, I see that 46% of his hits went to the outfield. The majority of his hits were weak infield grounders that resulted in outs, and most of his hits to the outfield were towering fly balls. 7% line drives according to the spray chart.

    Second time I've had him on one of my rec teams. He's a decent shortstop and pretty good pitcher too. But at hitting he lacked confidence. I heard him openly telling other kids he's not a very good hitter. Most of his hits came in the last month of the season so I guess something improved a little - or who knows maybe it was random.

    He is currently a 13u and I don't know how he is doing this year, as he is in Pony division while my 12-year-old son is still in Bronco.

    One very key thing that kept him back was bat control. He used a bat that was too heavy for him to control effectively - I forget which model of Easton but it was maybe 24 ounces or so. In scrimmages before season began I insisted he try a lighter bat and he got one great hit and another towering fly on that day that was caught. But then he reverted to using the too-heavy bat and didn't get a regular season hit for a couple months. I think he kept growing and getting stronger as his swing speed got faster towards the end of the season so that probably is why he started getting more hits.

    Too heavy a bat can look great at the cages, terrible in games.

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