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How I teach hitting at a clinic for 7 yr-olds

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  • How I teach hitting at a clinic for 7 yr-olds

    It's been many years since I've coached pre-teens, but I occasionally help out at clinics for our (strong) local rec league.

    Here's how I taught hitting off a tee at a clinic for 7 yr-olds this weekend:

    Make a "box" with your arms.
    Turn your body fast.
    As you turn, keep the "box", don't change it.
    In other words, rotate your core and make contact with bent arms.

    I didn't ask them to transform the "box" into a "V" after contact. It's too advanced.

    Btw, we had to tee-hit because it was cramped--we were in a small gym in the basement of a church. Thankfully we only busted two (easily replaceable) 2x4 ceiling tiles lol.

    I'm putting on my flame-retardant suit....
    Last edited by skipper5; 12-02-2019, 10:59 AM.
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  • #2
    Thanks for the tips.

    Since you have taught this young and much older, when did you start concentrating on hitting the ball the opposite way?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by T Dot View Post
      Thanks for the tips.

      Since you have taught this young and much older, when did you start concentrating on hitting the ball the opposite way?
      I guess around 14 or 15.
      I'm not a hitting instructor. I coach teams. Though occasionally I'll work intensively with an individual.
      But please keep in mind, my emphasis on "the box" referred to 7 yr-olds.

      Last edited by skipper5; 12-02-2019, 11:40 AM.
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      • #4
        Thanks! My son is 6, so I am trying to soak up all the information I can get. I am going to try this with him.

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        • #5
          At this age I set the tee relatively high (above the belly button) and then tell them to start the hands at the right shoulder with the bat up about at a 45 degree angle and a good stance with the feet apart and knees and hips bent.

          Then I tell them to swing the bat level from the right delt until the left delt and at the same time turn the belly button a bit to the pitcher.

          At this point I do not worry about a load, stride, feet or even a bent front knee, I just make sure the upper body stays upright and is not bending forward. Since the pitch is high no tilt is needed and you can swing level.

          When they master that clean shoulder to shoulder swing and turn without leaning forward the next step is getting the lead leg to straighten.

          Next step then would be to add a little coil and load before you swing.

          Tilt and bat angle I add later in the process when they can already hit a high pitch with a level bat.

          With more advanced hitters I'm getting more detailed teaching hand actions etc but when I have preteens who have never played the simple instruction swing the bat shoulder to shoulder level against the ball tends to work best to give then a foundation.

          With more advanced preteen hitters of course you can do more advanced stuff and look at things like boad, back elbow, coil, direction, swing plane, extension... but if they never swung or totally suck just telling them to swing shoulder to shoulder is easy for most.
          I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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          • #6
            dom-
            We did use a high tee, to simplify--as you mentioned. Thanks for the reminder.

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            • #7
              Nice, keep it simple. With my 4 year old I tell him 2 things. Get into a good stance (he seems to know what this is instinctively or from watching other people) and swing hard. As he gets older and gets better body awareness mechanical stuff will be added as necessary.

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              • #8
                Are you sure the "box" cue is better than just giving them batting practice reps?

                How did YOU learn to swing as a youngster? What cues were used? Were they helpful?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bbrages View Post
                  Are you sure the "box" cue is better than just giving them batting practice reps?
                  I'm not sure how to give ten 7 yr-olds batting practice reps in a low-ceiling church basement.

                  I do believe that a robotic "turn the box" swing gets them off to a great start towards having a core-driven bent-arm swing. Plus, emphasizing the box at a young age is a strong antidote against the rear elbow rushing forward (bat drag.)

                  I probably learned to hit by throwing rocks up in the air and hitting them into the woods.
                  But I can't remember, it was too long ago.
                  Last edited by skipper5; 12-02-2019, 03:05 PM.
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                  • #10
                    What I've found with kids that age is that they do not want to get into an athletic stance- they like to stand like they are waiting for a bus. So a lot of bend your knees, butt out, spread your feet- good body language, "watch out sucker, I feel good today" body language....also, with the tee, I'd consider some Happy Gilmores- get them moving about a bit.
                    Major Figure

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                    • #11
                      Another good one to teach is how to approach the batters box (back foot first, then front foot, then maybe hit plate for plate coverage) and get into a proper stance. Also, how to reset after a pitch or swing.
                      Major Figure

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by omg View Post
                        Another good one to teach is how to approach the batters box (back foot first, then front foot, then maybe hit plate for plate coverage) and get into a proper stance. Also, how to reset after a pitch or swing.
                        I magically taught that, but not the latter.. The bat plate tap was the first thing I taught. It allowed me to magically align the batters feet without teaching where the feet should go. Now that it is 1 year later, we have added the feet placeent. I will add the reset into the game. Thank you!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                          .

                          I do believe that a robotic "turn the box" swing gets them off to a great start towards having a core-driven bent-arm swing.
                          How "robotic" are we talking?

                          The human body is amazing at its ability to figure things out...

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                          • #14
                            Some kids naturally start leaning way back with hands too far from their body. To fix that I always stand across the plate from them at first and have them put the bat in front of them. Then I grab the end of it and tell them to jump as high as they can while still holding the bat. Almost all of them land with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and very balanced. If I hold the end of the bat then I kind of control that they are parallel with the plate to pitcher. After they learn what a balanced starting position feels like it becomes much easier to teach them to get lined up and keep their heads and hands in a better position.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bbrages View Post

                              The human body is amazing at its ability to figure things out...
                              In general, yes.

                              For instance, learning how to walk is natural and intuitive.

                              However, IMO, launch-to-contact with bent-arms in un-natural and un-intuitive, and therefore should be prioritized with typical 7 yr-olds.

                              Whereas, IMO, unfortunately it's natural and intuitive to move the elbows very close to each other during launch-to-contact (IOW, jut the rear elbow forward...bat drag).
                              Last edited by skipper5; 12-04-2019, 01:59 PM.
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