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  • Timing Drills for Young Hitters

    Are there any drills you all have found that helps with timing for young hitters moving from Tee Ball?

    We don't have a ton of room to work with in a two car garage. I have been doing front toss from about 15 feet away and at times he is late to the ball. Right now, I have been talking with him on being loaded by the time i bring my arm back and to watch the ball release as i come forward (tossing underhand).

    He gets more contact when going no-stride, so I will throw a bucket no-stride. Then, I will let him try a bucket with his stride because he likes to take a stride.

    On the Gadget thread, i had thought about getting a pitch machine because i thought maybe a consistent throw might help, but I could see how a machine could not be the answer. I have seen that U-Tee and thought maybe a pendulum style tee could help.

    Are we just needing more reps perhaps? Side soft toss? What have you guys found to be successful for hitters in coach pitch?

  • #2
    He should base his timing keyed to the pitcher' hand break. When you throw to him make sure you have a glove on. When the ball comes out of the glove he should start his shift back. That should improve his timing.I would not practice no stride...it's not sustainable long term...

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    • #3
      The stride begins before the pitcher releases the ball. The foot is in the air assuming the pitch isn’t super slow. That may be counterintuitive to some especially those who are given other cues to think about. Also, if getting hit by the ball is something that enters a batters mind then there is a reluctance to commit that front foot before the batter actually knows where the pitch is going.
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      • #4
        I would start with simple front flips with foam balls. He should coil when your arm swi gs back and come forward when your arm comes forward. Once he develops a rhythm, you can change distances and tempo. Foam balls are safer for front flips. Even rubber balls can cripple you if hit well to your baby maker

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        • #5
          One drill I do with my son is where I will pitch to him at three different distances say 20 feet, 35 feet and 45 feet. These distance are not exact and I will vary them each session. I throw the same speed at each distance. He has to adjust and recalibrate his timing at each distance. I could just pitch the same distance and change the speed but this is easier for me and I’m have the same throwing motion for the most part. I may pitch 10 pitches at the short distance, then pitch 10 at the furthest distance, then go back to the short distance, then the medium. Just mix it up so he hasn’t to adjust each time, So it’s basically like facing a fast, medium and slow pitcher. We are in 11u so I’m not sure this works at the older ages. We play D1 level so we face mostly high velocity pitchers but every now and then a team will put a slow pitcher on the mound to cool our bats and it amazes me how a-lot of hitters will struggle. All about timing.....When we can’t get in a cage or on the field using real baseballs, we will get in the back yard and I will pitch him tennis balls, whiffle balls any kind of small ball that won’t shatter a window or go 200’
          something I would always remind him to help with timing is to have your stride foot down by the time the ball is halfway to the plate. He went through a phase wear he had a high leg stride almost to his chest and he was late on everything so i told him this and he adjusted his timing where he got his foot down sooner

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          • #6
            We teach all of our players a specific way to feed machines. They show the ball at about 4 inches above the feeding slot. Then, they establish a rhythm so that our hitters can work on timing. Machines have their purpose. For the longest time, we had an ATEC soft-toss machine.it worked really well for feeding the machine when we lowered the tension on the spring to the point that it simply dropped the ball. Unfortunately, that device was hit so many times by line drives up the middle that it no longer works.
            Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

            I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

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            • #7
              My four (grown) sons played.
              When he was struggling in the summer of 11u, the best hitter of the four said, "Dad, I don't know when to swing" lol
              Timing:
              1. Physically, you have to get your front foot down soon enough.
              Too early is OK, too late is too late.
              2. Mentally, you have to be free enough of anxiety and lack-of-confidence to get it done.

              When your son is in a timing funk, it helps if you whistle past the graveyard.

              Err on the side of getting the stride foot down early, and then scale back from there.

              Last edited by skipper5; 02-21-2021, 07:13 PM.
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              • #8
                Each of these responses helps. Thanks so much. I will start using a glove, that never crossed my mind but makes complete sense that I was missing a key piece that he will need to use.

                I will use all these cues for him to shift and coil back and then come forward. I was about to drop the stride at this point, but It’s good to know that he can keep it as long as he’s using the visual cues you guys provided. We’ll work on it this week. Thanks everyone.



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                • #9
                  Most important checkpoints are pitch release and contact. The forward move must have started at pitch release.

                  What you can do is let the kids audibly mark release and contact.

                  Like for example have them say "DA" when pitch is released and "dum" when they make contact. That way they can learn that rhythm.

                  Also it is important to start the load in a way that makes sure you have started to move forward at pitch release.


                  A common cue is to start load at hand break or max
                  Knee lift but that also depends on the pitcher and the tempo of your load, a chase utley type of load will take less time than a jose bautista type of load.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Have them practice self-toss. Have them throw the ball in the air and hit it.

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                    • #11
                      He is what? 6? 7? I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep throwing to him, he will catch on eventually.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dominik View Post
                        Most important checkpoints are pitch release and contact. The forward move must have started at pitch release.

                        What you can do is let the kids audibly mark release and contact.

                        Like for example have them say "DA" when pitch is released and "dum" when they make contact. That way they can learn that rhythm.

                        Also it is important to start the load in a way that makes sure you have started to move forward at pitch release.


                        A common cue is to start load at hand break or max
                        Knee lift but that also depends on the pitcher and the tempo of your load, a chase utley type of load will take less time than a jose bautista type of load.
                        This also brings forth that everyone’s front toss is different. Around here coach pitch is basically front toss. So if the feeder just flicks it up there which a lot of guys do then it would be very hard to time up for anyone: kid, big leaguer, whomever. I like to turn my shoulders from sitting down front toss which gives the batter an early signal that the ball is coming. Obviously do it the same way every time. Also it allows the feeder to see that the batter is making a comfortable load and stride.

                        A lot of guys are crappy front tossers and they will always be crappy front tossers. They are Mick Jagger front tossers. Trout can’t hit a Mick Jagger front tosser. He’d drop his bat and leave the cage.
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                        • #13
                          I do like that Da Dum queue; that is easy for a 7 year old to grasp at pitch and release.

                          He definitely has chosen a Bautista/Donaldson kick that I may need to tone down, lol.

                          Self-toss will be a work in progress with him; I tried that once, but I really will work on that. I can see the value in that for timing. His throws can’t be that much worse than my terrible side toss. I will work that in as a drill he can do by himself for fun.

                          Omg - I was doing underhand front toss. In games, the coaches do overhand, but I just feel like the overhand toss ends up being this rainbow throw where the kid has to take a 45 degree angle to hit. The coaches rarely throw it like a dart. Makes things more difficult for timing with a rainbow throw. Underhand or overhand from 15 ft away?











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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by novadad View Post
                            I do like that Da Dum queue; that is easy for a 7 year old to grasp at pitch and release.

                            He definitely has chosen a Bautista/Donaldson kick that I may need to tone down, lol.

                            Self-toss will be a work in progress with him; I tried that once, but I really will work on that. I can see the value in that for timing. His throws can’t be that much worse than my terrible side toss. I will work that in as a drill he can do by himself for fun.

                            Omg - I was doing underhand front toss. In games, the coaches do overhand, but I just feel like the overhand toss ends up being this rainbow throw where the kid has to take a 45 degree angle to hit. The coaches rarely throw it like a dart. Makes things more difficult for timing with a rainbow throw. Underhand or overhand from 15 ft away?










                            Underhand is fine. Standing up for older kids since you don’t want ball to be coming uphill from sitting down. For younger kids I don’t know if it matters. Just make sure it’s rhythmic. I do a nice backward arm swing and take a stride with my opposite foot. Some guys stand flat footed and flick it, others step with same side foot. I guess what gets the best results. That’s what you want, squaring up the ball and confidence builders. Lots of confidence builders.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by novadad View Post
                              I do like that Da Dum queue; that is easy for a 7 year old to grasp at pitch and release.

                              He definitely has chosen a Bautista/Donaldson kick that I may need to tone down, lol.

                              Self-toss will be a work in progress with him; I tried that once, but I really will work on that. I can see the value in that for timing. His throws can’t be that much worse than my terrible side toss. I will work that in as a drill he can do by himself for fun.

                              Omg - I was doing underhand front toss. In games, the coaches do overhand, but I just feel like the overhand toss ends up being this rainbow throw where the kid has to take a 45 degree angle to hit. The coaches rarely throw it like a dart. Makes things more difficult for timing with a rainbow throw. Underhand or overhand from 15 ft away?
                              For my 6 YO, when I throw from that distance (15 ft or so), I sit on a bucket or a chair and toss overhand.

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