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  • Hitting Advice for My Son

    Hello - I am looking for some hitting advice/perspective for my 13U son. He historically has been an outstanding contact hitter and has typically lead his team in average since he was 6yrs old. Last season he lead his Major level team in avg., OBP and was second in slugging. I have had many, many coaches (including a 5A head coach of a high school that consistantly goes to state in Texas HS playoffs and has had several 1st round draft picks from his program) tell me that Dereck has the quickest hands that they seen in a kid his age. He is good.

    This season, he has made a very high caliber nationally ranked 13U major team and his coach has really been modifying his swing as follows (Dereck is a right handed batter).

    * Initiating swing by driving right, rear knee forward, towards ground.
    * Top hand follows knee and drives knob of bat towards ball.
    * Keep body stacked and vertical.
    * strong extension.

    My son has done an excellent job incorporating some of the changes in his swing but has really been struggling keeping his body stacked/vertical through the swing. He has a natural swing tilt/angle and his left hip tends to lift a little.

    His performance at the plate has really suffered and he has reached a level of frustration that I have never seen in him before. I am trying to encourage him during this period as much as possible and am trying to keep him focused...even shared that Tiger Woods revamped his swing while he was winning majors to get better.

    Although I have confidence in his coach's knowledge, I really want to dig deeper into this and get some additional perspective. I am impressed with the thoughtful info sharing here and welcome your feedack & thoughts. It is killing me to see something that brought my son so much joy become a laboring task. I also recognize that sometimes one needs to take a step or 2 backwards to move forward. Baseball offers many life lessons, eh? :noidea

    Thank you - Jim

  • #2
    Originally posted by Woody View Post
    * Initiating swing by driving right, rear knee forward, towards ground.
    * Top hand follows knee and drives knob of bat towards ball.
    * Keep body stacked and vertical.
    * strong extension.
    Not all of these cues are terrible (but I think the focus on extension is a big red flag), but the results indicate that the coach is leading your son down the wrong path.
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

    I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

    Comment


    • #3
      Woody we would have to see a clip, but what you describe is very normal for this age group. Good "contact" hitters at the 12U level with high drop bats struggle at the 13U level. The reasons include the use of high drop expensive bats and linear mechanics. "Drive the knob" and "strong extention" would give me pause.... but again hard to really comment without a clip.
      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you both for quick comments. I will be adding a clip soon.

        BTW, he has been using a wood bat for all practice activity since he was 11. He is currently using a 31" -5 bat.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Woody View Post
          This season, he has made a very high caliber nationally ranked 13U major team and his coach has really been modifying his swing as follows (Dereck is a right handed batter).

          * Initiating swing by driving right, rear knee forward, towards ground.
          * Top hand follows knee and drives knob of bat towards ball.
          * Keep body stacked and vertical.
          * strong extension.
          What does the coach say that he's trying to accomplish?
          What problems does he say he sees in your son's swing?
          What hitters does he want your son to emulate?
          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

          I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Woody View Post
            Thank you both for quick comments. I will be adding a clip soon.

            BTW, he has been using a wood bat for all practice activity since he was 11. He is currently using a 31" -5 bat.
            I wish more fathers/coaches would see the merit in doing this...
            "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
            - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

            Comment


            • #7
              A big thumb up for the wood bat!!!

              I say, let your son hit how he is most comfortable and successful.
              See ball, hit ball.

              Comment


              • #8
                Chris - The coach is trying to:
                1. generate power using the the lower body by keeping the front foot stable and driving back leg and knee forward.
                2. minimize head movement by keeping body stacked.
                3. Short, powerful hand movement to ball driven by top hand.
                (much easier said than done).

                Prior to this coach, my son has been taught to simply plant front foot prior to pitchers release point; rotate (without much specifics re: back leg/knee), and keep hands inside the ball using bottom hand as dominant hand and using top hand to keep barrel above ball. He has also received much instruction on making contact at proper depth depending on location.

                The area of challenge is clearly that he has a slight tilt and is not staying "stacked".

                I've attached a picture of his swing at 11U that illustrates the slight tilt... as well as a 11U pic showcasing a trophy with his grandma so you can see how much this kid loves baseball!
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • #9
                  Take II on swing pic.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nothing better than a proud grandma.
                    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Woody,
                      Tough to tell with a pic. Really need a clip. Here's a youngster I like to use as an example.
                      [ATTACH]38784[/ATTACH
                      You can see a few differences... but again tough to tell with a pic.
                      Attached Files
                      Last edited by Jake Patterson; 04-01-2008, 08:40 PM.
                      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Will post a clip soon. Again, ghank you for the feedback.

                        BTW, at this point, he would drop a date with Grandma in exchange for a gapper in a nano second!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Woody View Post
                          Chris - The coach is trying to:
                          1. generate power using the the lower body by keeping the front foot stable and driving back leg and knee forward.
                          I'm not sure this is the right way to teach rotation. When I teach rotation, I focus on the hips.


                          Originally posted by Woody View Post
                          2. minimize head movement by keeping body stacked...The area of challenge is clearly that he has a slight tilt and is not staying "stacked".
                          Minimizing head movement is good, but staying stacked is not the answer. The pros do not stay stacked. Instead, they tilt over the plate to adjust to pitches up or down in the strike zone.





                          For more examples, see...

                          - Examples - Tilt

                          Does the coach talk about swinging level?


                          Originally posted by Woody View Post
                          3. Short, powerful hand movement to ball driven by top hand.
                          Hands to the ball is a questionable cue because it can lead to disconnection/premature extension which slows the swing down through the point of contact.

                          I also don't talk about top hand dominance.

                          Does he want him to hit the top of the ball and to roll his wrists?
                          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                          I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Great pics...

                            No re: swing level. However, he does talk about driving back leg/knee low to get lower pitches.

                            I don't recall any comments about rolling wrists or hitting top half of ball...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Woody View Post
                              However, he does talk about driving back leg/knee low to get lower pitches.
                              This sounds like Epstein's idea of using the back knee as a hinge.

                              It sounds good, but it's not what the pros actually do. Their back knee angles are quite consistent on pitches up and down on the zone.

                              They adjust via tilt.

                              It sounds like this guy is teaching a hybrid of Lau and Epstein.
                              Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                              I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                              Comment

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