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  • Scared at the plate after getting hit...

    Any suggestions on how to help an 8yo get over being hit? My son had always been aggressive and had a couple hits….until he got absolutely smoked on his left shoulder blade.

    Hasn’t been the same better since, set’s up WAY to off the plate and is gun shy and scared on each pitch, he’s struck out every time since he’s been hit.

    It seems no matter what I or any of the other coaches say it doesn’t help.

    Any ideas?
    Sent from my mobile device... probably while driving...

  • #2
    Originally posted by tcvander View Post
    Any suggestions on how to help an 8yo get over being hit? My son had always been aggressive and had a couple hits….until he got absolutely smoked on his left shoulder blade.

    Hasn’t been the same better since, set’s up WAY to off the plate and is gun shy and scared on each pitch, he’s struck out every time since he’s been hit.

    It seems no matter what I or any of the other coaches say it doesn’t help.

    Any ideas?
    Ping Pong Balls????
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
      Ping Pong Balls????
      Yeah, or just throw tennis balls at him gently.

      Then just throw BP to him and make sure he strides on every pitch. Don't give up. Make sure he gets a hit before the season ends.
      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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      • #4
        In addition to taking some BP with tennis balls, teach him how to properly turn away from an inside pitch. Hit him with the tennis balls in a way that he will realize if he turns away properly most HBPs will be glancing shots, not flush.

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        • #5
          Here are a couple of things I've done in the past when players get scared:
          1) Show them what they are doing and explain how they cannot hit the ball by stepping out. Set up a tee on the outside corner and have them back up to where they would on a pitch. There is no way for them to reach the ball. Explain that they have to be close to hit those pitches.
          2) As the above responses said, show him how to turn on the pitch, use tennis balls or ping pong balls. Wiffle balls if you got them (although they can sting a little in the cold weather).
          3) If they are allowed to bunt in games (not sure what level your son is in), then I say teach him how to bunt and have him try it in a couple games. This forces them to stay close to the plate and when they make contact they realize they can still hit the ball.
          - This one worked on more than a couple of occasions.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
            Here are a couple of things I've done in the past when players get scared:
            3) If they are allowed to bunt in games (not sure what level your son is in), then I say teach him how to bunt and have him try it in a couple games. This forces them to stay close to the plate and when they make contact they realize they can still hit the ball.
            - This one worked on more than a couple of occasions.
            Amen. I've done that with kids who simply aren't able to hit. You know the ones, unathletic, never worked at baseball, but sign up every year. I love those kids, they always work hard and ultimately do something great that makes the season. In any event, getting them to bunt, for some reason, helps them not be afraid of the ball. I don't get it, but it does.

            The thing I've done is to show the kids how to properly get hit (turn back, lower head and cover bat). Their inclination, especially at the younger ages, it to turn into the pitch, open their chest and put out their hand like they are going to stop the ball. They usually get hit in the chest or stomach and get the wind knocked out of them (very traumatic for everyone) or worse in the face. So if you teach all the kids on the team how to defend themsevles it makes it less traumatic for everyone if when they do get hit if they've properly defended themselves and aren't bleeding.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kings over Queens View Post
              They usually get hit in the chest or stomach and get the wind knocked out of them (very traumatic for everyone)
              Just saw a HS varsity kid do this and it broke his ribs. A definite no-no.
              efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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              • #8
                I know we always preach to teach the kid to turn away from the pitch but in reality it's not that easy. Kids don't intentionally turn into a pitch. It's their momentum from striding and starting to swing at the ball that puts them in that position. Once you start your stride and begin your swing, it's literally impossible to stop and turn away in time. And the faster the pitching the harder it gets. The kids with improper mechanics or kids that are just slower are the most vunerable to this. I believe the only real solution is having proper mechanics or just flat out having a quicker swing that will allow you to stay back longer. I know, easier said than done but that's the reality. And the reason kids strike out afterwards is because their number one priority becomes not getting hit by the ball. Once they realize it's safe to swing, it's too late. The kid will decide if and when the risk of getting hit is worth playing the game.

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                • #9
                  Of course it isn't easy. Turning into the pitch and putting your hands out is a natural reflex in an attempt to protect yourself. Its not so much turning into the pitch as the motion of putting their hands out as if to stop the ball. The turning part is a function of the arms. You have to train your brain and body to respond differently to this type of situation. It isn't easy at all and takes practice and training.

                  An anology I've used with them is a rock skipping off a pond v. a rock thrown against a wall. If the rock was a baseball and your body was the pond or wall, which would hurt less. Getting hit sucks but its part of the game and we as coaches have a responsiblity to develop this kids in all aspects of the game.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kings over Queens View Post
                    Of course it isn't easy. Turning into the pitch and putting your hands out is a natural reflex in an attempt to protect yourself. Its not so much turning into the pitch as the motion of putting their hands out as if to stop the ball. The turning part is a function of the arms. You have to train your brain and body to respond differently to this type of situation. It isn't easy at all and takes practice and training.

                    An anology I've used with them is a rock skipping off a pond v. a rock thrown against a wall. If the rock was a baseball and your body was the pond or wall, which would hurt less. Getting hit sucks but its part of the game and we as coaches have a responsiblity to develop this kids in all aspects of the game.
                    I get you trying to keep are kids safe, we all want that. And I understand you trying to train the brain and body to respond differently. My point is that you only have a certain amount of time to react to something. I don't care how hard you train your brain and body to respond to something, at a certain point it becomes physically impossible to implement it. What I was trying to hint at was that, maybe we are trying to solve a problem with the wrong solution. In my experience at seeing kids hit, I can tell who would be a sitting duck and it's usually because they committ to the pitch too early, as a result of them being too slow or having bad mechanics. These kids would not benefit from a coach telling them over and over again to turn away from the pitch. Helping them to stay back longer with better mechanics would be a better solution in my opinion.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mellowthunder View Post
                      I get you trying to keep are kids safe, we all want that. And I understand you trying to train the brain and body to respond differently. My point is that you only have a certain amount of time to react to something. I don't care how hard you train your brain and body to respond to something, at a certain point it becomes physically impossible to implement it. What I was trying to hint at was that, maybe we are trying to solve a problem with the wrong solution. In my experience at seeing kids hit, I can tell who would be a sitting duck and it's usually because they committ to the pitch too early, as a result of them being too slow or having bad mechanics. These kids would not benefit from a coach telling them over and over again to turn away from the pitch. Helping them to stay back longer with better mechanics would be a better solution in my opinion.
                      Everyone gets hit. It has nothing to do with how athletic you are, if you play baseball you will be hit. Next step is the proper way to get hit, right?

                      If you are set up correct in the box and don't move the area exposed is very small and is hard to hit solid. When a scared player opens up stepping out of the box the exposed area doubles and he increases his chance of getting hit.

                      Turning in with your load allows you to:
                      1. Be ready to hit
                      2. Exposes a very small area to the ball
                      3. Allows you to react to the curve that tricked you.
                      4. Make small adjustments with the shoulders to avoid the ball.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tcvander View Post
                        Any suggestions on how to help an 8yo get over being hit? My son had always been aggressive and had a couple hits….until he got absolutely smoked on his left shoulder blade.

                        Hasn’t been the same better since, set’s up WAY to off the plate and is gun shy and scared on each pitch, he’s struck out every time since he’s been hit.

                        It seems no matter what I or any of the other coaches say it doesn’t help.

                        Any ideas?
                        I had success having the player stand in the box like he was going to hit during a bull pen with his glove on. When the pitch came have him go through his batting motion and catch the ball with his glove. It help a lot! Good luck.

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                        • #13
                          Sorry, I don't really agree with any of the suggestions. I understand that it is an unbelievably difficult thing to get a kid who is afraid to not be afraid. I definitely don't suggest bunting because a batter is much more vulnerable to getting hit bunting. All of the other things- wiffle balls and learning how to get out of the way don't help much.

                          Really, it's about trust. The scared batter doesn't trust the boy- or dad or the coach- on the mound to throw it over the plate. Can't blame him.

                          This is where I think machines can be of value. If you can go to a commercial cage with decent machines then I think someone can eventually overcome their fear, at least somewhat. Kids trust machines more than humans. I'm not talking 1 or 2 times at the cage but a steady dose of it over quite a long period. I think you'll see some improvement.
                          Last edited by omg; 04-21-2012, 08:41 AM.
                          Major Figure

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                          • #14
                            First and foremost your son's reaction is RATIONAL AND REASONABLE! Agree with him that getting hit with a baseball hurts! Don't make a big deal out it. Please, please don't ridicule him.

                            Some kids get some relief by wearing extra equipment for a while - a helmet with a mask, a rib guard or padded vest (you can find them with the football gear), elbow, ankle, and shin guards.

                            We had one 11 year old kid take one right across this lips. He wore a mask for about 2 weeks. It took him 6 weeks to get back into hitting properly.


                            The best thing to do is practice, practice, practice. But don't push him too hard. Keep getting back on the horse and providing encouragement. Soft toss, use a tee, use a deflated volleyball. You can certainly use softer balls for a while. For the younger players we have used rolled up socks. Keep the pitches coming and work up to regular batting. Do not get upset if you son doesn't get over this after a few practices.

                            Once again, his reaction is 100% RATIONAL!

                            Show him John Kruk vs. Randy Johnson. "All I want to do is live... and I lived... so I had a good a bat."



                            (Only one person didn't think Johnson did it on purpose... thank you Tim McCarver for once again proving how ignorant you really are).
                            Last edited by JCincy; 04-20-2012, 08:49 PM. Reason: Added video

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by real green View Post
                              Everyone gets hit. It has nothing to do with how athletic you are, if you play baseball you will be hit. Next step is the proper way to get hit, right?

                              If you are set up correct in the box and don't move the area exposed is very small and is hard to hit solid. When a scared player opens up stepping out of the box the exposed area doubles and he increases his chance of getting hit.

                              Turning in with your load allows you to:
                              1. Be ready to hit
                              2. Exposes a very small area to the ball
                              3. Allows you to react to the curve that tricked you.
                              4. Make small adjustments with the shoulders to avoid the ball.
                              No need to get upset. I'm not trying to disagree with everyone here just to be an a**. I'm just trying to bring something else to the table. I agree, everyone will get hit eventually, that's a given. It's good to tell kids to turn away from the pitch, I do the same. I do believe though if you're more atheletic you do have a better chance of avoiding the ball. I've seen it happen many times. But if you disagree, fair enough.

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