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  • #31
    Was looking over this thread because we've got a kid on our team that is absolutely terrified. He's 9 in our 9-10 year old league which is our first kid-pitch league.

    In BP, he's fine. He'll stand in there and make good contact with the ball. He has the natural ability to hit. But put him up against a kid pitching, and he strikes out every at bat. He has never been hit before. He stands far off the plate and bails out of the box on 3 consecutive pitches down the middle. He doesn't swing the bat at all. I don't remember him even coming close to getting hit.

    Last game, I told him to swing at everything no matter where the ball was. At least he went down swinging and although his front foot still stepped way out, the bat was moving and he wasn't trying to dodge a ball 4 feet away from him.

    I'll give him a helmet with a mask if he's not wearing one now...can't remember. We have tried to get him to bunt on a first pitch a couple times. Maybe we'll continue that in the hopes he gets a piece of one. Not sure what else to do.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Rhetoric View Post
      Was looking over this thread because we've got a kid on our team that is absolutely terrified. He's 9 in our 9-10 year old league which is our first kid-pitch league.

      In BP, he's fine. He'll stand in there and make good contact with the ball. He has the natural ability to hit. But put him up against a kid pitching, and he strikes out every at bat. He has never been hit before. He stands far off the plate and bails out of the box on 3 consecutive pitches down the middle. He doesn't swing the bat at all. I don't remember him even coming close to getting hit.

      Last game, I told him to swing at everything no matter where the ball was. At least he went down swinging and although his front foot still stepped way out, the bat was moving and he wasn't trying to dodge a ball 4 feet away from him.

      I'll give him a helmet with a mask if he's not wearing one now...can't remember. We have tried to get him to bunt on a first pitch a couple times. Maybe we'll continue that in the hopes he gets a piece of one. Not sure what else to do.
      You can do straight on underhand short toss from behind a screen and feed him balls on the outside part of the plate. That will help some in getting him to move into the pitch rather than stepping in the bucket. Also have him practice and try to hit balls at the first baseman-same reasoning. He is afraid and probably trying to pull the ball. Gotta get him moving towards the ball some. Good luck-no guarantees. A foul ball over the first base dugout might be considered success.
      Major Figure

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      • #33
        Originally posted by omg View Post
        You can do straight on underhand short toss from behind a screen and feed him balls on the outside part of the plate. That will help some in getting him to move into the pitch rather than stepping in the bucket. Also have him practice and try to hit balls at the first baseman-same reasoning. He is afraid and probably trying to pull the ball. Gotta get him moving towards the ball some. Good luck-no guarantees. A foul ball over the first base dugout might be considered success.
        I read someone mention tossing to the outside of the plate but I didn't understand the reasoning until you explained it. It could help train him to move into the pitch. That's great! Seems like something that could conceivably help. Thanks.

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        • #34
          I witnessed an extreme case of this in our game last night. A kid on the other team had been hit twice in his last game, and then in our game last night he refused to bat for fear of getting hit. The other team just took an out every time he came up in the order. He probably would have struck out anyway, but it could affected the outcome in another way. We were leading going into the bottom of the 6th with 2 outs and runners on 2 and 3. He was the next batter, so it would be the last out if he refused to bat. The other team (the aggressive base running team from my other thread) felt forced to be even more agressive to get the runs home before this kid came up in the order. They ended up making the last out by attempting to steal home on the throw from the catcher back to the pitcher, which failed. The sad part is that our team probably has the most accurate pitching and he was not very likely to get hit. Sadder still is that I suspect this will be his last year to play baseball.
          WAR EAGLE!

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          • #35
            I'm having a similar experience with my son. He's 8 and is playing his second season of kid pitch (he also played last fall). He's been hit quite a bit - a couple have hurt, most have not - and it's definitely gotten in his head. He had no success at the plate at all last season and I think it was due to the fact that he had too much to process - fear of getting hit, different pitching speeds, different deliveries, inconsistent strike zones (the coaches call balls and strikes and the judgment varies greatly) and recognizing what he should swing at and what he should not.

            This season began with more promise as he hit a grounder during his first game and was feeling great about it. But it's been a steady regression ever since. He's been hit a few times more - once he got seriously drilled - and you can tell he's still thinking about it. His reaction time is very slow and he sometimes leans his body back away from the plate as he swings. Some games he doesn't swing at all, even when the pitcher is throwing lollipops. I threw to him in a cage over the weekend and after a bit he looked more comfortable and was making some steady contact. Yesterday he had two at bats during our game - he got hit during the first one and walked during the second. He has another game tonight so we'll see how he does. At this point, I think just a little success will go a long way. A hard foul ball I think would do wonders for him.

            My main concern is he starts hardball in the fall and those beanings are definitely going to hurt so I'm hoping we can regain his confidence by then. I'm just not sure how likely that is.

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            • #36
              YES! Rawlings Zoombang shirt. Two yrs ago while pitching my son took a wicked one hopper to the chest, Im sure you all know what was going through my mind. So next game he wore the zoombang, he used to just wear it when he pitched but now its part of his uniform. Very comfortable and the other kids don't know he is wearing it. I mentioned it to other parents and now their sons wear one also. Kinda funny that half the team is using them but they don't know it.

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              • #37
                I'm revisiting this thread, looking for help...

                I have a kid on my (9-10) team who is deathly afraid of a pitched ball. He got hit in the beginning of season last year...anytime the ball is pitched from a kid from an oposing team, he pulls his head back to catcher when pitcher releases the ball...

                He's fine in batting practice, on the tee, coach pitch, machine pitch, wiffle balls, tennis balls, etc....and even kids on his own team pitching during scrimmages...slugs the ball then....Only during the game when a kid from a different team is the time when he pulls his head away from the ball.

                I have tried having him bunt this year...he just holds the bat in bunting position, but the head goes back to the catcher, afraid of the ball coming in...

                Other ideas?

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by zocco View Post
                  Other ideas?
                  Has he considered soccer?

                  I don't mean to sound flip, but he's going to have to work towards overcoming his fear. This only comes with practice, and as I discussed, learning how TO get hit, because at some point he's going to get hit again.

                  I used to do this drill with the young kids where you take 3 of the knotheads and stand them 20 feet apart (or so). One kid pitches, the other stands in to bat, and the 3rd catches. I'd write a number on a tennis balls and the pitcher would toss it to the catcher and the batter had to read the number. Helps them keep their eye on the ball, right? Something like that might help this kid keep his head in.

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                  • #39
                    As an update on my son... last year wasn’t good; but this is a new year. We’ve only played 3 games so far this year (thank you mother nature) and he’s batting .500 with 2 XBH and 5 RBI’s. Now how did we get there…? With my son to quote Yogi…90% of the game is half mental, so I had to prove to him that even though he was smoked and that hurt…it only hurt for a little while and left a really cool bruise.
                    I got him thinking more on the happiness success brings, such as getting on base, moving runners around, etc; then the temporary pain getting hit brings. To get there we spend A LOT of time in the cage with me throwing AT HIM…not to him...AT him; starting with tennis balls, moving to rubber baseballs and finally regulation baseballs. But he didn’t know what I was doing; I just made it sound like Dad sucked as a BP pitcher.
                    Another thing that I believed has helped is his favorite position to play… catcher, we got him new gear and a new glove (again the mental side of it...) and he’s been a much better catcher and HAS taken a few of the mask, and chest… and although it might have stung… it didn’t HURT.
                    Hope that helps!


                    Originally posted by zocco View Post
                    I'm revisiting this thread, looking for help...

                    I have a kid on my (9-10) team who is deathly afraid of a pitched ball. He got hit in the beginning of season last year...anytime the ball is pitched from a kid from an oposing team, he pulls his head back to catcher when pitcher releases the ball...

                    He's fine in batting practice, on the tee, coach pitch, machine pitch, wiffle balls, tennis balls, etc....and even kids on his own team pitching during scrimmages...slugs the ball then....Only during the game when a kid from a different team is the time when he pulls his head away from the ball.

                    I have tried having him bunt this year...he just holds the bat in bunting position, but the head goes back to the catcher, afraid of the ball coming in...

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

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by tcvander View Post
                      As an update on my son... last year wasn’t good; but this is a new year. We’ve only played 3 games so far this year (thank you mother nature) and he’s batting .500 with 2 XBH and 5 RBI’s. Now how did we get there…? With my son to quote Yogi…90% of the game is half mental, so I had to prove to him that even though he was smoked and that hurt…it only hurt for a little while and left a really cool bruise.
                      I got him thinking more on the happiness success brings, such as getting on base, moving runners around, etc; then the temporary pain getting hit brings. To get there we spend A LOT of time in the cage with me throwing AT HIM…not to him...AT him; starting with tennis balls, moving to rubber baseballs and finally regulation baseballs. But he didn’t know what I was doing; I just made it sound like Dad sucked as a BP pitcher.
                      Another thing that I believed has helped is his favorite position to play… catcher, we got him new gear and a new glove (again the mental side of it...) and he’s been a much better catcher and HAS taken a few of the mask, and chest… and although it might have stung… it didn’t HURT.
                      Hope that helps!

                      Thats really great you got him out of that funk because I had a similar case and never came back.

                      When I was about 12 I got hit in the eye with a pitch and took a few weeks off afterwards. The very first game I came back in my second at bat I got hit in the helmet with a pitch. I quit for that season and really wish I wouldnt have. The next season I tried to play again but I just couldnt do anything but stand in the back corner of the box. I ended up quitting and never playing fast pitch again. I wish someone would have helped me get back into it but it just never happened. When I was about 19 I started back up in softball but even then I was shy to run to first on close plays thinking I would get hit. Since then I have adjusted and even played some fast pitch games but it really took a long while for me to get used to it again. I think the suggestions here are great and I really wish I would have had them.

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                      • #41
                        Finally success, last night!

                        Was speaking with a coach from a different team last nite during the game and he gave me a tip...

                        When the kid was on deck, I talked with him...gave him specific instructrions..."On the first three pitches, you have to swing, no matter what. I don't care where the pitch is....Can you do that? ('Yes, coach') You swing and just tell me if the ball went above the bat or below the bat." First pitch comes in, of course he pulls his head (uggh)....I said "hey that wasn't our agreement!"...second pitch he watched the ball but didn't swing (Oh, we might have something...and to his defense the ball was about 8 feet high to the backstop)...All I said was "hey, we made a deal...This pitch...' Third pitch comes in...swings at it and hits a hard ground ball to 2nd...He grounded out, but brought in a run from third.

                        Its been 20+ games over the course of two seasons, and this is the first time in a game he didn't pull his head away from the pitch. These are the wins not in a stat book that keep me coaching...

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                        • #42
                          If I had to do it all over again I would have started my 9y.o. team first practice with learning how to be hit with a pitch by throwing tennis balls at them.

                          Why wait until it happens in a game?

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
                            If I had to do it all over again I would have started my 9y.o. team first practice with learning how to be hit with a pitch by throwing tennis balls at them.

                            Why wait until it happens in a game?
                            I always had a couple tennis balls or softies in my bucket for BP. The softies are better because they can't really tell the difference. The yellow tennis balls pop out and they know its coming.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
                              If I had to do it all over again I would have started my 9y.o. team first practice with learning how to be hit with a pitch by throwing tennis balls at them.

                              Why wait until it happens in a game?

                              Good call that would be a good idea.

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                              • #45
                                Soccer is the answer. Kids who don't get over getting hit by pitches switch to spring soccer.

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