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  • Back Elbow

    Seems like ever coach in Coach pitch/ LL here just has 1 motto :"get your back elbow up"
    What's the general rule of thumb for 7 - 9 year olds? Or is there one?
    Seems like my boy is late to the ball with the elbow to high..

  • #2
    Getting the back elbow from an up position to down and against the upper back hip into what I think is referred to a "power v" position (that's what I call it anyway) is not the only loading or preparation that happens before swinging.

    Look deeper into why his timing is off. That should have little to do with it unless he were not using his hips at all and it were just a matter of how fast he could get his arms around.
    There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

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    • #3
      usually up at toe touch and down at contact. actually all have it down at contact and most have it up at toe touch.
      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Willisf View Post
        1. Seems like ever coach in Coach pitch/ LL here just has 1 motto :"get your back elbow up"

        2. What's the general rule of thumb for 7 - 9 year olds? Or is there one?

        3. Seems like my boy is late to the ball with the elbow to high..
        1. Many coaches correctly say this, but they aren't clear as to when to put the elbow up. Dom is correct - up (actually roughly even with shoulder) at toe touch. It's usually more natural to begin with it sorta down in the stance.

        2. I don't see any need to teach one thing for youth and another for older kids.

        3. At this age, being 'late' is usually caused by not striding on every pitch. Go to the cage, throw some balls, and hold a few. See if he steps.
        efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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        • #5
          Originally posted by songtitle View Post

          3. At this age, being 'late' is usually caused by not striding on every pitch. .
          I've always suspected that many kids resist striding on every pitch because they're avoiding in any way committing themselves mentally and physically in the direction of the pitcher until they're sure the pitch isn't going to them.

          It would probably be easier to coax/teach/ingrain striding on every pitch if the game were played with a nerfball.
          Last edited by skipper5; 04-29-2012, 02:33 PM.
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          • #6
            Make sure your son fully understands that when the ball is (pick a number-- 10ft?) away from the plate he's got to make an educated guess about the eventual location of the ball and pull the trigger--ideally having already taken his stride, though against 9yo pitching it's possible to blend the stride and the swing and hit pretty good.

            From the 3B coaching box, the instructions would be something like, "OK Bobby, make sure you're early enough in extrapolating the end point from the trajectory."
            I'm only 1/2 kidding.
            Have him get in the box, go out to the mound, and walk towards him with the ball. At some point when you're 10ft? away, tell him, this is where pitch is going to be when you've got to start your swing.

            If a player can't catch up to typical 9yo pitching, it's more likely a mental/timing issue than a mechanical swing flaw.
            Last edited by skipper5; 04-29-2012, 02:37 PM.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Willisf View Post
              Seems like ever coach in Coach pitch/ LL here just has 1 motto :"get your back elbow up"
              What's the general rule of thumb for 7 - 9 year olds? Or is there one?
              Seems like my boy is late to the ball with the elbow to high..
              Here's a review that pretty much explains the "back elbow up" topic.
              http://www.efastball.com/hitting/sho...be-up-or-down/

              Here is another discussion about the same topic.
              http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...-Back-Elbow-Up
              Last edited by pthawaii; 04-29-2012, 07:36 PM.
              Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

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              • #8
                When I hear well-meaning dads tell their ball players to get their back elbow up I always want to ask them "Why?", but I haven't yet. I suspect they are just repeated what they've heard others say, similar to swing down on the ball and squish the bug. I typically don't tell young hitters to get their elbow up, because I find they tense up their back arm and shoulder. I just want them to be relaxed with their elbows in a comfortable position rather than being artificially "up".

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                • #9
                  Excellent, excellent advice on here. It's amazing how smart all these guys got after hanging out with me. 8-}

                  The primary problem with a low elbow is that it makes it easier for the kid to start it to early and push it toward the pitcher, leading to bat drag, disconnection, and a host of other ills. So, if you see bat drag (i.e., the back elbow leading the hands into the the hitting area), one 'fix' can be to raise the back elbow so - even if the kid drops it too soon -- it will at least be farther back when the kid starts to disconnect. Also, for similar reasons, it can help a kid who tends to droop the bat back toward the catcher, because as the elbow raises the bathead tilts forward toward the pitchers, so even if the kid instinctively starts to let the bat droop it's at least starting from a farther forward position, so it can't droop so far (and in fact helps give the bathead a running start in its arc back and around toward the hitting zone). So, it's sort of a bandaid.

                  But, it's really only a fix and shouldn't be a commandment, because - as Azmat points out - it can bind up a hitter. You can maybe try it as a mid-season fix for some kids but certainly not for all kids, and should discard it when it isn't necessary or proves counterproductive.
                  sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                    But, it's really only a fix and shouldn't be a commandment, because - as Azmat points out - it can bind up a hitter.
                    Just to be clear, the back elbow should be up at toe touch. It's not necessary to have it up in the stance.
                    Last edited by songtitle; 04-30-2012, 06:09 AM.
                    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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                    • #11
                      Also be careful that raising the elbow doesn't alter the grip, as I recently discovered with my high school senior son. He was beyond even a choke grip. Pointing this out to him helped him unlock his wrists and swing freer.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by skipper5 View Post
                        I've always suspected that many kids resist striding on every pitch because they're avoiding in any way committing themselves mentally and physically in the direction of the pitcher until they're sure the pitch isn't going to them.

                        It would probably be easier to coax/teach/ingrain striding on every pitch if the game were played with a nerfball.
                        this if you stride with the pitch it is harder to dodge ball hit at you.
                        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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                          Just to be clear, the back elbow should be up at toe touch. It's not necessary to have it up in the stance.
                          I think this is a key statement. Most "dad" coaches have them hold that back elbow high at stance, some kids look really uncomfortable. I'd rather them be comfortable at stance and work on moving the elbow up and back at load/stride.

                          The grip thing is an interesting point. I heard that pro players allow the bat to rotate in their top hand, thus allowing a slightly choke grip at stance and more knuckle line up at contact (vs Pujols, who presets his hands more in knuckles line up and extends his top wrist). Is this true of a lot of hitters? They actually allow the bat to rotate in the top hand as they swing?
                          Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

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                          • #14
                            In my preseason parent meetings I talk about queues I don't use, such as "keep the elbow up" and "squish the bug." Sometimes I get a few parents who ask me why I don't use the back elbow up queue. Here is what I explain to them:

                            1) Originally, coaches explained to hitters to keep the hands back/high at the shoulder. The hitter's body raised the elbow automatically for most, as this was most comfortable or natural for the body to do. Around the '70's coaches began using the queue "keep the elbow up" or "raise the elbow" because they did not realize (or maybe they did?) that it was a byproduct of high hands. This queue trickled down to the lower levels and began to lose its true meaning of keeping the hands around shoulder level. Over time it became second nature to just look at a batter and tell them to get their elbow up. Now, everyone uses this queue without really understanding why.
                            -- Disclaimer: I read this explanation in a book quite a while a go and cannot remember where so do not have a reference.

                            2) When a hitter swings one of the first movements is to lower the elbow into a slotted position or "power V" as some say. It does not serve any true purpose prior to loading/swinging. I consider it a comfort or personal style for hitters.

                            3) What is key, is that the hitter get into the proper load position after their forward step towards the pitcher. The back elbow up does not help with this.

                            4) The queue I use, is to ask hitters to keep their hands up towards their shoulder and when they step towards the pitcher, they "walk" away from their hands and get into the proper slotted position. This eliminates and need for the back elbow to be up.

                            5) If a player likes to have their elbow up or down I do not care. I care more about the position of their hands.

                            6) Some will say that none of this matters prior to load - and I agree - think personal style. However, at the younger levels I try to keep the kids in uniform mechanics for two reasons:
                            ---1) Ease of instruction (but allow the more mature kids to do what works for them)
                            ---2) Getting the hands up towards the shoulder helps the kids get into their load foundation earlier and helps avoid confusion or added instruction.

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                            • #15
                              My experience is very limited and I will be the first one to say I need a lot more education myself but, I have told many of the kids on my pitching machine team to keep their hands and their elbows up. I noticed in the beginning of the season, many of the kids coming out of T-Ball were keeping their elbows nearly at the ribs and trying to chop at the ball. I tried getting them to open up their arms more and swing instead of chop. the only way I was able to get them to do anything close to a swing was to have their elbows up almost like they were trying to flap their wings. My son wasn't as bad in the beginning but he is one of those who seems to hit and make longer swings with better outfield distance when his back elbow is parallel to the plate.

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