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  • Hitting Expert??'s

    We played a 10U tourney this weekend and the kids struggled at the plate. For the most part, the pitching was much slower than the kids have been facing in league ball for the last 2 months (11-12yr pitching). Most of the kids were hitting off their front foot.

    While most kids have been swinging -12's and -13's bats to catch up to the faster kids during league.

    The question, is it a bad idea to change bat weights depending on the pitchers speed?

    These kids are seeing on average 55-65mph from the 12's and 11's in league.

    During this 10u tourney they were seeing 45-55. Would it be OK to push the heavier bats when we see the slower pitching?

  • #2
    no. have them wait for the pitch. waiting longer on a slow pitch is a great lesson.

    by slowing down his batspeed by using a heavier bat to regain the timing you take that element away from the kids. A lot of kids never learn to wait for a slow pitch but instead start at the same time and swing slower and loopier (extended arm sweep) to hit the ball.


    As steve springer says: take fastball swings at offspeed pitches.

    BTW: I'm not advocating super light bats. go as heavy as they easily handle but don't use a bat they only handle against soft tossing.
    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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    • #3
      I would not say I am an advocate of using different drops for different speeds. BUT when my son played 10U I had him swing a drop -10 normally and a -3 when facing slower pitchers. It worked. He could swing the -3 though. It just made him more aware that the pitcher was slower.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Onebigwhitevan View Post
        I would not say I am an advocate of using different drops for different speeds. BUT when my son played 10U I had him swing a drop -10 normally and a -3 when facing slower pitchers. It worked. He could swing the -3 though. It just made him more aware that the pitcher was slower.
        I have three basic tips for slow pitchers

        1) Stay back and wait
        2) Stay back and wait
        3) Stay back and wait

        The lamest excuse in the world for not hitting is "He's too slow." I told kids I would bench them if they said it. The first time I heard it I asked if it would be better if the pitcher was too fast.
        Last edited by tg643; 05-29-2012, 06:48 PM.

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        • #5
          real green, at 12U, you have girls throwing 65 mph? Not familiar with speeds at this age. Is this typical?
          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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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cannonball View Post
            real green, at 12U, you have girls throwing 65 mph? Not familiar with speeds at this age. Is this typical?
            I remember 12's throwing 60-70 with the hardest throwers a little faster. A lot depended on whether the boy was 5'2" or 5'8".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tg643 View Post
              I remember 12's throwing 60-70 with the hardest throwers a little faster. A lot depended on whether the boy was 5'2" or 5'8".
              Yep, on our 12U TB team (where 9 of the 13 went on to go 46-3 as Bronco all-star and we runners up in the Bronco WS...only losing once in a double-elimination tournament no less), we had four kids at or over 70......70, 71, 73, and 74.

              All four were varsity starters as sophomores (two as freshman).....two remained pitchers, one an OFer, and one an INFer. Only one is still at or over 90, and he's the only one with any decent D1 offers....but primarily from football, not baseball.

              BTW, the "slowest" of our other five starters was 64 with a nasty hook, but he looked like 34, after just watching one of the "70's" throw from 48 feet.

              What they do at 12 really means diddly-squat in HS and college......JMO.
              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                Yep, on our 12U TB team (where 9 of the 13 went on to go 46-3 as Bronco all-star and we runners up in the Bronco WS...only losing once in a double-elimination tournament no less), we had four kids at or over 70......70, 71, 73, and 74.

                All four were varsity starters as sophomores (two as freshman).....two remained pitchers, one an OFer, and one an INFer. Only one is still at or over 90, and he's the only one with any decent D1 offers....but primarily from football, not baseball.

                BTW, the "slowest" of our other five starters was 64 with a nasty hook, but he looked like 34, after just watching one of the "70's" throw from 48 feet.

                What they do at 12 really means diddly-squat in HS and college......JMO.
                Yep, best prospect I ever saw in youth ball was an 11 year old girl who threw 56 mph, threw too hard overhand to play catch with anyone but my son, tremendous power at the plate, hit over 0.700 in a strong youth league. At 16 she was was still throwing 56 mph which was now on the low end of the scale, never grew past 5'4", and was a good player but nothing like she was in youth league. I thought I had a future Olympic player based on her youth performance but in just 5 years went from an off-the-charts performer to a good but really nothing special as a high school player.

                As for the OP, at 10-12 players should be taught to hit changeups. Using a heavier bat is a band aid that can work, but kids need to learn how to hit any pitch thrown at any speed. This is a great age to learn that skill. By high school it's an absolute must as most pitchers at that age have some sort of reasonable changeup. It's a skill that can most definitely be taught, and it should be taught.

                Good luck!

                -JJA
                The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                  I have three basic tips for slow pitchers

                  1) Stay back and wait
                  2) Stay back and wait
                  3) Stay back and wait

                  The lamest excuse in the world for not hitting is "He's too slow." I told kids I would bench them if they said it. The first time I heard it I asked if it would be better is the pitcher was too fast.
                  Yes this is great advise. But as a dad/coach that just tried slow pitch softball, it sure ain't EASY!!! I say if it works it works. Work on it more earnestly at 13U when the mound and bases get longer. More realistic. Waiting is a lot about understanding your swing and trusting your hands will have time to move the bat. So in reality if it works it wasn't the drop at all. The kid just doesn't know that!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                    Yep, on our 12U TB team (where 9 of the 13 went on to go 46-3 as Bronco all-star and we runners up in the Bronco WS...only losing once in a double-elimination tournament no less), we had four kids at or over 70......70, 71, 73, and 74.

                    All four were varsity starters as sophomores (two as freshman).....two remained pitchers, one an OFer, and one an INFer. Only one is still at or over 90, and he's the only one with any decent D1 offers....but primarily from football, not baseball.

                    BTW, the "slowest" of our other five starters was 64 with a nasty hook, but he looked like 34, after just watching one of the "70's" throw from 48 feet.

                    What they do at 12 really means diddly-squat in HS and college......JMO.
                    There are three studs who stand out in my memory my teams crossed paths with. One was a LL all-star. He threw 75. He hit homers to the rooftops across the street. When I heard about him and saw the rooftops I figured he was a lefty. When I found out he was a righty I figured he swung like a rusty gate with brute strength. I was right. He was 5'8". In high school he was 5'9" throwing 75 when he was cut from his high school's baseball program junior year.

                    The other two were 13U man-children. One hit monster homers, had a cannon for an arm and ran like a deer. By 16U he was the same size and hit like a deer. The other was thowing 80 in 13U. He dominated travel games. He was also a good line drive hitter. By 16U he wasn't any bigger or any better. 80 down main street in 16U doesn't work. The kid never had command. He was a marginal high school pitcher.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The change in speeds from fast league to slow league (or vice versa) is real and is a difficult challenge. Being able to stay back on pitches is an aspect of a very mature hitter. It's this way throughout baseball. That we would act like youth batters should be able to quickly adopt the skills and mentality is disappointing.

                      Matter of fact, our fast pitchers find that they get hit well more often than our slow pitchers. We actually implement this into our "managing strategy". We bracket two fast pitchers around a slower pitcher. It's much more effective than simply bringing in "another fast righty".

                      Again, not surprisingly, at these younger travel ages an "ephus changeup" is often more effective than a real changeup due to the drastic difference in speed, uniqueness to the pitch, and small hands not really being able to "choke" the ball with a traditional change.

                      Jamie Moyer is still pitching in MLB at 50 and it's simply because he is such a dramatic change from everyone else. MLB batters don't alter their timing to hit Moyer because that would mess them up for the next few games. They just deal with Moyer the best they can and move on. I'm quite certain MLB hitters say, out loud, that they can't hit Moyer because he's "too slow".

                      Most often I align our best pitchers with the opponents best hitters, but I think that might be backwards from a "competitive" standpoint. It might actually be better to have our slow pitchers face the heart of the lineup and have them off balance, and then bring in the guns to blow away hitters 6-12.

                      As a coach/dad with a kid that's struggling with this very thing, I can tell you that it is incredibly frustrating to go from slow to fast pitchers back to slow. It's not like hitting mechanics are easy or simple. They're complex and the timing takes lots of practice and discipline. Youth batters often have neither. Having your best hitters make outs on slow pitchers also drastically reduces confidence. We're talking about 10U kids here.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I tell my kids when facing a really slow pitcher to let the ball get a little deeper and try to hit up the middle or opposite field.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                          The change in speeds from fast league to slow league (or vice versa) is real and is a difficult challenge. Being able to stay back on pitches is an aspect of a very mature hitter. It's this way throughout baseball. That we would act like youth batters should be able to quickly adopt the skills and mentality is disappointing.

                          Matter of fact, our fast pitchers find that they get hit well more often than our slow pitchers. We actually implement this into our "managing strategy". We bracket two fast pitchers around a slower pitcher. It's much more effective than simply bringing in "another fast righty".

                          Again, not surprisingly, at these younger travel ages an "ephus changeup" is often more effective than a real changeup due to the drastic difference in speed, uniqueness to the pitch, and small hands not really being able to "choke" the ball with a traditional change.

                          Jamie Moyer is still pitching in MLB at 50 and it's simply because he is such a dramatic change from everyone else. MLB batters don't alter their timing to hit Moyer because that would mess them up for the next few games. They just deal with Moyer the best they can and move on. I'm quite certain MLB hitters say, out loud, that they can't hit Moyer because he's "too slow".

                          Most often I align our best pitchers with the opponents best hitters, but I think that might be backwards from a "competitive" standpoint. It might actually be better to have our slow pitchers face the heart of the lineup and have them off balance, and then bring in the guns to blow away hitters 6-12.

                          As a coach/dad with a kid that's struggling with this very thing, I can tell you that it is incredibly frustrating to go from slow to fast pitchers back to slow. It's not like hitting mechanics are easy or simple. They're complex and the timing takes lots of practice and discipline. Youth batters often have neither. Having your best hitters make outs on slow pitchers also drastically reduces confidence. We're talking about 10U kids here.
                          I've actually had a lot of success with this strategy. I have a kid (12u) who throws a fastball at about 58-60 mph. However, he has an excellent curve he can throw at two vastly different speeds and a very good screwball. Against the very good national powers, he's my starter. I'll get him through the lineup once unscathed and then turn to the kids throwing 70+. He starts righties off with a curve and then comes back with a screwball that usually results in a popup or a fly ball to center. If they foul that off, he can usually get them with a fastball on the next pitch. I'm sure a 60mph fastball after two 45mph off-speed pitches looks like it's moving 80mph. Then they are usually set up for the heat for another round. However, we just ran into a national powerhouse who handled him perfectly. Every batter looked at three or four pitches before swinging. Once seeing a few, he wasn't that hard to hit. I'd say a key to the slow pitchers is to make sure and see a few pitches before commiting to swing.

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