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Let's discuss the batting stance for 6, 7, and 8 year olds.

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  • Let's discuss the batting stance for 6, 7, and 8 year olds.

    One of the areas coaches have plenty of opportunity to coach is the batting stance. I'm not claiming the following attached PDF is the gospel when it comes to getting a kid into the proper stance but use it as a starting point for discussion.

    I know a lot has been written on this forum about this subject. I was browsing through the clips and pics thread to find info on the bat grip. It seems like the schools of thought are...

    1. Knocking door knuckles
    2. Top knuckles lined up with other hand knocking door knuckles (Box grip?)
    3. Halfway between these two

    Personally I tell my players to line up the knocking door knuckles but that if they only get close (like half way) and that feels comfortable to them then they should use that grip. In the photos on the attached PDF I think you will see the knocking door knuckles close to lined up to begin with and then when the bat is brought up they are just a little less lined up and closer to the "box grip".

    I would also tell my players to bring their hands up a little higher that what it appears the player in the attachment has his.

    I don't tell the players to "get the elbow up" because I'm more concerned about the hands being up than the elbow.

    Bat Stance.pdf

    So what adjustments would you make when teaching 6 thru 8 year old players the proper batting stance?

  • #2
    I'm not seeing much in that PDF that I teach.
    Last edited by songtitle; 09-25-2012, 07:46 AM.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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    • #3
      Originally posted by songtitle View Post
      I'm not seeing much in that PDF that I teach.
      Ok. How do you set them up?

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      • #4
        The "stance" should be based on a good "athletic position".

        Look at a basketball player's "stance" when he prepares to guard an opponent.....also a football linebacker's "stance" as he prepares to be able to move/react on an upcoming play......feel how boxers prepare their "stance" to throw or block a punch. All of these players work out of the same balanced "stance" that should be the foundation of a baseball hitter.

        I'll even have a new hitter "get ready to guard me" as if we were playing basketball in the cage, and after his gets into a good balanced position, I'll hand him a bat, and have him them "turn" (usually only the head) to look at the pitcher, while he moves his hands/bat also automatically, and into a good "stance".

        I find that by letting a new hitter find/feel his own stance, works much better than trying give them selected words/terms or some preset position, which merely makes them "robotic", and doesn't really allow them to develop their swing more naturally.
        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
          The "stance" should be based on a good "athletic position".

          Look at a basketball player's "stance" when he prepares to guard an opponent.....
          Good, it sounds like we are saying the same thing. (I'm not asking about the proper verbal cues and I don't care what we call it if we the kids to the proper position.) Unless someone else chimes in I don't think I've ever heard anything but having feet wider than shoulders, knees bent, a good "athletic" stance.

          I find that by letting a new hitter find/feel his own stance, works much better than trying give them selected words/terms or some preset position, which merely makes them "robotic", and doesn't really allow them to develop their swing more naturally.
          Now I might have lost what you are saying. Are you saying you don't tell them where to put their hands while getting into the athletic position stance? or are you saying that if the "athletic position" they choose for positioning their feet has the feet close together and standing like they are waiting for a bus you don't try to change it? In my limited experience the default for the average player this age is they have their feet as wide as their shoulders or even a little narrower than their shoulders.

          How about the trunk of the body and the hands? Last spring I had 1 player who held his hands maybe 2 or 3 inches away from is cheek. The rest of his posture was really cramped. He was always nervous about getting on base (at least once I heard an audible sigh of relief when he got on first base). I wanted him to loosen up, bring the hands back away from his cheek, and swing away.

          Another player liked to have pretty straight legs but wanted to bend at the waist bringing his upper body out towards the plate quite a ways (almost like a golfer). I wanted him to bend his knees a little and straighten his upper body a little too.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Xraf View Post
            Good, it sounds like we are saying the same thing. (I'm not asking about the proper verbal cues and I don't care what we call it if we the kids to the proper position.) Unless someone else chimes in I don't think I've ever heard anything but having feet wider than shoulders, knees bent, a good "athletic" stance.
            I've personally never considered "feet wider than shoulders" to be part of a good "athletic stance".....others are free to see it differently.

            Now I might have lost what you are saying. Are you saying you don't tell them where to put their hands while getting into the athletic position stance? or are you saying that if the "athletic position" they choose for positioning their feet has the feet close together and standing like they are waiting for a bus you don't try to change it? In my limited experience the default for the average player this age is they have their feet as wide as their shoulders or even a little narrower than their shoulders.
            No, I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is that many times they're able to work through improper stances, when you let them develop them on their own through your "coaching".

            I let them try their "stance" (basketball defense for instance), and then actually move in a direction that they must react and move to.....when they move improperly, and not feel it, than a couple "suggestions" are given, and we try it again.

            Depending on how "athletic" a child is in the first place, will determine the time and "coaching" that you'll to do to get them to where you want them.

            I just don't like "posing" them, and then start throw balls at them, or having them dry swing, without them getting the "feel" for what it is we're working on.....this goes with all areas of the swing that I teach, and methodology that I find to be the most successful.

            How about the trunk of the body and the hands? Last spring I had 1 player who held his hands maybe 2 or 3 inches away from is cheek. The rest of his posture was really cramped. He was always nervous about getting on base (at least once I heard an audible sigh of relief when he got on first base). I wanted him to loosen up, bring the hands back away from his cheek, and swing away.
            This is a different scenario, as hand placement is not an absolute. The movement of the hands is taught in a different part of the swing, and "handset" adjustments made from there.

            Another player liked to have pretty straight legs but wanted to bend at the waist bringing his upper body out towards the plate quite a ways (almost like a golfer). I wanted him to bend his knees a little and straighten his upper body a little too.
            I would call what you're describing here as not an "athletic stance" and would address it in the method described above, before moving on.
            In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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            • #7
              You're starting at the wrong end. Everything about sports relates to balance. Balance comes from footwork. If the footwork is wrong everything else will be off. I would be more concerned about positioning of the feet, stride and turning of the hips before grip.

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              • #8
                legs shoulder wide apart, knees and hips bent and the spine a little tilted over the plate but still relatively upright so that the head is not tilted too much.

                with the grip it's more important that you grip it in the fingers and not palms and not so much about the knuckle alignment.
                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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                • #9
                  Depends upon player what width they feel comfortable. As for "athletic stance" being only equal to shoulder width....



                  Wider feet generally = better balance. At some point too big of a width takes away hips, but that depends upon the uniqueness of the individual player.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                    I've personally never considered "feet wider than shoulders" to be part of a good "athletic stance".....others are free to see it differently.
                    I'm glad you cleared this up. Because you used the basketball guarding as an example I went to Google and search for photos of "basketball defensive stance" and without fail the players in the photos have wide stances. That made me think that you meant that a wide stance was good in your opinion. Now I know you aren't that concerned about feet being wide and maybe even prefer them NOT wider than the shoulders.

                    defensive-stance-c.jpg


                    I just don't like "posing" them, and then start throw balls at them, or having them dry swing, without them getting the "feel" for what it is we're working on.....this goes with all areas of the swing that I teach, and methodology that I find to be the most successful.
                    So if I may attempt to summarize what you are saying... You want to start with a player's natural stance and make subtle changes and tweeks based on what you see their swing doing. You don't advocate certain stance positions (other than an athletic stance), but it's more that you advocate for a coaching methodology to find a stance for each individual.

                    Thanks for the input Mudvnine

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dominik View Post
                      legs shoulder wide apart, knees and hips bent and the spine a little tilted over the plate but still relatively upright so that the head is not tilted too much.

                      with the grip it's more important that you grip it in the fingers and not palms and not so much about the knuckle alignment.
                      You know I heard that gripping in the fingers instead of the palm is important. Though I haven't heard it stressed for young players before. At least two months ago I made a mental note to discuss this with my son and have him try it to see how it works out. I still haven't ever mentioned it to him. I'll have to see what he is doing now and at some point have him try gripping in his fingers.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Xraf View Post
                        I'm glad you cleared this up. Because you used the basketball guarding as an example I went to Google and search for photos of "basketball defensive stance" and without fail the players in the photos have wide stances. That made me think that you meant that a wide stance was good in your opinion. Now I know you aren't that concerned about feet being wide and maybe even prefer them NOT wider than the shoulders.

                        [ATTACH]115256[/ATTACH]
                        Yes, depending on the sport, foot to shoulder relationships may very when getting into an "athletic" stance. I was thinking in regards to the "athletic" baseball stance, and the picture and corresponding "instruction" that was posted in the .pdf of your OP.

                        But you are correct, and I obviously wasn't clear or succinct enough in my words when attempting to create a visual of how I use, or what I'm looking for when using the "basketball defense" technique.

                        So if I may attempt to summarize what you are saying... You want to start with a player's natural stance and make subtle changes and tweeks based on what you see their swing doing. You don't advocate certain stance positions (other than an athletic stance), but it's more that you advocate for a coaching methodology to find a stance for each individual.
                        That is exactly correct. All of my instruction is based on the individual player's traits, abilities, and characteristics.....and I despise the "cookie cutter" type of instruction that I read and see from so many "instructors".

                        In the FWIW category, that is basically why I started on my hitting instructor journey. After not being able to find someone locally with that same teaching theory when my oldest started playing, I choose to make the commitment to learn how to teach him myself.

                        Let's just say it's been a long and sometimes bumpy road, but one that I've received great enjoyment traveling....all things considered.
                        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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                        • #13
                          Stance.............

                          Mini Carter.jpg
                          "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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                            Stance.............

                            [ATTACH=CONFIG]115259[/ATTACH]
                            I like it. The differences between this pic and the PDF I see are small and I think the principles are the same. In this photo I see the hands are higher and in closer to the body. The feet may be a little narrower and the bat is at a shallower angle relative to the ground. What looks the same is the weight shifted to the back leg, knees bent, the upper body bent slightly towards the plate. This photo is pretty much what I was trying to convey in the PDF. In this photo it looks like his hands have the knocking door knuckles on one hand lined up with the top knuckles on the other.

                            I like Mudvnine's focus on the individual player but I think for kids at this age there is value in showing them the properties of a good stance and let them see if they can feel comfortable in that stance.

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                            • #15
                              I'm coaching 7-8 year olds right now, and there is a lot of difference in the kids across the board. I have a couple of kids who are really impressive to me, and some who have terrible habits that only seem to get more lost the more I try and help them mechanically. One of my best hitters actually drops his hands to the knees and casts all the way out to the ball, sometimes with a "Ty Cobb" split grip. Most of the time he crushes the ball, so what am I going to say?

                              I try to teach some very basic mechanics - like staying "closed" by thinking about keeping the chin on the shoulder, staying balanced on the feet (no corkscrewing or falling down during or after the swing), letting the ball get deep, and most importantly - keeping your eyes on the ball. All of my kids have different swings, some of them really ugly, some all upper-body. One of my best hitters has a great swing from the waist up, but we all know you have to use your hips/legs. Do I break him down now, or wait until the end of the fall season?

                              I try to remember they are 7-8 years old, and help with what they can absorb. Here is a picture or two of my son. He has a great swing, in my opinion:

                              Hustlers 8MP 04272012 081.JPG

                              AllStars 06272012 015.jpgAllStars 06272012 150.jpgAllStars 06272012 157.JPG
                              www.glovedoctor.net

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