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  • Starting the Swing Too Early

    Hi all.

    I think that I've mentioned in previous threads that my son has spent a great deal of time working on his hitting this past summer. He has greatly improving his mechanics and shortened his swing to the point where he went up 3 oz in bat weight. The hard work has paid dividends to be sure. It helped earn him a place on a fall ball travel team that has been a great experience, and through four games he has been batting in the three hole.

    That said, his timing still needs work. I feel like he's early most of the time in varying degrees, though it is much better than it used to be overall. With faster pitching, it is less of a problem, but, overall, I feel like he's starting his swing too early for fear of missing the ball. Through four games he has had two singles, a walk, a flyout, which, ironically, I felt was his best hit ball of the season snagged on an amazing grab by the SS, two ground outs, and two strike outs, which both came on the fastest pitchers we've faced so far.

    Now in rec, the ground outs probably would've been singles. But I told my son at this level, you have to drive the ball, which means you have to have your timing down. Which begs the question, is there anything he can work on to speed this process along?

  • #2
    In my experience, swinging too early is rare. Many of these kids that I have seen, turned out to be good hitters in HS (anecdotal for sure).

    Maybe try to do a '1 count' or '2 count' as the pitcher starts his move. Try it in a scrimmage or practice, or in the cage.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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    • #3
      Originally posted by songtitle View Post
      In my experience, swinging too early is rare. Many of these kids that I have seen, turned out to be good hitters in HS (anecdotal for sure).

      Maybe try to do a '1 count' or '2 count' as the pitcher starts his move. Try it in a scrimmage or practice, or in the cage.
      Thanks. I've been trying to give him a "one swing thought" whenever we're working on a particular issue. I've been using "catcher's mitt" as the thought lately as in swing right before you think the ball is going to hit the catcher's mitt.

      It has helped more in practice than games so far. I think he's antsy during games, and he doesn't want to miss the ball. I've been trying to tell him you've got three chances, so on these slower pitchers with 0 and 1 strike on you wait and drive the ball. Swinging early in rec usually produced his desired result, getting on base, now if he's too early it's producing ground outs. So I guess the fielders will wind up reinforcing my "catcher's mitt" mantra.

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      • #4
        Take a look a the "pattern and sequence thread" which Noon started and supplied countless gif's for. I have had success showing young hitters clips like that which show most batters starting pre launch when the pitcher starts to move forward or when their arm reaches driveline. If you couple that instruction with "start early and slow " (another great cue from this forum) and "its much easier to stop a swing than start a swing" I've found that timing pitchers for young kids is easier. If he is way early I ask him to slow down his pre launch. Just what is working for me..hope that helps!

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        • #5
          A revamp of a swing via off-season BP work, will take some time to adjust to the timing differences once facing live/competitive pitching is resumed.....this is especially true when bat/swing speed is increased (when "shortened") with new mechanics as you mention has happened to your son.

          This is why I tell all of my new hitters that, "you will get worse, before you get better", after they've made significant changes to their swing. I know that the their new swing will be much quicker, but their timing will be that that they were using the previous season.

          Most times is will take several games and a dozen or more ABs for them to make that adjustment, and I don't want them (or their parents) panicking that what they've learned is "not working", and they want to revert back to their old, slower swing.

          This is where trust is greatly needed. I have had a couple players over the years who weren't able to "fail" even in the short term, to become better in the long term, and have left my instruction after a game or two.

          Not a problem, just wish them well and move on, as I've had many more that stay and become very successful at higher levels......it's all just part of the game.


          Good luck, and I hope your son trusts you in the short term and sticks with it,
          mud -
          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by raptor View Post
            Take a look a the "pattern and sequence thread" which Noon started and supplied countless gif's for. I have had success showing young hitters clips like that which show most batters starting pre launch when the pitcher starts to move forward or when their arm reaches driveline. If you couple that instruction with "start early and slow " (another great cue from this forum) and "its much easier to stop a swing than start a swing" I've found that timing pitchers for young kids is easier. If he is way early I ask him to slow down his pre launch. Just what is working for me..hope that helps!
            If someone wants to copy and set it all up over here be my guest.... in the mean time here is the link to the first post in the "Pattern and Sequence" thread on BBD. You can link from there to the indexed hitter or scroll through all the GIFs at your leisure.
            http://baseballdebate.proboards.com/...3&page=1#49847
            @noontimegifs

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            • #7
              Thanks Noon as always..I mistakenly thought the thread was on this board! Your instruction between that thread and "rear leg action" along with enc was top notch and swing-changing.

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              • #8
                My son has the same issue but primarily in BP. He starts way too early. The result is that he either slows his swing or reaches way out in front with the bat. It's not just lunging. It's worse. It looks horrible. Against slow pitching, he swings before the ball reaches the plate. Once, I thought he had a chance to swing a second time at the same pitch. LOL.

                It has aggravated me because I can't figure out what to tell him. I tell him to wait on the pitch and to let the ball get deeper. I explain what I mean and what he should be doing.

                Against pitchers who throw greater than 35 mph, his tendency to swing too early goes away. In those situations, he appears more tense and has been meeting the ball with the bat. He makes solid contact. He rarely misses a pitch in the strike zone during games. But he is not swinging through the ball. And he's hitting everything down.

                It's frustrating. He is a solid 95-pounder and just turned 9. He mashed a year ago. But he has hit into so many ground outs to shortstop that I want to pull out my hair. Those were hits a year ago. Now that he's moved up and is playing travel, they are always outs.

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                • #9
                  Do you use pitching machine? Does he also swing early against the machine?

                  Young players tend to react to pitcher's arm action instead of the pitch. Tell him to see the ball a little more, focus more on how the ball is released from pitcher's hand.

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                  • #10
                    My son hits the machine really well. I will try to get him to focus on the release.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
                      My son has the same issue but primarily in BP. He starts way too early. The result is that he either slows his swing or reaches way out in front with the bat. It's not just lunging. It's worse. It looks horrible. Against slow pitching, he swings before the ball reaches the plate. Once, I thought he had a chance to swing a second time at the same pitch. LOL.
                      Because he's more than likely trying to swing "to the ball", instead of "through the ball".

                      It's probably as much a "barrel path" problem as it is a "timing" problem. Similar to this.....



                      ......but to a greater extent than the "level swing" example.
                      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
                        He rarely misses a pitch in the strike zone during games. But he is not swinging through the ball. And he's hitting everything down.
                        This sounds familiar. It's possible my son's hitting down occassionally too; however in our second game Sunday I know he was out in front on at least two occassions. The good news was that I've seen him out in front much worse before.

                        Originally posted by lancers View Post
                        Do you use pitching machine? Does he also swing early against the machine?

                        Young players tend to react to pitcher's arm action instead of the pitch. Tell him to see the ball a little more, focus more on how the ball is released from pitcher's hand.
                        I don't typically have him use a pitching machine. I had him using one extensively last winter, and I think I had it turned up too fast initially. Eventually, he timed the machine, even with it's changing speeds, and then spring rec came around, and he was lunging like mad because everything was so much slower by comparison. He hasn't used a pitching machine since except for one team practice last week.

                        The distinction you made between the pitcher's arm action and the pitch is very enlightening. I'll ask him which he is reacting to, and, if he says arm, perhaps I should tell him to start early and slow once the pitch is released and then swing just before he thinks the ball is going to hit the catcher's mitt?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
                          Because he's more than likely trying to swing "to the ball", instead of "through the ball".

                          It's probably as much a "barrel path" problem as it is a "timing" problem. Similar to this.....



                          ......but to a greater extent than the "level swing" example.
                          Yeah, I'm thinking that there may be some barrel path issues involved with my son as well. We do dry drills occassionally, and I have him "slow-mo" to the ball where he pushes through the ball with the slight upswing barrel path, but I don't think the muscle memory has kicked in completely. If it were to fall apart in BP occassionally, I'm sure it would in a game too.

                          Additionally, I would think if you're out in front, it would be much harder to achieve the slight upswing barrel path.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pcarnette View Post
                            I'll ask him which he is reacting to, and, if he says arm, perhaps I should tell him to start early and slow once the pitch is released and then swing just before he thinks the ball is going to hit the catcher's mitt?
                            I'm not sure how he will answer if you ask him. But I'm pretty sure that's the tendency that most of the young players have.

                            As for the ball to hit catcher's mitt, it's really a personal thing, it may work for some but not the others. How about using the home plate as a reference point?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pcarnette View Post
                              Yeah, I'm thinking that there may be some barrel path issues involved with my son as well. We do dry drills occassionally, and I have him "slow-mo" to the ball where he pushes through the ball with the slight upswing barrel path, but I don't think the muscle memory has kicked in completely. If it were to fall apart in BP occassionally, I'm sure it would in a game too.
                              We may be getting too deep into this for the extent of this thread, but it's not a "push through the ball", but rather "swinging behind the ball" instead of "to it".

                              Hope that makes some sense without a visual, and why I say we may be getting in "too deep". Sorry about that, maybe these will help.....

                              Last edited by mudvnine; 09-25-2012, 11:27 AM.
                              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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