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Baseball Fever Policy

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This document was based on a similar policy used by SABR.

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Sincerely,

Sean Holtz, Webmaster of Baseball Almanac & Baseball Fever
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"Baseball Almanac: Sharing Baseball. Sharing History."
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Hitting - When It's Not A Mechanical Issue

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  • Hitting - When It's Not A Mechanical Issue

    Another HYPOTHETICAL situation. Could be 8U, 11U or 13U. Pick one. Or, make a general point that covers all three. The main issue is that we're discussing the first age that a player faces live pitching on a NEW SIZED FIELD for him...meaning "not coach pitch" 46/60, 11U 50/70 or 13U 60/90.

    In terms of mechanics, the kid is fine. You have seen the slo-mo video. You have seen the stills. Yes, he's not perfect. (Who is?) But, it terms of hitting "mechanics" there are no major flaws and the kid is pretty spot on in terms of the swing, for a kid his age.

    Yet, the results are not there. It's not consistent hard contact. He struggles getting the ball out of the infield.

    If you had to guess as to what the problem is, what would you say? Timing? Vision? Lack of physical strength? Something else? Usually, what is the main culprit for batting woes when it's not mechanics? (Again, when the player is first playing on a given sized field.)
    Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

  • #2
    What you're describing are mechanical issues.
    efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

    Comment


    • #3
      There was a .400 hitter named Krantz
      Who had the most unusual stance
      But with the coach's correction
      His stance is perfection
      Now he can't hit the seat of his pants.

      I read that a while ago and always think of it. What you're describing is a strength issue. His 'fine' hitting mechanics don't complement his strongest muscle group. Just have him hit the ball with the stick as hard as he can without worrying about mechanics. Dropped elbow, fine. Bug squishing fine. Just hit the thing hard.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Larry View Post
        There was a .400 hitter named Krantz
        Who had the most unusual stance
        But with the coach's correction
        His stance is perfection
        Now he can't hit the seat of his pants.


        ...
        Nominated for "Post of the Year!"
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by songtitle View Post
          What you're describing are mechanical issues.
          Can you expand on that?
          Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Larry View Post
            What you're describing is a strength issue. His 'fine' hitting mechanics don't complement his strongest muscle group.
            Interesting point. What if the player has no muscles?
            Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Francis7 View Post
              Interesting point. What if the player has no muscles?


              curls.gif
              Ty Cobb-"Every great batter works on the theory that the pitcher is more afraid of him than he is of the pitcher."

              Comment


              • #8
                Scary that you had that GIF so readily handy for recall!
                Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

                Comment


                • #9
                  No 1. nonmechanical hitting flaw is fear

                  scratch that, IMO #1 hitting flaw is fear



                  fear is the swing-killer; fear is the little-death that brings total annihilation, etc...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Could be confidence, could be pitch-recognition, could be a litany of things...

                    Maybe he just likes cage-bombs...?
                    I don't like my balls to smell like pickles.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bbrages View Post
                      No 1. nonmechanical hitting flaw is fear

                      scratch that, IMO #1 hitting flaw is fear

                      fear is the swing-killer; fear is the little-death that brings total annihilation, etc...
                      I think, in the case where it's fear or lack of confidence, that's usually pretty obvious. That's hard to hide.
                      Coaching experience: Managed 5 Little League teams and coached on 4 others. So, what do I know?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have seen kids do well in a BP situation, but against live pitching they get jumpy. They start jumping and lunging at the ball. Thus, their mechanics go to %#^&.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Francis7 View Post
                          Another HYPOTHETICAL situation. Could be 8U, 11U or 13U. Pick one. Or, make a general point that covers all three. The main issue is that we're discussing the first age that a player faces live pitching on a NEW SIZED FIELD for him...meaning "not coach pitch" 46/60, 11U 50/70 or 13U 60/90.

                          In terms of mechanics, the kid is fine. You have seen the slo-mo video. You have seen the stills. Yes, he's not perfect. (Who is?) But, it terms of hitting "mechanics" there are no major flaws and the kid is pretty spot on in terms of the swing, for a kid his age.

                          Yet, the results are not there. It's not consistent hard contact. He struggles getting the ball out of the infield.

                          If you had to guess as to what the problem is, what would you say? Timing? Vision? Lack of physical strength? Something else? Usually, what is the main culprit for batting woes when it's not mechanics? (Again, when the player is first playing on a given sized field.)
                          I'm surprised at how many answers are not discussing nonmechanical issues. In the MAJORITY of cases I see kids struggle against live pitching, it has nothing to do with mechanics or strength. First, I think it's helpful to break down hitting into 3 parts:

                          1) Mental readiness
                          2) See the ball
                          3) Hit the ball

                          Mechanics only matters for #3 and it's not the only factor. For #3 I have seen kids fail by having their mechanics go down hill by using an inappropriately sized bat, being afraid of the ball, etc but yes - #3 is usually a matter of mechanics.

                          #1 and #2 if done really well can sometimes allow a younger hitter (12 or below) against average pitching and a small field to be a very good hitter in spite of poor mechanics.

                          #1 requires a mental frame of mind that assumes each pitch will be perfect. You abort if it isn't a perfect pitch. I have seen so many kids come up to plate looking for a walk, or more often just not being ready to hit until they are sure if it's a strike or a ball, which is too late. Lack of confidence can also mess up readiness.

                          #2 can be thrown off by poor eye sight, lack of experience, or simply not having much eye/hand coordination talent. Takes a lot less eye/hand coordination to hit at the cages than it does vs live pitching.

                          I have seen many players who hit very hard line drives or hard grounders at the cages for the most part who strike out a ton and overall do poorly at games. Last year I had all our players reviewed at one practice by one of the best batting instructors at the cages and the kid who literally had the fewest hits on the team come out with flying colors - the batting instructor was very impressed and wanted to know more about him. In games - some combination of low confidence and not being able to see the ball well led to mostly poor results.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JoeG View Post
                            Last year I had all our players reviewed at one practice by one of the best batting instructors at the cages and the kid who literally had the fewest hits on the team come out with flying colors - the batting instructor was very impressed and wanted to know more about him. In games - some combination of low confidence and not being able to see the ball well led to mostly poor results.
                            Joe,

                            Want to make sure I'm reading this right - is your last sentence referring specifically to that player, or are you applying that as a general statement to everyone? (if the shoe fits...). I guess it doesn't really matter either way, as I'm much more curious as to whether that hitter was able to improve in the past year?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There is a player on my son's team that is incredibly rock solid in production, but one you wouldn't say "what a great looking swing". He just goes up there and somehow finds a way to hit the ball. No monster shots, but very consistent. He also doesn't have the best fielding mechanics, but is probably the most consistent infielder as well. I do attribute his production greatly to just having zero fear and hes badass competitor.

                              Comment

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