Batting & Pitching Blogs

Hitting Quality Instruction In Baseball And Fastpitch Softball

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 6:05 PM

It is hard for parents to know if they are getting good quality hitting instruction for baseball and fastpitch softball.   Almost everything taught by former players, coaches, hitting instructors and at hitting camps makes a batter swing with their arms.  Parents and students are starting to realize when they use their arms it becomes difficult to have both power and hit the ball hard consistently.   They can swing hard for power but have little consistency, mostly pulling weak ground balls and soft popups to the opposite field or foul. They can slow down and get more consistent but then have much less power.  I see this everyday from baseball and fastpitch softball hitters of all ages.


I get many calls from parents and players around the United States telling me I am describing the problems they are having when hitting.  I recently talked to a college player and his dad from New York.  They wanted to know if he was using arms or body in his swing. They sent me a video and I could see he was using mostly arms.  When talking to him I asked if he had power and consistency.  He said if he wanted to make consistent contact he couldn't swing for power.  When he tried to swing for power he didn't make contact consistently.  This is true for hitters from Little League to High School to College and even to the Major Leagues.   You don't want to learn hitting cues that make you use your arms because it will cause a weaker and inconsistent swing.


When learning to hit with the body most parents and students even at the end of the first lesson will tell me that for the first time what they are learning about hitting actually makes sense.  They say it is almost the opposite of what they had been taught by every other instructor, coach and what they read on the internet.  They have been working for months and years on hitting cues that make them use their arms with little success.  One dad even said " I have wasted over a thousand dollars the last two years woking on staying back, swing down, twist the hips, fast hands and squish the bug.  My son has become powerless and hits mostly weak ground balls.  Tonight in just his second lesson he hit a few balls harder than I have ever seen him hit the ball.  Your swing is amazing."


I get about one coach per week that brings in their son or daughter for lessons and they are surprised how I teach hitting so different. They have been teaching what they learned from coaching clinics, other coaches and also from the internet.   Even in the first lesson with their son or daughter they tell me you can see and hear the difference on how hard the ball comes off the bat when they start using their body. They can't believe how they look so much more relaxed, smooth, athletic and powerful.


A parent the other day told me it was his job to find the best instruction possible for his son and daughter. It was my job to teach so that the parent and the student understand the changes I was making in their swing and why it would make a positive impact for them.  It was then his job to make sure his kids worked on this correctly.  It was the students job to learn these moves and execute them while hitting.  If they were more successful, then they knew they were on the right track and wanted to learn more so they could become even better.  If they were doing the changes correctly and there was no positive change in their hitting they knew this wasn't going to work and they needed to find another instructor with a better approach. This is great advice for every parent and student.   If your son or daughter is doing the changes they are taught and they don't see immediate improvement it is time to move on.  Don't spend more time and money hoping it will someday work.


The problem is about 99% of instruction makes hitters use mainly their arms which means the hitter will not be able to have the power and consistency they are capable of.   Many baseball and fastpitch softball players even quit because they aren't having fun batting .200 or sitting on the bench.   Almost all of them aren't bad hitters, they were just told the worst hitting cues that didn't let them reach their real potential.  


Parents and players need to know below are the worst hitting cues being taught.  These will make them swing with their arms, the opposite of the very best hitters.

 

  • Elbow up
  • Squish the bug
  • Fast hands
  • Stay back
  • Twist or rotate the hips
  • Don't dip back shoulder
  • Bat knob to the ball
  • Don't step or no stride
  • Swing down
  • Keep back foot down or still
  • Swing faster


Make sure you don't have a lesson where you learn some of these worst hitting cues and then the instructor sits on a bucket or stands and throws you batting practice, after each pitch just says good swing, now swing harder.  


Make sure during a lesson an instructor provides you with:

Video of your kids swing compared to the very best hitters in baseball and softball

Be able to compare the differences in the swing 

On the video show you the changes they are going to make and why

At the end give you drills to achieve these changes


Parents and students should understand all of these during a lesson.  It is very important for parents to know what to look for to ensure the hitter is correctly performing the changes they were taught.   It is very important the student do the drills and do them properly.


If they are performing the changes correctly and there is not immediate improvement move on.   When baseball and fastpitch softball players learn the best way to use their body in the swing, and perform the changes correctly, they will see an immediate improvement in their power and consistency.


If you would like to have more information on how to use your body to become a much better hitter call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.

Categories: Baseball hitting, Fastpitch softball hitting

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