Youth Hitting Drills: Teach Your Son To Hit The Sh** Out of The Ball!

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  1. Richard Powell

    July 20th, 2014 at 3:57 AM

    Your comment about over instruction, which does leave the kids confused, caught my eye, and I totally agree with it. As a High School teacher for nearly 30 years, I have watched so many kids, get yelled at by coaches and parents, instead of letting them play and have fun, and it is especially true, as you say, at the younger ages. However; the one thing I was told by our High School baseball coach, that I want to mention, is this. He said that nearly every player coming into the ninth grade has a “hitch” or uppercut in their swing. He thought it was because of adults and wheel machines (which put an arc on the ball at slower speeds) throw down to youngsters which causes them to develop the muscle memory of an uppercut that is hard to get rid of. They are required to swing “up” to hit “through” a ball that comes down to them. In the video, your son did swing level to hit the whiffle ball, but he was not swinging through the ball when he hit it, and his chance of making contact is far less as you can see in the video, because the bat direction and the ball direction meet only in one moment. Because of that, you see most kids swinging through the ball as it comes down. That gives them a much better chance of making contact, but it does develop and uppercut.

    A few years ago, we watched, in Abbeyville, La, a home run derby contest, during the Babe Ruth playoffs, with their best hitters from five states. This was the 7-8 year old Cal Ripken machine pitch league. They agreed to use the Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Pitching machine, not for the game, but just for the derby. Coaches and parents were getting mad when every player was missing the ball.

    Cal Ripken discusses the uppercut in one of his books, and shows him on his knees throwing to one of his kids, years ago. He mentions that it is hard to throw strikes from your knees.

    As you are now at the age I used to be, working with your son, I thought I would pass this on to you. Thanks for your time. Richard

  2. Lantz Wheeler

    July 20th, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Hey Richard-

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. To be honest, my son was 3 and 4 and I could care less about the uppercut. His swing changes on every pitch and like in the example, the location of the pitch will influence what the swing does.

    One reason, he fails to swing through the pitch, was the location, and he doesn’t have the necessary strength or motor control at that age to do so.

    You mentioned the HR derby.. why do you think they had an uppercut? Was the goal to hit the ball over the fence? What if the goal was to hit a line drive through the 6 hole? Do you think the swing would have changed?

    I do.

    Thanks again,
    Lantz

  3. Richard Powell

    April 17th, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    Hello Lance, it has been a while. I appreciate your reply. I am sorry that I did not see your reply, earlier. I actually played football, and not baseball (since Little League), but after hearing our High School coach tell me that nearly every player coming into the ninth grade had a hitch that he thought was muscle memory developed from youth by young players swinging up to hit “through” balls coming “down” to them, my life has changed. The result of that statement can only be understood by those who have watched the fun, the correct swings and the excitement you see when young players no longer have to fear being hit by an adult or a wheel machine. A coach in Manchaca, Texas whose team was the only team in his league to go undefeated, said in an interview with the American Statesman “This was the first time in my life that I taught young players to hit without fear. Young players are simply not afraid of this small, inline machine.” It is the Official pitching machine of Pony and Babe Ruth and is the mandatory machine for all Cal Ripken (7-8 year old) Leagues in the SE and the SW. Because of that, it is the #1 selling machine in the world, but so many still do not know one fact behind its design. It is impossible to develop the muscle memory of anything you never do and young players will never swing up to hit through balls that are coming in level. It was designed and patented to throw level pitches at slower speeds. Now as of a day ago, on Amazon.com under Louisville Slugger Triple Flame, the only hand held machine is available that also helps young players to learn to hit and catch, as well as older players using the light flight and SteeRike 3 balls sold in Walmart. Those of you in baseball will be hearing about it. You will not believe the cost. Did not mean to write a book, but this has been my life since I retired from teaching and now I get to see my 7 year old grandson play ball, as he had his first game last Thursday. I am really looking forward to it. Thanks, again for your reply. Richard

    PS Ken Griffey Jr. was with the company that bought my patent rights, but now I design all the machines that Louisville Slugger sells.

  4. Mjr

    February 22nd, 2016 at 11:41 PM

    Guys

    I have never heard of a level pitch. I am certain that gravity works on a baseball field. And due to that once a baseball is released from a pitchers hand it must and will have a downward trajectory. Even on a high pitch at which point a bat would be the most level there is still a slight upward cut to the swing. Pretty simple geometry would tell you that when a pitch comes in at a downward angle a batter has the best chance of hitting the ball with an upward swing. As an FYI the average angle of pitched ball is about 12 degrees down.

  5. richards rollins

    May 7th, 2019 at 2:41 PM

    I will follow the plan the way it’s laid out, my Grandson is 10 and I’m just looking to help him and I saw the beginning of this site when it said am I screwing him up I thought I knew about hitting am I an idiot?

  6. Rollins Richards

    May 14th, 2019 at 9:16 PM

    I’m hoping to not have to do much he already is almost there with the stance he is taking his eyes off and swinging early drives his coaches and me crazy cuz he can hit I have him swinging a 30 inch 22 oz. bat he is like 4”6 130 so I’m hoping to maybe do a lot of TEE Work with him any other suggestions??

  7. lantzwheeler

    May 15th, 2019 at 11:50 AM

    Hey Rollins,

    Start with a bigger ball and downsize it until it’s consistent. Give him confidence as the starting point and go from there

  8. James R Shauberger

    May 25th, 2019 at 5:59 AM

    Great advice about over instruction. I will definitely use your expertise to help improve my son’s swing.

  9. Mrs. Tamara G Boback

    June 3rd, 2019 at 4:57 AM

    That all sounds great, but will this work on my 8 year old who has been given lots of instruction already? He loves this game and plays with so much joy. Now he’s getting into more competitive kids would this philosophy work even now?

    Thanks

  10. lantzwheeler

    June 4th, 2019 at 9:44 AM

    Hey Tamara,

    Thanks for reaching out. My answer… Absolutely!

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