Every week, we get a handful of new clients into our training facility. As we are evaluating them, it is very easy for us to see who has been to a youth baseball hitting instructor or coach for lessons.
As we are watching them swing, there are a few easy indicators that tell us if they have been to your average hitting coach.
Myth #1: You should “swing down on the ball” to create backspin.
Most new clients who we work with start out by hitting a lot of ground balls and balls that are sliced to the opposite field weakly. Most youth baseball hitting lessons revolve around the thought that you must “swing down on the baseball” or “chop wood” to have a short path to the baseball and to create backspin.
Truth: The trajectory of a pitcher is a slightly downward angle. If you have a swing that is down, it is impossible to consistently “square up” a baseball. A good swing will get on plane with the pitch early and have a slightly upward path through the baseball. The result? Balls that are launched at an angle between 10 and 25 degrees.
Myth #2: Hitting has 7 different steps (or whatever number your coach has broken the swing into).
So many youth baseball hitting try to simply the swing by breaking it up into movements. These movements usually involve distinct pauses. It usually goes something like this; Step 1: Load your hands. Step 2: Step. Step 3: Turn your hip/back foot. Step 4: Slot your elbow (or worse, start the knob to the ball). Step 5: Get to contact. Step 6: Follow-through.
Truth: Truly elite level hitters have athletic swings that look effortless. This is created by having a great swing sequence (yes, there is an order to the swing, but there are no pauses in that order) and bio-mechanics.
We get it; it is easier to teach youth baseball hitting by trying to simplify the process. However, when your son is taught hitting this way, it kills their ability to hit at a high-level. If you want to be an elite level hitter, you must have an elite level swing…and that starts when your son first picks up a bat.
Myth #3: You need to push your “knob to the ball” so you can “stay inside” the baseball.
Many coaches teach (because they only regurgitate what they have heard) that you must keep your hands inside the baseball so you can hit it the other way.
Truth: If your first thought is “push your hands,” you have lost the battle against the pitcher. Yes, good athletes can get away with this at a low level just because the velocity isn’t high enough. However, at a high level, once your hands start moving forward, you are 100% committed to your swing. This is why sliders and change-ups are hard to hit for hitters with poor swing mechanics (good sliders and change-ups are still hard to hit anyway). If your hands go forward, you have lost any ability to adjust or stop your swing other than to stick your butt out and try to just slap a ball somewhere.
Not only that, but players who push their knob to the ball lose a tremendous amount of power…. particularly opposite field power! Your core and body are much stronger than your hands and arms…so they need to be used to pull the bat through the zone instead of pushing it.
Myth #4: You must stay on balance after your swing or you are “out of control.”
Youth baseball hitting instructors teach balance, balance, balance (above almost everything else). I mean, you would think Derek Jeter has never fallen over the plate after swinging and missing or Adrian Beltre has never gone to a knee after a swing or anything like that.
Truth: Swinging a bat IS and SHOULD BE a violent action. Hitters at a high level look controlled, effortless and smooth because their swing is in perfect sequence and timing. These athletes have TREMENDOUS bat speed and when they swing and miss (or slip on dirt), they will usually do something to counteract the velocity of the movement.
In my opinion, bat speed should be taught above everything else in youth baseball hitting lessons. It is much easier for me to take a person who has excess bat speed (which I’m not sure is even a real thing) and work the sequencing to make it look more controlled than to take a person with no bat speed (but has a beautiful swing according to their hitting instructor) and make him an elite level hitter.
If you would like to see how my staff and I can help you reach your baseball goals, schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation with us!