A Concerned Grandmother Asks:

Posted on August 30, 2013

My grandson was just moved up the Varsity Baseball team this week. The head coach allowed him to take batting practice with the varsity team yesterday for the first time. My grandson could not catch up to the pitch. He had a terrible batting session yesterday. He was so frustrated. The coach pitches so much faster than his dad and he just could not get a hit.

I am sure he was embarrassed being with the varsity players and could not get a hit. He is an excellent ball player. The players kept calling his name and saying “what is wrong [kid]”? The coach told him that it would take him about three or four practices to be able to catch up with the ball. My son told him that he should have choked up on the bat and could have probably hit better.

Any suggestions?

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Coach JP answers:
Hitting is all about timing and balance and obviously, he is having issues with one or both.

I would recommend he sit with one of the coaches that he feels he can speak with and discuss this in general… it may go a long way.
Someone thinks good things about his ability… he may or may not be ready but coaches say he is a player, so stay positive as they are more qualified than all of us.

I cannot diagnose from an email but:

  1. Relax- even his grandmother is feeling pressured…he will pick up on this
  2. Don’t strangle the bat…players under pressure sometimes do… and it slows their swing. you can tell this easily from looking at flexing forearm muscles that flex when you strangle the bat…stay loose in mind and through your hands too.
  3. Breathe…one deep meaningful breath relaxes mind and body too.
  4. So what if he doesn’t measure up anyway? Someone thinks he can do it…his coaches… and what they did by bringing him up is a testament to what they think of him… he didn’t forget how to play, so it probably is the pressure but…
  5. Mechanically, if velocity is the issue, he very well may not be triggering before the swing… making him late and perhaps off balance.

TRIGGER? WHAT’S THAT?

This is the PART OF loading phase of a swing where the player actually starts some momentum timed with the pitcher’s wind up. It is movement slightly toward the back side that starts the swing and helps with timing… think of coiling a spring or the taut pulling of an arrow in a bow This may be what he can ask his coaches to monitor…if they notice it, its easily fixable IF he wants to work at it and embed it in his muscle memory.

I know this is alot… but is the best I can advise and worthy of consideration.
But… relax…its not life and death, its just baseball… and players don’t always win and get their way without struggle… just like life

–JP

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