Top 5 Priorities for the Beginning Hitter
The Beginning Hitting Series
Baseball and Fastpitch Softball
Do you wonder, how should I guide my beginning hitter when they are just starting to learn to hit? This article offers five priorities for helping your beginning hitter get started on the right path.
Before we dive in, here are the two most important ingredients for teaching kids under ten:
Try to turn everything into a game. Emphasize fun and creating confidence.
Top Priority for the Beginning Hitter
Purchase a Good Fitting Bat
To avoid an unnecessary (and expensive) purchase, a bat needs to be:
We can make the selection process easier. Click on the Building Rome Series instructional article and video Choose a Bat in 5 Steps.
In addition, Building Rome Series maintains an up-to-date review of the best bats (in ten categories) for the beginning hitter (click on the following article Best Bats for 2019 Ages 9 and Under).
Second Priority for the Beginning Hitter
See the Ball
Seeing the ball well is the ability to see clearly, recognize what you’re seeing, and track what you’re seeing. The brain receives the visual information and signals the body how to react to the pitch.
To do this, the hitter must see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand and then maintain a keen focus on the ball until it contacts the bat. For hitters of all ages, seeing the ball well requires one hundred percent focus on the ball. Any mental lapse during release and ball flight increases the chances of a swing and miss, poor contact, chasing a bad pitch, or letting a good pitch go.
Drill for the Beginning Hitter
An excellent way to begin is to ask the young hitter to swing, and after hitting the ball, identify the spot on the bat where the contact occurred.
Game for the Beginning Hitter
After they are comfortable with this first drill, here is a game to improve seeing the ball, hand-eye coordination, and rate of solid contact.
Give the hitter ten front tosses. Count no points for swing and misses, one point for contact on the cap or handle, and two points for contact on the sweet spot. Let the beginning hitter watch where contact occurs. Keep track of points scored in each group of ten. Have the beginning hitter try to beat their record during each practice session. Celebrate successes!
For additional concepts, drills, and games, click on the Building Rome Series instructional article and video Step by Step for the Beginning Hitter – See the Ball.
Third Priority for the Beginning Hitter
Reduce Fear of Being Hit by The Pitched Ball
Overcoming the fear of being hit by the ball requires time. These fearful kids turn into fearless hitters in an amazingly short time.
Drill for the Beginning Hitter
The coach or parent can gradually increase comfort and confidence. Here is a deliberate practice routine:
For further information aimed at reducing fear of the pitched ball, click on our instructional article and video Step by Step for the Beginning Hitter – A Common Roadblock.
Fourth Priority for the Beginning Hitter
Swing at a Good Pitch
Here is a couple of strike zone related concepts to go over with the young hitter before beginning to teach them not to swing at bad pitches:
Next, the beginning hitter can learn to check their swing (click the link to improve batting average). That is, the young hitter practices starting their swing, then holds up on pitches out of the strike zone. To do this, they stop their hands just as they reach a point under their chin while keeping their barrel pointed rearward at the catcher.
Game for the Beginning Hitter
When the young hitter understands the strike zone and has practiced checking their swing, they are ready for a fun game.
Give the hitter front tosses with a mixture of balls and strikes. Count how many correct decisions, that is, swinging at strikes and check swinging at balls, the hitter can make in a row. If they make an incorrect decision, they start over. Keep track of how many in a row. Have the hitter try to beat their record during each practice session.
Purposeful practice earns strike zone discipline. Using focused drills and games where success is measured and tracked, the young hitter’s pitch selectivity and patience quickly improve. They will and soon have a fantastic eye at the plate.
For additional concepts, drills, and games, directed at improving patience and pitch selectivity, click on the Building Rome Series instructional article and video Step by Step for the Beginning Hitter – Strike-Zone Discipline.
Fifth Priority for the Beginning Hitter
Coaches and parents have a profound effect on establishing goals for the young athlete. Shifting a hitter’s primary goal from making some contact, any contact, to hitting the ball hard can dramatically and rapidly cause positive movement adaptations. Amazingly, as scientists continue to uncover, the mind and body adapt to accomplish the desired goal. If the intention is to drive the ball hard, the young hitter’s body moves to accomplish that goal.
To further develop aggressive swings during games, click on the Building Rome Series instructional article and video Step by Step for the Beginning Hitter – Swing Hard.
Due to productive concepts, the beginning hitter has been improving. And confidence has grown from their increased ability to make hard contact on good pitches.
Please send me your thoughts and your top five priorities!
The Building Rome Series of books, Building the High-Level Swing Series, (click on the link to learn more) comprehensively describes a step-by-step process for training a beginning hitter who is just starting to swing a bat.
The Ultimate Hitting Fundamentals, Techniques, and Strategy Guide, Chapter 1: First Steps covers the following subjects:
- Bat Technology.
- Bat Certifications for Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball.
- Choose a Good Fitting Bat.
- Improve the Ability to See the Ball.
- Developing Hand-Eye Coordination.
- How to Most Productively Set Up in the Batters Box.
- Reduce Fear of the Pitched Ball.
- Develop great Strike-Zone Discipline.
- Check Swinging.
- Developing the Intention to Hit the Ball Hard.
Building Rome Series Blog: The Beginning Hitting Series
Here are the 12 videos and articles contained in The Beginning Hitting Series:
Building Rome Series Books: Building the High-Level Swing Series
Click Building the High-Level Swing Series to learn more about our new two-book hitter series containing a detailed and comprehensive description of 100 hitting fundamentals and 140 step-by-step drills that efficiently construct the batting swing from the ground up.
In the Building Rome Series of books, the construction of skills are in functional order, providing a “roadmap” to becoming a great hitter.
All baseball and fastpitch softball players can “climb the Roman Coliseum steps” to become a powerful and productive hitter.
Enjoy the quest!