One big reason many kids don’t hit for power is very similar to why they don’t pitch for power. It’s often because they fail to create torque between their hips and shoulders. This is known also has creating separation.
Just as pitchers want to create separation between their hips and shoulders, a hitter needs to do the same thing with hips and hands to hit for power.
Separation creates load and load builds power that is released when the energy transfers through the shoulders, down the arms and out through the bat. Essentially you load to explode.
One thing I’ve done with my youth hitters who drift, which is what I call it when their hands come forward with their stride, is to bring a low tension length of surgical tubing to practice. The kind that has the loops already attached at the ends that we all use for rotator cuff work. I secure one end to a fence post by passing one loop around the pole then passing the one loop through the other. The free loop goes on the bat handle between their hands so their hands can still grip the bat like normal.
I set the hitter in their batting stance away from the fence so that there is the very gentlest of tension on the tubing going backward toward the fence. Just enough so they know it’s there, but it’s not pulling the bat.
What I want them to feel is their hands not moving back which would create slack in the tube and also their hands not coming forward which would add tension to the tube. Throughout their stride, the tension needs to feel uniform and minimal.
If they can get this feel through repetitions, they will get the timing for what to do with the hands during the stride. This will allow the upper half to separate from the lower half during stride.
Once they are used to this feel, I have them progress to turning their hips with the tubing in place. This will create some tension in the tubing and give them a feel for getting that back hip around with some intent. Once the hips have turned enough, the hands must follow at the appropriate time.
It also keeps them from letting their back elbow fly out and away. In order for this to feel comfortable, the hitter will need to keep that back elbow tucked in the proper position and deliver the proper punch to the ball. It further helps them get the hands out in front and across their torso with the bottom hand palm facing down and the top hand palm facing up.
I get good results from this drill!