Is there a suggestion out there on how to get a kid from backing off the plate while batting. I know the, put something behind them, but I was wanting a mental suggestion. If they aren’t thinking about getting hit then they won’t back up.
I think the toughest thing to teach is for a player to get over the fear of the ball, whether it’s fielding grounders or stepping in the batter’s box. Perhaps Roger or some other youth coaches have some suggestions. Great topic!
That’s a tough one.
You could try get the kid more used to staying in there by making the kid crowd the plate in a situation where he’s reasonably confident he’s not going to get hit by the ball - in BP either with an accurate coach pitching or against a pitching machine. Will likely take lots of reps, though.
Another approach might be to help the kid be confident he can get out of the way if he needs to. Pitch tennis balls at the kid and intentionally throw inside to make the kid have to get out of the way.
One thing you have to bear in mind—a batter who hits with his foot in the bucket (pulls away from the plate as he swings) is extremely vulnerable to an outside pitch. I remember the times when I would face such hitters, and I would go for the outside corner every time, and the poor schnook at bat would either swing and hit nothing but air or, more often, just stand there and take that called third strike.
I was thinking along the same lines as Roger. Perhaps work with tennis balls or even wiffle balls in practice until there’s some confidence there to work up to real baseballs.
You might also work on hitting at a batting cage, where the balls tend to come out consistently to the same spot. You can adjust the speed, of course, again all in an effort to keep your kid standing in there. Then move back to live pitching and hope that that confidence gained in the cage sticks!
I got a kid on my team that does the same thing. If the coaches are pitching or we use wiffle balls he will stay in and just cream the ball, but as soon as one of the kids starts pitching it’s “abandon ship!!!”. It’s just a confidence thing that he is going to have to learn to overcome. I think that once he starts getting his bat on the ball a few times he will come around and realize he has more control of what happens at the plate than he thinks he does. This may take all season or even longer - but hey, he’s only 9 and he’s got plenty of time.
It’s a child psychology problem. They must overcome the pain of thinking that they are going to get hit with the joy of hitting a ball.
The solution, hours of whiffle ball. Get the kids playing at home, friends’ house, and school. After awhile the joy of hitting a ball will overcome the fear of getting hit. My son and I still play in the side yard for hours, that joy, smack talking and all the lessons of playing the game will last a lifetime and will push a young person to that next level of play. Find tournaments after the baseball season to get Dad playing and you will see a huge difference in a child the next baseball season.
We forget that this is a “game” first and if the kids lose sight and the coaches can’t make it fun, they will walk away and never return. Every player on this forum played Whiffle ball and pretended to be their favorite player, stood like them, pitched like them, ran like them. Different rules for different houses, roof was in play, hit mom’s car and you were out, over the fence was a homer. With young kids that fun will overcome the fear of getting hit by a ball.
It also does a great job of teaching them to compete, a very important aspect to baseball.
My dads favorite method was to go to a batting cage with a bucket of tennis balls. We would hit for a round then he would start throwing a bit harder and sneak in some tosses either at or behind me. IDK if its a good method, but hey i’m not scared of the ball anymore haha
Just curious, is this kid a good inside pitch hitter?
I love the inside pitch so I crowd the plate so that I’m not weak on the outer part and I can still turn on something inside because that’s where I like my pitches anyways.
The best way I have seen to handle the kids dropping out of the box is to get an equipment bag or duffle bag, full of gear and lay it behind him during practice. If the kid tries to bail, he trips. Anyway, this is what we did during Fall Ball and it works. You have to have kids pitch to him in practice, adults aren’t as intimidating because the kids know they are accurate.
Or you make a box out of some 2x4 and he must stand in his stance at the back or close to the back of the wood box. If he either steps back, or strides too long he gets caught up on the frame and trips. Probably the best to do this with tones of repetition as well as wiffle ball.
Tell the kid that he won’t be good if he is afraid of the ball.
This is just my opinion, but why would you teach a kid to get out of the way of the ball? When I was ten I remember our coach pegging us with tennis balls and we would have to take them on the body. Then in BP he would throw a few of those “Softee” balls at us.