Will my 12 yo son's batting ever catch up to his other skills?


#1

To begin with, a little background. My 12 yo son is 5’1" and 90 pounds. Based on siblings and family genetics, we expect him to be a late bloomer, but very tall (sister is 6’). He is in a whole different league with his fielding, he’s got incredible agility and precision and as such plays pitcher and SS. He is so smooth and quick, just really fun to watch. He has incredible command over his pitching, excellent technique, and velocity for his size is pretty good… Coach says he’s in the 60’s. Not bad for a little guy. Given his skills and genetics, we think his potential is enormous. The problem is with his hitting. He’s got a great eye, good swing, and doesn’t strike out frequently, but only hits into the outfield every so often. BTDT parents, is this a skill that we can hope will come along with time? Thankfully he does get that one double every so often that keeps him going, but I just can’t understand why someone who is so athletically gifted as a fielder struggles so much with hitting. Interested to know your thoughts.


#2

It’s impossible to say with out watching a few at bats. One common problem is for kids to be good in BP but bad in games. They have confidence when hitting off the coach but not when kids are pitching. If that sounds right, have kids throw BP.


#3

Is is swing good, he may look decent and be athletically doing the right things to look like a good athlete, but there might be some small things he can do to work on it. It sounds to me like his main issue is driving the ball and making solid hard contact.

I understand this problem as I didn’t drive the ball very well and whiffed a lot, lucky for your son he doesn’t have that swing and miss issue. Now I have worked on a few things and am able to consistently line drive the ball 300+ feet with a metal bat. I am not even 5’7 and may grow to 5’10". Also I have never lifted weights in my life.
On the other hand your son will likely be much bigger than I will ever be. Here’s what I have to share in order from what helped me least to most based on what I was already good at:

  1. Work on bat speed (but don’t compromise timing)
  2. Get a decent leg kick or leg slide
  3. Make sure he rotates a lot during the leg kick to get power
  4. BUT keep the hands in front of feet during the load/rotation

Just work on a swing that allows him to drive the ball, everyone’s is slightly different.
Since your son is still pretty young you can look at his swing and see if there are and major things he needs to change and fix it. If there isn’t you can choose the swing of a MLB player that is similar to his and ask him to imitate it and see what feels natural.
For me that player was Josh Donaldson.
These videos really helped me:



#4

the bottom video is a good one. I’ve seen lots of those videos from that channel.


#5

Thanks guys. I will show him the vids. this is all super helpful. I doubt he’ll ever be a power hitter, but getting consistently hot line drives would be awesome.


#6

The difference between line drives and home runs is essentially launch angle or attack angle variation. Flatter swings are line drive swing angles and positive launch angles over 12 degrees and less than 20 degrees are power angles. If you are hitting home runs at over a 20 degree launch, you are a strong dude.


#7

Exactly right, the best and most consistent sluggers don’t hit massive homers, Mike Trout for example seems to hit long line drives for homers, am I right?


#8

Welp, my son mentioned a few weeks ago that he was having trouble reading signs from the catcher. Finally got him in for an eye exam and his vision is far from perfect. I figured, how much could this really be affecting him because he is a beast in the field, balls never get past this kid. First practice with his contact lenses in and he was hitting NOTABLY better. The coach even commented on it. He has a tourney this weekend, so that’ll be the real test. I’ll report back and thanks, all, for your ideas. We’ve discussed them all!


#9

Nice I hope that helps, should help a lot with tracking the ball, just keep working!


#10

Just thought I would update… We just finished our first round of all stars tournament games and my son hit 7 for 8! There were some challenging pitchers there, too. So here’s what happened… I know very little about baseball, and if I knew more, this probably would have been fixed long ago. Apparently my son was using his head to swing instead of keeping it down and watching the ball. After years of hitting like this, and adapting to the point that he could hit OK like this, a coach finally caught it and put it into words he could understand. That, combined with now being able to see the spin on pitches (especially that night vision!), he has had incredible results. On to the regional tournament!


#11

Murray93, every parent (well, most) thinks their child is ultra-skilled, super-athletic, going to be really tall. Enjoy your children, don’t expect your son to be really tall. He’s 5’1 and already 12. He may very well have a sister taller than him.