Aren't YOU A Great Hitting Coach?
By Chip Lemin
It seemed coaching was so much simpler back when I played
a long time ago. We didn't have travel teams with 400 dollar bats and 25 thousand dollar budgets. Today there are players
who have had instruction since they were 5 years old that can hit whiffle golf balls with a rake handle at 60 miles per hour.
But they are still the exception.More than not you will be coaching kids that are much more accomplished at video games than
staying back on a pitch. Their parents will bring them to the practice with a expensive bat and expect you to teach them how
to hit like a pro in one session.
The first thing you must do to become a great hitting coach
is keep things fun for the players. Please don't be a tough guy and start yelling at the kids. You must heap on the praise
when they do something right,it works very well. And try that with your own kid too, you'll be surprised how effective it
is.Keep the kids split up into groups of 3-4 to keep them from socializing too much.
Using batting helmets during all drills is a must. It will
protect you as a coach as well as the players.Take the players over the batters box and show them the batters box and how
they have a lot of room to adjust to different pitchers. Show them what it means to move up in the box. Let them know most
youth players should stand close to the plate because they can't cover the corner with their short bats.
Here's something most coaches don't show beginners and it
is very important.Every player, regardless of their skill level must know how to get out of the way of a pitch.I will discuss
2 ways that I teach. The first one is for fast quick agile type players.Have the player hold the bat in the hitting ready
position with their hands back about to swing the bat. Now show them how to just drop the bat, and drop straight to ground
face first. This is just a quick drop down with feet going straight back toward the back stop and their head toward the mound.
They can break the fall a little with their hands. This method is not for everyone,usually only the smaller wiry kids like
it. It is the safer method I must add, but the player must be committed to doing it.
The other method is the lazy way. I teach this method to the
kids who won't use the above tactic. If the ball is coming toward the players face, neck, or back, have them quickly turn
their back to the pitch,exposing the back and ribs to the pitch, not their face. It should be pretty evident to the players
where they would rather be hit. This why I prefer the other method,it can increase your odds of not being hit at all.
There is so much more to hitting, but the safety of your players
should be foremost. Most parents will be very much o.k. with you teaching safety right out of the gate. So remember,keep it
fun, keep the kids split up, and wear your helmets. Take them to the batter's box and show them around. The practice avoiding
pitches for a good half hour. Here is another tip. Go back and review this every few practices to keep your players ready.
You never know when a pitch may come at a player's face. It is your duty as a hitting coach to have them ready if it does.
Thanks, Coach Chip.
Chip Lemin has been a promoter of youth baseball since they started using aluminum bats. That's
a long time. I have witnessed many good people get into coaching without solid coaching skills and it is not fun for them
or the kids.Today's newer coaches are also being shortchanged on sportsmanship, like there is none. Visit my site to sign
up for a insightful, informational, free coaching e-course at http://www.baseballecourse.com
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