It is really very simple to improve your child's ability to hit the ball and get on base. With a little practice, he or she can move on from dreading their at-bats and begin enjoying the social experience that baseball offers. This is a fun way to learn to hit that can even be done in the backyard without fear of breaking windows!
You could almost call the trick that follows a hack because it really takes the struggle out of making contact with the ball. Here is what you are going to need: a pack of Wiffle balls, a bat weight and a properly weighted bat. You can visit our list of essential equipment in order to locate whatever you are missing
First, have your child take around 10 practice swings. Make sure he or she takes time to get in the proper stance: feet lined up with the plate, back elbow up, weight on the back foot. When swinging, the weight should switch to the front foot as it slides forward towards the pitcher and the bat should cross the plate parallel with the ground. Try to avoid a golf-like swing. After this series of practice swings, place the proper size weight on the bat and do another series of swings, again trying to pay attention to form. Slow and true to form swings are better than fast, sloppy ones. Don't overdue it. It shouldn't be too big of a challenge. We don't want the kids getting discouraged, but we do want them to build a little more strength. Now, when they take off the weight they will see an increased accuracy and more bat speed while trying to hit the Wiffle balls.
This is actually quite fun for kids. This is what makes this trick work so well. You can even set up a little baseball diamond in the back yard using whatever you can find for bases. The Wiffle balls are fun to hit, reasonably easy to chase down, and won't break anything. Not to mention, kids quickly learn that they can't get hurt, which helps them stay close to the plate and build confidence.
If you have a baseball helmet that your child can practice with, we highly recommend this for two reasons. First, wearing a helmet has a completely different feel than not wearing one. Getting use to hitting with a helmet on will only make his experience on the plate on game day that much better. Second, kids tend to get more and more aggressive with their swings as time goes no. At some point they will even swing with so much momentum that the bat can come around and hit them on the back of the head: a good time to have a helmet on!
If you can walk through the above two steps right before you head to the game, or even arrive early and find a spot to practice, this will make all the difference. It has a lot to do with muscle memory. You might say that their short-term muscle memory is the most important. You don't want them cold and flat-footed. You want them excited and confident. Trust me, once they get a few hits, they will be devotees to this pre-game practice routine.
Don't burden your child with too heavy a bat. Contact is king! Below is a chart for determining what bat size is proper for your child. When comparing two bats, check their weight as well. Please err on the lighter side. You know from watching the games, if your child hits the ball into the infield there are two very likely errors that will quickly follow: either the infielder will drop the ball (if they are even paying attention) or the throw will go to the wrong base. Okay, this is what my experience has been with the smaller kids. So, lets get them on base first, then we can worry about knocking it out of the park later.
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