Most youth hitters spend a lot of time in the hitting cages or on the field taking hitting practice. They have willing and able parents as well as coaches that will throw them hitting practice for hours upon hours.
But what happens once you they step in the hitter’s box during the game? For most, it all goes downhill from there. For various reasons, youth hitters being able to translate success from the hitting cages to the hitters box is a constant struggle for parents and coaches alike.
Why is this? More often than not, they are using the same sized bat and hitting the same sized baseball. They may even be seeing actual pitcher’s pitching to them in practice with great success. So why is it a challenge for youth hitters to take their success from the hitting cage or the practice field into the hitting box during the game?
Even though there tends to be more on the line during the game, meaning you can get called out, or you can get hit by the pitch, there is also a mental approach that is possibly missing. And that mental approach is deciding that you are going to swing the bat to hit the ball before the pitch gets to the hitting zone.
One way that I have seen succeed with youth hitters is to repeat this phrase in their heads while the pitcher is delivering the pitch: “Yes, yes, yes, YES!,” if they want to swing at that pitch, or, “Yes, yes, yes, NO!,” if they decide to take the pitch and not swing at it. But the whole time, they are thinking hit, hit, hit! The “yes, yes, yes” part is where they are committed to swinging the bat and not thinking about the results or where the pitch will be.
Once the pitch gets to the hitting zone, they will then fully decide, either “YES!” or “NO!,” to swing at that pitch.
Check this podcast episode for more information about this approach: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/3325188. Feel free to ask me any questions @htownbaseballco on Twitter and @houstonbaseballcoach on Instagram or email me at solomon at houstonbaseballcoach dot com. Thanks for tuning in!