I remember when I was a kid and how my dad started teaching us how to hit a baseball. Not just his sons but all of the players he coached over the years. I would watch what he taught and I think overall he did a great job. And yes, my dad did manage one of my teams when I was 14 years old.
I also remember the first time I taught a kid how to hit a baseball and I’d like to share that experience with you. It was a good friend’s son and so I thought it was going to be a breeze. He was excited and I was excited … except for the temperature outside. We’re talking more than 90 degrees. A little too hot is a mild understatement but I remembered when I was a kid wanting to hit and I was excited too.
He had been playing organized baseball for a few years so I just briefly talked about the basic fundamentals of how to stand, hold the bat and swing. I was confident that his dad and coaches had that covered. He also gave me that look. You know that look. He just wanted to hit!
I started pitching to him and I immediately saw the frustration starting to build. I remembered having the same feelings as a kid. Kids want to be able to hit every single pitch and hit it good or they start to get frustrated. Sometimes that frustration leads to loss of confidence.
These are rules number one and two for teaching kids.
- You don’t have to swing at every pitch. I know batting practice is limited on time because you have to get to at least nine players but if you can, swing at good pitches only.
- Teach them to relax, be confident and have fun. We all want to hit well but make sure they are having a good time.
In a calm voice remind them of these tips and then start throwing to them again and you will most likely see an immediate change. When teaching kids to hit a baseball we want to be patient and not push the kids to do anything spectacular or place demands on them. I know we want all our teams to play better, but it’s best to take a milder approach.