When it comes to youth baseball, nothing is more important than learning the fundamentals. At the youth level, kids can pick up good or bad hitting habits that will define their swing for the rest of their lives.
It helps to see how professional hitting instructors can help youth hitters to get the most out of their swing. In this post, I want to take the time to highlight some hitting videos and showcase some of the most important takeaways. With some practice and the right guidance, any youth hitter can create a swing that will make good contact and get good results.
Hitting Off A Tee
In this video, we learn the importance of properly addressing the ball when it sits on a tee. Just about every youth player starts out in a tee ball league and works their way up the ranks. But even as that player gets older and develops their swing, they still use a tee for practice and to help hone their skills. Bad tee habits developed early in live can become big problems as a player matures and moves into more advanced levels of play.
A significant number of youth players address a tee with their lead foot placed either even with the back of the tee base, or behind the tee base completely. When you are positioned that far back behind the ball, your point of contact is not the level part of the swing where all of your power is located. Instead, your point of contact is the beginning of your follow through, and that will cause you to lose control over where the ball goes after contact.
The other problem with setting up so far behind the tee is that you will lean forward to try and make contact because the ball is out of your natural reach. Over time, this will cause you to chase pitches and become an easy strikeout for a pitcher who can recognize your hitting issues.
The solution is to place your lead foot even with the tee itself, and create a place where the contact is made right as the bat comes through the ball. When you consistently get used to making good contact off the tee, then you can take that out to the field and find a high level of success.
Developing A Power Swing
It is never too early to develop a power swing, but too many youth hitters make the mistake of associating arm extension with power. One of the reasons that young hitters make this association is because golf swings tend to benefit from extended arms. Youth hitters often feel that if golfers get more power by extending their arms, then baseball players must do the same thing.
At the youth level, it is extremely important to develop sound fundamentals when it comes to the power swing, and this video lays a great foundation for a swing that will knock the ball out of the park. In golf, the key to a strong swing is a wide arc. In baseball, the key to a strong swing is maintaining control. That is why a good power swing involves keeping your hands closer to your body and avoiding arm extension.
When you extend your arms, you tend to lose balance and control. But with your arms tight to your body, you can develop a tempo that puts all of your power into the swing and delivers the right results. Youth players that want to be able to hit with power should develop the habit of keeping their hands closer to their body, and using that extra control to get more distance.
Shifting Your Weight Through The Ball
Cal Ripken, Jr. is one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, and in this video he talks about shifting your weight from the back of the swing to the front to go through the ball. It should be noted that Cal’s set-up is for a man of his size and that youth players would not normally put the tee that far ahead of the plate. Cal is overemphasizing his swing to make a point, but the mechanics he teaches work to create good hitting habits.
It is important to practice shifting your weight from the back of your swing to the front so that it becomes second nature during a game. When a pitcher is staring you down and you have a pitch coming in, you do not want to have to think about shifting your weight. Your focus should be on hitting the ball with power, and shifting your weight should be something you do out of habit.
Learning how to hit a baseball at the youth level is extremely important. Youth hitters often do not appreciate the details that are involved in a good baseball swing, which is why getting a youth player started on swing development as soon as possible is always a good idea.