It can be very frustrating to have a talented young batter go into a mid season slump. This is going to happen to at least one or two players on every youth baseball team in America this summer. The players had been ripping the cover off the ball, and all of a sudden, he goes into a drastic slump. The batter is popping up every time he makes contact with the ball.
How do you handle this situation? What are the first things that a coach should check? What are the most common causes of this "sudden slump"? I am going to explain to you what I would do. I am going to outline the main three flaws that I look for to detect which is causing the problem.
The three flaws I would check for first are:
1. Drastic dropping of the hands. The must keep his hands above the ball. If he is dropping the hands, he is dropping the bat. Often times this may cause an upper cut swing. Caution the batter to make sure that he keeps the hands high and above the ball.
2. Backside or back leg collapse - This is caused by the batter bending the knee thus collapsing the back side. The batter should be cautioned to stay tall on the back side. There should never be a drastic elevation change from the start of the swing to the finish. Back leg bend or collapse caused the back shoulder to drop, thus causing an unacceptable upper-cut swing.
3. Batter is striding to long - A long stride is a recipe for all kinds of problems. The farther the front foot strides out toward the pitcher, the more there will be an elevation drop of the head, eyes, shoulders, hands, and bat. The drop in head elevation could be as much as several inches if the stride to long. This drop of several inches takes the batter from the top of the batter that he thought he was hitting to the very bottom edge of the ball. Hitting the very bottom edge of the ball most often result in the hitting of a pop up. It is recommended that batters set their feet shoulder width apart and simply shift the weight or slightly pick the foot up and place it back down where it was. This prevents the dropping action from happening. If the batter must stride, the stride should be restricted to no more than two to three inches.
Coaching Point: It is recommended that coaches constantly tell young hitters to see and hit the top half of the baseball. If they visually concentrate on the top third of the ball, and they were to drop slightly in the stride, then their swing should put them in the middle of the baseball. Concentrating on the top half allows them to hit more line drives and ground balls. You want your hitters to develop the line drive swing and a line drive mentality. After all, we all know that line drives make the world go round.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope that you found it to be informative. Have a great day.
Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
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