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How to Teach Your Child Not to Swing at Bad Pitches

by Shellie Braeuner

Practicing hitting requires more than just a good stance and grip. Players must learn how to choose the right pitches to hit. Children must learn to decide, in a matter of seconds, whether the ball is moving through the strike zone or not. Cal Ripkin, veteran baseball player and founder of the Cal Ripkin League, suggests at Ripkinbaseball.com that parents and coaches use progression training to help players learn when to swing and when to hold.

Put on a batting helmet. Balls are dangerous. Even balls hit from a tee run the risk of flying straight up and back down to hit the batter on the head.

Practice hitting the ball from a tee. The player must watch the ball and the bat until contact is made. This acquaints your child with the proper height for a good pitch.

Change the height of the tee. Set the batting tee at a variety of settings all within the strike zone. The strike zone is the area between the hollow of the players kneecap and the middle of her chest. The zone extends to the width of the player’s armpits on either side. This helps the batter define the proper area for a good swing. Place the tee outside the strike zone and show how difficult it is to get a good hit in such a position.

Pitch the ball in a soft toss from the side of home plate. The player can watch the ball leave the pitcher's hand until it comes in contact with her bat. The pitcher tosses the ball slightly from side to side, filling the strike zone for the hitter.

Pitch to the batter from behind. Ask the player to hit balls pitched from behind home plate. The player must watch for the ball from the corner of his eye and swing quickly to hit it. This helps the player make fast decisions when hitting.

Repeat the progression as the player grows. Since the strike zone is determined by the player’s body, the area changes as a child grows.

Items you will need
  • Batting helmet
  • Baseball
  • Baseball tee
  • Baseball bat

Tip

  • Make the practice fun. Reward the player when he makes the proper choice to hit or hold.

Warnings

  • Never pitch to a batter without a batting helmet. Never allow a batter to hit without a helmet.
  • When pitching, use an L-shaped pitching net to protect your face and chest.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images