How Much Should A 12 Year Old Boy Lift Weights T-Ball University – Batting Drills For Tee Ball Coaches and Parents

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T-Ball University – Batting Drills For Tee Ball Coaches and Parents

Baseball season is upon us, so parents and parenting coaches, start digging through the garage for your baseball gear and start stretching those rusty arm and leg muscles. In many communities, children begin their baseball or softball careers by playing an introductory skill called Tee Ball, which is baseball minus the pitcher. In Tee Ball, also spelled T-Ball, kids learn the basics of hitting, fielding and base running. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on batting. In Tee Ball, hitting is done using a Tee that is approximately high in relation to the hitter. The t-shirt is an excellent tool for perfecting the child’s swing. When used correctly, the coach can analyze all the components used in the swing and make subtle or not-so-subtle adjustments to the child’s swing, hitting stance, hip rotation, and footwork.

It is my opinion after coaching all these seasons that proper footwork is the most important aspect of hitting. If you have proper footwork, your arms, hips and head will fall into place in due time.

In order to achieve proper footwork, I will place You on top of the motherboard. I will draw a vertical line in the dirt with the golfer’s club shaft from the mid 45 degree angle of the base of the tee. Line length is approximately 12 inches. Adjust this length according to each player’s comfortable arm extension with the club swing. I will then draw a vertical line from the first line and parallel to the edge of the Ta base going back towards the return stop. Therefore, this line is in the shape of an inverted “L”. I will squat down and point with my index finger where I want each foot to be placed along the parallel line. The 12-inch line draw allows the hitter to extend his arms when swinging to comfortably hit the tee ball with the “sweet” spot of the club.

I want every child to have a stiff front leg with feet square to a parallel line. The player should put his weight on the balls of both feet. A square forefoot will prevent the front knee from buckling or bending. Think of a bug under your back foot. I want the child to squish that imaginary bug with a flip of his hind leg. Approximately 60% of the player’s weight should be on the back foot. This is called the “load” position. This pivot will open the hips toward the pitcher when he “squishes the bug.” The front foot should remain square and the front knee locked when “squishing the bug.” The back leg can bend, but don’t dip the back leg too much. (This exercise is featured in a short video on our website http://www.tballu.com, under the “Free Sample Video” section).

Most coaches and parents who played the game when they were young were taught to take a step toward the pitcher with their front foot when swinging the bat. Most coaches and parents remember taking a small or big step. I don’t want the player to take a front foot step when “squishing the bug” because the step will cause the player’s head to drop slightly when he swings the club and therefore the player’s eyes will dip when he swings the club. No pitch will prevent the eye from dropping when you try to hit the ball (eg curve, slider, etc.) later in a player’s career when he or she advances to high school baseball or softball. Use a series of batting helmets as obstacles to prevent a player’s front foot from taking a step if they have previously been taught to do so.

Practice “squishing the bug” with a club placed between your hands and your back shoulder blades. Have the whole team practice this exercise at the same time making sure they are a good distance apart. Be careful of a stiff front leg, and the back foot should rest on the ball of the back foot. Some players will pivot and lift the heel of the back foot so that the back load is placed on the toe of the back foot instead of the ball of the back foot. The player’s head should remain down while looking at the hitting zone. If the back shoulder does not stay in the strike zone after the spin, the head will lift out of the strike zone and the front leg will automatically lift as well where the hitter turns on the heel of the front foot. This is called “rotating” the forefoot. Repeat this exercise 50 times every practice and before every game. The player can also do this exercise 50 times a day in front of a full-length mirror at home. This will provide the player with excellent muscle memory to ensure the correct swing every time.

After more than ten years of coaching youth baseball, it has been my experience that despite the best efforts of parent-coaches, too many kids fail to learn the fundamentals of hitting and fielding and develop bad habits early on. As these kids progress into the coaching and kid-pitch leagues, it results in coaches spending many hours trying to correct problems that could easily have been avoided at the Tee Ball or Beginner Baseball level. Developing children, whether your own or those in your community, is one of the most rewarding experiences you will have. Watching children learn and successfully apply the skills you taught them is extremely fulfilling. I wish you the best of luck in your t-ball, baseball or softball seasons.

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