There is no reason for a 5-10 year old to have a bad mechanical swing. Kids should be able to confidently walk up to the batters box, and lace a line drive to the outfield. We all know that’s not the case for many hitters. So what goes wrong?
From the first time a child picks up a bat, they are developing muscle memory. When those first experiences are with a metal bat, their swing is slow and they have very little barrel control. The swing must be started much too early and even when they connect, the ball almost knocks the bat out of their hands. Those muscle memory movements are very difficult to fix later in their hitting career.
What is the solution?
From the ages of 3-5, most kids hit with the big red wiffle ball bat. Then at age 5 we think tee ball is the natural next step. The problem is we then ditch the wiffle ball bat and exclusively using a metal bat.
A metal tee ball bat weighs 12-17 ounces. This is half the bat weight of what a pro hitter uses. Most of them swing a 32-35 oz. bat. Pro hitters have 10-20 times the strength of a 5 year old. Their bats are very light considering their strength. To have an efficient and mechanically sound swing we need bat speed. This allows you to swing through the ball on solid contact.
Simply practicing in the back yard with a big wiffle ball bat allows them to develop bat speed and confidence. They can control the barrel. The ball rockets off the bat. They can learn to adjust to different pitch locations and hit to all fields, something that rarely happens with tee ball. They can hit the ball EVERY time! This seems so simple, it’s often overlooked.
The confidence to hit the ball with every swing is more important at this age than having a mechanically sound swing. The big bat develops CONFIDENCE.
We are Actually Pro Tee Ball
If you make the decision to play tee ball at age 5, we are 100% supportive. Tee ball is not bad. It allows kids to get a great introduction to the game, hang out with friends and learn to be coached by someone that’s not dad or mom.
Keep their swings with a metal bat a very small percentage of their total swings. You can easily get 100 swings a few times a week at home with the big bat, then get a dozen swings 2-3 days per week at tee ball. The confidence they gain with big bat will show up quickly at tee ball.
Don’t give up big bat totally at age 5. It’s not a baby bat. Its perfect for their development through about age 8 or even 10.
Hitting is About Repetition
Hitting with the big bat in the back yard is an easy way to get your 8U hitter the reps they need. No hitter EVER became a good hitter only during their team practice. Hitting is much too difficult. We want them to beg you to hit every night because it’s fun.
Anyone Can Become a Great Hitter
The Talent Code says we need 3 things to develop talent.
- deep practice
- master coaching
Deep Practice is hitting a bucket of 50 wiffle balls for the 8U hitter.
Ignition is the hitter having lots of fun hitting home runs. They are rewarded when the ball rockets off the bat and clears the fence.
Master Coaching is you pitching to them and coaching them with challenges. Hit the ball over the house, tree or fence for a home run.