Baseball season is about to start. The vast, vast majority of youth coaches use the same horrible practice format: 45 minutes of “hitting infield and outfield” (get one, get two) and 45 minutes of batting practice in which some coach throws relatively low fast balls the catcher while each player takes a turn batting. The remaining players stand around in the outfield typically chatting in small groups, occasionally dispatching one guy to field a nearby ball and throw it back to the pitcher’s mound.
You gotta be kidding me!
You know how much total practice time there is in a Little League season? 40.5 hours. That includes pre-season practices, during-season practices, AND EVEN PRE-GAME WARM-UPS!
During that time you must teach everything to everybody! Some topics, like safety and the rules of the game are mandatory. After those two topics, you must be extremely efficient. Part of that is distinguishing between coachable skills and uncoachable and relatively uncoachable ones.
You should spend virtually no time on batting mechanics, yet the vast majority of coaches spend enormous amounts of time on exactly that.
1. To say there is a consensus way to swing a bat is dubious. I would say you need to keep your head down throughout the swing and the hand closest to the pitcher should be on the bottom of the bat. Beyond that, I think I can find guys in the Hall of Fame who violated every so-called “rule” of batting. For example, Al Bucketfoot Simmons stepped in the bucket (toward third base if he bats right-handed) and every Little League coach says that’s “wrong.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Simmons
2. More importantly, you do not have time to “fix” a batter’s mechanics. Oscar Miller says it takes 10,000 swings the “right” way to to replace the “wrong” way. 40.5 hours is not enough to even begin to teach batting mechanics.
3. I used to coach batting mechanics. The occasional observer who knew baseball would compliment me on how well my players swung the bat. And in those years, our team batting average was BELOW that of the average team in our league.
4. Mechanics are not where Little League batting improvement lies. Waiting for a good pitch on the first two strikes is both teachable in a short period—about ten days of practices and games—and it causes a dramatic improvement in on-base percentage.
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