As a young baseball player, nothing is more frustrating than a strikeout. Striking out on a rare occasion is manageable but no one wants it to become a recurring occurrence. Strikeouts don’t negatively affect a ballplayer but can also upset their coaches and their supporters. Continuous strikeouts will result in a loss of confidence and self-esteem. It may even result in them losing interest in the game. So what do you do? Read on to find out.
First of all, you need to understand that striking a baseball is quite tough. Without a proper understanding of the fundamentals, it is all but impossible. It takes years of patience and practice. There are few players who have the natural hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball on the first try. There’s no need to fret if you aren’t one of them.
Aggression is very important while batting. Sometimes that may be the only reason why hitters are behind for the count. You could also look into swings & misses. Are they early? Late? Under? Over? What do you do? Here are some solutions to each of these problems:
When hitters are continuously swinging late
The first thing to do would be to challenge their skills with a higher velocity pitch during practice. Most hitters are going to make the required adjustments by themselves and will start seeing the faster speeds and get used to striking at those speeds.
When hitters are swinging late
A similar approach will be adopted here but instead of challenging them with higher velocity pitches, slow them down. This will help them learn to wait for the ball and make it easier to connect with each swing.
When they are continuously hitting under
If this is the case then they are going to have to shorten their swing. They will have to keep their swing path much more direct and keep the bat‘s barrel above the ball while approaching. There are quite a few of ways of getting this done including: Take a couple of batting tees and set them around one foot apart. Put a ball on both of the tees with the closer ball a little lower. Now, make them swing over the first tee while trying to hit the ball on the second tee. This will help them develop a better swing path and should result in regular contact.Take a batting tee and place it so that the ball is slightly higher than the batters back hip. Place another tee under the hand of the hitter after they take a stance. Now pitch balls at them and make them swing over the tees while trying to make contact. This will develop a direct swing path and improve contact too.
When hitters swing over
The easiest way of working on this would be to make them face knee high pitches over and over again. Keep working on it until they are comfortable hitting line drives from this pitch area. This will help them learn to use their legs and hips with every hit and get them used to drive through the ball as well.
It is very important for you to understand that habits aren’t going to change easily. If a hitter is used to a certain style, getting them to change can be quite difficult. Using opposite drills is one way in which you could try to make this happen faster. Here, you basically make the hitters do the exact opposite of what they are used to doing. This is the easiest way to get them to break their habit. The goal of these drills is to meet somewhere in the middle with the right swing.
Finally, a terrific way in which you can prevent strikeouts while promoting regular contact is by working on the front arm. The lead arm of hitters is the one which takes the bat towards the ball. Getting them to swing the bat using just this arm is going to help improve their swing so they can make better contact. This will make them use that arm more as well and since it is usually their weak arm, it will make it stronger too.