All of a sudden my son is hitting choppers

My 10 yr old is usually 3rd or 4th in the batting line up due to his ability to hit the ball hard.  Most of the times he hits solid line drives that result in doubles the occasional triple and due to his speed (or lack there of some singles as well.  The last couple of games he has only hit light choppers resulting in outs.  The one dad thinks he is moving his back foot for some reason - maybe just trying to hit the ball versus waiting for a strike.  Does anyone have any other theories?  What can I do to help him correct this issue?

 

Thanks

Original Post

Without seeing it's really tough to say, the real growth spurts start around there and that can throw everyone's mechanics off.  The most common mistakes at that age are flying open, and not squaring up to the ball.  Try googling some drills for those to see if it addresses the problem.  Around 11/12 many kids swings have to be modified to account for different pitching styles as well as the ball starting to have movement.

 

Good luck!

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

My 10 yr old is usually 3rd or 4th in the batting line up due to his ability to hit the ball hard.  Most of the times he hits solid line drives that result in doubles the occasional triple and due to his speed (or lack there of some singles as well.  The last couple of games he has only hit light choppers resulting in outs.  The one dad thinks he is moving his back foot for some reason - maybe just trying to hit the ball versus waiting for a strike.  Does anyone have any other theories?  What can I do to help him correct this issue?

 

Thanks

Where are the choppers headed? 

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

he is right handed, typically from the pitcher to the third base line.

Sounds like he might be getting out and around the ball.  Have him work off a tee on hitting an inside pitch to the opposite field. Too make it easier, you can start with an outside location and bring it in every few hits. 

Hard to say.  Kids that age can do so many funky things. Sometimes they even do funky things that work for them. For a while.  

 

It may be that he's trying to pull everything.  Try soft-tossing to simulate letting outside pitches get deeper in the zone and have him work on driving those oppo or up the middle.

 

Somebody may have taught him to uppercut the ball and he's going to far with it. Or he could be hitting too far out front. Or both.

 

Another thing to watch out for is his stride. Kids that age often fail to get their foot down in time; if that looks late try just eliminating it for now.  

 

Around that age one of my kids had an issue with straightening up some as he swung. This caused the level that his eyes were on to raise in the middle of his swing, which resulted in hitting the top of the ball.  You might look for that as well.

 

You should also check his grip.   If it's not close to "knocking knuckles"  it could be causing him to roll over.  To prevent rollover, one technique that seems to work well for kids that age is working on getting the top hand facing up and bottom hand facing down at the point of impact.  

Well, I did not get a chance to video him, but I might be able to tomorrow.  The one dad thinks he isn't rotating his hips all the time.  Not sure if that could be part of the issue or not.  He was hitting great off the tee, as a matter of fact, he has been been doing the best he has ever done off the tee.  What is everyone's opinion on soft toss, helpful or hurtful? 

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

Well, I did not get a chance to video him, but I might be able to tomorrow.  The one dad thinks he isn't rotating his hips all the time.  Not sure if that could be part of the issue or not.  He was hitting great off the tee, as a matter of fact, he has been been doing the best he has ever done off the tee.  What is everyone's opinion on soft toss, helpful or hurtful? 

If you have a screen available, do front toss.  A lot of front toss.  If not, the soft toss from the side is an ok alternative. 

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

Well, I did not get a chance to video him, but I might be able to tomorrow.  The one dad thinks he isn't rotating his hips all the time.  Not sure if that could be part of the issue or not.  He was hitting great off the tee, as a matter of fact, he has been been doing the best he has ever done off the tee.  What is everyone's opinion on soft toss, helpful or hurtful? 

As for the hip rotation...ask him to pretend he has a big shiny belt buckle and he has to show the pitcher his belt buckle...this should get him to turn his hips.

 

I can only assume we have not reached the level yet where soft toss is EVER a bad idea....but since I am a 12u and you have a 10u I vote for soft toss.  If you have an L screen to protect you do it from the front, if not just sit on a bucket on the side of him and toss it to him that way. 

 

My son swears that by tossing a wiffle ball up himself and hitting it with the wiffle ball bat it helps him track the ball better when he is at the real plate.

 

Good luck!

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

       

We do a lot of fast pitching to him and his buddy.  His buddy's dad throws curves and sliders to them and my son normally does very well.  Is it better to do fast toss or do both fast and slow?


       
You really need video.  At that age especially it could be any of a million things.  Maybe he is early and by the time he hits it the bat is above center.of the ball...  maybe he is swinging down on the ball.  Maybe he has a hard time adjusting from one pitcher to another - the slower pitchers at 10 even their fastballs look like curve balls and he might be over the top of them.  And way more possibilities.  Without video all anyone can do is guess.
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

My son swears that by tossing a wiffle ball up himself and hitting it with the wiffle ball bat it helps him track the ball better when he is at the real plate.

 

Good luck!

This is an excellent drill in itself. Good for learning proper sequencing.

Originally Posted by standballdad:
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

My son swears that by tossing a wiffle ball up himself and hitting it with the wiffle ball bat it helps him track the ball better when he is at the real plate.

 

Good luck!

This is an excellent drill in itself. Good for learning proper sequencing.

When I coached league ball I use to have the kids take turns hitting to infield and outfield.  Tossing the ball up and hitting it is what we use to do a lot as kids in sandlot baseball in the 70's. 

OK, so he has had a couple of games since and has done fairly well.  The one call up game he had a nice shot to the outfield for a base hit and then a walk.  Then later that night he drilled one that ended up going under the fence for a ground rule double then two hard hit grounders then a not so hard one back to the pitcher who fielded it and he was thrown out at first.  He also had a game last night where he went 4 of 5 and also had a boe.  Out of those 4 true safe hits one was a real nice shot that bounced to the fence, one was popped up just passed the second baseman into the outfield who didn't really have a chance.  Two were pretty solid grounders.  His boe was to the 3rd baseman who couldn't get the throw to the first baseman in time.  That all said, I do have video of him hitting off the tee and at the cages.  How do I upload them for you all to see and hopefully offer recommendations.

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

OK, so he has had a couple of games since and has done fairly well.  The one call up game he had a nice shot to the outfield for a base hit and then a walk.  Then later that night he drilled one that ended up going under the fence for a ground rule double then two hard hit grounders then a not so hard one back to the pitcher who fielded it and he was thrown out at first.  He also had a game last night where he went 4 of 5 and also had a boe.  Out of those 4 true safe hits one was a real nice shot that bounced to the fence, one was popped up just passed the second baseman into the outfield who didn't really have a chance.  Two were pretty solid grounders.  His boe was to the 3rd baseman who couldn't get the throw to the first baseman in time.  That all said, I do have video of him hitting off the tee and at the cages.  How do I upload them for you all to see and hopefully offer recommendations.

Post to you tube and link here?

Thanks for sharing the video, Dad, I really enjoyed watching that one.  There are a handful of mechanics fixes that come to light right away - any decent instructor will easily get him on the right path.  But any player who chews gum with that much aggressive enthusiasm is sure to be a great hitter some day. 

 

Seriously, his aggressive approach with the big leg kick might not be ideal mechanics but it says a lot in a good way about wanting to hit the ball hard and that is so important at this age.  If he really likes the game, some time in the next year or two, he'll want to get some good instruction to channel that approach in a more effective manner.

Thanks for posting the video. It took me back to those days in my kids' lives, and I decided to look at some videos of my youngest and some of his LL teammates at the same age. My kid's swing at that age was more compact than your son's, and he had a much shorter stride, but he had similar issues. More importantly he had the same looseness your son has, and the same serious intent to mash.  That's what I really like about how your boy is swinging.  I could give you some ideas about how to help him improve, but if you're not a coach yourself I think that taking tips from anonymous guys on the internet, even those that are much smarter than me, could be more harmful than helpful, because all you're going to see is results, when what you should be looking for is better mechanics.   If your boy and your budget is willing, I'd find him a hitting coach instead.  Don't think he has to go every week for the rest of his life. Just a few lessons may well be enough to point him in the right direction.

Originally Posted by Dadof3:

OK here is a video of him off the tee.  He did pretty well using the tee.  I can upload a video of him at BP if that will help as well.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...amp;feature=youtu.be

We'll I'll give some tips.  If you do have BP footage, post it.  I'd be curious to see if his swing is the same hitting a moving ball vs. off the tee. 

 

I see a couple of things.  As pointed out, he is very loose.  He's kind of all over the place.  He needs more balance.  I would reduce the stride and focus on weight transfer from the inside of the back foot to the inside of the front foot.  It should be nice and compact. 

 

Second, he has a very long swing and some serious bat drag.  The reason he his hitting choppers to 3b is he is way out and around the ball.  He needs his hands to stay tight to his chest and inside the ball.  Do the tee drill I mentioned above -- bring the tee in close, middle of body and hit to the opposite field. 

 

 

I have a 12 year old....I'm no expert and I'm not a coach...but my kid can hit and I have listened to hundreds of batting practices.  My comments are:

 

1. Why is his back foot coming off the ground at all?  If you look closely he is not pivoting his back foot he is actually lifting it up, moving it, then pivoting.  He took away his base of power which throws him off balance.  Try going back to the basics of squishing that bug.

2. He looks too tall in his stance, he's actually coming down to hit the ball at which point his weight isn't shifting from his back leg to his front leg because he's barely got any weight on his back leg.  He should start a bit lower, weight on back leg, then transition the weight from the back leg to the front, this will bring his hips around more naturally because right now he is getting his hips around but it's out of memory not mechanics and I'm not seeing an actual balance transfer.

 

Those two main things can throw off his balance and if you don't have balance while hitting it's not going to work....biggest problem in my opinion is lifting up that back foot at all...he seems so focused on turning his hips that he isn't remembering to pivot.

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

I have a 12 year old....I'm no expert and I'm not a coach...but my kid can hit and I have listened to hundreds of batting practices.  My comments are:

 

1. Why is his back foot coming off the ground at all?  If you look closely he is not pivoting his back foot he is actually lifting it up, moving it, then pivoting.  He took away his base of power which throws him off balance.  Try going back to the basics of squishing that bug.

2. He looks too tall in his stance, he's actually coming down to hit the ball at which point his weight isn't shifting from his back leg to his front leg because he's barely got any weight on his back leg.  He should start a bit lower, weight on back leg, then transition the weight from the back leg to the front, this will bring his hips around more naturally because right now he is getting his hips around but it's out of memory not mechanics and I'm not seeing an actual balance transfer.

 

Those two main things can throw off his balance and if you don't have balance while hitting it's not going to work....biggest problem in my opinion is lifting up that back foot at all...he seems so focused on turning his hips that he isn't remembering to pivot.

His back foot is coming of the ground because he is literally winding up and "running" to hit the ball.  It is the Happy Gilmore approach. 

 

I would stay away from Squishing the Bug.  That is not good technique - leads to spinning.  Right now I would not worry about the hips and back foot.  He needs to get the weight transfer and balance down -- inside to inside and fix the long hand path. 

Originally Posted by Golfman25:
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

I have a 12 year old....I'm no expert and I'm not a coach...but my kid can hit and I have listened to hundreds of batting practices.  My comments are:

 

1. Why is his back foot coming off the ground at all?  If you look closely he is not pivoting his back foot he is actually lifting it up, moving it, then pivoting.  He took away his base of power which throws him off balance.  Try going back to the basics of squishing that bug.

2. He looks too tall in his stance, he's actually coming down to hit the ball at which point his weight isn't shifting from his back leg to his front leg because he's barely got any weight on his back leg.  He should start a bit lower, weight on back leg, then transition the weight from the back leg to the front, this will bring his hips around more naturally because right now he is getting his hips around but it's out of memory not mechanics and I'm not seeing an actual balance transfer.

 

Those two main things can throw off his balance and if you don't have balance while hitting it's not going to work....biggest problem in my opinion is lifting up that back foot at all...he seems so focused on turning his hips that he isn't remembering to pivot.

His back foot is coming of the ground because he is literally winding up and "running" to hit the ball.  It is the Happy Gilmore approach. 

 

I would stay away from Squishing the Bug.  That is not good technique - leads to spinning.  Right now I would not worry about the hips and back foot.  He needs to get the weight transfer and balance down -- inside to inside and fix the long hand path. 

While squishing the bug is bad long term it puts kids in the mindset to pivot that foot...don't you think "running at the ball" is throwing him off balance and if he kept that foot on the ground it would help?

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:
Originally Posted by Golfman25:
Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:

I have a 12 year old....I'm no expert and I'm not a coach...but my kid can hit and I have listened to hundreds of batting practices.  My comments are:

 

1. Why is his back foot coming off the ground at all?  If you look closely he is not pivoting his back foot he is actually lifting it up, moving it, then pivoting.  He took away his base of power which throws him off balance.  Try going back to the basics of squishing that bug.

2. He looks too tall in his stance, he's actually coming down to hit the ball at which point his weight isn't shifting from his back leg to his front leg because he's barely got any weight on his back leg.  He should start a bit lower, weight on back leg, then transition the weight from the back leg to the front, this will bring his hips around more naturally because right now he is getting his hips around but it's out of memory not mechanics and I'm not seeing an actual balance transfer.

 

Those two main things can throw off his balance and if you don't have balance while hitting it's not going to work....biggest problem in my opinion is lifting up that back foot at all...he seems so focused on turning his hips that he isn't remembering to pivot.

His back foot is coming of the ground because he is literally winding up and "running" to hit the ball.  It is the Happy Gilmore approach. 

 

I would stay away from Squishing the Bug.  That is not good technique - leads to spinning.  Right now I would not worry about the hips and back foot.  He needs to get the weight transfer and balance down -- inside to inside and fix the long hand path. 

While squishing the bug is bad long term it puts kids in the mindset to pivot that foot...don't you think "running at the ball" is throwing him off balance and if he kept that foot on the ground it would help?

The problem is the mindset to "pivot that foot."  The mindset should be to drive the back knee.  The foot is a reaction.  You'll see many pro players lift that back foot off the ground at impact.

 

I agree he is not balanced.  I agree he should keep the back foot on the ground.  That's why my advice is to get him used to the proper weight transfer from inside back to inside front.   

I don't often give advice as to others swing, I usually am looking for it, but.... 

That swing looks like my son's through most of HS and I didn't like it. The thing was he was pretty successful with it so getting him to change was difficult. Anyway, notice the head of the bat drops almost straight down parallel to back shoulder and arm. The path is more an L shape than a C. I can't see on my phone but I'd bet the rear elbow is getting in front of the hands causing bat drag. The other problem with that is while the bat head is dropping no real power is being produced. Like I said my kid did the same thing.  It took a crappy sr season for him to agree to change. Given the PO his freshman year and limited time in summer ball it's taken a while to judge results but after a slight adjustment to his approach at the plate he's doing pretty damn well last fall to now. Maybe others will disagree and that swing did get him a DI scholarship but thank god for that sr year. That's my .02.

 

Do you have a link as to what it should look like?  Just for clarification, he isn't hitting choppers anymore, it was just to kind of laugh at the first video and compare it 3.5 years later.  I would like something to compare it to (I don't have much of a baseball IQ) and maybe this is something I should talk with his coach about.  Thanks!

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