So my son made a great team this year and is playing against some of the best competition in the NE as a 13u. This is the first time ever seeing this level of pitching. He has done very well up to this point. We are three games into the season (with the last two being against what is probably the best team in the state). He is struggling big time and I am bummed. He is 2-9 (with 4 ks) and is not trusting his form (hitting grounders vs line drives). The two bright spots, are he did have a foul ball "HR" (300+) which shows him and I he can handle this level and he is only one of three kids who managed to hit a kid throwing 80 (although his was ground out the other two kids hit safely). He has been practicing since January and absolutely crushes the ball in practice. A number of the kids on his team are doing extremely well, and the opposing team from the last 2 games absolutely destroyed the ball. I honestly felt he could hang with them and be one of the better hitters on the team.
So last night after the game I really got down thinking maybe he isn't as good as I had hoped. I am not knocking him, but trying to be realistic. He did fine in the field, but just had routine plays nothing too difficult, but if he can't hit, is baseball career won't last too long. Then I got to thinking even more, if he can't hit, should I really be spending money on hitting lessons? Is there hope? so needless to say, I didn't get much sleep last night, tossing and turning, thinking is this due to his first time facing pitching like this or is the reality that maybe he just isn't all that I had hoped?
Seriously? After three games? After the competition bar was raised at 13?
"... is not trusting his form (hitting grounders vs line drives)." This against 13u's throwing near 80 and undoubtedly mixing reasonably well. I think, for perspective, you should go find a kid that recently pitched in college and have him throw live to you with his full arsenal. See how often you can "trust your form" and hit all line drives instead of grounders or pop ups or swing-and-misses . It ain't easy as you start facing good pitching. If your son is a ballplayer and has been given a solid mechanical foundation, he will learn to make adjustments with his approach to these better pitchers and continue to grow in the game. There will be adjustments with each level. I have a freshman and a sophomore as the "last two" on my varsity squad. More than half way thru the season, they have done fine in limited roles with hitting. I have picked spots where they would have a chance for success. I have sort of a planned progression for them. When we played our Easter tourney a few weeks ago, we played schools several levels up from us in every way. This was the event that they would get a real test to see where they are at this point in time vs really good pitching. They were both badly over-matched as expected. This would give them first hand experience at seeing what the next bar is and what adjustments they would need to make for continued success. They are both good players and will make that progression. We had the discussion about why they are here (vs at JV) and that they needed to see that first hand so that it was clear what the next steps need to be and progression would come more quickly this way. I have no doubt that, next year, when they see top shelf HS pitching, the will have benefited from their experience in that tourney, put in the work and push past the next hurdle.
As opposing pitching improves, it becomes more difficult to narrow the gap between cage/BP hitting and live game action hitting. It becomes more important to incorporate drills that simulate a strong assortment of pitches that must be read and approached properly.
More importantly, I think, is some re-evaluation for yourself. I don't know how much of what you said was tongue-in-cheek or how much is just venting but being ready to throw in the towel on hitting lessons, questioning if there is hope and actually losing sleep over this... as others have said, even if it is a highly competitive environment, he should be having fun and if that is your reaction, he is not going to be having fun.
As he continues to progress, the hurdles will continue to pop up in front of him. Having that positive supportive parental base behind him will be very helpful. Your current reaction probably doesn't qualify as positive supportive
PS - you were right to acknowledge Steve A's point with getting better against quicker velo. But there are a whole bunch of other aspects that he will need to drill in order to recognize good off-speed, read break, have the right approach adjustments, etc., etc. You referred to hitting lessons. Are these things being addressed?