Trying to get some advice.  My son is a good hitter and always had success however I am trying to find ways to help him take that next step.  Every once in a while we face that one pitcher that can really command the zone (you know what I mean) and my son will have a tendency to speed his swing up to match the intensity of that pitcher instead of keeping the same stroke but starting earlier.  Any suggestions on how to work on this?  Obviously I can’t throw 85-90mph  and I’ve tried moving the screen closer during BP.  Thanks. 

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You can always move L-screen up to a proper distance to allow your throwing velo to match desired velo while still offering the natural pitcher's set and delivery.  This is a better solution than machines cranked up with no timing mechanism. 

He should start with focusing primarily on foot down early.  You don't want many other parts starting early.  From there, maybe add a slightly more abbreviated upper half load/turn but make sure he still closes front side.  You don't want leaking.  Gradually ramp up the velo so he doesn't jump into bad habits.  You can also recruit ex college/HS P's who like to still get out and throw.  Really good if you can put them on a rolling portable from a slightly shorter distance so the hitter gets real looks, same planes, etc.

Of course, this all has to start with proper and efficient "stay inside" mechanics to begin with.  If that's not in place, nothing else will work consistently against good velo when that pitcher can also mix.

my son hates machines too...but I tell him hitting is matter what it is youre the timing has to be figured out.  He hates machines because at times they pause, or they come out too fast...I think they help with the timing and give a good idea of extreme velocity

A few years ago I visited the Texas Rangers at Arlington Stadium. They have a large indoor hitting cage and Rusty Greer, Rangers outfielder was hitting with the ML Hitting instructor.

The instructor "sitting" in a chair was pitching underhand from a corner of a "L" screen 20' from the hitter. Please turn the "L" screen to protect the pitcher.

A great drill to teach "fine" focus on the ball. A reaction drill. "Relax to explosion"!



Timing is everything.  IMO speeding up the swing according to the type of pitch is asking for trouble.  Machines have it's place but nothing beats live pitching if possible.  With higher velocity pitchers the batter has fractions of 1 - 2 seconds to read the pitch, the location, anticipate where the ball will be once it crosses the plate, and decide to swing or not.  My son mentioned he studies the pitcher's mechanics and tendencies several batters ahead of him if possible and throughout the game.  From my recollection he starts his body (swing) motion at different throwing release points depending on the pitcher.  It should be noted though that his body motion is to the extreme, lots of movement.  He gets away with it (so far) by having very good timing and quick hands.  Upon contact though his feet are down, proper weight transfer, body position, and swing path.  For your son, find the correct timing tool and practice it until it becomes part of his muscle memory.  HIs hitting coach can help with this.   Best of luck!

4arms posted:

 My son is a good hitter and always had success .... Every once in a while.... my son will have a tendency to speed his swing up to match the intensity of that pitcher instead of keeping the same stroke but starting earlier.  

I'm having trouble picturing this.

My perception is that our hitters virtually always put the same-speed swing on the ball, except when they're fooled, which is not what you're describing.

To put it another way, since your son is a good hitter, I'm surprised he doesn't use his maximum-speed swing  virtually every time he swings the bat.

Looking at the flip-side, I've found it's fairly rare to have a hard-hitting guy who has an ability to adjust and slow his swing-speed down and "just play pepper with the ball" with two-strikes.  In other words, I consider it to be an uncommon ability.  With swing-speed, most hitters are one-trick ponies.  Ty Cobb is dead, and Rod Carew is retired.

Over the years, one of my assistants has videoed a decent number of our hitters.  Typically their launch-to-contact-zone times consistently range between .15-.18 seconds, including the mediocre hitters.  In other words, minimal variation. 

I wonder if it's possible that your son is loading up a bit more versus the top pitchers--which is not a good thing--and that this is giving you the impression that he's swinging faster?

Regardless, "wait-and-be-quick" is usually a good swing-thought.

Apologies if this seems argumentative.  Not my intention.  Just trying to understand.


Bp from a shorter distance definitely is not a bad thing. Recently there was a driveline employee saying that the limiting factor is not reaction time and thus the "perceived velo" from a shorter distance isn't a thing but it still makes it somewhat tougher to the hitter and gives him a little time constraint.

My personal observation with my son is that when ever he tries to adjust his swing speed to make contact, it just ends up being a dribbler. I would rather he maintain the same swing speed, even if he misses. Yes there are situational times to do this, but in most cases a weak dribbler doesn’t do any good. Maybe should not be 110% swing but as hard as he can consistently swing and maintain control/ mechanics. Then you just have to focus on when to start your swing???

I think his swing aggressiveness remains relatively the same regardless of the pitcher.  His issue seems to be that he can have a tendency against elite velo to speed the swing up causing him to pull the front shoulder off the ball instead of getting the foot down a little earlier and staying through.  I guess I just need to find ways to make him train more outside of his comfort zone while making sure he’s not sacrificing his mechanics.  He needs to do a better job of trusting what he does and starting a little earlier instead of “muscling” it and matching the intensity of that type of pitcher.  

Of course you don't swing slower to hit a slower pitch you simply start your swing later. And don't allow excuses like I can't hit slow pitching. I mean anyone can hit a 60 mph bp pitch so why wouldn't you be able to hit  a 69 mph fastball when you know it is coming? Mlb players can hit 60 mph knucklers despite seeing 90 every day so a kid seeing 75 every day should be able to hit the occasional 60 mph soft tosser. You simply need to wait a little longer. Not always easy but hitters get it done.

Dominik85 posted:

so a kid seeing 75 every day should be able to hit the occasional 60 mph soft tosser. You simply need to wait a little longer. Not always easy but hitters get it done.

In HS baseball, soft-throwers can sometimes stifle hard-hitting lineups....even though they "simply need to wait a little longer."

Some think it's a character defect--an unwillingness to adjust. I disagree.  But I don't have an alternative explanation. To me, it's a mystery.  They can crush 65mph batting practice. But not 65mph game-pitching.  Go figure.

The problem with BP from a shorter distance is that the ball isn't traveling at game speeds.  Yes, it will arrive to the batter at roughly the same time as a high speed pitch from 55 feet if you plan it out right, but it will not be moving through the hitting zone at the correct speed.  I guess it's better than nothing, and would get the player accustom to the time the ball takes to arrive.  But that's only half of the equation.  We found a ProBatter PX2 a little over 90 minutes away from where we live and would make the drive as much as possible.  This allowed him to have experience hitting true 80-90 mph fastballs and 70-80 curveball/sliders from 55 feet.  Nothing can prepare you better.

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