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I'm posting here since I wanted folks to know what great info is available on this site and to thank those who posted previously.  


Son is having a tough season.  He's always batted lead off, but like many of his teammates, struggled to get a hit in the first few games of the season though he had the best OBP on the team.  


The kid hitting clean up was also struggling, so coach benched him and he came back with a fury.  Did the same with my son, moved him from batting first to last, and it completely backfired.  Son felt like coach didn't have any confidence in him so lost all confidence in himself and struck out at each at bat, which led him to the bench.  Now he's so anxious the few times he gets an at bat that he continues to strike out.  Son says he's tried counting and visualizing but it didn't help.  


Entered "confidence" in the search on the site and came up with a few more things to try - such as chewing gum, simple mantra, and have ordered a couple books. (found them on ebay sold by goodwill so cheap and donation to a good cause!)  Son is putting in extra time at the cage and going for a batting lesson.  


Wish us luck - the hs baseball season is a short one so  he may be riding the pines from here on out.


Chew Gum (Blue Collar Baseball mentioned this)

Think the words "see the ball" (I got that one from a baseball mental book not sure what it was called)

Blog - BaseballByTheYard Hitting: Five stages of focus 
books - Mental Game of Baseball, Heads-Up Baseball : Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time


Last edited by gettin'there

gettinthere -

Sorry to hear about the rough start.  Lots of things come to mind when reading your post...

It is great that you are looking for ways to help him through his hitting slump and confidence issues.  Fight the urge to help too much or look for immediate quick-fixes.  This is one of those great opportunities for your son to figure things out on his own and learn more important lessons than how to break a slump.


When choosing the spot where you do offer help, don't pile on.  The resources and suggestions you list all look great but if you throw the kitchen sink at him, it is more likely that nothing will stick.  When we get a hitter with mechanical issues, we can only concentrate on one, maybe two things at a time even though we see five areas that need fixed.


I believe your son is a junior, if I recall correctly.  Don't buy into the short-term "poor me" panic mode that teens can go thru.  Dismiss it by reminding him of the good player he is - that he is still the same player that earned the starting spot in the first place.  Remind him of why he likes playing baseball.  I know it can be tough as a caring parent but don't fall down the hole with him.  Show that you have confidence in his abilities and he should too.  Keep it short and let him get to work.


He should work to earn his spot back by outworking everyone at practice and focusing on the specific task at hand for every defensive rep, every cage cut and on-field AB.  If he earns a spot back in the line-up and it is lower in the order, he should appreciate that he'll get more fastballs that he doesn't have to take.  If he doesn't win a spot back quickly, appreciate that the team has enough good players to fill his spot until he does.  Always positive.  Always working hard.  Always focused on the moment.  This is how good results will come.  Even if they are a different kind than what the original goal is.


Don't let him (or yourself) fall back on "yeah but he has a great OBP", "the team's psyche was disrupted because coach started freshmen over seniors", etc.  HE needs to figure out specifically what he needs to do to earn his spot back and work hard at it.  Meanwhile, he needs to be a great teammate.


Best wishes..




Last edited by cabbagedad

Slumps would not exist if it were that easy to fix.  Sometimes the more you think about something the worse things get.  A stick of gum?  OK if it works I guess.


Players have to understand, this is a new day.  This is a new at bat.  


Some times it could be a mechanical issue.  If so fix it!  IMO most slumps revolve around what's going on between the ears.  Thinking about it, just keeps reminding you that you're in a slump.  


I think it is good for young kids to understand the greatest hitters ever have gone through slumps.  

When he steps into the box all thoughts, except see the ball hit the ball, disappear.  A player can not "want" or "need" to get a hit.  That creates tension in the body.  If he wants to hear the coach, step out of the box.  The box is "his" place.


Edit:  and tell him to track the ball all the way to the catcher's mitt if he takes one.  It helps with seeing the ball better.

Last edited by NYdad2017

My kid has gotten moved from 1st or 2nd to 9th batter from time-to-time (who hasn't?).  Honestly, there rarely seems to be a rhyme or reason for it, but I tell him "who cares where you bat, you are batting!  You are a #2 hitter who just happens to be batting 9th, so go out and drive the ball hard."  The point is you can't let anyone's actions or decisions affect self confidence.  That has to come from within.

Please take this the way it is intended.  Don't add to the problem.  My daughter has been having it rough as well.  So, the wife and I tried to be positive each time talking about good at bats, good defense, ...  We didn't dwell on the games without a hit.  IMO, a parent can jump in and make this so much worse with all good intent. 

I think that whenever things are going poorly at the plate, or pretty much anywhere else, you need to go back to fundamentals.  So doing extra tee work and make sure the swing is in good shape should help  his confidence.


Mentally, I'd also look at the 3 things (IMHO) that make hitters succeed when they're going well, becausein the end he's not really going to feel confident until he strings a few good at-bats together.


1 - see the ball. Get an eye check if necessary. If he's good, focus on picking the ball up ASAP out of the pitcher's hand.


2 - Stay back. Hitters in slumps are so anxious to get out that they  get in front of everything. Hitters on a good streak trust their hands and let the ball get into the zone.


3 - Pick a good pitch to hit.  Hitters in slumps always seem watch a good pitch go by, then swing at offspeed junk and fastballs off the corners. Hitters going well find that one good fastball during each at bat and pound it. 



Learn how the player accepts information.  Dont lay it on them just one way.  It is learning how to communicate in a way that makes sense to each player.  Everyone wants the same thing, to get better.  I wrote an article about connecting with kids by knowing how they respond to different coaching styles.  Here is a link to it if you're interested.  I am happy to discuss this further here in the blog.

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