By Chip Lemin
When I see a youth baseball player shooting line drives all over the field, there are certain things I look for in their swing. The first thing I usually notice will be that the player is balanced during the entire swing. Balance in a baseball swing is something that will deliver consistent results for the hitter. The balance in a baseball swing begins with the stance. The player's weight should be evenly distributed on both feet to start. When the player begins the trigger, or start of the swing, some of the weight will then shift to the back leg. These subtle movements were not always clear to me. I learned most of this from watching our team take hitting instruction from a professional instructor.
Some people will groan about paying someone to help a youth baseball player learn to hit properly. I must say years ago I was not a believer in hitting lessons. I thought I already knew all about hitting. My child has always been able to hit well, mostly due to natural talent luckily. My child was asked to play in a tournament with a travel team. This team used hitting instruction. As I watched how much it helped my child improve, I wanted to know more.
The best baseball swings are usually short and compact with a smooth follow through. Most parents teach their kids to take a long stride. I was guilty of this this. I also let their arms drop down too low, developing a long slow swing. Most of my mistakes were at the tee ball and coach pitch level with my first child. My eyes were opened at these hitting instructions that I had a lot to learn. Taking a wider balanced stance is the beginning of a solid base to hit from. The first thing the instructor did was widen up my kid's stance. This improved the balance right way. It also makes it harder to take a long stride to the ball. I am in favor of hitting instruction as early as the player will accept it. Don't ever force them to go. My child was a little hesitant until watching other kids having fun doing it.
My early ideas about keeping the elbow up, and the long stride, did not lead to a balanced powerful swing. I quickly learned to accept a new way of thinking. The earlier a youth baseball player learns to develop a balanced swing the better. A balanced swing makes it easier to hit to all fields. A balanced swing is much easier to repeat over and over from a good balanced base. The first move to the baseball from the trigger position will be with the hands. This is difficult for young players to learn at first. The are many drills to help instill this important part of the swing. I will share some of them with you soon in an upcoming article.
We have covered the very basics of the balanced hitting base of the swing. Most players will have to widen their stance to at least shoulder with. Some players even a little more may be needed. My child has a wide stance. This helps keep the toes on the ground during the beginning of the swing. If a player is lifting up the toes during the swing, they are shifting their weight improperly. The hands should be held as high as the player feels comfortable with. They should not be buried up against the body either, We are trying to eliminate movement that is not needed in the swing. When there is less movement, it is easier to stay balanced. So go find a quality hitting instructor that both you and your child feel good about. Get some references from others if needed. Go to lessons with an open mind. You will both learn a lot about balance in the baseball swing.
Thanks Coach Chip
Chip Lemin has been a promoter of youth baseball since they started using aluminum bats. That's a long time. I have witnessed many good people get into coaching without solid coaching skills and it is not fun for them or the kids.Today's newer coaches are also being shortchanged on sportsmanship, like there is none. Visit my site to sign up for a insightful, informational, free coaching e-course at http://www.baseballecourse.com
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