MY SON IS STRUGGLING AT THE PLATE.

by Greg
(California)

My son has always been a top hitter in little league and travel. It seems all of a sudden, in the last 2 years he lost his stroke. He is getting more and more frustrated. He will be a freshman this year and he is now playing on the “B” team. It is very hard for my wife and I to see him so down and seems particularly more difficult since he went from a top player to this. He is still a good pitcher and a good fielder. We have tried a hitting coach and will try another if he wants to continue. I started taping some of his bats. maybe that will help a hitting coach see any problems.

Any advice?

COACH HENZE’S ANSWER

Thanks for the question Greg. I am sure you and your wife are concerned…

Well, there could be all kinds of things that are taking place here. The first thing that pops into my mind is that he is playing mind games with himself… In baseball, it is very easy to lose a lot of confidence fast and the best hitters learn to put their last at-bat in the past and move on. When you lose confidence at the plate, you begin to think at the plate which is never a good idea. You begin to think about where your hands are, what pitch is the pitcher going to throw, how hard will it be, should I stride early, etc… Basically, when a hitter as at the plate, he should only be thinking “see the ball, hit the ball.” Nothing else!
The other thing that pops into my head is that he is running into better competition. Kids develop at different rates and he may have been naturally better than these kids while in elementary and middle school. Now, these other kids are catching up to him in strength and ability. That means he will have to work harder to be good.

If he wants to get better, get someone to work with him individually. Maybe even his high school coach would be willing to do it. I know our staff always was… If you feel you have a very good hitting instructor that charges money and you are comfortable with him, then that is fine also.

As far as videos of his at bats, they definitely help diagnose some swing issues. However, some instructors may, in my opinion, get too technical and confuse your son more…

Basically, keep encouraging him and getting the assistance that you guys agree he needs. Your son needs to be on board though. Don’t force him.

Lastly, be sure to get a coach/instructor that keeps things simple… Don’t let them get too technical. He is only a 9th grader and that may stress him out more.

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