by Dave Tsichlis
(Gilbertsville, PA, U.S.A)
My cousin is in 6th grade and he loves baseball. He plays on his school team and he is doing really well. The only concern I have is that he loves high pitches. He swings at many of them and crushes them. He has the most extra-base hits on his team. Should I tell him to keep swinging and crushing them, or should I tell him to lay off them.
COACH HENZE’S ANSWER
Thanks for the question Dave!
Most of my answers will all boil down to using common sense and this answer is no different…
Due to his success, I am guessing that your cousin is enjoying his baseball season. If he is successful hitting the high pitch right now, just let him continue to hit it. That is his strength.
When a coach or, in your case, a cousin begins to change his swing or pitch selection while he is having success, there will be some resistance. If I was him, I would be upset if a coach told me to quit doing what I was having success with right now. Basically, don’t mess with a kid that is having fun AND doing well.
With those things said… You CAN also explain to him that, in the future, pitchers will become much better and throw harder. As pitchers do get better, it will make a pitch that is high and out of the strike zone nearly impossible to hit hard on a regular basis. You could recommend that he work on his weaknesses during practice.
Every good baseball player will identify what his weaknesses are and work on them to improve. If they don’t work on those weaknesses, their opponents will find them and exploit them during competition. That is how the game works.
In summary, simply let him ride his success out for now, but be sure to encourage him to learn about his weaknesses and work on improving them. Maybe he will always have a knack at hitting a high pitch, but if he works on his weaknesses, he will be that much BETTER in the future!