Painless Baseball Practice – Using a Softer Ball to Build Confidence and Correct Technique
I would rather have confident baseball players that play with no fear as opposed to having macho players, because that is what coaches think they should be tough.
I always chuckle to myself when I see dads shake their heads when I use a softer ball when teaching baseball. Many of them get upset and feel like I am treating their kid like a wimp and say, “I’ve been using a hard ball with him since he was 5.” I want to reply, “So, that is why he steps out when hitting and catches every ball thrown to him off to the side, when playing catch.” I hold my tongue and explain the importance of using a softer ball with young players and especially with players, who are fearful of being hit by the ball or have poor mechanics already. It only takes one bad blow by the ball to ruin a kid’s baseball playing days because the fear is too much to overcome. Of course, that is not true for every player, but until players have the correct technique of hitting catching and fielding and get over any fear, why take that career ending risk when coaches can do everything the same with a softer ball.
Practice with a softer ball allows coaches to challenge players with more speed and more repetition, without fear of pain and injury. Developing confidence and correct technique is of utmost importance and I have found it is easier with this method, at first.