How to Coach Baseball Hitting – Not Always a Simple Answer
There is no simple way when it comes to how to coach baseball hitting. To make that point here is an illustration of what I mean, when it comes to how to coach baseball hitting with young ball players.
When working with a team of young ballplayers recently, to player A I said, “Never let go of the bat with your top hand,” and to player B I said, “I want you to let go with your top hand after contact, at least for a while.” The results of those baseball hitting tips were fabulous, as both players began to sting the ball pretty good. I was proud, even though some of the nearby coaches thought I was crazy, or at least confusing.
I often get the “Is letting go with the top hand after contact a good thing or not?” question. My answer is somewhat confusing, but accurate, in my mind. On every swing, players should be able to hang on to the bat all the way around, but that does not mean they have to. Many great hitters let go of the top hand on the follow through and that works for them, but they could hang on if asked to.
Most youth, who let go with their top hand, let go because of incorrect hitting mechanics, so it is generally ill advised for young players to let go. However, if asked to hang on instead, and they easily can, I allow them to continue with those hitting mechanics of letting go.
Getting back to the earlier scenarios of having one player let go and the next never letting go, following are some solid how-to-coach- baseball hitting tips for when each is appropriate.
How to Coach Baseball Hitting – When players should let go
For players who hang on but:
- Cannot keep their head and front shoulder from pulling them away on the swing
- Get no lead arm extension through the ball
- Try to muscle up with the swing with too much tension in the arms and shoulders
Of course, I often use the letting go method as a drill until those symptoms go away, and then have them return to hanging on with both hands.
How to Coach Baseball Hitting – When players should not let go
For players who let go but:
- Have incomplete hip rotations – most common reason for let go
- Cannot stay on top of ball, resulting in many lazy fly balls
- Have little power – this usually goes back to reason number one above, with a lack of hip rotation, and two hands are usually stronger than one
In conclusion, good hitting coaches make sure players can hang on with two hands to a complete finish of the swing, and then fit the hitting technique to the player with the method that works best.