I sometimes wonder if kids of today have an advantage when it comes to learning to hit a baseball. Judging from below, I would say yes, if kids do this one thing that we did for learning to hit a baseball.
Advantages of Learning to Hit a Baseball when I Grew Up
I believe my generation had one advantage, when it came to learning to hit a baseball. Aluminum bats of today are so light and balanced; players cannot feel the bat barrel before and during the swing. The wood bat, the only kind available when I grew up, had much more weight and density to it, so players had a better sense of feel for the bat barrel before and during the swing, which is crucial knowledge for bat control and swing analysis. Additionally, bat handles of bats in my day, were much thicker, which was not conducive for bat speed, but the thickness put a higher priority on hand and forearm strength development.
As for youth players of today, they seem to have more advantages than we did because of:
- The availability of written and video information on hitting mechanics
- More coaches who know correct hitting mechanics, along with the drills, terminology, and hitting tools to teach hitting fundamentals
- The availability of video analysis, and even “instant” video analysis
- Indoor training facilities that often leads to a higher priority on hitting, as opposed to other parts of the game
Key Tip for Kids of Today Learning to Hit a Baseball
Because of the aforementioned advantages of wood bat use from my day, young players of today can gain that advantage by practicing with wood bats, even at a young age, and as a supplement to their regular aluminum bat. Wood bat use offers the advantage of a better feel of the bat barrel, knowledge of the sweet spot on the bat and the confidence boost, when returning to the aluminum bat. The one downside is the cost of bats today, especially because wood bats break.
Of course, my generation had less sporting alternatives to choose from, a big advantage, which lead to constant neighborhood baseball play, our form of the modern indoor training facilities, in a sense.