My son is preparing for the upcoming little league baseball season. We have done several lessons with a professional coach, we invested in a modest pitching machine, and I have even invested in a real glove of my own to play catch with him. We went out to our backyard this evening and tried to practice hitting. It took a few tries to get the pitching machine dialed in but once I did, it was throwing great pitches with only a little variation to the inside or outside. The teacher we had him taking lessons with had a little mantra for his hitting stance. “Elbow, Head, Back foot rotation”
Elbow – both front and back elbow need to be bent, no straight arming which is a huge problem for my son. SO when we say Elbow, it means check your elbows, they should be slightly bent and positioned high on your chest but lower than your shoulders.
Head – head down and eyes forward watching for the ball. Follow the ball in and swing through it. My son has a problem with looking too high, like he is watching the pitcher’s head instead of where the ball will come from.
Back foot rotation – is simply what it sounds like. You pivot your back foot which adds torque to your swing to give you more power.
My son is suddenly deathly afraid that the ball will hit him, which is going to happen eventually. Probably more than once. He threw an epic temper tantrum while we were trying to work with him tonight and the ball never came close to him. My wife luckily even video taped a few of the pitches to prove it to him. He has potential because he has connected a few times and hit it better than some of the older kids on his team. I just struggle, being a non athlete, with how to motivate him because I have no first hand experience of playing sports on a team or in a league. The closest I came to sports was bowling on a league, and I was on the team because of my handicap mainly. That is how I was an asset to the team.
I have this huge surge of pride when I see him succeeding at this because I know I am no athlete. I wish I was better at sports so that I could help him. All the training and tricks in the world are not helping me since I lack natural talent. After hitting practice we tried fielding ground balls. Some of his throws were great and I just simply missed them. I told him he can go to school and tell all his friends. He played catch with his dad and caught more balls than his dad did. His response was great, in his best 10 year old temper tantrum voice he says to me, “Yeah, but they were all grounders.” It was all I could do not to laugh at his response. I told him, “So, they don’t have to know that.” It lightened the mood a little and we had a good 15 minutes where I actually got him back to giggling.
Maybe I am not such a failure at this fatherhood thing after all.