Getting a rec team to hit

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Dec 11, 2010
4,202
113
This sounds fair. I started doing this at the end of the last season. Going to do more of this hopefully it helps! I have a lot of parents pitching to the kids too, need to give more instruction there I guess.
Once they start getting better with swing/don’t swing, the next step is probably strike zone management, where you talk to them about a very small strike zone with no strikes, which expands with each strike.

I think our 10u coach said/demonstrated the zone with no strikes was two balls wide and three balls high and then added a ball to each dimension for every strike.

I love front toss and I love to throw it. I tried not to rag kids about swinging at bad balls but I did sometimes asked them to tell me if that was a strike or not like I wasn’t sure and would ask them to tell me where the ball was…. Especially with younger kids I always hoped to not get in the way of them attacking strikes…

Good luck, rec is where every player starts. It’s where every kid in the WCWS was at one time.
 
Jun 6, 2016
2,072
113
Chicago
I love front toss and I love to throw it. I tried not to rag kids about swinging at bad balls but I did sometimes asked them to tell me if that was a strike or not like I wasn’t sure and would ask them to tell me where the ball was…. Especially with younger kids I always hoped to not get in the way of them attacking strikes…

Getting them to say where a pitch was is great, and it won't take long before they react to taking a strike or swinging at a ball in a way that tells you they get it. I see it all the time where they'll swing at a pitch a little too far outside and they'll have that instant reaction. I love that. It shows they're recognizing and learning.
 
Jun 7, 2022
4
3
Once they start getting better with swing/don’t swing, the next step is probably strike zone management, where you talk to them about a very small strike zone with no strikes, which expands with each strike.

I think our 10u coach said/demonstrated the zone with no strikes was two balls wide and three balls high and then added a ball to each dimension for every strike.

I love front toss and I love to throw it. I tried not to rag kids about swinging at bad balls but I did sometimes asked them to tell me if that was a strike or not like I wasn’t sure and would ask them to tell me where the ball was.… Especially with younger kids I always hoped to not get in the way of them attacking strikes…

Good luck, rec is where every player starts. It’s where every kid in the WCWS was at one time.
Gradually they will form an understanding that you don't have to swing at a bad ball. It's great that they are already beginning to understand. And it's great that you pay attention to such subtleties! It's these subtleties that teach children!
 
Jun 23, 2022
5
1
OP, did you spend much time thinking about why they weren't hitting to see if there were consistent mechanical flaws? As in, do all the misses look long and loopy, and therefore you need to work on compact swings? Are they all swinging high or low consistently? Do they look tight in their stance? Are they standing in the right part of the box? (are they worried coaches/parents/teammates will be mad at them if they fail?)

Stuff like that could explain part of it, and with this particular team you may have to adjust the mechanics part of practice if the case.

And maybe you just have a group that will take longer to "get it". They are young kids after all. There is no "do exactly this exactly this many times and it will work". So as a coach, keep on the mechanics, keep it loose, keep it fun, keep cheering them on.
 
Apr 27, 2020
47
8
I've done a couple seasons of coaching 10u rec and I'll be doing more in the fall. A lot of our practices are batting practice in stations, so getting in a lot of reps, but what seems to be the biggest issue is hitting against a live pitcher.

We were doing cages once a week, a lot of tee work, and soft/front toss, the girls hit fine in those situations, they hit at least, but against a live pitcher it's so hard. No one seems to hit. So I figured I would have our pitchers do some live pitching every practice, but the parents are against it and the kids are too. The pitchers feel like they are missing out on the rest of practice. Parents are worried about injuries (not sure why pitching 50 extra pitches a week will lead to an injury? But ok).

I wish I could pitch well enough that it would be like a live pitching situation, but I just can't. I feel like the girls on my team get better at fielding, I have a decent handle on that, but unfortunately if they don't hit the ball we don't win games. I almost feel like I should try to find some older girl and pay her to come pitch at practices.

Is there anything that anyone has found that can help girls improve hitting off live pitching that you can do in a season? I would love to see some improvement there at the end of the season, and I'm just not really seeing it.
Teach them all to bunt first…good bunters generally turn into good contact hitters once they learn to overcome their fear of the ball and learn how to attack the ball. At 10 (especially at recreation level) it is also a good time to show some how to slap and drag bunt. Success builds more success and a desire to get better. Also check all their equipment bats/helmets and make sure they are the correct size.
 
Mar 9, 2018
3
3
These pitchers are throwing 45-50 miles an hour. Without an arm circle I'm throwing 32 max. Yes I've clocked myself. Am I really that weak? Can coaches throw 45 mph without an arm circle? In our league one coach does an arm circle and hurls them in. No other coaches I've seen throw very fast other than him.

30 mph is fine for sling shot front toss… just move closer to the batter. Stat I heard was 3mph increase in effective velo for every foot you move in front of the rubber. Invest in a pitching screen and get that sucker 10-15 feet from the plate. Instant 50-60 mph pitch. Accuracy improves too.


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Aug 1, 2019
404
63
I've seen kids take a next step by adding a little competition to the front toss cage work. After they've all had a bucket of balls to swing at, break them into teams (3 on 3 is good) and they get at-bats. Coach judges their hit by foul, out (weak grounder or pop up), or hit. Three outs per side, keep score, a point per hit. Adds a little pressure, adds a need to be selective, gets a good number of quality reps in. Just making contact is not good enough; results matter, just like in the game.
 
Jan 22, 2011
1,236
83
Pitchers shouldn't pitch batting practice; they should pitch like they will in a game. I like the idea of seeing if a 12u player can throw for you. In All-Stars we used to borrow a pitcher from the older team once or twice a summer to throw to our team. DD returned the favor when she was in 10u to the 8u All-Star team.
 
Apr 1, 2021
21
3
I'm confused though. That's like 100% what my team is missing out on. They swing on bad unhittable pitches. They watch good pitches. I can pitch to them all day, but they don't get better at what they need to do in the game because they feel like they can swing on every pitch. Even if I tell them not to and try to throw bad pitches it doesn't help. They need to see live pitching is all I can think of? I'm always so confused on why this is so discouraged by coaches.

My girls don't hit particularly well, but if they hit AT ALL we would win games. Tees, soft toss, machine pitch they do great and hit everything. Live pitching they strike out every time. Seems like they need to practice live pitching right? The skill they are missing is hitting off of live pitching. Most teams don't teach that for some reason. I think I need to, but not sure how to without my pitchers always hating me at practice. Still thinking I should hire some pitcher to come in and help.
I like to hold scrimmages with live pitching, but after 4 balls I come in and pitch the rest of the at-bat...keeps things moving and gets meaningful reps for pitcher, hitter, and catcher. We're 12u now, but started this in 10u when we were in last place mid-season. Pitchers improved vastly and we started hitting top to bottom. Wound up winning it all as the 6 seed heading into playoffs.

PS - I also started handing out candy for any ball put into play in games...didn't matter if they were put out or hit a homerun. That honestly might've been the bigger catalyst.
 

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