The Premier Baseball Social Network for Players, Coaches, Scouts, and Umpires
Where do you teach players to stand in the batters box when hitting?
At the highest levels you see everyone as far back in the box as possible, but is this the case for the youth level?
I hear "move up in the box for slower pitching" and "move back in the box for faster pitching." Is this the right approach?
I had an old-timer who played pro ball in the 60's advocate that standing in the front of the box at all times to "get the ball earlier" was always the way to go.
I guess I'm just confused. Any advice?
At an early age until 13 I put hitters with toes on the chalk and have 3 positions for them. First position is back foot middle of the plate vs a slow pitcher, second position is front foot middle of plate for a decent pitcher, and all the way back in the box with back foot on chalk where it intersects the other line against a heater. I like crowding the plate because youth baseball umps give a few inches outside and most kids are afraid to come in on a batter. If they do we follow the Domingo Ayala philosophy; "Fastball inside, I hit a bomb".
See Twinjas Baseball on Facebook for a video example of this and how it leads to a bomb when the swing is dead on.
I understand Kelly's reasoning behind this, but todays kids at 11, 12 years old are throwing change-ups, curves and other off speed pitches and throwing with more velocity. Considering the strike zone starts at the front edge of the plate, I teach my hitters how to set up with their front foot at the front edge of the plate after they stride. If they don't stride, then that's where they have their foot the whole time. I don't advocate the up in the box, back in the box, middle of the box, because as they get older that sticks with them and with some coaches. The problem is when they face a pitcher that throws a 75mph fastball, then again, then follows with a 65 mph changeup or breaking ball, what then? Where do you move int he box? I realize Kellly quantified his theory with ages, but to me, this just confuses kids. When does a player stand in the front of the box, if ever? When he is given the sign to sacrifice bunt and only then. If you do that every time you bunt, a smart catcher/defense will react to that position and know you are bunting. Lastly, by moving in the box you change the umpire's perception of your strike zone. What was a ball may now become a strike. Why help out the pitcher that way?
Hope this helps and best of luck to you
Todd Zeile (a friend) also suggested not moving them around. Problem is, most kids don't have the discipline to stay put until they get older and are too antsy and impatient so they fail and lunge and get frustrated. I'm most concerned with getting them to succeed early and make contact. Staying back at 11 years old against a pus thrower is difficult. When they go to 60-90, it no longer becomes an issue. Watch the LLWS now and see the smart teams crowding the plate. Moving around in the box is necessary from time to time. Moving back in the box to be able to go oppo better against a curve is common. Two schools of thought I guess and I see the merit in Richard's point. My kids no longer need to address the velocity issue with foot placement in the box because they just started 60-90. Hasn't seemed like any kind of an issue at all.