How to Teach Young Children to Properly Hold a Baseball Bat

Updated on May 25, 2019
Coach_Pickles profile image

Foremost expert in early learning sports development, Founder at Chicago-based Coach Pickles' Jelly Bean Sports.

Girl holds bat
Girl holds bat | Source

Physical limitations can often prevent early learners from being able to exercise proper bat control. Many young children will struggle with the weight of a little league-sized aluminum or wooden baseball bat. The majority of children lack the strength to hold it for extended periods of time.

When a child makes their first observable and purposeful attempts to swing the bat, it can look like a crude and uncoordinated movement. Basically, the rhythmical coordination we are used to seeing when adults swing the bat is missing. Their execution appears exaggerated and with parts of the skill often missing.

It seems so simple, but it is an example of what is important when teaching young children to hit a baseball. Without help, it can be tricky to fix the issue in a way that works so young children remember. In this article, the goal is to keep sports simple and make learning fun. I'll set you up for coaching success as I share our learning process on how to get a proper grip on a baseball bat.

Girl hits baseball
Girl hits baseball | Source

Lesson Overview

Teaching Time: Four minutes.

Equipment: Plastic bat.

Level of Instructional Difficulty: Easy.

Steps: Three.

Ages Appropriate for: Three years and older.

Keywords: Hitting, baseball, batting, and high-to-the-sky.

Boy's hands crossed up hitting
Boy's hands crossed up hitting
Boy's exaggerated hitting stance
Boy's exaggerated hitting stance

Learning Objectives

Parent/coach will:

  1. Better understand how young children think about sports.
  2. Better understand how to modify teachings to fit the ways young children think about sports.
  3. Keep sports simple.
  4. Make learning fun.

Teach Young Children How to Hold a Baseball Bat Coaching Video

Instruction

Step 1

Ask, "Where does the rain come from?" The children will tell you, "Clouds."

You should then ask, "Where are the clouds (pointing up), high in the sky or (pointing down) low in the snow?" The children will tell you they are high in the sky.

Step 2

Ask, "What do we use to hit a baseball?" The children will tell you, "A baseball bat."

You should then ask, "Where is the top of the bat?" Let the children locate it. You can cognitively challenge them by pointing and saying, "Is it here (bottom of bat)?" Let children locate it and communicate where it is to you. Give them a voice.

Have patience—the more you allow children to do the work, the more invested they will be in the learning process and in your coaching.

Step 3

Finally, you should ask, "Where do we hold a baseball bat?" Again, let the children locate it. They will often point and not know what the handle is called. Be sure to let them know it's called a handle when they point at it.

With safety in mind, distribute the baseball bats. Ask them to hold the bat high to the sky. Test their bat control and mobility by having them place the bat on their shoulder and then high-to-the-sky. Repeat this up and down motion five times prior to hitting from the tee.

Source
Source

Advanced Instruction: Proper Grip of the Bat

Step 1

Ask the kids, "Show me a fist" (extend yours out). Make another fist (again showing them). Then say, "Stack one fist on top of the other." You should also show how this is done.

You should excitedly ask them, "Do you know what animal you just created?" Have a dramatic pause to build anticipation before telling them they made a caterpillar.

Step 2

Help your child align all their knuckles. As you see their stacked fists, there will be four knuckles on one fist and four knuckles on the other. Getting down on their level, count off all eight of their knuckles. Celebrate with them by saying, "You did it, you've created a caterpillar."

You can ingrain this lesson by having early learners count mom or dad's fists. Children absolutely love doing this. Even if they don't count the caterpillar's segments correctly, the idea is that they are building the understanding that their fists need to stay together.

Step 3

Put your fists together and show the children. Tell them, "When our fists are together, the caterpillar is fixed."

The goal is to show children how to separate their fists, or essentially "break" the caterpillar. This is done by your example and with you actually saying, "Break it!" As you separate your fists, it is best to overemphasize the movement by putting one fist below your belly button and the other over your head.

You should then give the next instruction by saying, "Fix it!"

Spend some time having fun breaking and fixing your caterpillars. This will ingrain the lesson nicely so that they can later respond automatically to adjusting their grip when asked to fix their caterpillar.

Step 4

You should finally ask the kids the obvious question. "So, what animal do we make when we hold a baseball bat?" When they answer caterpillars, have them show you their hands.

If you follow these three easy steps with your early learners, they will quickly and easily begin to understand the value of keeping their fists together and learning how to effectively grip a baseball bat.

Instructional Reminders

  • Have patience.
  • Be hands-off in your coaching.
  • Teach to all children, not just the best learners.
  • Be kind, avoid frustration, and have patience.

© 2008 Dr Brad Kayden

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • rookssj profile image

      rookssj 

      10 years ago from Roswell, GA

      Great how to article and I (as a coach) agree that when they have fun and they learn something small it should be classified as a win.

      Good job well written.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)