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How to Teach Young Children Baseball - Hitting

Updated on September 11, 2017
Coach_Pickles profile image

Foremost expert in early learning in sports, Founder at Jelly Bean Sports, Father of 4, Masters in Human Relations, Educational Doctorate.

Introduction

Often physical limitations 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 wood baseball bat. The majority 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 exists as 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 in a way that works so young children remember. In this hub, the goal is to keep sports simple and make learning fun. I set you up for coaching success as I share our hitting process and the fundamental movements to keep in mind when teaching a young child to hit.

Baseball Prep

Girl holds bat
Girl holds bat | Source

Movement needs to challenge early learners but not be beyond their physical and cognitive abilities.

— Frances Cleland-Physical Education Enrichment Expert

How to Hit a Baseball

How to Teach Children to Hit a Baseball without a Bat

Like the prewash of your laundry machine or dishwasher, early learners' sports development is preoperational. They do not think and act like the actual sports process we imagine for them. Instruction and coaching needs to be modified to accommodate accordingly.

— Dr Brad Kayden - Early Learning in Sports Development Expert
3-step hitting sequence
3-step hitting sequence | Source
Girl hits baseball
Girl hits baseball | Source

How to Teach Young Children to Hit a Baseball without a Bat - Hand and Cone

Boy's hands crossed up hitting
Boy's hands crossed up hitting
Boy's exaggerated hitting stance
Boy's exaggerated hitting stance
JoJo Jelly Bean fielding
JoJo Jelly Bean fielding

Hitting Kept Simple, Learning Made Fun

I invite you to try the Jelly Bean Way with your early learners. It offers a fun 3-step teaching approach that even includes a fun video that you can share with them. It can be a difference maker that will help you children seed the learning. Further the instruction is designed to work on manipulative, stability, and locomotor movement skills discussed in the introduction.

If you like this Hubpage, I invite you to check out my others and to follow me to receive all the latest updates, coaching information and instructional resource on early learning in sports.

Thanks for the visit, enjoy the content! ~Brad a.k.a Coach Pickles :)

Lesson Overview

Teaching Time: 4 Minutes

Equipment: Plastic Bat

Level of Instructional Difficulty: Easy

Steps: 3

Ages Appropriate for: 3 years +

Keywords: hitting, baseball, batting, high-to-the-sky, chicken wing

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

Source
Source

Instruction

Step 1

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

Next ask, "Where are the clouds, (pointing up) ...high in the sky or (pointing down) ...low in the snow?" Children will tell you they are "High to the sky."

Step 2

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

Next ask, "Where is the top of the bat?" Let 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.

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

Step 3

Finally ask, "Where do we hold a baseball bat?" Again, let the child locate it. They will often point and not know what the handle is called. This is called the handle, can you say, handle? It is the handle of the baseball bat.

With safety in mind, distribute the baseball bats. Ask them to hold the bat high to the sky. Testing their bat control and mobility practice putting the bat down (e.g. on their shoulder) and then high-to-the-sky. Repeat this up and down motion 5x's prior to hitting from the tee.

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. (Again showing how it is done)

(Be excited) Ask, "Do you know what animal you just created?" (don't rush this, let them anticipate the answer) A CATERPILLAR!

Step 2

Help your child align all his 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, use your index finger but very much count with your eyes because they cannot see your finger. Start at the top knuckle and begin.

Count the knuckles,"1-2-3-4" and then on the other hand "5-6-7-8". Celebrate with them saying, "You did it, you've created a caterpillar."

Seed the learning by having early learners count Mom or Dad's fists - caterpillar segments. Children absolutely love doing this. Even if they don't count the caterpillar's segments correctly, the idea is that they are building understanding the understanding that their fists need to stay together.

Step 3

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

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

Then give the next instruction, saying "Fix it!"

Spend some time having fun breaking and fixing your caterpillars. Again this seeds the learning nicely so later when they needed, they can respond in kind automatically adjusting their grip when asked to "fix" their caterpillar.

Step 4

Finally, ask them the obvious question. So, what animal do we make when we hold a baseball bat? The answer, Caterpillars! Show me with your hands.

If you follow these three easy steps with your early learner, he will quickly and easily begin to understand the value of keeping his 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...have patience

© 2008 Dr Brad Kayden

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    • rookssj profile image

      rookssj 8 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.