Tuesday Tips to Tattoo the Ball – When Swinging for the Fences is OK
Having youth play home run derby is frowned upon because of the bad habits it promotes. To hit home runs, hitters have to lift balls, swing as hard as they can and usually pull every pitch. For those reasons, home run derby is a negative, as it often leads to over swinging, bad timing, dropping hands and dropping back shoulder to lift balls. All of those are habits that hinder most kids’ batting averages, as few players actually have real home run power.
However, some instances and batters benefit from a game of home run derby. Following are those times, and batters, when a game of home run derby may be good for youth.
When baseball players are:
- Uptight or very tentative when hitting – this swinging for the fences game is fun and may loosen everyone up
- Not staying back – to hit the ball far, players will have to stay back and use their backside better, which usually eliminates lunging at ball and gives them more power
- Not finishing their swings – will help them follow through before thinking of running
- Hitting all ground balls – they will have to lift balls for home run derby, so this may help them learn to hit ball in air
- Never pulling the ball – this may help them learn to “turn on balls”
- Swinging at everything – players have to be more selective to get the right pitches to drive, so it can help prevent players from being overly aggressive
* Coaches should arrange different distances, depending on the size of players, by moving closer or further from the outfield fence.
* Coaches should also realize there is danger in playing this swing for the fences game often, because the possible mechanical and timing changes it may cause.