In need of help!!!

Discussion in 'Softball Pitching Discussions' started by Seahawks02, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    Would it be possible to find a pitcher or two to pitch to my daughter? We live in southwest Ohio but are willing to travel. This would be a paid session. Just the same as a hitting lesson. My daughter seems to only struggle hitting the ball during live pitching. She hits great off a machine and during lessons. She is 15. Thanks for any responses.
  2. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    This could be at the field of your choice. I will also have a catcher. Good opportunity for both my daughter and the pitcher to work on their craft. She plays for the Southwest Outlaws as a SS. Thanks again.
  3. Xrayaries

    Xrayaries Active Member

    This is why machines are horrible ugh!!! Timing I imagine she is flat footed when a pitcher throws and getting full extension from the machine.

    Tee work and dump the stupid machine. It's screwing up her timing.
    Seahawks02 likes this.
  4. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    Thanks for the tips. Her frustration level has risen so high. She knows she can hit but it’s not happening.
  5. Pitchermom

    Pitchermom New Member

    Wish we were closer as my daughter would do it for sure. Unfortunately we’re up near Cleveland.
    Seahawks02 likes this.
  6. Stefwee1

    Stefwee1 New Member

    Where do you live?
  7. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    Near Dayton.
  8. Stedman00

    Stedman00 Active Member

    during hitting lessons, are they throwing here front toss from behind a safety net?
  9. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

  10. Stedman00

    Stedman00 Active Member

    okay. Here's my advice if she's struggling versus live pitching. in my experience the very good hitting instructors rarely if ever use pitching machines.

    #1 . make sure it's not her seeing the ball , AKA corrective lenses.
    #2. throwing front toss - make sure to vary tossed balls speed, location, etc. And ensure that she is using correctly taught form for inside, outside, etc.
    #3 mega reps on tee work. last thing she needs to be doing is trying to ingrain swing mechanics, dissect what pitch is coming, etc. at the plate. Fewer thoughts going thru head up there, the better.
    #4 live pitching is not batting practice. pitching live should be a battle. pitcher versus hitter. last thing you want for a pitcher is to just groove FB right over the plate pitch after pitch. Nor is that what you want for your batter.

    Good luck.
    Pitchermom, daboss and Chardon Storm like this.
  11. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    Thanks so much for the information and time. We will begin this tonight.
  12. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    just a couple tips to look for or work on- (and yes i hate pitching machines!!!!! only for learning how to bunt properly and work on bunt direction bat angles stuff like that.)

    1) 2 eyes
    2) chin chin or Mike and Ike. mike = front shoulder Ike = back shoulder

    b4 pitch have to have two eyes forward (use front chin on front shoulder to make sure her nose isnt in the way of her back eye = no depth perception) you can test this by asking her get in your normal stance look at pitcher b4 she pitches and stop. now close your front eye....... are you looking at your nose or can you see the pitcher?) if she sees her nose her head is not forward enough and focus on MIKE - chin on front shoulder prior to pitch.
    now after tracking ball to contact finish with chin on back shoulder " IKE " helps keeping eyes on ball until after contact, staying closed and helps get to proper extension. We teach this simple technique at an early age so it becomes consistent and habit. then if we see it in a game you simply yell Mike an Ike!! they will get it. I love those candies too! :) good luck
    daboss likes this.
  13. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    Thanks so much. This is a new term and a great technique.
  14. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    DanMaz is right, the technique is sound. Getting your daughter to understand and execute-----------jury is still probably out on that one! I'm not trying to be mean but habits are just that, habits. It's hard to change. You're going to get a lot of ideas from coaches using different terminology and odds are 1 will get thru and she'll get it. She may still get it but can't execute it yet. There's a couple things to remember; She knows she has a problem. That's over half the battle. You're trying to help her. Nobody is in denial here.

    First; Be sure to follow StedmanOO's advice and have her vision checked. Eliminate the obvious first.

    DanMaz shared some key words in the shared instruction that your daughter needs to really focus on. Her head location and positioning. He spoke of her nose, her eyes, her shoulders, and the relationship of all during set up and completion of the swing. The other word of interest is "tracking" the ball. In my honest opinion, what you described as your daughter's problem I believe this issue is probably her problem.

    She is unconsciously staying on the body form (meaning the pitcher) throughout the pitch or at minimum too long after pitcher's release. This leaves her late to track the ball into the hitting zone. Here's where many can debate my theory on the problems with pitching machines and tee's compared to live pitching. Pitching machines can unconsciously give you sense of security because most of the time the path of the pitch (and speed) is so predictable. She doesn't need to be spot on tracking the ball and can be late to track because she already knows in theory where it's going to be when her eyes finally catch up to it. Locking into the flight of the ball sooner gives her brain more time to decide on the pitch and actually react to swing. A lot for a brain to process in less than .5-second.

    Hitting tees can also give the same sense of security for like reasons. There is no perfect way to "fix" the problem but a combination of everything can provide her with the repetitions with a structured practice format to retrain the brain to track the ball from release to the zone.

    Let's test my theory. Get you a bag full of those plastic golf balls in 2 different colors. Stand in front of her about 10-12ft with p;roper safety practices and fastpitch underhand to her. Once in a while, fake her out and don't throw the ball. If she is complacent in your practice drill she'll start to swing prematurely even tho you never let go of the ball. An initial reaction can be expected but if she's throwing the bat deep into her swing or taking a full swing, you have proved my point. Fix this first. Next, tell her to only swing at the orange balls. Hide the bag from her, randomly reach in and throw her a ball. Be sure to let the other colors go by and watch them fly past her. This will help many things including the tracking of the ball. Next, call out a color to hit and mix it up. Don't look yourself. That way there's nothing premeditated. lol. Next my favorite is the bean toss. Get a bag of beans, I like kidney beans but lima beans work good. Underhand toss beans at them from 10--12ft. If they can hit a bean, they can hit a softball. Beans are biodegradable and feeds the birds during the week. Encourage the hitter to not only swing but swing and hit it hard. Whether it be beans or plastic ball, swing to hit all of them you're supposed to regardless of the location. Be sure you wear safety glasses cause she will learn to do this. Fun game, fun practice, great training drills.

    A couple or more things come from the drills. Now it's time to be a coach. Observe how she swings in the beginning and watch her adjust her swing to her advantage. She'll shorten her swing. She'll quicken her swing. She'll adapt to the situation. All from the repetitions. A luxury she does not have when in a game situation. Why???? Habit.

    Many girls have the prettiest swing while hitting off a tee. Textbook, beautiful flow. Really look and analyze the swing there and compare it to how she adapts to the unpredictable circumstances in the drills. She needs to adapt in the batter's box and utilize the skills she uses in the drills.

    Now, here's how this normally goes in the transformation. She won't be swinging as hard and not hitting the ball as hard. What will happen is she'll start getting good clean contact. She may foul them off while she adjusts her timing but they'll start coming off the bat cleaner. Encourage her to expand her strike zone.She needs to start "thinking out of the box" a little and adapt to a flight of the balls being somewhere else than belt high over the middle of the plate. Don't let a bad plate experience be discouraging. Have her analyze what happened so she can mentally start making adjustments. It's not a wrong at bat if she learns from it. Remember; if you are right 3-4 times out of 10 in this game you could be in the Hall of Fame someday. 30-40% makes you a hero. What is really key is contact quality. If you're outs are still hard hit balls you really didn't miss. You simply lost that battle. After she gets some confidence she'll pick up and swing with more power. It's a progression that takes time as well as repetitions.

    Honestly, none of us can truly help without seeing her actually hitting. You can't really tell anything from a video unless it is something blatantly wrong in her form. Everyone above shared valid points of interest. Some of what I shared is just another approach to help you solve a problem that plagues hitters all over the world. Good luck----------be patient..........
    DanMaz likes this.
  15. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    The point you made about the focus on the ball at release is the big hitter. She has trouble changing focus from the pitcher to the ball. She has described it on several occasions. Or when she does pick the ball up it’s late in the release and her timing seems off. We had bought some colored beads and threw them to her and had her call out the colors. Meditation? Maybe?
  16. daboss

    daboss Well-Known Member

    Okay, we identified the problem. We're on the same page. Sounds like you've made efforts to use versions of some of the drills that I shared (colored beads). Go the extra mile and try the drills I mentioned with her actually swinging a bat and hitting the plastic golf balls and the beans. While her calling out colors will help, incorporating the actual swing will quicken the reaction time. This needs to be honed as well.

    Now, let's expand our training since we're all understanding the problem. Your suggestion of meditation is not that far off from what I am going to share. I suggest you analyze her routine while in the box. We may need to "tweak" things to come up with a trigger to get her eyes focusing on the release area. My favorite, that others will dispute, calls for a more relaxed appearance and approach to the at bat until she actually needs to work her swing. Take the stance into the batter's box with bat on shoulder. Get set up and ready. Put the bat back onto the shoulder, stand up straight, and breathe. Slow controlled deep breaths while waiting on the pitcher to start play. Air in---------blow out the mouth slowly. Look at it as if she is a sniper. We taught shooters to slowly blow the bullet into the target. It helps steady yourself---------one shot------------your mind needs to be thinking of the target (ball) and hitting the middle of the target. Blow into the middle of the target..............

    Now, when the pitcher finally brings her hands together in her wind-up, her body needs to transition to a ready stance, bat off shoulder, head to target with nose pointing like a pointer at the pitcher's hip. The pitcher is the gunslinger. She's going to shoot a ball your way. Her quick-draw is going to be the delivery out of her holster. That holster is on her hip. Her life depends on seeing her draw. Don't worry about anything else the pitcher does. That's all a distraction no different than the old playground game "Look over here" and while you're looking at one hand they slap you with another. lol. Watch that hip as she releases the target at you.

    Track the ball with your pointer-----your nose. As that target gets closer to you, your head will turn slightly with it as you keep your nose on the target. If she's doing this, her head will turn with the ball as it goes by if she chooses to let that target go.

    Let me explain my reasoning for method of tracking. The best your eyes can do their job is if you are looking straight at your target. Test anyone's peripheral vision side to side and up and down. While they can still see the object as it goes out of the middle of their line of sight, they cannot see it as clearly. Hitters with their heads "fixed" lose the object as it goes into their peripheral area in the lower quadrant of their vision. Why do girls swing at high pitches? Because it is in their eyes in clear sight. They see it. Looks like a beach ball. Anyone can hit a beach ball right? The problem is the shoulders and arms can't get there but boy the eyes are telling the brain "Let's kill this thing!"

    If your target (ball) is being tracked with the pointer (nose) you will see a slight adjustment in the batter's head during the flight path of her target. As she mentally commits to hit (shoot) her target it will be while the ball (target) is in the impact zone at or in front of her front foot (toe) or some times referred to as the hitter's lead-out foot. Don't rely (bet your life) on tracking the ball and defending yourself with your target being in your peripheral vision. Look at it straight on. Remember; that pitcher is going to shoot you by releasing at the holster. Watch her hip and see her let go of the ball.

    It's a process. Tweak the routine in the batter's box. Thru repetitions she can train her head and eyes to narrow her field of sight to focus on the most important area of interest. The reference to a gunslinger is merely a way to get them to relate to the real message here.

    We want to transition from a batter to a hitter. I hope this helps.
  17. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    Wow. Very valuable conversation. I will let her read this tonight and see if this makes sense to her. Thank you so much for the thoughts.
    daboss likes this.
  18. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    It would be great if you lived somewhere close to us!!! I would love to get her in front of you. Just saying
    daboss likes this.
  19. DanMaz

    DanMaz Super Moderator Staff Member

    ahhh i love to let you know my little secret teaching technique for this.
    soft focus - hard focus
    Ever see the flashlight that you can adjust the beam from a large area then adjust it to a very small area? this works great as a visual to help the player understand what your talking about.

    soft focus b4 pitch and wind up (look at the bigger area of the pitcher)
    hard focus once windup starts (look at hip find ball asap)

    use a flashlight against the wall in the biggest widest beam SOFT FOCUS this is your eyes looking at pitcher prior to pitch. looking at a big area nice an easy, relaxed.
    now make the smallest beam point it at the wall.. HARD FOCUS this is your laser focus on pitchers hip and ball release to find that ball as soon as possible.
    so... resting bat on shoulder @ soft focus b4 pitcher pitches... once she starts her wind up - bat off shoulder go to hard focus on the hip area find the ball! i had a lot of success because they see what i am trying to tell them instead of trying to imagine it in their brain. :)
  20. Seahawks02

    Seahawks02 New Member

    This term soft focus and hard focus has been something we’ve used.

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