Quick disclaimer: The following information is included on this site to help parents support their kids. However, it has not been officially approved by Little League. Little League also provides some helpful information, please see: www.littleleague.org
IT STARTS WITH YOU!!!! At MBLL, all of our managers and coaches attend training. However, please remember that each team can have 12-14 players, and practice time is limited ... so, they are NOT your child's personal trainer. It's up to each parent to work with their child to develop the necessary skills. A trip to the field or park once or twice per week is an ENORMOUS help!
Baseball Fundamentals: By following good fundamentals, the odds of being successful can noticeably improve – whether it’s hitting, fielding, pitching, etc. There are almost too many ‘mechanical’ details for kids to remember – so when teaching the kids, keep instructions simple for them – then introduce more each year as they grow older or master the concepts. There are literally thousands of resources out there, some good, some bad. Here are a few that you may want to check out / consider:
Private Lessons: There are now many private instructors out there for all aspects of the game – batting, fielding, pitching, etc. As a matter of policy, we don’t endorse or recommend anyone. We do know that businesses such as JP Longball offer private lessons. Note: we recommend parents either a lesson too...it will help you communicate with your player.
Batting Cages: Batting cages provide kids with an excellent opportunity to work on fundamentals – the thought being that they can build good fundamentals through repetition. The closest cages that I’m aware of are JP Longball (Linda Vista) and Boomers (Clairemont Mesa).
Books: The best book I’ve ever run across is Tony Gwynn’s, ‘The Art of Hitting.’ It gives instruction on the stance, grip, mental approach, etc., etc. You can find a previously owned one on Amazon.com for about $15 (well worth the investment, and you can easily get Tony to sign it if you attend an SDSU baseball game – he signs autographs after every home game).
Video: Check out the pre-screened videos in our video training area. There's A LOT of good and bad videos out there ... make sure you take good advice!
Batting Tee: This device is recommended by both Tony Gwynn, Alex Rodriguez, and other major leaguers. It’s simple to use, and cost effective – especially when used with wiffle balls. IMPORTANT: the tee is NOT home plate. If the batter is working on the basics, make sure that the child lines up such that their front hip his aligned just behind the pole (vs. their belly button being aligned with the pole) so they hit the ball "in front of them" (in front of them means just upstream towards the pitcher). Exceptions: the tee can be moved around to work on hitting inside and outside pitches.
Hit-away: This is a device that velcros to a pole. When the batter hits the ball, the ball wraps around the pole, then the ball flies back at them to cause the process to repeat (similar to the old tether ball concept). Opinion on tool is mixed. PRO: This is an excellent tool because if the ball is struck incorrectly, it will be immediately noticeable because it won’t wind up correctly. CON: often the device coils up and unwids so fast that the batter does not have time to get into a proper stance before having to swing again ... potentially causing really terrible form issues. IMPORTANT: if you are going to use this device, make sure that the child lines up such that their front hip his aligned just behind the pole (vs. their belly button being aligned with the pole) so they hit the ball "in front of them" (in front of them means just upstream towards the pitcher), and make sure the batter swings to hit the ball ‘up the middle’ (vs. swinging to hit it back in the direction that the ball came from).