Baseball Reflections

Helping Ballplayers Eliminate Fear of Being Hit by the Ball

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Let’s face it, when you get hit by a pitched ball, it hurts. When a ball hits young ballplayers, it can lead to such fear of being hit that it actually ends their desire to continue playing. Sometimes, nothing will work, but with time and patience, this fear can disappear. One thing that I have noticed over the years of teaching the game is that repetition, practice and knowledge of the fundamentals can go a long way towards eliminating the fear. Of course, getting players to practice is the key, of course.

Things to Do to Eliminate Fear of the Ball

  1. Have the hitter get the mindset of expecting every pitched ball to be over the middle of the plate. Before pitching the ball ask the hitter where he expects the ball and make sure he says over the middle. Then throw it and see how he reacts. If it comes at him, teach him how to get out of the way.
  2. Use a good batting machine because it will pitch consistent strikes, where hitter can hit without fear of the ball coming at him. Try to have them keep the same aggressiveness and thoughts when they are in a game as when they are in the batting cage.
  3. Use softer balls when pitching to hitters can help. Tennis, whiffle and rag balls are great and hitters begin to get the repetition needed to feel more comfortable facing a pitcher.

Finally, be careful of mistaking stepping away from home with fear of the ball. I have had many students whose parents thought their child was scared of the ball when in reality they just did not understand the proper fundamentals. Many of these students think that to get the bat out to the ball it makes sense to step out. Understanding the correct hitting fundamentals can go a long way towards correcting the stepping-out problem.

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