Baseball Instruction/Not hitting well


My son is 8 years old and he is playing travel 9 AA for the first time. He hits well in the
Cage with his hitting coach and dad. At games, he is a different kid. He seems to freeze up and is very nervous.
He either swings crazy with a double step into
the strike zone or thinks that he will get walked. He was 4 th in line up bit is
Last now. We have tried talking to him but he just shuts down. We need help!

Charise, thank you for your question.

What your son is experiencing is not uncommon.  For some, if the level is a step up, it often comes with an increase in pitcher velocity; not always accompanied with pitcher control.

Possibly for the first time in their baseball experience, young players are dealing with the possibility of getting hit with a pitch, coming at a speed greater than they have seen.

Since he is able to hit well in the cage with his dad or hitting coach, it sounds like he has a trust factor there, that he doesn't have in a game.  Not unusual, and very real to the players.  It affects everyone a little differently; but it is a legitimate fear.

With that in their mind, they either freeze and can't swing, concentrating on getting out of the way, should the pitch be anywhere close to them, or they step away,(in the bucket# and swing wildly at the ball, hoping to make contact.

On my website, I have a page dedicated to the fear of being hit.  It is in response to the high number of questions I have received from parents, concerning their son's fear of being hit by the baseball.

If it turns out that is not the issue, the steps listed on that page are valuable to all hitters, at all levels, as they provide the hitter with a plan for minimizing the damage when hit with a pitch.  While nothing can take the pain out of the situation, providing them with the skills to absorb the hit with larger muscle groups and less bone area, is a benefit.

You are looking to provide them with a plan so that their mind is free to concentrate on seeing the baseball and hitting it.

Basic hitting mechanics at his age, with repetition, allow them to concentrate on the baseball in a game, rather than worrying about all the things mechanically they are doing.

Yogi Berra said, " You can't think and hit at the same time".  He was right!

The links below are to pages on my site, each a question from a parent concerning their son, and my response.  

1.  My son can't hit off a kid pitch, why?

2.  My son can't hit a ball past pitchers mound#

3.  Son can hit all day in practice, all kinds of pitches; but strikes out almost every time in a game situation.

Mechanically, he needs to be getting his front foot #stride foot#, down early,soft and right back at the pitcher.  If he is striding off line, once his foot moves out, his shoulder follows, causing his hands to drop, the bat barrel to drop, and the swing to be long and slow.

When the shoulder and head come out, they no longer are tracking the baseball.  If they don't see it, they won't hit it.

Hopefully you will find something in the links, or here, that sounds like what you see him doing.

It can all be frustrating for parents, as well as the players.  Keeping things simple for them is always a good thing.  Too much thinking creates "paralysis by analysis".  Foot down on line, track the ball from the pitcher's hand all the way to the plate, put a good swing on it.

I would appreciate it if you would let me know how things are going with him.  You can contact me here at All Experts, or there is a link to a questions page on my site.  I have more options for answering within my site, as I can use more images in the format.

In testing my links above, for some reason, only one is working.  If you are unable to get the links to work, please contact me on the site at and I can reanswer your question from there.

Yours in baseball,


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Rick Bundy


I can answer all questions relating to the fundamentals of baseball from t-ball to college, individual and team instruction, game strategy, drills, practice organizaton, coaching philosophies and, last, but not least, the mental game.


4 years little league 4 years high school baseball( 2 varsity) 2 years junior college baseball 1 summer, Central Illinois Collegiate League, Galesburg, Pioneers 2 years, four year college

I am the owner/builder of, a website for playing and coaching youth baseball.

Retired teacher 31 years (retired 4) 36 years high school baseball coaching/15 as a head coach/19 varsity asst, 2010 was the 36th. I am in my 10th year as a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks Training Centers, the official youth baseball and fast pitch softball camps of The Arizona Diamondbacks.

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