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Switch-hitting?


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#1 BRS BC

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:58 PM

I've learned alot reading through these threads, and I've got a question for the collective wisdom of the board. I'm coaching a kid on a Cal Ripken minor league team (9-10 year olds) who is a switch hitter. He's a better natural righty, but he and his dad seem committed to keeping him hitting from both sides.

Is it a good idea to teach switch hitting, and at what age?
If he switches, should he alternate at bats, or (as he wants to) stick with the matchup advantage (knowing that there really isn't much of an advantage at this age)?
Should he, as I read elsewhere, pick a side?
If he picks, should he pick righty as his better side or lefty as being more valuable down the road?

I'm trying not to think about this according to what benefits this team (as righty is the clear answer), but what benefits the kid, now and later.

Thanks

#2 Buck Showalter


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Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:31 PM

I don't understand why any natural righty would become a switch-hitter.

It's obvious that right-handed pitching is predominant in baseball....so if you're switching to the left-side (your weaker of the two) for the great-majority of at-bats you've placed yourself in a situation where hitting becomes an greater challenge than it inherently is.

In short, if you're a natural lefty --- makes all the sense in the world to become a switch-hitter. You avoid the lefty-lefty contest and gain the slight advantage with breaking pitches coming toward you.

If you're a natural righty --- you're making it awfully tough on yourself.

#3 RedOctober3829


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Posted 04 May 2010 - 03:48 PM

It's my opinion that a left-handed hitter has more advantages because they will be facing a righty that much more often. Switch hitting is a valuable thing to have but remember to let the kid know that it will be double the work if he wants to continue and be successful at it. I'd let him do it and see if he gets good from the left side. Is he a fast kid? Might serve him well to be a lefty.

#4 LoweTek

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 06:09 AM

He's 10? Let him do it. However, I would encourage/insist on the condition he bat LH against all RHP. If LH is his weaker side, justify it to him with logic saying if he wants to switch hit, he will have to improve from the left. If he fails too often and it's not meant to be, human nature will take its course.

And Buck, I was a natural RH who switch hit. I found and still find the LH swing is much smoother and less affected by bad habits developed on the right side. I haven't played in 5-6 years but I used go full time LH if I was slumping RH. Very effective. The reason to do it when I was younger was LH were rare and many pitchers changed their approach. Had much higher BB rates and OBP from the left side.

#5 BigA27

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 07:01 AM

I taught myself to switch hit pretty late in my little league experience. I am a natural righty and just kept swinging lefthanded until it felt natural. I had, and probably still have a lot more power righthanded but as a leftie, whether due to increased concentration or the better matchups against righthanders, I could hit for a much higher average. I also walked and was hit a lot more as a lefthander, which being little league was key strategy for me.

I do not have much opportunity to play nowadays, but half the time I pick up a bat a naturally swing lefthanded.

Not sure if this helped at all.


#6 TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE (BigA27 @ May 5 2010, 08:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I taught myself to switch hit pretty late in my little league experience. I am a natural righty and just kept swinging lefthanded until it felt natural. I had, and probably still have a lot more power righthanded but as a leftie, whether due to increased concentration or the better matchups against righthanders, I could hit for a much higher average. I also walked and was hit a lot more as a lefthander, which being little league was key strategy for me.

I do not have much opportunity to play nowadays, but half the time I pick up a bat a naturally swing lefthanded.

Not sure if this helped at all.


How did you teach yourself to hit left-handed? Also, get back to taking prices.

#7 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 05 May 2010 - 01:04 PM

I've got a kid on my 6 year-old T-Ball team who has been switch hitting (his dad must have put him up to it). Not sure what to do about it, but just let him have fun and figure out which side he likes better. Right now, much like all the other kids, he sucks equally from both sides.

Edited by Bucknahs Bum Ankle, 05 May 2010 - 01:04 PM.


#8 BRS BC

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:27 AM

Thanks for the feedback. I've talked a bit more with the Dad - the switch-hitting is coming from the kid. He's a Mets fan and his favorite player is Reyes. Hence, switch-hitting.

He's going to keep doing it, but we're trying to figure out if we'll just go with the bat righty against lefties (I think there's only one in the league) and vice versa, which has him hitting lefty all the time, or switch sides regularly to get lots of reps each way.

#9 BigA27

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:53 PM

QUOTE (TheStoryofYourRedRightAnkle @ May 5 2010, 01:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How did you teach yourself to hit left-handed? Also, get back to taking prices.


New Delhi is housing only. You would know that you if paid attention.

As for how I did it? I just kept swinging a bat lefthanded until it felt right. Took about 6 weeks till I got comfortable with it. Tons of repetition until the muscle memory got locked in.

#10 Sooner Steve

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:15 AM

obviously i'm very late to this thread but i wanted to add something to the discussion - especially as it pertains to lefties switch hitting...my second born son is a natural lefty - he switch hit up until almost high school (he now plays college ball)...as a lefty we determined (thru much counsel w/hitting instructors & collegiate coaches & former pro players) that if he could hit left handed pitching well enough from the left side there was no inherent advantage in flipping over to the right side of the plate against southpaws - to split his focus was foolish when he could concentrate on hitting from one side and be more effective w/it...if you have a son or player who's a natural lefty i'd tend to stay away from switch hitting - at least early on - if he's a good enough hitter he'll be able to develop the right handed swing later and may be good enough as he starts seeing more lefties and continues developing (and gaining in confidence against lefties) that switch hitting won't be neccessary...

w/a natural righty hitter i wouldn't worry too much about it until (or if) he starts struggling against tougher (i.e. saltier) right handed pitching - just my two cents

#11 PaulinMyrBch


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Posted 30 January 2011 - 06:32 PM

At ten I'd let him keep switching, I had a few kids at that age that truly were a riddle as to which handed they were. They really hadn't played enough baseball to truly determine which side was more comfortable. One kid who was predominantly a righty at that age is now a lefty for sure at 14.

But if on the other hand this kid has played a bunch of ball at this age and his preference or strong side is righty, then I would encourage him to pick righty.

True story, a high school senior in SC who is highly rated in both football and baseball, has been a righty ever since the varsity coach saw him hit a right handed home run in practice as a seventh grader (varsity field, but small for high school). He has batted righty ever since until this summer when the travel ball coaches (all good coaches) got to talking to him and he admitted he always felt better from the left side as a kid. Keep in mind he hasn't batted lefty since 6th grade. He spent a month or so practicing lefty, played the summer season as a lefty and batted around .400 at the Perfect Game tourney in Atlanta this summer. His team winning the National Championship (those are 200 or so team tournaments). He's playing his varsity senior season batting lefty.

#12 JimBoSox9


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Posted 01 February 2011 - 10:48 AM

If you have a QuickSwing-type machine, a ton of swings with that is the best way to learn the new side. The biggest issue is the muscle memory with hand movement. Barring that, any hitting drill that isolates the upper half of the body would be good. The lower body is generally more intuitive and easier to transfer between hitting lefty and righty, in my opinion. It's really a focus on the hands that is key.

Edited by JimBoSox9, 01 February 2011 - 10:49 AM.