Many, if not a majority, of the youngsters in coach-pitch encounter a common challenge inherent in the design of the game. The pitcher/coach is utilized, in lieu of an age-appropriate kid peer, in order to throw more accurate pitches that result in more base-hits. As such, the pitcher/coach usually throws the ball at a slower, rather than faster, velocity in order to facilitate contact since most hitters ages 5 to 7 or thereabouts have a relative slow reaction time and resultant swing.
However, because the pitch is somewhat slower, many a batter leans or lunges or bends or even walks toward the incoming pitch. Rather than letting the ball arrive at the plate, they contort their body and collapse and bend their front leg in an effort to reach for the ball. This reduces their ability to see the ball, lessens the likelihood they will hit the ball, and almost eliminates the possibility they will hit the ball with any power or authority.
The result is, more often than not, frustrating for both batter and pitcher/coach. The cure is two-fold. First, the coach increases the velocity of his pitches. This is often accomplished in a gradual process spanning the timeline of a conventional 12 or 16 game season. Often, a batter won’t even notice a change.
More important, the batter adjusts his technique. The successful batter learns to use his front leg as a brace, or a pivot point, about which he rotates his swing. His front leg is planted, hard, into the ground prior to the bat hitting the ball. The front leg is not bent, it is straight, and planted.
Think of an actual plantation, in this case an artificially established forest of trees. The front leg serves as a tree, and the intent is to drive it straight into the ground, with force, as demonstrated in the 1922 baseball card of the Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby at the top of this post. The concept is timeless, no matter the age of the batter.
If you want to be a great hitter, start a plantation. Plant tall and strong, and create a forest of hits.