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Youth Baseball Tips: Opening Up Too Early

by Philip Preston
(Naperville, Illinois)

Question Hi. I am 13 years old, and whenever I swing my baseball coach tells me I "open up" my front shoulder early and my hips come first and my hands follow.

I never seem to get a hit and it is like there is a 'hole' in my baseball bat. When I do however make any sort of contact I hit a dribbler to the pitcher or the shortstop/second basemen.

Thanks. I would really appreciate some help!

Reply to Hitting Swing Problem: Opening Hips too Early

Wow, Phillip it sounds like baseball is really frustrating right now for you. Many people around baseball fail to realize how difficult and hard a game baseball really is.

Hitting a baseball squarely is one of the most difficult accomplishments to perform in all of sports. Hitting appears quite easy from the TV set, watching from the bleachers or the dugout. But, when you are in the batters box this is a whole different story.

Be a Better Hitter
Having said that, we take into consideration what your baseball coach is telling you about your hitting fundamentals. Basically, opening up your hips and body too early makes your hands ‘pull’ the bat off the ball.

That is likely why you often hit the ball off the end of the bat rather than the sweet ‘spot’ or the barrel of the bat.

How to Fix Hitting Flaws
Let us try to get you out of your hitting slump and fixing the hitting swing problem of opening up too early.

The hitters’ hands and arms should do the large majority of the action and work during the batter’s swing. The body mainly stays calm.

This creates a hitting swing foundation for good body balance and keeping your head (eyes) still. Therefore over using your body and hips during the hitting swing pulls the hands away from the path of the pitch. In effect, this decreases hitting power drastically.

Hitting Tips: what Good Hitters Do
So, good hitters will usually keep the body ‘quiet’ during the swing—keeping the front shoulder ‘closed’ as long as possible. Practice hitting the ball ‘up the middle’ as this will force your body to stay ‘quiet’ and your front shoulder from ‘pulling out’ to soon.

Us a batting tee to do this over and over. So you have a chance to change and fix your batting swing technique from opening too early to staying closed.

Overcoming Fear of the Pitched Ball
Sometimes players can let the fear of the pitched ball cause them to open up or ‘bailout’. No one likes to get hit by a pitched ball, but as good hitter we have to overcome our fears of being ‘beaned’ or ‘pegged’ by the ball. See our baseball article on hitting tips about overcoming getting hit by the pitch.

Another Good Hitting Drill
We use another hitting drill by simply hitting whiffle balls. Have another player take a knee several feet in front of you and toss whiffleball pitches to you.

Try to hit the balls up the middle and the ‘opposite field’ keeping the front shoulder ‘closed’ as long as possible. Do not turn your hips completely until your swing ‘follow through’ is finished.

Pro Hitting Mindset: Be Aggressive
Make sure you are approaching hitting with a professional hitting approach. This is: Swing-it! Take a look at our baseball article on the right hitting mindset.

With hard work you can get back on track, stop your hitting slump and start enjoying the great felling of hitting the ball square again.

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