My nephew recently turned 7 years old and my brother-in-law has been trying to teach him how to play baseball but he has struggled a little bit. As the “fun aunt” and former softball player, I have been trying to help. I have conducted some research and here is what I found.
So, how do you teach a 7-year-old to hit a baseball? To teach a 7-year-old how to hit a baseball you must:
- Find the right bat
- Start with a steady stance
- Teach how to grip a baseball bat
- Teach how to swing through
- Use a tee to build confidence
These steps are the basics. The best thing you can do with your 7-year-old is to build them up with praise, gently correct errors, and not expect too much at first. It is going to be a learning process for your child and you.
How to Hit a Baseball
Hitting a baseball takes a steady stance – on the balls of the feet, a quick rotation, hand-eye coordination, and a good grip on the bat. Each step builds on top of each other.
A balanced stance will be necessary for accuracy and power when it comes to hitting. Without a proper knowledge of how to grip the bat, the stance is useless.
When it comes to the very beginner’s guide of how to hit a baseball, a great way to learn how to hit is to watch videos. Watch Youtube videos, MLB games, college games with your 7-year-old so they can see how batting should be a fluid motion.
If you yourself are a decent hitter, show the correct stance to your child. Most 7-year-olds learn best with visuals and analogies so incorporate this into your teachings.
Having the right tools to teach is another crucial component to teaching a child to hit. Finding a bat this is not too heavy will definitely improve the hitting skills of your child.
T-ball bats are available and could be helpful for a beginner because the barrel is wider and provides more surface, increasing the probability of hitting the ball.
Lightweight bats allow a hitter to swing with more speed. Heavier bats will increase the distance if the hitter is able to hold it properly. Most 7-year-olds will need lighter bats, especially beginners.
Hitting a baseball can be difficult for beginners but swinging through in a proper stance with the right bat will be a step in the right directions. With practice, timing will come. To start, it is usually recommended that batters hit off a tee.
Finding the Right Bat
So what is the right bat? Is a t-ball bat the right one for your child?
To answer these questions, I must first say that it depends on the kid. If your child has never played baseball, never hit a wiffle ball off of a tee, and is unfamiliar with swinging motions all together, then start off with a t-ball bat.
If your child has a little bit more experience start with a lightweight bat. T-ball bats are usually recommended for children 6 and under. If your 7-year-old has previously played tee ball then it is perfectly alright to start using a baseball bat.
Places that have bats are Dick Sporting Goods, Walmart, Target, Big 5 and a myriad of sports stores. They can be purchased online as well.
Before you buy a bat, look at the guidelines for your local little league baseball. Some teams and leagues have stricter rules on bat weight than others. Bats are investments so it is best to take the time to look at the weight requirement before you purchase.
According to Rawlings.com a bat for a 7-year-old should be 24 inches to 26 inches long. The “drop” of the bat should be around -10. The drop weight is determined by the length of the bat. The basic thing you should know is the lower the number (-10 to -13.5) the lighter the bat will be.
This bat from Dick’s Sporting Goods has -10 drop, and is really cost effective. It also has high ratings which makes it an awesome purchase for playing and for practicing.
This is a t-ball bat found on Amazon that has great reviews and reasonably priced. It has a -13 drop and could be great to get a child started.
Maybe if you are just teaching and not involving your 7-year-old in a league, using a foam bat will do the trick. This will allow your child to practice the basics without spending too much. Here is a foam bat that can help train your child. This bat is a great option for beginners and even comes with a ball.
When it comes to choosing a bat, all of this is important. A heavy bat might discourage your child because it seems to heavy and that swinging is too hard. This can also affect the stance your child has learned because the back elbow could be dropping from the correct position.
A good way to check the bat is to have your 7-year-old hold the bat with both arms, straight out in front. If the child can last for about 30 seconds, the bat is at a proper weight for his or her current size.
Starting off with the Correct Stance
Starting off with a good, steady and balanced stance is the key to teaching a 7-year-old how to hit a baseball. When batting the stance is the most important part.
To start, your 7-year-old should be perpendicular to the home plate. If you are teaching at home, you can use a paper plate or even a jacket to symbolize this, so your child starts off in the right position. The child should extend his or her bat above the plate, with the middle of the bat
The batting position should seem somewhat natural. Have your child bend his or her knees. The weight should fall mostly on to the back leg. The feet should be shoulder width apart. Hips should be loose. The back elbow should be up, almost square with the body.
Another important this is to have your child be on the balls of their feet. This will allow a great pivot motion for the swing.
This seems like a lot to remember, and maybe it is. Be patient when teaching this to your child.
Stances will change, too, if you use a tee at first. Make sure that your child learns to come from a lower angle as opposed to a high angle. Hitting from above is popular when it comes to hitting off of a tee but pitches often are in the lower part of the strike zone.
Adapting the stance to game situations and different pitches will come as the child grows and becomes more familiar with the sport.
How to Grip the Bat
As well as with the stance, a lot of power can be lost when batting if the bat is gripped incorrectly. Learning how to handle the bat can be a challenge to young children because it seems unfamiliar.
The correct way to hold a bat is shown here.
Learning how to do this might be a little confusing. The barrel batter is right-handed, the left hand should be at the bottom of the bat. The right hand should be placed directly on top of the left hand. If the batter is left-handed, the right hand should be the hand on the bottom.
A tip for teaching your child how to hold the bat is to start with no bat at all. It may seem counterproductive but it is helpful. Have your child create fists with their hands and then stack their hands together.
Adding a bat will be important after the basic position has become comfortable. The fingers should wrap around the bat and with both hands on the bat, the fingers should line up to create a “flat” surface on the part of the bat facing away from the body.
With a correct grip on the bat, the swing can be more controlled and less wobbly. Choking up on a bat this a little too long is okay, too.
Exercising the arms to create better bat control can be something you do with your 7-year-old as well. Forearm and wrist strength will be important when it comes to hitting a real pitch. The stronger the muscles are in these parts of your child’s body, the more success he or she will have.
Something as simple as rolling the wrists like you are scooping ice cream can help. You can also have your child isolate the wrists and extend the bat straight out, the have your child move the bat back and forth only using the wrist.
Of course, depending on the level your child is already at, you can increase the number of
The Swinging Motion Itself
With the right stance, the right bat and a good grip, the swinging motion should be a lot simpler. When your 7-year-old has learned the right stance, swinging should be fluid, or at least on the way.
To teach your 7-year-old how to swing, teach them to use that back foot to rotate. The weight of the back leg should be on the ball of the foot.
A way that my father told me was to pretend I was squishing a bug with my back foot. This helped me turn my foot with a solid motion that moved my leg and hips.
This hips in this swinging motion should be moving forward. The hips will turn into the pitch. Instead of swinging just the bat, the hips should be in charge.
Teach your child to swing with their whole body and not just with the bat.
This will help your 7-year-old to get power from the whole body. The result of the swing should have the hips facing the pitcher and the back foot still on the ground but facing the mound.
This video includes tips for all the things that we have learned already.
Actually swinging through is going to take some time. Watch your child’s form as he or she practices swinging through without having a ball in front of them. Stepping into the pitch is a power move that will help later in but may not be easy for a 7-year-old to master.
Have your child repeat the action without anything, just with the hands in the right position. After the stance and swing look correct, add a bat. Watch and gently correct any errors until this looks more natural.
Then it comes time to actually add a ball into the mix.
Using a Tee instead of a Pitcher
When teaching your 7-year-old how to hit a baseball, it can be tempting to just jump right into hitting a baseball, but many instructors advise against this. Most coaches recommend teaching a beginner from hitting off of a tee.
Even though tee ball is generally recommended for children 6 and under, using a tee is a great way to get your child started on the right track. Most coaches use a tee in practice, even for older ages in drills.
Using a tee as a beginner is a great way to give your 7-year-old confidence.
When it comes to batting, the hardest part of batting is the timing. To hit a ball, the timing of the swing needs to be exact. The stance could be perfect, the bat can be the most expensive on earth and the swinging motion could be immaculate, but if the timing isn’t right, hitting the ball is impossible.
So if you are trying to get your child to hit a baseball, the best thing you can do is to start off with the ball on a tee. This will take away the whole impossible thing and give your child a chance to practice what you have been teaching.
When setting up the tee, place the ball at the level that is at the natural middle of the batters swing.
This link will take you to a video that will help you set up the tee to best help out your child.
With using a tee, have your child correctly hold the bat, up in the air with the bat sticking up to the sky and elbow square. Have him or her stand about a bat length’s away from the tee. Have your child firmly step into the swing, rotate the hips, squish the bug with the back foot and extend and snap the wrist onto the ball.
Actually hitting the ball well (powerfully and with some distance) may take a bit of time and effort. Hitting is a lot easier in theory than it is in real life. Use patience and watch carefully to help correct and encourage your 7-year-old.
Most coaches will supply a batting tee in practice for your child to learn on but if you are teaching at home or want to give your child extra lessons a tee can be purchased here.
Another thing that is useful to help your 7-year-old learn how to hit a baseball could be this net and tee combo. It has great reviews and lessens the hassle of chasing after balls.
Something else that is often recommended when you are first teaching your 7-year-old how to hit is to use a tennis ball or a whiffle ball. These objects are easier to hit because they are lighter. It will help build up the confidence of your hitter.
Once your 7-year-old is more comfortable, then you can upgrade to hitting a baseball.
Timing the Swing
Hitting the baseball from a pitcher is going to be something that takes time. To teach your child to hit a baseball, you must teach him or her about watching the pitch.
Especially in a 7-year-old league, not all the pitches will be strikes. Watching videos and watching other players swing will help your child develop timing. In the batter’s box, have your 7-year-old watch the pitches and swing when it gets there.
To go to even more basics, just practice with your child. Throw pitches to your 7-year-old. To make it fun, throw fruit or water balloons. Hitting and timing have everything to do with hand-eye coordination. Watching the ball or balloon hit the bat will help.
Really, the whole “keep your eye on the ball” thing is true. Coach your 7-year-old to watch the ball make contact the bat. A pitch can drop or move but if the eyes are kept on the ball, the movement will be easier to follow.
Here’s a drill that can help develop this skill.
Just remember, this is all a process. Some kids have a knack for sports and this process will seem to just “click” while some kids will have to work really, really hard to get used to batting. Patience and positive words will make this easier and more fun for your 7-year-old.
How can I teach my child to swing harder? To teach a child to swing harder, first make sure that the bat is being held properly and adjust any imperfections in the batting stance. Wrist and arm exercises can help a child use the bat more effectively.
Your child may need to use a heavier bat to get more power or a lighter bat if the swing seems too delayed.
What does choking up on the bat mean? Choking up on the bat in baseball means adjusting the grip to higher up on the bat and not at the base of the handle. Choking up makes the grip closer to the heaviest part of the bat. This means the bat is easier to swing.