The fear of getting hit by a baseball affects most new players, both young and old. Whether you want to overcome your own fear or help your child, this is the article for you.
It can be difficult to completely enjoy a baseball game if you have an inner fear of being hit by the baseball and it can also dramatically affect your performance on the field.
While it affects adults, many children experience a deep fear of getting hit by the ball, especially if they are playing against inexperienced players who throw hard. This can result in young players becoming scared as a batter; it can affect the development of their swing and their overall game performance.
5 Tips to Face Your Fear
The fear of being hit can dramatically reduce a player’s confidence and remove the enjoyment of playing the game. It may even result in them giving up. Be patient and remember that overcoming a fear of being hit will take time, consistency, and patience.
If you are worried about your child’s fear and you want to help them enjoy the game again, keep reading for tips on how to help them overcome this fear of being hit.
1. Practice Drills
Whether you or your child has a fear of getting hit by the ball when playing baseball, practice drills can help to eliminate this fear and improve your game. It is important to face the fear as soon as possible so that it does not become emphasized. The longer someone has a fear, the harder it will be to overcome it.
Have a friend or family member stand a few meters away from the player. Get them to throw a softball or tennis ball softly to the side of the player.
The player should be told not to swing when the ball is thrown toward them. The ball should then be thrown directly toward the player, softly.
When the player believes he/she is going to get hit, he/she should turn away from the ball. The player should, rather than focusing on how to move their arm or back, simply turn and touch the batt on the ground.
Repeat this simple motion so that it becomes part of the player’s muscle memory. This motion will be easier to repeat rather than worrying about complicated movements.
Once the player has practiced this movement several times, start throwing the ball directly toward the player so that they can continue to practice this movement to get out of the ball’s way.
If the player begins to struggle and continues to move away once the ball is coming toward them, start at the beginning, and practice the drill without the ball. It is important for the player to understand that if they were hit by the ball, it would hurt much less should they follow this movement.
Once the player becomes comfortable and practiced at properly moving out of the way, they should have more confidence when stepping into the batting box.
2. Practice with a Soft Baseball
It can be difficult to get over a fear of getting hit by the baseball, however, practicing with a soft baseball can help a player to develop confidence. Using a soft baseball or a tennis ball when training can help to remove the chance of getting hurt when hit by the ball.
It is impossible to remove the chance of getting hit, but practice will help a player to build their confidence. While you will want to practice with a normal baseball as you progress further in the game, soft baseballs are perfect for beginners.
Soft baseballs are created to replicate the size and feel of a normal ball, but they do not hurt or cause injury to a player during practice. If you are trying to help your child through their fear of getting hit, consider using a soft baseball when you are practicing with them.
Get a friend coach or family member to throw the ball underhand toward the batting box. The player should adopt a proper Batting stance and move forward as the ball is thrown. Their weight should stay on their back leg and should practice keeping their eyes on the ball.
This drill should be used until the player can consistently make contact with the ball. A softball can also be used in fielding drills to help the player become used to catching the ball. This will help to improve their overall game confidence.
3. Learn the correct movement
To overcome the fear of being hit by a baseball, it is important to learn the correct stance and movement when in the batting box. Many players are scared of the ball when in the batting box and step away from the thrown ball. This puts them in a position where they are even more likely to get hit.
If the player gets hit because they step away from the ball, their fear of being hit can be increased and emphasised. Once this fear arises, it can become extremely difficult to overcome this.
It is important that the player learns the proper movement as early as possible in their baseball career. Learning to remain in the batting box and adopt the correct motion is important.
The player needs to learn how to properly get out of the way of a moving ball to prevent the risk of injury. If they use the proper motion, the player will be less likely to get hit or injured.
There is much less likelihood of injury if the player follows the correct motion, compared to when the player steps out of the box and exposes their body to the moving ball. Using the correct movement will protect the player’s face and body from being hit by the ball. The ball will hit the back of the player rather than the front, which hurts less.
Practice this drill with a family member or coach until the player builds more confidence. Have the coach throw the ball toward the player, who should turn away from the ball. Continue the regular practice of this drill until it becomes second nature. Consistent practice will help players to overcome their fear and build their confidence when batting.
The player needs to adopt a comfortable posture when in the batting box, to help them defend the ball effectively.
4. Be Patient
Whether you are trying to overcome your own fear or you are trying to help someone else overcome theirs, remember to be patient. Getting over any type of fear takes time, especially any fear that is related to injury or pain. Be patient and follow the practice drills consistently.
Don’t rush this process and don’t worry if things don’t change overnight. The player needs to be trained to overcome their fear, and this will only come with time.
5. Don’t Overreact
If the player does get hit by the ball during a game, make sure that you do not overreact and thus exacerbate their fear of being hit. If you respond to the player getting hit by the ball by reacting negatively immediately, the player’s fear will only be emphasized. Say something positive instead.
If you act as if the player is badly injured, if they are not, they will likely become even more fearful and think that he/she is injured.
Helping Young Children Overcome the Fear of Being Hit
Young children are often especially likely to experience a fear of being hit by a baseball when they are in the batting box, this can remove any enjoyment from playing.
Young players that have not yet developed control when throwing, can throw the baseball hard, creating fear in other players. Getting hit by a baseball is a part of the game, but there are ways to prevent injury and fear.
It is natural for a young player to develop a fear of being hit and helping a player get over this fear is a big part of baseball coaching. There are various methods and drills, but being patient is key to helping them dispel their fear.
If the fear exists for too long without assistance, it can result in the child refusing to play the game any longer. So, it is important to deal with it as soon as possible.
When young players are faced with a fast-moving ball coming toward them, they often freeze and try to back away from the ball. This reaction often makes it more likely that they will be hit in the side of their body or face. Thus exacerbating their fear further.
Once a child has been hit by the ball even once, it can be difficult to get them back onto the field again. One of the most important things to teach a child new to baseball is how to properly move out of the way of the ball when in the batting box.
Some children may even step out of the box completely when the ball is coming towards them. There will be no chance of them getting hit, but they will not learn either. If they are extremely fearful, they may be happier to avoid trying to strike the ball at all and merely step out of the ball’s way.
Teach your child or the young player you are coaching how to properly get out the ball’s way when batting. It is also important that they practice staying in the box so that they face their fear head on.
Once you have taught them how to properly face their fear of getting hit, they can focus on their batting skills and start to enjoy the game better.
Drills for Young Children
If you are helping a young child to overcome their fear of being hit by a baseball, it can be helpful to make drills more fun and enjoyable by making them into games or using colorful soft balls to maintain their interest.
Explain to the child the proper movement of turning away from the moving ball. Tell them that the fear they have is normal and natural, but that there are ways to overcome it. Tell your child that once that has improved their baseball hitting techniques, they will have more confidence.
Use soft tennis balls, sponge balls, or even bean balls to encourage the child to practice. Always use an underhand throw toward your child and begin by throwing the ball from a few feet away. Praise your child when they hit the ball as well as when they adopt the correct motion.
Try to start playing catch with soft balls with your child as early as possible, so that they become comfortable with and used to catching and throwing balls. Continue to practice the drills until your child becomes completely comfortable with the motion.
However, do not force the child to practice too much so that they become disinterested. Keep the child interested by following the drills that they enjoy most. Throw the ball in their direction instead of directly toward them.
It is also important to emphasize that a coach or parent should never fixate on being hit by a ball during a game. This will only increase their fear and emphasize that they have something to be scared of.
To sum up…
Baseball is not an easy game, despite how it may appear on television. It is normal to develop a fear of being hit by a hard and fast-moving baseball. However, it is helpful to try to overcome this fear as soon as possible before it becomes deeply ingrained and difficult to ever overcome.
This is a natural fear that often affects children but simple drills can help to alleviate these fears. Overcoming fear takes time, so it is important to be patient and consistently follow the practice drills to improve the player’s confidence and reduce their fear.