Whether your child has expressed an interest in baseball or you want to share your passion for America’s favorite pastime with them, this article will help you figure out how to teach a seven-year-old to hit a baseball!
Introducing a kid to a sport like baseball has many benefits. It teaches them hand-eye coordination, being a part of a team, sportsmanship, and the drive to improve. You could be starting them on a journey to a lifelong passion.
Even though you are teaching them the basics of the sport, make sure they are also learning that baseball is fun. Try not to make it feel too much like school.
What You'll Learn...
Step 1: Choose the Right Equipment
The first thing to think about is what kind of equipment the kid will need. Take their height and weight into consideration; it can be good to start with a very light plastic bat, like a wiffleball bat.
Look for plastic materials, or you can find a decent whiffle ball set on Amazon.
Have the seven-year-old complete a drop test for the bat. Teach them to hold their arm straight out while holding the bat. They should be able to stay this way for at least thirty seconds.
If the arm begins to droop, the bat is too heavy.
It’s also a good idea to start with a plastic ball like a wiffleball. That way, if you are pitching to them and they miss, they won’t get hurt by the ball hitting them instead.
This precaution works both ways – if they hit the ball and it comes flying back directly at you, it won’t hurt as much as an actual baseball either.
Step 2: Teach Them the Proper Batting Stance
You are teaching the child how to hit a baseball, so it’s important you don’t get them started on any bad batting habits in the meantime. It is much more difficult to correct someone afterward than it is teaching the right way to do it beforehand.
Make sure you don’t just give them a baseball bat and tell them to start swinging. The chances are that won’t go over very well.
Show them where to stand in the batter’s box. Ensure they are situated in the middle of the batter’s box, not standing over the plate or even on top of it.
You will also want to show them the right way to stand. Tell them to stand with their feet hip-distance or shoulder-width apart. They want their front foot to be lined up with the tee or pitcher and most of the weight on their back foot. Their knees should be bent.
Check and see that the kid can keep their balance in this stance, and work with them on adjusting if they can’t.
Step 3: Make Sure They Know How to Hold the Bat
Holding the bat correctly is the next step towards teaching your seven-year-old to hit a baseball. You don’t want the child to choke up too much on the bat. It increases the chance of the ball hitting your hands or causes tingling in your fingers when the ball hits the bat.
Another mistake many young baseball players make is having their hands spread wide apart like they are about to chop down a tree with an ax.
It’s important to decide how in-depth you want to get with your child when you start teaching them about baseball. There are many different terms and techniques, and overloading them with this information may make them want to stop playing altogether for fear of overwhelming them.
Give them little bits of information at a time.
So start out just showing them the top, bottom, and sweet spot of the bat. Make sure they have their hands in fists around the baseball bat, one on top of the other. The dominant hand should be on top.
Have them get comfortable with the proper batting stance and holding the bat before they start swinging away. Check and see that they aren’t touching the bat to their shoulder when they get ready to swing.
Step 4: Show Them How to Swing
Once the seven-year-old is comfortable with holding the bat and taking the proper stance, the swing should come somewhat easily to them. There is still plenty of room to teach them the proper techniques, of course.
Tell your child that they aren’t just using their arms to swing the bat. The swing comes through their whole body, and their hips should lead the way.
The back foot pivots, the front footsteps or slides forward, and the bat should come from the back shoulder all the way through.
At the end of the swing, the child’s hips should be facing the pitcher or tee, and the back foot should be facing the mound. The whole body pivots with the bat.
Have the seven-year-old practice swinging without a ball until they feel comfortable, and you can correct them as they practice.
Step 5: Have Them Hit Off of a Tee
One of the most important parts of teaching a seven-year-old to hit a baseball is to have them practice with a tee, in lieu of an actual pitcher.
It’s all about baby steps, and this will help them practice putting all the aforementioned steps together without the added stress of keeping an eye on the ball yet.
Show them how to keep their swing flat and not to knock over the tee. Once they are consistently getting clean hits off the tee without knocking it over, it’s time to migrate to pitching balls to them.
Ensure you check in on their comfort level through all of these steps before progressing to the next one.
Step 6: Start Pitching to Them
As we mentioned above, it’s a good idea to start with a softer ball, like a tennis ball in case anyone gets hit. This is where your child’s hand-eye coordination really comes into play, as the key here is watching the pitch.
This still can take a lot of time to develop, and it is the final step in teaching a seven-year-old to hit a baseball. The most important thing from here on out is to practice with them and make it fun.
The best part of kids joining a sport is how much fun they can have, so don’t ruin it with too much pressure.
Now, it’s time to play!