I love watching the World Series. No, not that one…the Little League World Series. Today was the final game between two great teams, California and Japan. Both teams reached the final game with great pitching, fielding, hitting, and coaching. It seems like the level of play gets better each year.
As a hitting coach, I was especially impressed with the team from Mexico over the past two weeks. If not for a couple of bad breaks, this team would have made it to the championship game. I believe they were the best hitting team in the tournament, with the best hitting mechanics. Here are a few of the hitting keys I observed from the Little League team from south of the border:
Look how solid and athletic this stance is. The hitter is in a balanced position with the bat back toward the catcher. I would encourage this hitter to move his hands even farther back toward the catcher to pick up even more batspeed. I also like the angle of the bat. As the swing progresses, the hands and bat are in a good position to travel directly into the ball, without any unnecessary movement.
Someone must have told this hitter that power comes from the ground! Notice how the front foot comes off the ground for the important weight transfer to the back leg and knee. This leg lift also allows the hitter to adjust to the direction of the pitch to ensure the hitter doesn’t reach for an outiside pitch or get jammed by an inside pitch. I especially like the way the left hip turns inward slightly during the load for even more power and torque.
These two pictures show that the Mexican hitters understand that great extension means great power. Even though the hitter in this picture does not have total extension at the moment of contact, his arms are extended enough to put a real “charge” into the ball. More importantly, look at the way this hitter maintains this extension. Too many young hitters bring their arms in after making contact, which causes batspeed and power to decrease.
Powerful Finish On The Right Path
Almost every hitter on the Little League team from Mexico made sure they finished their swings. Too many young hitters stop their swings after they feel the ball hit the bat. The Mexican players had some of the hardest hits and the longest home runs because they maintained their batspeed until the swing finished high and away from their bodies.
Behind these great young hitters are coaches who obviously understand where power comes from and how to harness it. The many hours of practice paid off in Williamsport for this talented team from Mexico.
Congratulations to all the Little League teams who participated in the 2013 World Series. The future of baseball around the world is still bright!