​Clint McGill - Baseball Notes

Coach Pitch: The 3 Secret Keys to Dramatically Improve Contact and Power

Clint McGill is a former professional baseball player with the Houston Astros Organization and founder of Baseball Notes.  He is also the Host of The Youth Baseball Summit and the Baseball Notes Podcast, and also the creator of The Bulletproof Hitter mental training program and The MISSILE Method Bat Speed program.

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Summary and Action Plan below


There are three keys to helping kids skyrocket their success and contact rate during coach pitch. These are not *my* findings and creation, rather these are secrets that were passed down to me from Mike Roberts - college HOF coach and father of former All Star Major Leaguer Brian Roberts. Mike’s grandson (same age as my son) is a stud also, so he darn sure knows what he’s doing when it comes to developing kids into good ball players.

Mike showed me at a 4 year old birthday party how to turn an average player into contact and power machines.

Key number 1: Throw harder to these boys. Not only is throwing hard to them better for their development down the road - which is true - but the most surprising fact about throwing harder to the boys is that they will make better contact RIGHT NOW!

My belief is that it’s the flatness of the pitch, more than the speed that helps with the contact. Instead of having a looping, arching pitch that you have to estimate where it will be at the contact point, they have an easier time getting their bat “on plane” when the pitch is mostly flat the entire time.

Not only does contact go up, two other major benefits come from a faster pitch: 1) Lunging decreases. Waiting on a slow pitch is one of the hardest things to do in hitting (at any age) and these boys will simply lunge and drag their swing through the zone very slowly to compensate for the slow pitch. But you can’t lunge when the ball is coming at you faster. The kid will naturally tighten up his movements and become more efficient.

2) Contact is harder. On the rare occasion that contact is made with slower pitching, the contact is soft. Slow pitch + slow swing = bad contact. So now that we have a faster pitch and a faster swing, the force at contact is obviously much better.

The second key is to “keep your feet still”. Often players will pull their body out by striding open instead of striding toward the pitcher. But the biggest problem foot shuffling usually comes before the stride. Little choppy steps, happy feet, moving feet around in general are all going to cause a player to put himself in a bad position to hit.

So anchor down! Widen them out and possibly remove the stride all together. Keep those feet still!

#3. Swing hard! I tell my boys I want two things: hit a homerun or swing and miss. I tell them the worst result is not a swing and miss, but rather a soft grounder because you compromised your swing. And the funny thing…..they swing in miss less once they realize it’s okay! I tell them to swing hard, the barrel will get their on it’s own, so don’t guide it.

Another common problem young hitters have is from casting their arms out as they start their swing. A favorite drill of mine is to have them stand roughly arms length away from a net, and swing without hitting the net. They’ll have to figure out how to change their swing to stay more tight to the body.

On defense, it’s important to make the boys stay down. Something I like to tell the boys is to never get beat low. You can let the ball bounce over you or off of you all day long, but don’t EVER get beat low. And with throwing, make sure the boys are throwing as hard as they can. When they think they have to throw it far they get a lot of air under the ball - a skyball as I like to call it. Make them throw it flat! A couple of bounces on a flat thrown ball is much preferred to throwing some big sky ball...plus it will help strengthen the arm.


This one should be simple....throw harder to the kids!  I'm telling you, when throwing to them use a leg kick to give them a rhythm and they WILL get the hang of it.  Whatever you decide to do, stop lobbing the ball to them.  

Keep their feet still, anchored into the ground when they hit (back foot can - and should - turn).  And encourage them to swing hard!  Home runs or swings and misses, that's what we're after.

And on defense, outlaw the skyball throws.  Challenge them to throw it harder, with less arc.  A bounce or two to first base will be more effective and be better for their development then trying to put too much air under it.​

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