Re: Teaching 8 Yrs Olds
My youngest daughter is 6 and I let her try the pathfinder from time to time. While it's still a bit too heavy for her to use one hand at a time, she can get the idea of rotational body mechanics by holding on to the handle with two hands. This tool is really key to developing good habit and muscle memory.
Otherwise, in addressing young kids (girls) I try to focus on swinging all the way thru. From starting with the bat just off the shoulder and a few inches from the ear, then the slight backward movement of the hands as the weight shifts to the back leg and the front foot slides forward, then the twisting of the body at the waist and shoulders, keeping the elbows bent and level, a good level swing, then the follow through. This isn't all kosher according to greater minds than mine that are here, but I have found that in the case of young children, they need to crawl before they can walk.
With girls in particular, I've noticed a great tendency to swing the bat so that the ball is 'touched' rather than hit all the way through. My opinion is that the kids need to learn to hit through the ball in order to learn to get their whole body into the hitting process, not just the arms. Transferring energy from the body is the basis of rotational mechanics as I understand it. After this, they can be shifted toward the more refined batspeed method described by Jack.
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