Youth Baseball Coaches: Squishing the Bug Is a Bad Habit
If you coach youth baseball hitters to squash the bug, you have only dug them into a hole. Squashing the bug involves a small muscle movement that reduces power and bat speed. Some youth baseball hitters are taught to twist or turn their back foot to create more bat speed and power in the swing. Nothing can be farther than the truth. Additionally, it is nearly impossible to hit middle or outside pitches with the sweet spot of the bat if you have a spinning back foot problem. A sure pop out!
Why is the swing technique called squishing the bug still being taught to youth baseball hitters?
Some coaches believe that it is necessary that hitters be on the balls of their feet at the point of contact. This is commonly known and taught as “squishing the bug”, “squish the bug”, “squashing the bug”, and “squash the bug”. Coaches who advocate this swing technique are typically coaches in the youth leagues. This swing technique is not what great hitters do in the minor and major leagues.
Coaches who still advocate the squishing the bug swing technique typically do so for one of the following reasons:
1. Coaches often have large egos and believe that their methods are better than others.
2. The coach is underestimating the potential and abilities of youth baseball hitters.
3. They have never watched a video of pro hitters, in slow motion, frame by frame.
When viewing live speed videos or still images, you will probably see what looks like squishing the bug. But when viewed frame by frame, you will see that the bug doesn’t get squished until well after the point of contact. The heel coming up off the ground and the ball of the foot twisting is actually a result of the body rotating on its center of mass or axis.
One other reason that a few coaches still advocate squishing the bug.
They believe it is a simple way to teach hip rotation to youth baseball hitters.
Some people contend that many coaches underestimate what youth baseball hitters can do. No matter how you look at it, or what the reasons are, teaching little league players the wrong swing techniques only sets them up for failure as they progress into higher leagues of baseball.
Youth baseball hitters need to learn the right way to swing the bat from the beginning so what they learn doesn’t have to be unlearned later. Most adults know how hard it is to break bad habits.
In case you have been taught an incorrect way of hitting, here are a few tips for unlearning the squishing of the bug swing technique.
Try swinging the bat while your back foot is planted flat on the ground. See if you can swing without moving your back heel off the ground. Keep practicing until you can. Also, it may be helpful to work on hitting outside pitches off of the tee. This will help you hit from your heels and keep that foot from spinning too soon. Spinning the foot before the point of contact greatly reduces bat speed and power.
When players of any age learn the correct rotational swing technique, he or she will be able to hit balls over the outfield fence, even if they are the smallest kid on the team.