How Do We Protect Our Kids From Being Injured By a Swinging Bat? …be like the pros, carry the bat by the barrel

 

As a parent, what is your greatest fear for your child when they are playing baseball or softball?  Getting hit by a thrown ball?  A line drive hitting them while pitching?   Taking a ball in the teeth from a bad hop? 

 

 

Each of these scenarios can potentially result in a serious injury, but are considered to be ‘part of the game’ and are not entirely avoidable. Getting hit by a bat swung by another player can be avoided by training our kids to always carry the bat by the barrel

 

 

This video is of an incident that happened during a major league game a couple years ago.  Ryan Braun is swinging his bat, not in the on-deck circle, but near his teammates in the dugout.  This is a grown man who has spent his life at ballfields interacting with teammates.  Even with this experience it is possible to get into your own world as a payer and forget for a moment what is going on around you. 

 

 

If this type of mind fart can happen to a grown man, a pro, it certainly can (and does on a daily basis)  happen to a young perosn. Any of us who have spend much time around a youth baseball players have seen a player swinging the bat randomly somewhere on the field and its clear they are not considering the possibility of another player, or sibling, friend coach possibly walking by and being in range of being hit on the follow through of a swing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are simple rules that Baseball Positive maintains during its camps, batting classes and team workouts and, knock on wood, bat injuries have been avoided.  Implement these rules in your team's and league’s activities and prevent this from happening to one of your kids.

1.   Hold the bat by the barrel when moving from place to place.

2.   When a bat is pulled from a bat rack, equipment bat, etc. the player immediately grabs         the bat by the barrel.

3.   When a bat is picked up off the ground, it is picked up by the barrel.

 

 

Also:

When multiple batters are swinging a bat at one time in close proximity to each other ie a batting station during practice  (whiffle ball batting, tee work, soft toss etc.), no batter is allowed to move from their designated swinging spot until all participants have set their bats down.  All players move in and out of the batting station together.  If balls need to be picked up; all batters stop their swings and pick up balls together

No player is allowed to toss a ball up in order to swing at it i.e., ‘pitch to themselves’, play ‘golf’ with a bat and a ball that is on the ground or any other such bat swinging activity not clearly defined by a coach/adult.

 

 

 

Bat by Barrel 2.jpg

There are only two instances players are allowed to hold the bat by the handle and swing the bat:   

1. When standing at a spot that is designated by a coach/adult for working on the swing i.e. whiffle ball batting, batting tee, soft toss, etc. 

2. When standing at home plate during batting practice, a scrimmage or a game 

 

 

 

 

Simply laying these rules out does not guarantee the kids’ safety.  The coaches and adults involved with a baseball or softball activity must take a hawkish approach to enforcing these rules all day, every day, all season.  We should only see kids holding a bat by the handle when they are getting ready to hit a pitched/tossed ball or when standing at a tee.  Any other time we see our kids around the ball field they either do not have a bat in their hands or a carrying it by the barrel.

 

The incident (shown in the video) involving of Ryan Braun and Jean Segura never should have happened.  There is an on-deck circle for a reason; it is a designated safe place to take warm up swings.  All players and coaches know to be careful when walking near the on-deck circle and to walk wide of the in-deck circle when passing. 

 

In this instance Braun was the third batter scheduled to hit and Segura was batting second.  Braun wanted to start getting loose early and chose the top stop of the dugout stairs as a spot to take a few swings.  You would expect that he would be conscious of the fact that the second batter in the line-up would be coming to the stairs soon, not to mention the fact that any player or coach from the teams could walk by.  But players do get in their own world at times think about the job they have to do.  The top step of the dugout with a bat in your hands is not a good time to go zone out.

 

What makes this incident worse is Braun didn’t just take two handed swings that would keep the bat relatively close to his body.  He swung the bat straight back behind him, in line with the stairs, with one arm.  This sent the barrel of the bat nearly six feet behind him into the dugout where he knew there his teammates and coaches were located and might possibly be close by.

No player at any level of baseball has any business standing at the entrance/exit of the dugout swinging a bat.  If Braun was that anxious to loosen up he could have walked down past the end of the dugout and stood where he could see the rest of his teammates and they could see him.  The rules laid out above can’t be levied on a team of Major League baseball players, but most are followed using the common sense of a professional who has been around the game their entire life. Unfortunately, in this case, a grown man failed to use common sense resulting in an incident that jeopardized the career of his teammate.

 

Turning back to our kids; in order for these rules to be followed and for them to stick we must put ourselves in the minds and shoes of the kids. 

First, young children still see the world almost exclusively through their own eyes.  They are the center of the universe and their immediate wants and desires can override common sense and rules.  Second, kids see the handle as being the only option for holding a bat (and holding can quickly turn into swinging).  Finally, children (and most adults) don’t immediately change their habits the first time they are told.  We must be diligent in helping them establish the habit of holding the bat by the barrel whenever they are away from a designated swinging area and carrying their bat. (We adults must also establish this same habit when we have a bat in our hands; kids take their cues from us.)

 

How do we motivate our kids to establish the safe habit of always holding the bat by the barrel when carrying it from place to place?  Let them know that is how the pros do it (and point this out to them); the pros are cool  : )

Many kids want to emulate the pros and most want to look cool.  When implementing this rule we do so, from an adult’s perspective, to maintain a safe environment for the kids and we do so, from a kid’s perspective, because holding the bat by the barrel is cool.

Starting today, let’s teach our kids how to be cool …and remain safe.

Batting Pros Carry the Bat by the Barrel...

http://m.mlb.com/video/v34700033/nymsea-elias-whiffs-eight-over-5-13-innings/?c_id=mlb

See the video from: 0:15 – 1:10…

Watch how the batters hold the bat immediately following striking out.  This is an example of how the pros carry their bat when they are not batting.  The proper way to hold a bat, when not batting, is by the barrel.

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