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My older son LOVES baseball and this past summer, he finally developed the visual motor skill and coordination he needed to hit the ball consistently (making baseball games much more interesting for him and for me!).
At the beginning of last season though, he was struggling (as most kids do) with keeping his eye on the ball and with the timing of his swing.
So, my husband came up with this genius DIY idea that has not only helped with my little guy’s batting skills, but has also become one of the best sources of entertainment in our backyard!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Power drill, foam practice baseballs, scissors, rope, zip tie
WHAT TO DO:
1 – First, drill a hole straight through the foam baseball.
2 – Then, string your zip tie through the hole.
3 – Fasten the zip tie, but don’t zip it too tight, you’ll want to leave some space so the rope fits through.
4 – Next, string the rope through the zip tie and tie a couple of knots to secure it.
Now you’re ready to practice! You’ll stand several feet away from your child and swing the rope around above your head like a cowboy at the rodeo.
See if your kiddo can first watch the ball go around for a few rotations, practicing keeping her eye on the ball. Then, have her try timing her swing just right so she hits the ball as it whizzes past! Check it out in action in the video below!
HOW TO CHANGE IT UP:
-At first, it was hard for my little guy to figure out how and where to stand in order to be in the right spot to hit the ball. Try placing two markers down on the grass (e.g. two pieces of cardboard), showing where your child where to put his or her feet.
-When mom and dad are finally tired of playing Rodeo Batting Practice, we often tie the rope up onto the branch of a tree so that the ball hangs down at his level. Then, he can continue practicing on his own!
-Try one of these other great tools for batting practice:
SKLZ Zip-N-Hit Pro Baseball Trainer
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Gross motor skills, coordination, visual motor integration, strength
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When I was a kid my dad (coach) made one of these with a softball for playing at home and at practice with our young softball team. We loved it, and it helped us transition from t-ball. I’m going to try it with my t-ball team who will be getting coach pitches every inning this season!