By Nick Dixon
Little league and youth baseball coaches must know how to make out a batting order. They must know the roles and responsibilities of each batter in the line-up. They must know what are the physical requirements and hitting skills needed to perform the task associated with each spot in a team batting line-up. This article discusses the roles and duties of each player in a baseball batting order.
A straight batting order is the most popular and commonly used. There is one #1 batter, one #2 batter, one #3 batter, and the order goes on down the order to the nine spot. The various jobs and responsibilities of each spot are as follows:
#1 Batter- Called the lead-off batter, the first batter must get on base a lot. He should be a good contact hitter with good speed and base running skills. He must be a patience hitter at the plate that has the capability to take a lot of pitches. He is a good two strike batter that can go deep in the count and still swing the bat with confidence. He must have a good eye for balls and strikes. He must know that getting on with a base on balls is as good as a hit when you are the #1 batter in the order. The #1 hitter should not strike out a lot. The #1 hitter is a plate setter for the #3 and #4 hitters.
#2 Batter-The #2 batter should have the highest on-base-average on the team. He must also have the capability to go deep in the count and still hit with confidence, the #2 batter must take pitches to allow the lead-off batter base runner to steal second base. He must be a good bunter and a good bat handler capable of executing the hit and run play. His biggest responsibilities in order are is to move the runner on first to second with by getting on base safely, moving the runner to second or third base with a ball hit to the right side of the diamond, or to sacrifice bunt the runner to second base. The #2 hitter should not strike out a lot. The #2 hitter is also a plate setter for the #3 and #4 hitters.
#3 Batter-The best hitter on the team always hits in this spot. He must be a contact hitter. He should be the best power hitter on the team with the highest number of extra base hits. He should have one of the highest batting averages on the team. He should also be a capable base runner. The number #3 batter should have average speed. Putting a slow base runner in the #3 spot can cause a "log jam" on the bases. The #3 should continue to set the plate for the #4 cleanup batter.
#4 Batter- The #4 spot is known as the cleanup spot. The most powerful batter on the team should bat in this spot. His job is to "clean the plate" set for him by the batters before him. He should be an aggressive batter that has the best bat speed and power on the team.
#5 Batter-The five spot is always considered a spot for a power hitter. He should be the second most powerful batter on the team behind the #4 batter. His foot speed is not considered a major issue. His is there because he swings a powerful bat.
#6 Batter- The 6th spot in the order is often used for a lead-off player type batter. The 6 hitter should have a lead-off batter approach at the plate and good speed on the bases.
#7 Batter-The seven spot is the "left-over" spot. It is often used for an average player that is in the lineup because of pitching or defensive duties.
#8 Batter-In most cases, the #8 hitter should be a player that loves to hit the fast ball. The theory is that the 8 hitter will often be overlooked with the #9 hitter on deck. Also, it is thought that many teams will show little respect for the bottom three batters in the order and feed them a lot of fast balls. The number 8 hitter is normally a player that is in the lineup on a regular basis.
#9 Batter-The #9 spot is considered by many coaches as the 2nd lead-off batter. The 9th spot in the order is often used for the next best lead-off player behind your #1 hitter. The 9th hitter should have great base running skills and above average speed.
Coaching Point: Every batter that is the lead-off batter, starting an inning, should know the duty of a lead-off batter. The duty of the first batter in the inning is to get on base and to start a "rally". The lead-off batter that gets on base, to start the inning, score the majority of the time.
I hope that you found this article to be useful and informative. Good luck to you and your team this year. Have a great day, Nick.
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
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