You Can't Ever Have Enough Hitting Drills
It isn't often (is it ever?) that a coach or player stops looking for a good hitting drill. Hitting is hard, we all know that. So anything that promises to make hitting even slightly easier is something worth checking out.
The key for us when we're designing, or searching for, hitting drills is that the drill focuses on one small thing at a time. We can rephrase that to make it more accurate: hitting drills should be designed and taught in a way that forces the player to focus on one thing at a time.
For us, the time and place to "put it all together" is live BP. Until then we should be working on certain things to become a better swinger, a better timer of pitches, a player with a better mental approach, with better vision and plate discipline....you get the idea.
If we improve each small thing with dedicated attention, we slowly become a better hitter.
There's another hitting drill we love as well called two ball toss, you can read about that one here as well.
Here's A Great Hitting Drill
Here's an awesome hitting drill that we use a lot in the cages. We'll try to get a video up so you can see how this works, but for now I'll do my best to describe it.
- Set up an L-screen for short toss (front toss) from whatever distance you like to do it, 15-20 feet probably.
- Set up a tee on the outside edge of the plate, and a little bit back on the plate. It should be where you would want a player to hit the ball for an outside pitch, and maybe a little further back if anything.
- Put a ball on the tee
- Front toss balls underhand to the hitter, using the middle and inside part of the plate. The hitter hits these as normal, he shouldn't hit the tee (our hitters don't). If you accidentally throw one outside or if the hitter does hit the tee while he's swinging at your toss, just put a ball back on the tee and carry on. That won't happen much, if at all.
- Every once in awhile, fake the short toss. When you do this, the hitter will hit the ball that's on the tee.
Why This Hitting Drill Works
This hitting drill is one of the best all around things we do to force kids to see the ball before they react to it. If a player's upper body drifts forward in any way (head, hands...) before you toss, he'll be out of position to hit the outside pitch when you fake the toss.
A player that has good balance (in their legs and able to adjust) and stays athletic will still be in a good position to hit the ball on the tee when you fake the toss.
This hitting drill can be challenging at first so allow for some failure and work through it. It mimics the game situation of being fooled by a secondary pitch or surprised by location very well and teaches the hitter to be balanced and quick. Try it out and let us know if you like it, it's slowly become one of our favorite drills.
While it is very challenging, it is excellent for teaching players to keep the lower the half the same at the start on all pitches, and then to have the ability to adjust as they see the pitch. Kids as young as 12 have gotten very good at this drill in a short period of time. Give it a try, we think you'll like it!
Practicing timing is still one of the most important things any hitter can do, so we highly recommend reading our article on that.