When you notice batters pulling their heads, appearing to want to kill the ball and swinging out of control, these balance beam hitting drills are great. Successful hitting is all about explosive speed, under balance. Many batters of all ages swing hard, but the bat seems to swing them, because of the lack of balance. This slump busters hitting drill helps players understand the concept of swing balance, along with helping that balance, leading to successful hitting. It is important to know that balance begins with the head positioning - as the head goes, players' weight follows, leading to balance loss. Additionally, the more the head movement the more players' eyes have trouble focusing on the ball. I recommend different size pieces of wood, as seen here, depending on the age of players. Almost any piece of wood lying around the house will work. Balance beam work is only for batting tee work and short flip work, and not for batting practice, so players are not in danger of being unable to get out of the way of pitched balls. Using a rough surface underneath or anchoring the beam may be necessary, so it does not slip around too much. Too begin players can simply work on the stride and pivot with no bat, before moving to some dry swings before hitting balls on the beam. Just standing on the balance beam is difficult for many at first, let alone swinging a bat on it. With this drill, it is important that batters have their rear foot situated correctly on the ball of the foot, so a hip rotation and rear foot pivot occurs.
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Once situated, players take swings at 100%, with the objective of remaining on the beam to a full finish, no easy task, even for batters with experience. This drill also helps kids stay in line with their step, being unable to step in or out without coming off the beam, along with helping batters find a good initial stance position. It is good to tell players that falling in towards home is better than back for good hitting mechanics, but not falling or losing balance at all is the ultimate goal. It is important that coaches emphasize game bat speed, a full hip turn, and the swing finish. Any loss of balance due to excessive head movement or a lack of lower body agility, will show up with this slump busters hitting drill, and is the reason for these balance beam hitting drills, of course. In time, players balance improves and definitely shows up when they begin to hit regularly without the balance beam.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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