These three hitting drills develop bat speed, along with a compact, fundamentally sound swing. These drills are mostly self-explanatory and build hand, wrist, and forearm strength, all vital for gaining bat speed. Though not easy hitting line drives on the knee without having the legs to open the hips, it is necessary and done by driving the hands to the inside back of the ball, with arm extension. Hitting on the knee is also a good way of helping hitters' understanding of staying back, hitting behind the ball, not rolling the wrists at contact and for maintaining posture through the swing. These two coaching drills for bat speed work with flipped balls and dropped balls, but is not recommended for live batting practice, unless whiffle balls are used.
The pull, pivot, push drill builds up lead arm strength, often lacking in hitters, and develops arm extension and weight shift. Notice the slight variation of the grip on the third swing, another way of doing this drill. Hitters finish the swing with their top hand pointing towards center field, their head on the back shoulder, and with both arms extended straight. The drill emphasizes the initial, inside pull of the bat, the pivot of the back foot, and a push of the weight on the lower half, off the backside.
Notice in the self-flip drill, the flip comes from the top hand, while the bat rests on the shoulder, with the knob of bat pointing down. The flip must be out front in the hitting zone and no higher than eye level. This drill develops great hand strength, a compact swing, and a desired, bat-loading action. As hitters get proficient flipping the ball, they can work on inside, middle and outside pitches, with line drives always the goal. Notice the ball can be flipped lower and lower for even quicker swing development. The self-flip drill takes time for young hitters because it is not easy flipping the ball correctly.
These drills coaches use develop the bat speed hitters need to be able to wait on balls until the last instant, allowing them to recognize off speed pitches and still be quick enough to hit the good fastball.
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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