Without fast, powerful hands and hips through the ball, hitters will not be successful. These two hitting drills for baseball develop these essential body parts for the perfect swing and help hitters develop a desired aggressiveness to the ball. Both drills work so well that I include them in my list of fabulous hitting drills. Both drills are multi-function, forcing hitters to do a number of the correct hitting fundamentals, and both increase bat speed. In addition, these can be done with flips, dropped balls and live batting practice, as well.
The pad drill begins by placing an object, as a player's glove, under the hitter's lead armpit. It is necessary that hitters keep their hands back with the pad underneath. It is also necessary that batters allow the pad to drop after contact, so the correct swing extension occurs. It is important to note that the pad will fall out sooner on high pitches than on low pitches and that is OK.
The pad drill is beneficial for establishing and maintaining hitting position and for having a compact swing, which is an area that so many hitters struggle with. This drill develops strong hands and forearms, which are crucial for getting the ball to jump off the bat. The video shows how the drill forces hitters to keep the correct bat angle at the start, with the knob of the bat pointing down, before forcing them to drive the hands to the ball. Any loss of hitting position with the raising of the lead elbow will have the pad falling out early, causing the knob of the bat to rise, and leading to a trailing bat barrel.
This drill helps hitters to square the ball up, especially those who hit many chopped balls on pitches below the waist. It forces hitters to drive their hands to the back of the ball, necessary for solid contact. This is also a good drill for learning to hit off speed pitches, as it will help keep the hands back.
The back knee kick through drill, is actually a front side drill but, at the same time, works the big muscles of the lower half. This drill forces hitters to use their lead arm to pull the bat towards the ball on their first move, as they will not be able to pick up their back leg without starting with a lead arm attack and a weight shift. This initial weight transfer keeps their front shoulder in, on the ball. As noticed, it also forces the desired rotation of the hips with the swing. It is important that hitters kick their knee ahead of their front knee to avoid a lunging action, and to keep their head back, through a complete rotation of the hips.
This drill helps hitters who have a lazy lead arm attack and those who have a lazy lower half rotation. Many hitters spin off the ball with little weight transfer and this drill will help overcome that. It also helps those who have a good swing but hit a lot of pop ups because of a collapsing backside, as their hips remain level with this drill. This drill prevents hitters from stepping out and opening up to soon, a common problem with hitters. Because of that, it is a good drill for teaching opposite field and through the middle hitting, as noticed in this video.
Having players exaggerate an action as with this drill is often necessary, so that they develop the muscle memory to perform the desired action. By exaggerating the weight transfer and hip opening in this manner, hitters attain the desired hitting mechanics when they perform their regular swing.
This drill has the desired effect of having hitters aggressively attack the ball with their front side however, it is possible that it will make hitters a little jumpy. If that is the result, it is worth it to get them attacking the ball, but then the hitter may have to work on some staying back hitting drills for baseball, which are here.
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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