Visualization is one of those intriguing concepts that players often just shake their head at, not exactly sure what it is. To help them understand it, convince them it works and to practice the concept, I have them perform this creative visualization hitting drill. When hitters pull it off, the look on their faces is often priceless. Of course, only players with good swings to begin with are ready to try this creative visualization drill.
For obvious reasons, this hitting drill is only for batting tee practice and using a larger size ball is sometimes helpful, at first. Hittingdrill is only for when hittingalone orwith a qualified hitting coach.
There are basically nine possible pitch locations from up and away to low and inside, as seen here. It is important that players practice hitting balls in all 9 locations so they do not groove just one swing location. Changing pitch locations after a swing or two at one location is good and much more game like.
Feedback from this drill can be valuable for helping to recognize which pitches hitters have the most difficulty hitting solidly and whether they tend to be under or over the ball. Once that is found out, hitters should practice those tough to hit pitch locations more.
The hitting drill is simple - After warming up, hitters look at the ball location on the batting tee, close their eyes, visualize the ball location, visualize a good swing, and swing. Good line drive contact is the goal. Any contact is a good start for inexperienced hitters, of course.
A blind fold also suffices for this drill, as seen here, and especially for those cheaters, who cannot keep their eyes closed. Hitters should practice the eyes closed technique at the nine different pitch locations. As always, getting set in the correct distance from home plate, as in the game, and setting the tee in the correct out front of home position is crucial for effective batting tee practice. Coaches can set the various pitch locations with pre-marked spots to help kids position the tee correctly. Notice the tee is set further out front for middle and inside pitches.
Creative Visualization for Professional Players Only
The ultimate creative visualization drill is only for the most advance hitters. After the hitter lines up correctly, and puts the blind fold on, the coach sets the batting tee at any location desired. The coach announces to the blind folded player the location of the ball as they clear out of the way. For example, up and in. The completely blindfolded batter visualizes the announced pitch location, before swinging to that spot. Seeing how many balls players can hit in this manner without taking the blindfold off after each swing is a great challenge, requiring great balance also, so hitters do not move out of position. As mentioned, this drill is only for advanced players, who have a great idea of pitch location contact points.
One further advantage to this creative visualization drill is that when one sense is taken away, in this case, vision, players "feel" their swing more than with their eyes open.
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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