So many hitting drills exist, but few tell a story like this one does, as it requires batters to wait for pitches, have great focus, have a compact swing, and most important, keep their hands back. Additionally, this hitting drill for baseball gives coaches a clear view of players' hitting tendencies and hitting flaws.
From behind a protective screen and directly in front of the batter, coaches flip two balls to the batter. The coach calls which ball to hit, high or low, as the ball reaches the hitting zone, the ultimate decision time for swinging or not. Coaches must challenge hitters in this way, with the last second call, not when the ball comes off the coach's hand.
As with game hitting, this two ball pitch drill is realistic in that pitches that appear to be high, end up low, and those that seem to be straight have late movement, even to the point of appearing to rise as it reaches the strike zone. The ability to wait for the ball until it breaks or moves, before squaring the ball up for a line shot to the field of the location of the pitched ball, makes a great hitter. If that sounds like game hitting, well that is what makes this is such a good hitting drill.
A couple of points are worth noting for correct implementation of this extremely effective hitting drill. First, as with many hitting drills, performing this hitting drill correctly requires adroit coaching for flipping balls into the zone and for calling at the exact right moment. Second, the further coaches are from batters makes the drill more difficult for the coach as controlling the flips is difficult from farther away. It is difficult for the batter, as the balls will have more movement and they have to wait longer. Those are good things, especially for advanced hitters and coaches, but a challenge young players may not be ready for doing. Third, coaches should focus on controlling the ball they plan on calling, without worry as to where the other ball goes for best control and drill effectiveness.
Other good options exist for this hitting drill, depending on how advanced the players are.
* With practice, coaches become adept at flipping two balls with control and with separation, as they reach the batter.
Having batters practice hitting balls to the field of the location of the pitch is always best in batting practice, for bat control and great timing. Inexperienced hitters have a hard time with this drill, which usually shows up with guessing the pitch called, missing many balls, and/or hitting all balls in the same direction of the field. All of those results are signs of long swings, no bat control or the inability to wait on the pitch.
An added bonus to this hitting drill for baseball is that players must increase their focus, in order to swing at the correct pitch. Only players with good compact swings will be able to pull off all the desired things waiting long enough, hitting line drives in the correct direction, not swinging when the called pitch is a ball, even when the non-called one is a good pitch which is the reason for the drill. Finally, and most important, with this hitting drill, coaches will be able to determine:
1. flaws in players swings
2. which players do not wait for balls
3. which pitches players struggle with hitting
4. who has bat control
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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