As a player or a coach, you should always be looking for ways to improve either yours or your team’s ability to hit a baseball. It is important to learn the fundamentals as a starting point. These are things such as the stance, hand placement, arm position and footwork.

But there are many things that can go into a player’s ability to improve their hitting. There are also many drills that a player can do that can help to either reinforce some of those fundamentals or to teach them some new tricks.

In this article, we will provide some drills that you and/or your team can do that we hope will help.

Basic Drills

Coil Drill

  1. Player will get in their stance and prepare for a pitch
  2. Coach will windup and throw an imaginary pitch. The hitter will work on his coil and then freeze when he has completed it.

Coach will watch for:

  • Proper grip
  • Is the player relaxed and comfortable
  • Is the weight shift about right or too much
  • Are his hands in the proper position

Repeat this basic drill several times for each player.

Stride Drill

  1. Player will get in their stance and prepare for the pitch
  2. The coach will wind up and throw an imaginary pitch. The player should coil, stride and then freeze.

The coach will watch for:

  • Is the weight still back? Make sure the hitter is not lunging.
  • Are the hands still back and have they dropped
  • Is the body still aligned properly
  • Is his head still at the same height

Hip Rotation Drill

  1. Hitter takes normal stance with the bat behind his back
  2. Coach delivers an imaginary pitch while yelling inside or outside pitch
  3. Hitter will take their normal coil, stride and rotate his hips open. The hitter will rotate their hips farther on an inside pitch than an outside pitch. Players should focus on the back hip driving the rotation. There is a transfer of weight but the back foot should still be firmly on the ground in the “squashed bug” position.

Swing Drill

  1. Player will get into their normal stance
  2. Coach delivers an imaginary pitch while yelling inside or outside pitch
  3. Player will coil, stride and then swing at the imaginary pitch

The coach will watch for:

  • Are the player’s shoulders rotating on a level plane
  • Are his hands leading the bat
  • Is the swing level

Plate Discipline Drills

Up the Middle Drill

There are a lot of players at all levels who have trouble staying back on balls. They are always assuming a fastball is coming and end up out in front of off-speed pitches. This is a drill that will help players to learn how to adjust based on the speed of the pitch.

  1. Use soft tosses for this drill to simulate off-speed pitches. Throw the hitter several pitches at one speed and then slow it down to disrupt their timing. Watch to make sure they are staying back.
  2. Then tell them that you are going to throw a few slow pitches but don’t want them to adjust when they start their stride. Let them get to their stride and then hold for a second to adjust to the slower pitch. This will help them how to wait on a pitch and stay back before starting to swing.
  3. By pausing and keeping their weight back before starting their swing they will learn to handle the off-speed pitch.
  4. The final part of the drill is to have the hitter try to hit all of the pitches through the middle of the field. This will reinforce staying back on the ball.

Inside, Outside Drill

Hitters may sometimes modify their swing based on thinking that a pitch may be inside or outside. This drill can help them to focus on waiting until they know where the pitch is before leaning one way or the other.

1. Use two batting tees, one in front of the plate on the inside and one in the middle of the plate on the outside. Place a ball on each tee. Set the inside tee lower than the outside tee.
2. Have the player begin his stride and call out inside or outside before the stride is completed.
3. Player then needs to hit the appropriate ball. This will eliminate the player leaning one way or the other during their stride.

Fence Drill

This drill can help players develop a short, quick swing which is helpful for hitting inside pitches. Do this drill in a fence area where a player can swing freely.

  1. Hitter stands parallel to fence less than one bat length away. Hitter should imagine an inside pitch and swings bat dragging the bat head behind their hands until out in front of their body and then extending the bat head towards the imaginary ball.
  2. This drill can be especially helpful for young players who that tend to loop the bat during their swings.

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