Baseball Hitting Drills and Tips

We're lucky. When you consider how long baseball's been around, we have few reasons for not becoming great baseball hitters. The art of baseball batting has over a century of the world's finest players experimenting with just what goes into popping powerful hits. Although there are as many ways to swing a baseball bat as there are players, great baseball hitting has a few proven techniques taught to every player who enters the batters box.

Tips for Coaches

A baseball hitter can have all the talent in the world, and the most expensive equipment. But without a good coach, and a lot of hard work, he or she may never reach their potential. Of course, players have their own comfort levels and abilities. Part of your job as coach is to get to know each of your batters, what his or her strengths and weaknesses are, and help each one to reach their batting goals. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your batting drills and practices.

Know your batters

  • Find out why your batters hit the way they do
  • Don't make any major changes in their technique until you learn more about them
  • Videotape the batter in action

Keep it fun

  • Turn baseball hitting drills into games and competitions; it's more fun, and players try harder

Make sure batters perform drills correctly

  • While competing is fun, make sure drills are performed correctly
  • Fewer, quality swings are more important than a lot of sloppy swings in a short time
  • Break the mechanics of hitting down into parts
  • Start out slowly; perform movements to half-speed, gradually increasing to 100 percent

Quality coaching

  • Success is not just about talent and a lot of hard work, but the quality of coaching
  • Get lots of help from reliable adults at practices so you can give kids individual support

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Baseball Hitting Drills

When teaching someone how to bat, it's best to break the mechanics of baseball batting down into digestible parts. Some of these drills can be done with either a real or imaginary bat, as well as with real or simulated pitches.

The coil drill

Why? Coiling, or 'loading', is transferring the body weight from both legs to the inside of the back leg, in order to build momentum for an explosive swing. By isolating this move, the batter can focus on what is taking place mechanically during this move, and work on it.

How it's done

  • Batter assumes the batting position, feet comfortably apart
  • Coach simulates the windup
  • Hitter coils, then freezes
  • Repeat, or move on to next batter

Coaching Tips

  • Check stance, body position, and bat grip
  • Player should be relaxed and comfortable
  • Weight should be shifted evenly prior to coiling
  • Head should be turned comfortably toward pitcher
  • Player should be able to see pitcher with both eyes

The load, stride, and pause drill

Why? Breaks down the moves that build the momentum prior to executing a powerful swing.

How it's done

  • Batter gets in position with feet a comfortable distance apart
  • Weight is balanced evenly on both legs
  • Player loads (coils), strides (small step onto the toes), then pauses and waits until pitch is delivered
  • Coach delivers a real or simulated pitch

Coaching Tips

  • Make sure the player isn't bending forward too much
  • Check for correct hand, elbow, and body position

Hip rotation drill

Why? Reinforces correct hip movement prior to swinging. Hip rotation is important to building momentum in the swing, as the hips lead or pull the hands through full rotation after contact.

How it's done

  • Begin with a wide stance, keeping weight on the back leg and bat over the shoulder
  • Coach winds up and delivers a real or imaginary pitch

Variation

  • Coach yells 'inside' or 'outside' while delivering the pitch
  • Batter coils, strides, then rotates hips open; farther on inside pitcher, less on an outside pitch

Medicine ball rotation drill

Why? Strengthens the muscles involved in the mechanics of rotation for more explosive hits

The only equipment needed is about a six-pound medicine ball, and a wall. Vary the drill by changing your distance from the wall, or using a heavier ball

How it's done

  • With feet shoulder width apart, facing perpendicular to the wall, hold a medicine ball straight over the leg farthest from the wall
  • Rotate the hips, and release the ball towards the wall
  • Repeat several times

The Swing drill

Why? Isolates the swing, breaking down the mechanics involved

How it's done

  • Assume a correct baseball batting position
  • Coach winds up the pitch and simulates delivery
  • Player coils, strides, rotates hips, then swings on delivery

Coaching tips

  • Check for correct shoulder, hand, and bat position

The fence drill

Why? Prevents the forbidden baseball swing called 'casting'

How it's done

  • Stand facing a fence, a bat's distance away
  • Get in a correct baseball batting position
  • Swing the bat, trying not to hit the fence
  • Repeat several times

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How to Swing a Bat

Like the great Duke Ellington said of jazz, baseball batting don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing. And doing it well is harder than you may think. In the words of Coach Buford at BaseballTutorials.com, "Hitting a round ball with a round bat, square, is the most difficult thing in all of athletics."

If you've honed your batting skills, it probably didn't happen overnight. You owe it to hard work, a great coach, and the greatest hitters of all time decoding the mechanics over the course of the last couple hundred years. Luckily today, you don't have to be a world class athlete to become a great batter.

As with pitching, effective baseball batting requires power "from the ground up". It's impossible to describe in print every detail involved in the mechanics of hitting. If you're a visual learner, watch your favorite batters, coaches, and good video tutorials. And while every batter brings his or her own style, body type and abilities to the batters box and bats just a little differently , there are a few basic steps every hitter knows well. When it comes to perfecting your hit, find your own sweet spot, and practice until you get it just right!

Get a grip

It's hard to hit a home runner with a weak bat hold. Sweet swings begin with finding your grip. Begin by resting the bat over your batting shoulder. Place your batting hand on top, palm facing up, supporting hand is below, just above the knob, palm facing down. Line the knuckles up. Don't hold the bat deep in the palm, but rather more in the fingers.

Prepare to swing

  • Stand comfortably, shoulder wide apart, knees bent and 'inside' of feet. Some little league baseball coaches recommend a wider stance to begin, in order to 'feel' the lower body mechanics. Back rotation foot should be perpendicular (90 degrees) to the pitcher's mound
  • Load weight up on the inner part of the back leg and foot, keeping knees inside the feet
  • Keep hands slightly behind and even with the shoulders and not too far back; the front elbow should be down and fairly close the body; back elbow higher, but relaxed
  • Stride, or step onto the toe of the front foot
  • Lower the front heel, turn the back knee inward, pointing shoe laces towards the pitcher
  • 'Connect' with the ball; connect the upper body with the lower body, getting the palm up into a 'bat lag' position

Swing

  • With the palm of the top hand facing upwards, extend the bat straight out over the plate in a sweeping motion, angling the knob of the bat towards the front toe while leading with the hands

Finish

  • Finish the swing with the bat all the way over on the opposite shoulder, hand and bat slightly above the opposite shoulder

  • Roll the wrists to decelerate the bat head. Some players like to release the top hand to create more extension and power in the swing - it's a matter of preference

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Baseball Batting Terminology

Bat lag - Leading with the knob of the bat, or taking the nob directly to the plane (height) of the ball while keeping the barrel of the bat behind the knob.

Bubble swing - 'Casting' the bat, causing the wrists to roll, and the bat to swing around the ball rather than making contact.

Casting - Thrusting the bat forward as if casting a fishing line causing the wrists to roll, creating a "bubble" in the swing; a must-not in baseball!

Coiling - Transferring body weight from front side to the back side of the body in preparation to swing.

Connection - Connecting the upper part of the body with the lower part of the body while getting into a "bat lag" position with the ball while preparing to swing the bat. Taking the knob of the bat.

Contact position - Being in a batting position to make contact with the ball.

Extension - Bringing the swinging arm straight out in front in preparation for hitting.

Heel Plant - Moving out of the 'toe touch' or ready position and planting the heel of the front foot just before rotation.

Linear hitting - The focus of hitting is more on the arms, hands, and wrists as the main sources of power.

Loading - Also called 'cocking' and 'triggering', position taken in preparation for swinging the bat.

Negative motion - Loading body weight onto the rear leg prior to move into a forward swinging motion; sometimes called cocking, triggering, or loading.

Plane the pitch - Raising the bat to the height of the ball being pitched in preparation for the swing.

Pop-up - batter's most dreaded hit; the ball goes very high and stays in the infield.

Rotational hitting - Using the entire body, particularly the hips and core, to power a hit.

Slot position - The arms drop on plane with the baseball, allowing the legs and hips to power the hit.

Stride - Step taken in order to build momentum needed to power a hit.

Sweeping the zone - The technique of swinging the bat downward over the plate as if imagining that the plate, or zone, was covered in dirt and the bat is 'sweeping' the plate.

Toe touch - Also called 'step', getting on the toe of the front foot during stride.

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