Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baseball Drills - Hitting Drills to Strengthen Players

By Kenny Buford

Drills are routine practice elements used to build strong foundations in players. Hitting drills are effective for solving problems players face at the bat. Once a coach has identified what problem the player has, he can utilize the appropriate drill to strengthen that element of the hitter's technique.

One-knee, One-hand

This hitting drill involves the coach, acting as pitcher, and player both on one knee. The player extends the front leg, keeps his bottom hand on the bat handle and hits soft tosses from the pitcher, keeping his wrist flat and palm down. The player should use a short swing, keep his hand inside the ball and avoid rolling the wrist.

This drill isolates the player's movements to focus on hand position and technique, building strength in the wrists and forearms. The coach should be able to see if the player is employing improper technique, like rolling his wrists or swinging too long. To take the drill further, the player can use a smaller bat and swing with only one hand, alternating between the top and bottom hand.

Front Inside Soft-Toss

This baseball drill also emphasizes shortening the swing and maintaining flat wrists to build strength and increase quickness. In this drill, the coach feeds inside pitches from behind a screen.

The hitter stands, with both hands on the bat, and tries to hit the inside half of the ball. This positioning requires the player to use quick hands, because slow hands that drag the barrel of the bat will cause the pitch to jam him. In addition to using quick hands, the player also needs to maintain flat wrists to ensure that the fat part of the bat makes contact with the ball.

The feeder should watch the player's technique to make sure he is not rolling his wrists or using a long swing. The coach may want to hold the ball on some pitches to better observe the balance and stance of the hitter.

Stride and Freeze Tee

This drill addresses the stance and balance of the hitter. If a hitter gets out on his front foot and struggles to keep his weight back, he is not able to generate enough power to be an effective hitter. By using a tee, the hitter and coach can both focus on positioning and stance without the added element of watching for the pitch.

To begin this drill, set up the tee without the ball. The player then prepares to hit the imaginary ball by taking his stride and releasing his hands back. The hitter then freezes and allows the coach to check positioning, making sure his hands and weight are back and in proper balance.

At this point, the coach then puts the ball on the tee and allows the player to hit from that position, watching to ensure proper follow-through and balance. After repeating this drill 10-15 times, the hitter can then swing with the ball on the tee from the beginning.

And if you'd like to see more free baseball drills and coaching tips, go here to watch a free video:

Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of, the web's #1 resource for baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for youth and high school coaches.

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