We have discovered one of the greatest methods for teaching baseball (or anything else for that matter) is to find a key word to help the player understand the concept we are trying to teach. And these key words work better if they are word pictures.
One great word picture that we use to help hitters get short to the ball is what we call “Shine the Light”. In our youth baseball drills, If we can help the hitter to visualize the knob of the bat as a flashlight, it will help him to get inside the pitch and achieve the short, compact stroke.
Most hitters will initially drive the knob of the bat towards the ground and they begin their stroke. This causes the bat to flip behind them, causing a long stroke, and taking the hands out of position.
Also, if the hitter lifts the front shoulder just one inch, this will also invite the bat knob to drop down .
Here’s one of our best youth baseball hitting tips. Imagine a lazer beam coming from the flashlight directly to the ball. Ask the hitter to immediately “shine the light” on the ball, driving the knob in the direction of the pitch. This will help to correct the long stroke and get the bat head into the proper contact position.
This is easy. “Shine the Light”. From that point the short stroke and proper contact will follow.
We have experienced immediate improvement in our instruction in baseball hitting drills with this simple concept….”Shine the Light”.
Hitting Drills For Baseball
First of all, we need to understand the concept that we teach in our baseball hitting, that is, in a physical activity, that activity always begins with the large muscle mass. Having said that, let’s take the stride out of the feet, and put it in the large muscle mass and put it in the hips, the large muscle mass. In doing this, there is less chance for feet to overact.
There is better chance therefore to control the stride. Therefore, we recommend that you stride with the front hip, and let the feet follow.
Feet have a tendency to get happy, not only in over striding, but in striding in the wrong direction. So you want the stride to be in the large muscle mass (hips) with a slight push towards the pitcher. The stride is only about 6 inches.
Some hitting drills for baseball that you can do are the following:
- Take the stride away completely for a while, by only lifting the front heel before the hip turn. Keep a good base. When the front heel goes down, he should pivot toward the ball. This should be only a temporary technique.
A good stride is better than no stride. But no stride is better than a bad one.
- Practice load and stride only using the proper technique, since this can be done any place. Doing enough of these should overcome the long stride habit.
In a reaction skill, it usually takes 11 to 1 ratio of correct strides to incorrect. He must work on this over and over again because he has many incorrect strides to work out of his technique.
We use our Super 8 Hitting System “Tempo Drills” which repeats this technique over and over again. This is a great way to reinforce the good habit.
Hitting Drills For Kids
I received this question the other day from a coach that is coaching a 7 year old coach pitch team. I’ve included some hitting drills for baseball to help out.
Q – I am an assistant coach on a 7 year old Coach Pitch Team. This is the first year out of tee ball for these kids. We have struggled to teach our players not to “Cock Back” their shoulders and arms during their stride towards the pitch. This move straightens out their left arm and tends to cause them to drop the bat to level behind them and try to hit the ball with their hip motion and wrist release (similar to a golf swing). We have tried the tee drill from your video series, but many of the revert to the old swing once an actual pitch is in the air. Do you have any dynamic hitting drills for baseball that can help ingrain your swing? Thanks.
Brent Quinn – Las Cruces, New Mexico
A – Hi, Brent.
I fully agree with your comment. The “Cock Back” does encourage the front arm to spoke and causes looping on the backside. Our “Hitting Agenda” video fully addresses this from our Super 8 Hitting System. It is a series of drills which reinforces the techniques in a hitting series.
One of the best drills shown in the video series is the “Drive” drill. Have the players get into their drive position, in which their hips are already pivoted toward the pitch, with the back foot pivoted so that they are on their back toe. Then, have them practice hitting from this position. They are already in their pivot. Therefore, this decreases the tendency to drop the bat on their backside. Their contacts will be noticeably better.
Hope that helps,
Here’s another question from a coach that I received the other day:
Q – I have a youngster on my team that we are having a hard time making him keep his head in the swing. When he finishes he is looking in the stands and nearly screws into the ground. He is a very good athlete and one of the best in the league but, he has developed these horrible habits. Do you have any specific drills to help break him. I have tried a ball on the ground in front of the plate to concentrate on to finish the swing. We have worked on the fence, on the tee and soft toss. He seems to improve then when he gets to the plate back to the same bad habits. Need your help?
A – Hi, Mike
Thanks for the question.It appears that the reason that he hits well is that he is turning well and that’s good. But he needs to make his head independent of his body turn. It must not pull out and his eyes must remain horizontal, like reading a book. If the head tilts, this controls the body.
Practice pivots while bringing the head into the hit zone. Another drill is that during batting practice, have him stand without a bat and hold his head as through in a vice. He can take dry swings while you hold his head in place. Practice over and over, turning the body, with the head looking into the hit zone. Another good drill is to take batting practice just taking the pitch with what is called a full take. He will load and stride and the head reads the pitch all the way to the catcher. This is the only movement. Hands stay back, with no pivot of the body. You can also place an object on the first base line and hit would look back at the object after he swings.
Refer to our Super 8 Hitting System #5 DVD (Hitting Agenda) for a full explanation of these baseball hitting tips and drills.
Hope this helps.
Best wishes and good luck,
Coach Joe Brockhoff