Being in the [tag]baseball coaching shoes[/tag] requires coming up with fresh [tag]drill[/tag] ideas for your team. The hitting drills sent to me by Mark help to keep the practice running fast, effective and fun all at the same time.
One of the things that I have found successful in my [tag]baseball[/tag] practices, is to incorporate a hitting cycle/stations into everyday [tag]practice[/tag].
Below are the [tag]drills[/tag] that we do, I realize that many of them are listed in your drills pages, but I have put them to great use over the past few years and it has led to our team maintaining a team batting average of over .320 for the past 5 years.
Here are the stations: (can use in any order, I usually use 6-10 per day and time the players, 2 minutes [tag]hitting[/tag] per station, 30sec to change hitters, 2 min for 2nd hitter and 1 min to change to next station)
1. ball bounce – bounce tennis ball from 45 deg angle, trigger/load on the bounce
2. overhead drop – tosser stands on chair and drops ball into the hitting zone, player must be triggered before ball is dropped
3. rear toss – tosser squats at 45 degree angle behind (off of back leg) hitter and tosses ball into the hitting zone
4. soft toss – tosser squats at 45 degree angle in front of hitter, toss to left hip, belly button and right hip to emphasize hitting to all fields
5. rapid toss – tosser tosses 5 balls in rapid succession, 5 sec break and 5 more balls
6. 2 color ball toss – tosser holds 2 different color balls in same hand and tosses both into hitting area while calling out a color to hit when tossing
7. whiffle golf ball toss – use a whiffer stick (large dowel or broom handle) toss rapid fire or one at a time, can use 2 colors as well
8. tee swings – use regular tee and work on fundamentals, I have players say out loud the swing progression, trigger-stride-swing
9. double tee – use a double tee to emphasize follow through and keeping the bat on plane through the zone (can use 2 tees if no double is available)
10. inside outside tee – set up 2 tees, one in front of plate on inside corner and one at rear of plate on outside corner – have players hit both balls in rapid succession
11. high tee – place tee on bucket to work on high pitches (ie rise ball) – hitter must keep hands high through the zone
12. knee tee – use short bat or choke up on reg bat, utilize left hand [tag]swings[/tag] only then right hand swings (important to keep opposite hand out of the way, right hand behind back when swinging with left hand and left hand across chest when swinging with right hand.
13. instructo swing – we use the Griffey instructo swing everyday – helps players work on taking hands to ball without dropping their hands
14. stay back tee – use the stay back tee to work on keeping the weight back and prevent hitter from lunging forward and losing power
15. pitching machine – set speed at appropriate level, have hitter take 5 swings from the plate, move up one step (replace front foot with back foot) 5 more swings, continue until player is 20 feet away and then back track – works on bat speed
16. net/wall swings – place nub of bat against stomach and end of bat against net, make full swings keeping hands inside
17. pitch recognition – have hitter stand in batter’s box while pitchers work on all pitches, [tag]hitter[/tag] triggers and watches ball into catcher’s mitt, hitter attempts to call out what pitch is thrown before catcher catches it – will help with timing and identifying spins
18. short toss – coach pitch from 20 feet behind screen, work on swinging at good pitches and hitting to all fields.
I have incorporated [tag]weighted bats[/tag] into several of our hitting drills, specifically #’s 1,2,3,4,5,8,9,10 – I use the weights that attach to the nub of the bat and the wraps that go around the handle, do not use weighted sleeves or donuts.
It is important that you take the time to explain each drill to the players as to how they are to do the drill and what they are to accomplish from it.
One last drill series that I have found useful – I divide my team into outfielders, infielders & pitchers/catchers and I set up 3 hitting stations on the field, 1 at home plate, 1 on the 3rd base line and 1 on the 1st base line, I have a feeder and hitter at each station and the overflow in the outfield with a bucket in each field – this gives the girls an opportunity to see results instead of hitting into nets all of the time. I penalize them with push-ups for each ball that they hit into the air (pop ups) and reward them for multiple line drives. I create a competition between the 3 groups and the winners get to choose the conditioning for the day.