Today, we’re going to talk about some terrific youth baseball drills that will help your players work on hitting and baserunning–two of the most important aspects of the sport.
Set up your hitter about a foot and a half away from the fence so that there’s no way he can extend his bat without making contact with the fence.
If you feel like you’re not close enough or you’re too far away, this is a good check point. When you place your feet, you should have a bend in your elbow. If your arm’s straight, you’re too far away, and you need to move up some.
This is a technique that we want to emphasize. We want him to take his foot, get a little bit of movement backward, and take a stride with his front foot. We want him to start with his hips first and let the upper body follow, which is something that most hitters don’t do.
The bat should be above the shoulder. He should have the bat knob pointed at the ball, then let that bat ride right down alongside his shoulder, finishing his swing.
This is kind of impressive once you learn how to do it because you’re standing so close to the fence, yet you don’t make contact. Initially if you do make contact, it’s telling you that you’re extending the arms, pushing the bat away, and pulling it through. We don’t want that. We want the arms to stay in. We want the hitter to stay in what we call a good box.
This drill forces you to stay in a good box and make sure that you maintain good hand quickness and good drive through the ball.
You should do at least 10 of these a day, and then back off the fence and do 10 more so you don’t have to worry about the fence and making contact. But every time you swing, consider doing the exact same technique as if you were standing right up on top of that fence.
Bunt for a Hit
With this youth baseball drill, your hitter will jab step with his left foot. He’s going to lay the bat head down and try to get it down the line. This is something that takes some technique.
You can pick up three or four extra hits a year with a bunt for a hit, even with poor speed. If you’ve got outstanding speed, you can pick up more than that.
Situations that would dictate it would be early in the game when you need a base runner, or if it’s close late in the game, and you’re a lead-off hitter in an inning and we need a baserunner.
Hit to Opposite Field
This drill works on our balls hitting the opposite field. This is a difficult drill at best. Seventy percent of the pitches that are thrown to a hitter are thrown on the outside third of the plate, yet we don’t typically do a very good job of hitting the ball that way, and that’s why most pitchers try to work you outside.
With this drill, let the hands lead. It’s important to look at and hit the inside middle of the ball.
Hit and Run Drill
The object here is for the hitter to hit a ground ball to the right side. We want to try to move the runner from first to third. The second baseman will be covering in this steal situation, and he’s going to try to hit to the vacated area right through second base.
We want to try our best to keep the ball out of the air and onto the ground. The only option that this hitter has to not swing would be if a ball were thrown in the dirt, which is an almost impossible ball for the catcher to handle. High pitches, outside pitches, inside pitches, they all have to be gone after if only to protect the runner.
Move the Runner
Our job now is going to be to move the runner from second to third with no outs. The objective is to get to third base with less than two outs. If we get two strikes, we’re going to try to protect. We’ve either got to hit a ground ball to the right side, or we need a deep fly ball to right field.
Again, you’re going to give yourself up, sacrifice yourself in order to get that runner in a scoring position with no outs. That will allow us, even if we make an out, to have the runner at third base with one out.
Score the Runner
This drill works on attempting to score the runner, which will certainly get the job done. We have to hit the ball back up to the middle, where a second baseman and shortstop are playing at double-play depth, or we need to get the ball deep enough into the outfield that we can score the runner.
We have to pick a pitch we can hit hard somewhere. We cannot afford to pop a ball up in the infield. We can’t afford a weak ground ball, especially to the corner infielders, because your baserunner won’t be able to advance if we do. A deep fly ball will get the job done.
These youth baseball drills are sure to help your players work on their baserunning and hitting. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook for more free coaching articles and videos!