Developing elite hitters

Developing elite hitters

Much of hitting is focused on hitting mechanics and finding the right baseball hitting drills for those mechanics. However, there is more to hitting than just finding the right drills. At training, we oriented our training around the ‘Big 3’: Bat speed, Bat-to-ball skills, and swing decisions or approach.

We focus on making movement changes with athletes for two reasons: to swing the bat harder and to make more contact. We don’t want to make changes just because of looks; we want to make sure they result in better performance.

There are three types of hitting drills that are useful to talk about. The first group of drills is programmed based on an athlete’s assessment. The next set of drills revolves around ball flight intent, trying to hit the ball to a specific part of the field. Lastly, we’ll cover some more effective ways to use tee work instead of just setting the tee up in the middle of the plate.

Offset Open: This drill improves swing depth and direction. Teaches athletes how to hit the ball the other way productively. Coiling into the back hip and maintaining posture. Offset Open is an excellent drill for hitters who struggle with downward swing path, losing the barrel, and poor barrel direction, Rolling over and weak opposite-field contact and have trouble maintaining posture.

Offset Closed: This drill Learning how to pull the ball effectively and getting to the inside pitch. Torso rotation and upper body connection. Offset Closed is an excellent drill for hitters who struggle with pulling the ball in the air, getting jammed, under-rotated torso and contact or a push sequence, where hands rotate before the torso.

Offset Rotation: This drill blends together Offset Open and Offset Closed with the game swing to work on adjustability. Training pure ball flight to all fields. Emphasizes proper sequencing of body segments. Offset Rotation is a great drill for hitters who struggle with hitting the ball effectively to all fields, getting to pitches in different areas of the strike zone, maintaining bat path to all fields.

Hook ‘Em: This drill is aimed at getting an even coil of the pelvis and torso in the load phase, controlling the stride with a forward move, Hip-to-shoulder separation timing. Hook ‘Em’s are a great drill for hitters who struggle with loading their upper and lower half, generating an aggressive, controlled forward movement with the stride, maintaining their load and early extending as they move forward.

Kershaw Drill: This drill focuses on proper loading technique into the back hip, loading into the posterior chain and train balance and stability during the stride. Kershaws are an excellent drill for hitters who struggle with being overly quad-dominant when they load, lacking stability and balance when they stride and controlling the forward move.

Step Back Drill: This drill focuses on loading into the back hip and glute, coiling the pelvis and torso during the load, staying back during the stride and not overstriding/extending the back hip. Step backs are a great drill for hitters who struggle with loading into their back hip, lunging at the ball or controlling the stride and weight distribution in the swing.

Walk Through Drill: This drill is aimed at creating rhythm in the swing, adding linear momentum and increasing intent to swing fast. The Walk Through drill is great for hitters who struggle with being rigid movers who tend to get stagnant, have trouble moving fast, hanging back when they swing.

Keep it Fair Drill: This drill focuses on rotating and clearing space, hitting the inside pitch with pure ball flight, Increase rotational velocities of pelvis and torso. It's good for hitters who struggle with poor hip rotation and lack of ability to hit the inside pitch, lack of barrel control and weak contact on inside pitches.

In conclusion, it's important to remember that hitting is not just about finding the right drills, but it's also about understanding the bigger picture of the swing mechanics and making adjustments that result in better performance. These drills provide an excellent starting point for addressing specific issues and improving overall hitting ability. It's important to work with a coach or a trainer to assess your individual needs and progress, as well as make sure the drills are performed correctly to avoid further issues.

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