There’s a reason why there are so few .400 hitters. And with hitting being as difficult as it is, it’s understandable to see why young hitters would want to practice their craft, even when they might not have anyone to work with. Quincy (Massachusetts) Little League coach Cody MacLeod shared five hitting drills younger players could do without a partner.
High Tee/Low Tee
Equipment: Two tees, two baseballs, baseball bat
Setup: Put a tee in position like you would normally hit. Put another tee (raised six to eight inches higher that the “low tee) about 12-18 inches behind the tee you intend to hit from. Put a baseball on each tee.
How To: The batter should swing the way they normally would. The goal here is for the batter to hit the ball on the low tee — but not the ball on the high tee. The swing should be on one consistent path.
Coach’s Input: “It’s a nice way to fix a kid’s swing if it’s too uppercut,” MacLeod said. “I guess you could say it lowers the trajectory to more of a line drive. It’s nice for kids who pop out a lot or whiff often."
Equipment: Tee, basketball (or a soccer ball), baseball bat
Setup: Put the basketball (or soccer ball) on the tee.
How To: The batter should swing as they usually would — as if they were hitting a baseball. So yes, that means — despite the recoil — batters should swing through the basketball. Sometimes, the drill works better when the ball is a little deflated as it makes for more resistance.
Coach’s Input: “I look at this as more of a power drill,” MacLeod said. “The target is huge, sure. But we’re not just looking to hit it. You want to see the kid destroy it; you want to see them hit the sweet spot and drive through. It’s also not bad for a kid on a slump,” he added, “just looking for a little more confidence because if he can’t hit this, then there’s an issue."
Don’t Step Out of the Bucket
Equipment: Baseball, baseball bat, tire, tee
Setup: Put the tee in position with a baseball on top. Put a tire a few inches in front of your front foot.
How To: Swing per usual, but focus on making sure the front foot lands in the tire after the swing. In order for this to happen, the batter must step forward, not side-to-side, as doing so would mean they miss the hole in the tire.
Coach’s Input: “You don’t want kids stepping out of the box,” he said. “Not only does it make it look like they’re afraid to be hit — giving the pitcher the outside part of the plate — but it also distorts them. How are you supposed to hit a nice line drive up the middle when you’re all off balance?”
The Fence Drill
Equipment: Chain link fence (also works with an L screen), baseball bat
Setup: Pick up a bat and find a chain link fence. Walk up to the fence and measure out one bat length away from the fence. This is the furthest you should be from the fence.
How To: Swing as you would for an inside pitch. The goal is to do a full swing with the head of the bat quickly following the hitter’s hands. And, obviously, no one wants to hit the fence. The closer you can be to the fence and not make contact, the more it simulates inside pitches.
Coach’s Input: “Let’s just put it this way, there might be a little recoil if the kid hits the fence,” MacLeod said. “I’d recommend this to more advanced hitters. I mean, you have to crawl before you can walk, right? What use is working on hitting inside pitches if you can’t hit a fastball down the middle? But for kids, who are pretty good hitters, I’d recommend it. It gives you a good visual. You only have so much room to get your swing off, so it’s a nice way to simulate getting the barrel of the bat on an inside pitch.”
Heavy Bag Work
Equipment: baseball bat, heavy bag, colored tape (optional)
Setup: Find a heavy bag and enough room to swing a baseball bat safely around it. Optional: Put colored tape or something on the heavy bag to mark where you want to hit on the bag.
How To: This one is pretty simple: just swing and drive through. The goal is to drive through the bag and push it with the bat even after the initial point of contact.
Coach’s Input: “Here’s a nice power drill,” MacLeod said. “You’re just driving through, which is nice. I like anything that has to do with power. It also makes kid’s hands stronger, which is nice.”
Article Content Credit To: GameChanger & Tom Joyce