The Correct Bat Path is Crucial
The first few videos in this hitting class explained how hitters setup and prepared to swing. All of that was to give batters the best chance of creating the correct bat path to make hard, consistent contact with the pitched ball. The earlier videos explained the necessity of batters beginning the swing from the proper position of the lower and upper half, especially the importance of the correct bat angle. That position is crucial to get the bat on the right swing plane to make consistent contact to the inside back of the ball.
Before showing the drills to get hitters on the correct bat path, a few other points are necessary.
First, the lower half of the body generates the bat speed, but without the correct bat path, solid contact is elusive. As seen here, one can still hit line drives without power, as long as the bat path is correct.
Second, once the bat path is correct or closer to it when players add the correct hip turn and weight transfer, the swing coordinates perfectly. For that reason, I address bat path before or at the same time as working the lower body movements.
Third, in order to have the correct bat path, the proper starting position is crucial as shown in the first few classes in this series.
Bat Path Hitting Drills
To develop the correct bat path, the focus should be on the inside back of the ball. To do that, I have batters hit the high and inside pitch to the opposite field or at least up the middle. This move forces the batter to open the hips and get the hands through so the baseball bat barrel gets to the inside back of the ball. This drill can be done with a low and inside batting tee too, but it is better high at first so batters do not drop their hands initially.
Once they get a feel for that action, I set the ball down the middle at the knees and have batters hit balls through the middle. This action keeps players focused on the correct side of the ball and for getting the ball airborne with the correct palm up, palm down hand action at contact.
The next step is to have batters hit the up and away pitch to their pull side. This motion will activate their top hand so the back elbow does not come through incorrectly. Many hitters raise their front elbow or allow the rear elbow to come through in the wrong position, which prohibits the correct bat path to the ball.
After that, batters should work on hitting outside pitches to the opposite field and inside pitches to the pull side. Now that players are on their way to the correct bat path, we will add the hip turn and weight transfer drills with the next video. As mentioned, once players add the correct hip action, the swing will coordinate the upper and lower half perfectly.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” now $5 and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is in the works. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte at YouTube with over 80 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.