Fundamentals of Hitting are Never Easy
This article title is another one of those that may seem a little misleading. One could argue there is nothing simple about hitting, the fundamentals of hitting, or teaching them. As is often stated, hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing to do in sport. Hitting it consistently hard as one moves up the baseball ladder requires impeccable mechanics.
The good news is that ways exist that simplifies the mechanics of hitting, which help players learn and coaches coach. Each of these methods simplifies the essential aspects, so that young hitters learn sooner than later. Doing these simplifying things takes a long time to work with weak and less athletic players.
The good news is that each of these drills help develop strength and balance, which leads to much-improved hitters in the end. These techniques help with players who are slumping too because it is always best to go back to the basics when struggling. Shortening things often gets players going again. Coaches can have players try the following techniques individually or together. They all help players improve the fundamentals of hitting.
Simplifying the Fundamentals of Hitting – Batting Practice Techniques
#1 Set an object like a sponge or baseball glove under one or both armpits. Most young players are arm and elbow swingers. They either lack knowledge of the fundamentals of hitting or lack strength in the hands and forearms. This hitting technique forces players to use the smaller muscles and builds strength like few other drills can. Players should allow the object to come out at least by the time of contact.
#2 Have hitters sway back and forth before the start of the pitcher’s delivery. Stillness and a lack of rhythm are swing and timing killers, so this smooth movement is a good way to prepare to hit. Also, teaching young players how to load to swing is one of the most difficult coaching tasks. The slight movement does not allow them to be still before swinging, something many youth do. The “sway” also helps the initial balance, as well as the concept of weight shift.
#3 Do not have batters stride. Most hitters’ mechanics fall apart when they stride. A great way to simplify, avoid any early mechanical breakdown and stay back before swinging is with the no stride approach. Anything that prevents lunging and over-striding is helpful. The no-stride approach helps develop fast hips and sound hitting fundamentals. The swaying action from above will get them ready and moving, making the stride less necessary.
#4 Have batters yell now when the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. Many hitters focus is not on the ball from the beginning. Without complete concentration on the ball at release point, timing is difficult. This technique helps player focus and timing without thinking of the mechanics of swinging.
#5 Have players think of hitting every ball back through the middle. Adjustments are less when players focus on smacking everything to center field. Batters can adjust to the outside and inside pitches as they gain better bat control and experience by thinking up the middle.
#6 Have players look at an object on the ground after contact before looking to find the batted ball. Having one’s eyes track the ball all the way to contact is by far one of the best batting habits. It also prevents over swinging, pulling the head and front shoulder off the ball.
#7 Have players finish their swing to the middle of the back. A full finish tells hitters that they stayed back and had a full hip rotation, necessary for full power. Having a nice A-frame between the legs requires the firm front leg and break of the back knee.
The fundamentals of hitting are not easy to perform or teach, but breaking things down onto simple techniques helps players learn and do. Finally, having players do some of the above on a batting tee first is a good plan.