Baseball Hitting Drills for Kids Who Step Out
One hitting problem that everyone recognizes is batters stepping into the bucket. However, few know how to get batters to stop doing it. These baseball hitting drills for kids work to solve that problem as simply, telling them to quit stepping out, or in the bucket, rarely changes that bad habit. Additionally, setting an object behind them in batting practice to prevent stepping out will not solve the problem in games, as batters will likely go back to stepping out.
The first thing to check is the batter’s distance from home, as standing too close will lead to stepping out. Along the same lines, hitters, who have a closed stance, tend to step out. Any motion away from the ball is not good, so hitters should try to work with an even stance. Additionally, many young players do not realize that the step and swing are two separate actions, so they step out to get the bat out front. Finally, there are some young hitters, who step out over fear of the ball. Fearful players require extra attention and more time to work through their fears.
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However, most stepping out problems result from long swings. Any time the bat drags, hitters subconsciously know they will be late, so they make up for it by opening up early. The solution to hitters stepping out, whether it is from fear of the ball or bad mechanics, lies with better understanding of hitting fundamentals, increased use of the hitter’s front side, a compact swing and these baseball hitting drills for kids..
As implied above, even though the problem is with the batter’s lower half, the solution to the problem comes from the following upper half, front side drills. The good news is the drills help all hitters who step out.
This is a gradual process and it is best to begin with lighter weight objects for young players, before proceeding to using their regular baseball bat.
Great Baseball Hitting Drills for Kids Stepping in the Bucket
The first drill has batters snap a wet dishtowel and hit whiffle balls off a batting tee. Notice line drives are possible with a towel and a nice sound occurs with the towel snap, as with regular hitting.
The next drill is similar and done with a whiffle ball bat. This karate chop, lead arm action prevents stepping out, if players are to make contact.
The next drill, done by choking up on a regular bat also requires use of the lead arm as the swing will begin by the initial pull of the lead hand. The conclusion of this drill is worth noting as batters finish with their rear hand pointing at the pitcher. Batters, who step out, will finish with their back shoulder and top hand going towards their pull side.
The back knee-pick-up drill forces the front side to the ball as the weight shifts and stepping out usually will not occur with this drill.
Using two tees, one on the inside corner and the other on the outside corner, helps players gain the understanding that the stride and swing are two different moves. Coaches have batters step first, so they have the same stride each time, before calling out which pitch to hit. This drill also helps hitters to realize they must open the hips after stepping to hit the inside pitch, instead of stepping out initially.
Advanced Baseball Hitting Drills for Kids
The next drill, for advanced hitters, is similar and has batters hit the dropped ball when dropped, or hit the inside pitch on the tee when the ball is not dropped. Because hitters have to expect to hit the dropped ball, they must step in initially. As the previous drill, this gives hitters the correct understanding of stepping the same for each pitch before swinging.
The behind the hitter flip drill also forces the stride to be direct so they can see the flipped ball.
After numerous repetitions of these drills, the muscle memory and understanding begins to solve the stepping in the bucket problem in most instances. Most of these drills work with short distance straight on flips, also.
Of course, there comes a time when players have to try it with live, batting practice. Coaches should begin with pitches to the outer half of home plate to get hitters comfortable stepping into the ball, before alternating inside and outside pitches. Coaches may want to have hitters begin batting practice without a stride, at first. Finally, for hitters who are fearful of the ball, a softer, safer ball is best for batting practice along with many more repetitions of these baseball hitting drills for kids are necessary.