What Batting Practice is For
When you watch major league players take batting practice, you will notice a few things. First, they bunt the first few balls, take some hit and run swings where they try to hit ground balls, followed by some balls hit to the opposite field. Then and only then do they begin to drive balls to the field of the location of the pitched ball. All of those initial batting practice habits have a purpose.
It is so easy to get into the “hit the ball as far as I can mode” and similarly to “swing for the fences,” at this time. Nothing is more detrimental for players than that hitting mentality, as that usually lads to over swinging, bad game timing, and a definite waste of valuable batting practice time.
Coaches should help young players learn to use batting practice for the most benefit, namely, for waiting for the ball, good timing, rhythm and balance, and bat control. Those uses of batting practice help hitters in games so much more than swinging for the fences, as well as helping develop better hitting mechanics for the long haul.
Best Ways to Use Batting Practice
- Begin by seeing the ball – Bunting the first few pitches, with good bunting technique, to see the ball all the way into the contact zone is a good start and for getting a feel for timing the ball, as well as for practicing bunting.
- Learn to control the bat – players should initially practice bat control by hitting some ground balls, followed by some fly balls with a singles type swing. Players should follow that up by doing the same with driving balls on the ground, in the air, and on the line to all fields. Players, who learn to make those adjustments and handle the bat, are valuable when it comes to game like situations.
- Swing only at strikes – unless it is a hit and run swing, taking pitches that are not strikes by watching them all the way to the catcher’s glove is a good batting practice habit.
- Do not forget recent game results – this is the time to make on any necessary hitting adjustments. For example, players who have been late on pitches in games should work to be quicker by pulling pitches.
Good coaches should help players develop these habits, along with helping hitting mechanics to create great game performers.