Great Batting Practice Techniques for Less Experienced Coaches
Creative batting practice techniques can get hitters out of hitting slumps without players even realizing what is going on, which is a good thing. These coaching methods also help coaches explain hitting mechanics, too.
Great baseball hitting coaches are always on the lookout for hitting tendencies developing. When those tendencies are negative ones, coaches have to come up with a plan to help reverse the negative trend before players get discouraged and lose confidence. Finding mechanical solutions for hitting failure is not easy but these batting practice techniques can solve the problems without coaches having to have a lot of knowledge or recognition of hitting fundamentals.
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Additionally, these coaching techniques can be for teams or individuals, depending on the situation. As implied, when players are slumping, coaches can tell players to try this or that mechanical adjustment, but that often makes players overly conscious of the situation, which often makes things worse.
Batting practice techniques for under swinging
Many young players are happy just putting the ball in play, without any effort to drive the ball. This scenario shows up with batters stopping their swings after contact, while appearing to begin running to first base even before swinging. A good coaching technique for these type hitters is to have batting practice with a baserunner at third base and have players practice hitting sacrifice flies to score the real or imaginary player at third. With this hitting setup, players will know the objective of trying to drive the ball to the outfield and finish their swing, not happy with just hitting the ball. Coaches can have a home run derby batting practice to help with this incomplete swing hitting method, too, but that may lead to upper cutting and over swinging.
Batting Practice for over swinging
The opposite case involves hitters, who over swing and try to “kill” the ball with every swing. Even though the goal is to swing hard, these type players swing so hard that they lose balance and often pull their heads off the ball. A good way to help these players is to have batting practice where players practice running out of the batter’s box quickly. Timing players with a stop watch to first base helps prevent over swinging. Of course, this may tire players quickly so coaches can just time players for the first step or two.
Batting practice techniques for pop-up and strike out hitters
For players who continually hit balls in the air for easy outs or swing and miss a lot, which usually means they are missing under the ball, coaches should teach players the hit and run play. For batting practice, coaches have a real or imaginary player at first base, while batters try to hit ground balls, the correct way to perform the hit and run play. This process helps batters figure out how to hit the top of the ball and prevent the lazy air balls and swing and misses. This batting practice method also is good for batters who are unaggressive at home plate, as the hit and run play requires players to swing no matter where the pitch is.
Finally, some slumps come from players failing to watch and time the ball from the pitcher’s hand. When that is the case, coaches can have players yell out when the ball leaves the batting practice pitcher’s hand and yell when the ball reaches the hitting zone. This technique helps hitters’ timing and gets players’ minds off their hitting mechanics and on the baseball, where their attention should be.
As implied, these hitting methods help players improve and change, along with helping coaches make hitting changes without actually knowing what players are doing mechanically wrong when hitting.