Hitting Mechanics are the Keys to Success
Having taught hitting for 24 years now, I realize that teaching players to “load “the bat into ready position is very difficult.
Every hitter has his or her own style. Style is a player’s initial set-up, when they get in the batter’s box. The width between their feet, open or closed stance (within reason), weight distribution, and bat position is unique to players. However, style ends when batters stride – at that point, the absolutes of hitting takeover.
However, when dealing with young players, style often leads to incorrect hitting mechanics. It is a lot to expect young hitters to begin out of hitting position and transition into perfect hitting position, so it is often best to begin as close to the absolutes of correct hitting mechanics as possible. As players gain experience and understand the basics of hitting, then they can begin working on a simple loading action.
Simple Drills for Understanding the Absolutes of Hitting Mechanics
- Balance – Hitting is no different from any other sport skill, when it comes time to perform, absolute balance is crucial. A great way to help kids understand their absolute best balance position is by having them jump as high as possible from a standing two feet position. When they land, coaches have them hold that position and recognize where their weight, head, and feet are at that point. This jumping action leads to their optimum balance position. Starting as close to this position with their initial stance is best for avoiding having to stride to this absolute balance position and risk not getting to this ideal position.
- Launch Position – A good way to help kids understand hand, elbow, and bat position before swinging is with the following exercise. Without a bat, have players get ready to punch something as hard as they can. Most players will automatically set up in great hitting position with the top hand a few inches back of their shoulder towards the catcher, their baby finger down towards the ground and their rear elbow outside their hands. Once players are in that position, coaches slip a bat into their hand, before they grab it with their lead hand. Now, they understand the ideal position from where to swing the bat.
- Hip rotation – once again with no bat, players set their feet in the hitting position found from point number one above, and set their hands on their hips. Coaches set their hand out front in the hitting zone, and players rotate as fast as they can, striking the coaches hand with the rear elbow. The players’ eyes should see their elbow make contact with the hand. This drill helps kids understand hip rotation, weight shift and head position at contact.
Understanding the absolutes of hitting mechanics is the first steps with helping kids improve their batting. These basic drills help with that understanding of the absolutes of hitting.