Advance Retreat Hitting Drill
Once players have warmed up and established a good fundamental swing on the batting tee, it is time to recreate the good swing with timing. Maintaining the same swing with a moving ball, where timing and distance comes into play, is not easy, but the next necessary step in the hitting process. This advance-retreat batting practice hitting drill helps players do that in a fun, challenging, and competitive manner.
Little hitting fundamental mistakes become bigger hitting flaws, with greater distance. Distance compounds problems, as timing and good hitting mechanics becomes more of a factor the further from the pitcher.
The hitting drill is simple with only a little extra space necessary and a coach, who is proficient at flipping balls. Hitters begin at the base closest to the pitcher – when they hit a solid line drive, they move back one base. Whenever they hit line shots, in the coach’s estimation, hitters move to a farther home plate, and when they fail to hit the ball well, they move closer to the coach. Of course, the goal is to get to the furthest home plate and remain there for as long as possible.
Hitting line drives at the base closest to the pitcher is easiest but it gets more challenging each step back. Players must wait longer; have solid swing mechanics, and good bat control, the further from the pitcher.
As always in batting practice, hitters should take pitches that are not strikes, and they remain at the same base without swinging with this hitting drill. Coaches can make the drill more challenging with speed changes, by varying pitch locations and by designating different fields, where line drives should go.
Coaches can add more home plates when room allows. This drill gives players a better sense of waiting for balls, keeping their front shoulder closed longer and keeping their head down at contact, all things necessary for good timing and good hitting mechanics.
Finally, regular batting practice is possible in this competitive manner by setting plates down at different distances all the way back to the regulation distance from home plate.