Hitting Drills for Head Control
Controlling the head is necessary for consistent hitting. The head is a key to balance and a steady head means steady eyes, crucial for seeing and hitting the ball. Wherever the head goes, the hands that control the bat follow, so any head movement, affects the path of the bat.
Why Head Control Hitting Drills are Necessary
As seen here, there are four common head moving mistakes. The first has the head moving forward more than a couple of inches on the swing. The second is dropping the head, causing the back hip and shoulder to collapse to the ball. The third head-moving mistake has the head going up as the body straightens and posture changes. The fourth mistake is simply pulling the head off the ball at or before contact.
Hitting drills that control the player’s head solve these hitting mistakes. Of course, batters, who move their head a great deal on the stride, must work on staying back and keeping the head on the same plain as they step into the ball.
The good news is that hitting coaches have a great number of drills available for fixing the head-moving problem. Finding the drill that works best is often a trial and error process. With trying to solve any hitting problem, it is best to begin by simplifying the hitter’s actions.
Head Control Hitting Drills that Work
This first drill greatly simplifies any excess head movement as it takes the lower half out of the swing. On the knee hitting may not translate when the hitter bats normally, but this drill is a good start to understand how steady the head should be throughout the swing. The drill forces hitters to use their hands to swing the bat while keeping the head back over the rear leg throughout the swing.
The feet together drill does the same thing, as it is performed with no stride and staying tall. It further demonstrates a hitter’s ability to reach knee high pitches, without having to drop their head to the ball.
The drill with the bat in behind the hitter’s waist conditions players to stay back and rotate without pulling the head. When done correctly, the head and eyes move to the ball at contact, as the hips rotate. Fast hip rotation, without pulling the front shoulder and head, requires a lot of muscle memory practice and this drill conditions those.
A similar drill for tracking the ball, has the coach flash a number as players hit the ball off the tee, with players reading the number immediately after contact. A with all batting tee practice, players should begin with their eyes out towards the pitcher before mentally tracking the ball.
A similar drill for regular batting practice has an object set out front of the opposite side batter’s box with hitters looking at the object after contact, before seeing where the ball goes.
Hitting with just the top hand also reinforces the correct hip rotation, which allows hitters to stay behind the ball with a steady head. Hitters should perform this drill by chocking up at first.
Best Hitting Drills for Head Control
The next drill has players set an object down, as a bat or broomstick, an inch or two in front of their head in their initial stance. The object of the drill is to take the swing and keep the head from going forward of the stick. Players should check their head position on completion of their swing. This drill works just as well with a pitched ball in batting practice, where excessive head movement is more likely to occur. Once again, players should check to be sure the head has not gone forward of the broomstick after swinging.
The following drill may seem a little odd for controlling the head, but it works to understand how to hit low pitches without falling over to hit the low pitch. By going down to the knee, players correctly hit the low pitch with the back knee break, as the head stays upright and over the back leg, while the hips rotate.
Finally and maybe the best of all the hitting drills, has players on a balance beam for batting tee work and for short flip work. Hitting on a balance beam may look easy here but just standing on it is not easy, and maintaining balance while swinging takes a great deal of head and body control. Hitters with a lot of head movement or incorrect feet placement will fall off the beam. Because of the inability to move on the beam, taking regular batting practice on the beam is never recommended.
As hitters get their head under control with these drills, more consistent hitting is guaranteed.