Shortening the Swing – Developing Lightning in the Hands
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This hitting drill works for shortening players’ swings. Many young hitters have long arm swings, and fail to use their hands, wrists and forearms. Others, start the bat a long way from the contact zone by wrapping the bat way behind them. Both scenarios lead to late swings or cheating with the hitting mechanics to be quicker, as they consciously or sub-consciously realize they are not quick enough. This hitting training is also an effective way to develop the lightning quick hands to make balls jump off the bat. I like to see how balls come off players’ bats when timing isn’t perfect. Many hitters can only get hits when they put the entire swing together perfectly, but the best hitters have the hand strength to get hits even when swinging late or early.
For this short swing drill, players set the bat with the knob down and right next to the batters rear ear with relaxed hands and forearms. Without loading the bat back, batters swing. To generate bat speed, players have to use their hands and forearms. Players may want to begin these drills with a lighter, smaller bat before moving to their regular game bat. Hitting the high pitch requires even more hand strength to keep the bat barrel from dropping. As with all hitting, backspin line drives are the objective.
In time, players will begin to shorten their swing and develop stronger and quicker hands with a better bat starting position. Other hitting drills seen here force players to use their hands, too.
After tee work, and before trying these hitting drills with coach flipped balls and batting practice, players can work on quick hands with self-flips. With these flips, players try to keep balls at eye level or below, so they have little time for long swings. Young players will have difficulty with good flips at first but will improve in time.