Over my many years of teaching baseball, I have learned numerous baseball hitting drills. I have experimented with up to one hundred of them at one time or another. I have used all of the baseball hitting drills at one time or another and have analyzed their results. Most serve the purpose of making a point about a certain baseball fundamental. However, for one reason or another, some drills do not translate into great results or work quickly enough to make them worthwhile. Also, a baseball hitting drill may work for one player and not for the next. The best drills “force” players to do the correct things. Drills that force hitters to do the correct things, even though the drill may exaggerate the action, help change habits the quickest. The best hitting drills lead to much quicker implementation of the correct fundamentals.
From my past coaching experience, I have concluded the following hitting drills are the most beneficial and the ones I use frequently.
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The correct fundamentals of hitting involve the correct starting position, use of the hands and forearms from start to extension, hip rotation, weight transfer, control of the head and a balanced follow-through. Drills that force and reinforce these fundamentals are the key drills for developing a great baseball swing. The following hitting drills are the ones that force the correct hitting actions. The drills have proven to help hitters understand and implement the hitting fundamentals necessary to improve and develop a great swing in the most efficient manner.
The Absolute Best Hitting Drills
1. Pad Drill – A two or three-inch thick pad or a player’s glove is set under the lead armpit. Hitters swing and keep the glove under the arm until or slightly before contact and then have the pad fall out on swing extension.
Goal of Drill: Developing correct hitting position and forcing the correct inside-pull move to the ball, while ensuring the use of the hitter’s hands and forearms to swing the bat in a compact, direct manner.
2. Arm Extension Drill – Hitters choke up quite substantially on the bat (top of handle), hold it only with their lead arm, and place their top hand in an open manner right on top of their lead hand. Hitters swing by pulling with the lead hand, extending both arms till straight while pushing their weight forward with their rear hip rotation and keep their chin on their back shoulder at the finish.
Goal of Drill – Forces hitters to get swing arm extension, weight transfer and a steady head, which are all necessary for good hitting mechanics.
3. Back Knee Kick Through Drill – Hitters swing the bat while picking up their back leg, rotating it towards the pitcher, and kicking it through in front of their front leg, as if kneeing the pitcher in the groin.
Goal of Drill: Forcing hitters to use their front side to pull the bat on the first move while rotating the hips and transferring their weight.
4. Finish Drill – Hitters take their normal swing and are required to hold their finish under balance by seeing the bat on the home plate side of home.
Goal of Drill – By finishing their swing in this manner, hitters force a complete hip turn while staying back, keeping their head on the ball through contact and extending their arms to extension.
5. Seeing the Ball Drill – Place an object like a ball glove or empty soda can at the front of the opposite side batter’s box. After taking their swing, hitters keep their eyes on the placed object for a second or two before looking out to see where they hit the ball.
Goal of drill – The drill forces hitters to attempt to watch the ball all the way to contact and from pulling their head out early on the pitch. It also helps prevent hitters from over swinging.
Practicing these five hitting drills, which “force” good hitting fundamentals, create improved and correct fundamental baseball swings. Hitters can combine a couple of the drills at a time for quicker results as long as there is attention to detail. Once again, there are many fine hitting drills, but these deliver the best results.