Why are baseball hitting drills important, and how can we use them to our full advantage.
Hitting a baseball is arguably (as Ted Williams was known to say) the most difficult thing to do in sports. You’re dealing with baseballs thrown at different speeds, in different locations, and moving different directions. This is a challenge – to say the least.
That is why one minor flaw, loss of rhythm, or the slightest timing issue will throw off your swing and make hitting even more difficult.
The baseball swing may seam simple to an outsider, but the baseball players know the truth. There are hundreds of different nuances to the swing that can work either for you or against you. This means hundreds of variables for every at-bat. So how can you isolate and improve upon the particular element of your swing that’s causing the trouble? In my opinion, it’s this very reason that hitting drills are so essential.
How Batting Drills can help. It can be difficult to work on a deficiency in your swing by taking batting practice. Video analysis and the feedback of others will help you understand where your swing needs improvement. However, understanding WHAT TO FIX and HOW TO FIX IT are two different issues.
The difficult part is isolating pieces of your swing to improve. But don’t panic – that is where the correct baseball hitting drills can be extremely helpful.
For example, I am in spring training and my first couple days of batting practice I was hitting too many fly balls. Ugh. Those are easy outs and I need to focus on hitting ground balls and line drives. The last few days I have been working in the cage before my day begins and I have only been working on the high tee drill. I am focusing on taking a high pitch and hitting a head high line drive to the back of the cage. This is creating good habits and a mindset that I have been able to take onto the field. My on-field batting practice sessions have improved (I believe because of this drill).
Identify what piece of your swing needs improvement and look for a drill that focuses and isolates that problem area. Repeatedly and correctly working on your deficiency will eventually make your swing better.
I am a big believer in working off the batting tee. In a game you have to deal with what the pitcher is throwing at you as well as how your swing feels that day. Using a tee is the only way you are 100% in control of your swing. There are no external factors you have to deal with (type of pitch, location, etc).
When you need to work out kinks in your swing I think you would want to be in 100% control. Once you establish some consistency off a tee you can move to some type of underhand flip and then into batting practice. Hopefully this progression will make you successful in the game against a live pitcher.
Getting the most out of your hitting drills. There are hundreds of drills that are taught daily around the world. The good thing is that doing the wrong drill won’t hurt your swing, but it definitely won’t help you. Drills have a different impact for every player. This is one area that you must customize to you and your swing.
My college coach would watch every persons swing on the team over and over through a video analysis program as well as pay attention during a game. He would create a list of 2 drills he wanted each person to work on that week. Some players would have 2 drills they did all season and some guys would have their 2 drills change every week. But he was the first coach I had that knew the importance of working with a purpose and doing an appropriate drill for my swing.
Don’t over complicate it, if you roll over a lot or pop up weakly to the opposite field work on a drill that forces your front shoulder to stay in longer. If you hook balls when you pull and you don’t get the backspin you want to properly drive inside pitches, find a drill that helps keep your hands tight to your body or one that help your hips clear all the way around as you are making contact. In my case, I was hitting a lot of fly balls so I focused on the high tee drill.
The correct baseball hitting drills can help turn a flawed swing into a strong, efficient swing fairly quickly. There is no substitute for hard work but make sure the work you put in is constructive and effective.
What has your experience been with using a batting tee or other types of baseball hitting drills? Is there a particular drill that has worked well for you? Tell us your story, and play hard! – Doug
More Free stuff from Pro Baseball Insider:
- See our top picks for 5 Best Batting Tees
- Hitting Aids – pro recommendations
- Pro tips to improve your hitting
- How to Steal 3rd Base
Bonus Hitting Drill***
For this post only, here is a preview of one of the 20 free videos which accompany our new book for sale, Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee. The 2 Ball, 2 Tee drill is very good baseball hitting drill for youth players, because it helps create a mindset that leads to proper baseball swing mechanics. If you are interested in learning about this drill (and others) in more detail, including common mistakes to avoid, I recommend checking out the book.
On a separate note – It you have already purchased the book, I just want to say thank you for supporting this website and helping us to keep the hundreds of pages of pro tips and instruction free for everyone. Much appreciated! – Doug