45 Degree Angle Drill

Excerpt from Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee, 2nd Edition

45 Degree Angle Drill

Hitting Drill 9 - 45 degree angle_webSummary

This drill helps to achieve optimal bat path and swing plane by getting the barrel of the bat in the zone early and properly.

The earlier the bat can get into the hitting zone and on plane with the pitch the better chance you will hit the baseball squarely with your barrel.  Once you get better with this drill you will see a noticeable difference in the way the ball jumps off the bat.

Purpose

This drill helps with three key elements in relation to bat path and swing plane.

  • Getting the bat in the hitting zone as early as possible.
  • Gaining barrel velocity behind the ball and hitting through it.
  • Proper balance and being athletic in your legs.

Most of my life, I was taught to chop down on the baseball and use my top hand.  This type of hitting makes for a collision hitter which is difficult to find any sort of consistency.  Getting the bat in the hitting zone early and learning how to gain barrel velocity by swinging on plane with the pitch (instead of swinging level, up, or down) will increase your chances of hitting a baseball.  This blog post explains more.

The third element in finding proper balance and being athletic will happen naturally the more you do this drill.  Not only will you not lose balance after a swing but you will be able to swing harder.  Once you feel like you can swing 100%, your legs are working correctly.

Equipment
  • Batting Tee
How To Execute This Drill
  1. Tee placement. Put the tee on top and right in the middle of home plate.

To make the drill easier move the tee a few inches closer to the pitcher, and to make it more difficult move the tee back towards the point of home plate.

  1. Place your bat on the ground so it is lined up with the angle of home plate from the outside corner to the point (Fig 19).  This imaginary line is where your back foot should be.  Make sure the angle of your foot is fully on this imaginary line.

Now take your front foot and be square to your back foot.  This angle should put you at a 45 degree angle to home plate (Fig 20).  Instead of being squared up to the pitcher you would be squared up to the shortstop (if you are right handed).

From this position you will notice how your bat must enter the hitting zone early in order to drive the baseball.

  1. No stride. In this drill you are not going to stride.  So widen up your stance if you need to find your athletic base.
  2. Athletic base. To help find this position with your legs you want to have flex in your front leg (about 60% of your body weight) as you start your swing.

Fig 21 - 45 degree angle_webAs you swing your front leg will straighten out and be fully locked out at contact.  If you have too much weight on your back leg as you start your swing you will lose your athletic base as well as lose balance.

I noticed that syncing hand rhythm and settling into my front leg to start my swing made this drill easier and helped me find the ideal athletic base with my legs.

  1. The swing. As the swing happens, gain barrel velocity behind the ball and swing at the plane of a normal fastball coming into the hitting zone.  This is your ideal swing path.
  2. Try to hit the ball to the back of the batting cage.  Make sure your effort level is low.  Repeating this drill will help to feel your body and how to get the most out of your body throughout your swing.

Checkpoints

  1. You should be able to hit a line drive in the center back of the batting cage. If the ball is going to the opposite field side of the cage you are not getting the barrel of your bat in the hitting zone early enough.
  2. Staying balanced after you take a full swing means that you had proper weight distribution throughout the swing.

This is a great drill because in order to stay balanced your legs have to do many things correctly.  I always felt it was easier to feel your way through a swing than to get to mechanical.

If you are not balanced try getting more weight into your front leg as you start your swing, but make sure your front leg locks out at contact.

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Excerpt from Baseball Hitting Drills for a Batting Tee (p. 13), 2nd Edition

Part 2 – Your Personal Drill Helper (updated)

The drills in this book were created to address specific problems or to develop certain skills.  If you have any of these common swing problems, there may be a particular drill more helpful to you.

Common ProblemDrills that will help
Front shoulder opens up too quickly9 (trouble reaching the outside pitch)See drill #2, 3, 8, and 15
Uppercut4, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14
Wrists roll over19 too quickly (Hitting too many weak ground balls to pull side)2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 18, 20
Inconsistent hand path (Not hitting many balls on the barrel)1, 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19
Backside1 collapses8 or not getting on back toe at contact (Fouling good pitches straight back); not getting to 50/50 weight distribution3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14
Weak swing (i.e. Looking to hit with more power/bat speed)2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 16, 20
Too stiff (no rhythm)6, 9, 10, 18, 19
Strike zone judgment1, 12, 13
Too many swing and misses1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 15, 17, 19
No separation20 at contact.  Your hands come with you when you stride.  They don’t stay back. (Weak pop flies to the opposite field)3, 5, 7, 12, 17, 19
Upper body dominant (Have trouble with low pitch, don’t rotate back foot, or can’t stay balanced at follow through.  Not using legs properly)5, 7, 9, 11, 16, 20
Getting around the baseball or not staying inside the ball11. (Hooking or top spin line drives)3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13, 15
Too many pop-ups (may be caused by uppercut or losing the barrel)3, 4, 6, 9, 10
Unknown problem (these drills either isolate or give instant feedback, which is helpful  for diagnosing a swing problem)2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 19, 20


About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies

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