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How to Hit a Baseball Using Your Legs

How to Hit a Baseball Using Your Legs

 

 

For many hitters, feeling a load, feeling a separation and weight shift is not easy.
Trying to explain that to a young hitter can be difficult. I have a drill to help you do that.
What I call this drill is the “step back” drill. A lot of you may have seen it before. What I want to do is explain how this drill works and why we want to use.

You address the ball the same way that we would in the box. Maybe slightly forward so the ball is at our navel. Get in our nice stance. What we are going to do differently is – before I swing I’m going to step back. I’m going to take a step back and I’m going to feel the weight go into my back leg. This is what I want to feel. I want to feel this load. That way when I come through the ball I can feel the weight shift. I can feel the drive.

For young hitters this can be difficult. They don’t understand what this is supposed to look like. Often times you tell them to load and they do this. Just barely move. By using the step back drill, we can get them into their legs and actually feel the drive. Feel the power. The legs are a big muscle. So let me show you how this works.

I’m set up here. Ball at navel. I’m going to take a step back and drive through the ball. Let me show you that a few times.

EXAMPLES

You can see how I get into my legs. Push into my legs. I want to feel my legs in this drill. Feel the drive coming through. Use this drill especially if you have young hitters, and even high school hitters.
I used it in professional baseball to feel my legs.
I didn’t understand it as a young player. I want to feel my legs. Feel that drive and have a great game.

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When Does the Baseball or Softball Game Begin

When Does the Baseball or Softball Game Begin

 

 

We talked about when an at bat begins, but when does a game begin?  Do we prepare before they throw the first pitch?

I think it’s the same concept of going into something and doing something coming out of it.  For a young athlete generally it’s going to school before a game.  You got to go through school and then baseball.  The whole checking in process of getting yourself from school, down to the baseball area, changing clothes.  The changing of school clothes to baseball gear and making that switch and going to the field and then at a certain point putting on the spikes  and walking through the gate of the field.  I like the symbol of putting on the spikes and walking through the gate in terms of ‘what is my mission today? What is my goal?  What one thing I’m working on today?  Offensively?  Defensively?’  So there is a little bit of a purpose in what we are doing.

For a lot of kids it’s just about being with the team, being with the guys.  But if you’re going to take it to the next level you have to be on a mission.  You’ve got to be getting better.  Because when you take the spikes off you need to ask yourself what did I learn today?  What did I do well? What did I do with my goals?  What do I have to be better at?  That goes for when I go to the cage or what am I working on?  Because when I’m around athletes.  What I ask a lot is, “What are you working on? I’m not talking about ‘I’m working hard and I’m going to smash the ball’.  I’m talking about, “what are you working on?”  Hands? Stride? Staying back?  Part of that is what you retain.  So, there is a clicking in process from school to baseball.  Baseball back home.  Homework. Taking care of family responsibilities.  Go out there and do those particular things.  Parents know that this is an important life skill because we, as parents, we have work and we need to come home and be the father, mother, or parents.

So we have the changing of the clothes, shifting the gears.

We see it as a life skill and we will be a non-baseball player much longer than will be a ballplayer.  It’s a transition.

Another thing that goes with this is you are also not leaving until you are done.  You need to finish the thing.  You need to bring it to the end.  To conclusion.  In baseball it happens so much.

The pitcher gets 2 quick outs and thinks he’s done and then ½ hour later he’s still out there.

Or the hitter that has an 0-2 count. I tell pitchers’you’re ahead of him sure, but then start taking him for granted and you lose him’.  One thing about baseball is that you got to respect the moments.  If not, the game will whack you in the side of the head.

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Hitting the Breaking Ball – Angled Front Toss Drill

Hitting the Breaking Ball – Angled Front Toss Drill

 

 

One of the hardest things as a hitter, we try to do is hit a breaking ball.  A Curve Ball, a Slider – it really doesn’t matter.  We try to time ourself with a fastball, but that timing is off if we get a pitch that is going away from you or cutting across you.  I have a drill that is going to help you with that to make you a more complete hitter.  You can see I have Coach Casey over here, and I have the L screen set.  It is offset.  He is actually going to be throwing from behind me.  The ball is going to be coming across my chest.  This is going to simulate a ball coming across like a breaking ball.  It is incredibly important for me to keep my front shoulder here and drive down through my back leg, in a good power position.

I’m set up through the pitchers mound.  Not set up to Coach Casey.  I will bring my eyes over to him but I will not set up towards him.  It is going to come across and I’m going to drive down.

The goal of this is for the balls to go toward center, or up the middle.  What I don’t want to do is hit balls out to left, getting out in front.  I need to let the ball get to me.  Don’t be shocked if you miss hitting the ball a few times.  It will get easier.  It will help make you a breaking ball hitter.  Most importantly it will help make you an all around hitter.

We want to make sure we keep the weight backand let the hands work.

What I want to do is get the bat behind the ball and drive.

If I hit out here, I’m going to miss the ball.  If my back shoulder collapses, I’m going to miss the ball.

Let me say it again.  It is not an easy drill.  We’ve got to let the ball almost get to home plate and I have come down.  If this shoulder leads, I am in trouble.

So what we want to do is make sure we get back behind the ball.  Set up to the pitcher always.  Now let the ball travel across us.  Focus on back knee driving down.  Shoulder staying here.  I need to really be able to use my top hand coming down on the ball.  I want line drives to right, right center, or center field.  Use this drill.  It’s going to make you a more complete batter and make you a better breaking ball hitter.

Have fun, enjoy the game.  Don’t get frustrated with this drill because it is difficult.  Use this drill, the front toss angle drill!

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Baseball and Softball Catcher Receiving Drill – Soft Hands

Baseball and Softball Catcher Receiving Drill (Soft Hands Drill)

 

 

The number one job of the catcher is to catch the ball.  This is our mitt. This is what we use to catch the ball.  But for this drill we are not going to.  For this drill we are going to take the glove and toss it to the side.

Coach Casey is with me again.  He is going to throw tennis balls to me.  All I’m going to do is catch the ball and drop it.  Soft hands drill. I want to make sure that my hand, pending on the pitch is starting off in the V to the sky position.  My thumb never goes lower than 3 o’clock.  I’m turning and receiving the ball.  I want to be as soft as I can with this.

TOSS BALLS

Now let me show you some of them on the left side.  Turn just like that.  If my elbow starts to go up, I can go this way with the drill and get into trouble.  We want just our hands to rotate.

TOSS

You can see the idea with this.  The drill is being soft.  If you want to improve, use this drill.  It is going to make you a much better receiver of the baseball.  You can also make it go a little faster.  Have him toss 7 balls.  Get 7 balls in his hand and they come pretty quick that way all you are doing is reacting.  No time to think and we really need to be soft with our hands.

Use the tennis ball drill.  It is going to make you a much better receiver of the baseball.  It’s all about the hand mechanics.  Being soft with our hands.  Letting the ball come to us.  The drill is going to make you much better.  And make you enjoy being a catcher that much more.

 

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Advanced Catchers Blocking Drill

Advanced Catchers Blocking Drill (Don’t Let Me hit You in the Face)

 

 

It’s so important for us as catchers to block the ball.  To give the pitcher confidence! To give the coach or manager confidence!  That we are going to keep the ball in front.  Keep the double play in order.  That run is not going to score from third.

When we do the dropping drills if the catcher knows the ball is going into the dirt, its not really all that difficult to get down in front of it.

We need to raise the level of difficulty.  Coach Casey is going to throw balls at me.  Some of these are going to be in the air.  Some of these are going to be in the dirt.  There will be some strikes and I will catch them.  There will be some in the dirt and I will come down to block.

I’m still going to do the drill, but I am going to do it from my knees.  I’m eliminating the part where I’m dropping to my knees and just set up.  I’m going down or I’m staying right there and catching it.  You’ll see why I say, “Don’t let it hit you in the face.”

You can see, I have to react to the ball.  I can’t automatically go down.  I can’t just anticipate what it’s going to be.  You start adjusting and you are going to get hit in the face or the shoulder.

This raises the level of difficulty.  This is going to make you a more efficient blocker of the ball because, lets be honest, we don’t know when the pitcher is going to throw one in the dirt.  We’ve got to be ready all the time.  To become a more efficient blocker, use these drills.  Get down there and don’t let me hit you in the face.

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