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Baseball and Softball Batting Drill- Fastball and Change Up Drill

Baseball and Softball Batting Drill- Fastball and Change Up Drill

There’s nothing quite the same as the game for a hitter.  Practice is never quite the same how we treat it. We can’t simulate the game.  What we want to do is try to get close.So, I have a front toss drill.  Casey is going to flip front toss to me.  The firmer ones are going to simulate a fast ball.  The softer ones are going to simulate a change up.

What we want to do is make sure we are always ready for the fastball.  The softer ones are going to simulate a change up.

What we want to do is make sure we are always ready for the fastball.  We need to be always back in time for the fastball.  For most of us, we hit the fastballs better than off-speed pitches.

So, no matter what, I want to be ready for my pitch.  I don’t care that the pitcher has a great curve ball.  I don’t hit curve balls very well to begin with so I will look for my pitch.  I want to be in position for my pitch.

So, what I want to do is make sure that when I load, I’m in position and now I’m going to drive through the ball off his fastball.  When he throws a change-up and I don’t like it, I take it.  I’m making sure I’m back and I can recognize it.

Let’s take a look at the drill.

Both of those would be fastballs.  I’m getting back in time.  Now he’s going to show me a change up.  What I want to do is make sure and let it come to me.

I was in a much better position.  I stayed back.  I’m not going to tell him what I am looking for and he’s not going to tell me what he’s throwing.

I was back and ready for the fastball.

Change up and I wasn’t in a position for it.  I wasn’t quite there.  That’s what I want you, as a hitter to do.  If you’re not ready to hit that pitch, take it.

It’s okay.  It’s strike 1.  We got two more. Right?  We want to make sure we are making this as close to the game as possible.

Get back.  Look for your pitch.  Put a good swing on your pitch.  Use this drill.  Mix in the change-up.  You don’t have to them.  Make sure you are staying back.  This drill is going to help you become a more complete baseball player.

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Baseball Hitting or Batting with Two Strikes

Hitting with 2 Strikes

Hitting with two strikes is what separates the truly great hitters form the rest of us.

Many coaches teach to choke up or widen your stance with two strikes.  Both of these techniques can be effective.  I tried them both and used them both at different times.  But I would argue that physical changes at the plate with two strikes on the hitter are less important than mental changes.

A two-strike approach should involve mental change more than a physical change.  In my opinion, you should already use a short compact swing, have plate coverage, be in a balanced stance and swing a bat that you can handle.

The change should be what you are looking for and forcing yourself to see the ball longer and deeper.

With two strikes we can’t be afraid to get jammed.

In most cases the pitcher will want to throw the pitch away whether it is a fastball or off-speed.  The majority of pitches with two strikes will be away.  That is my argument with choking up with two strikes.  If the pitch is most likely going to be away, why do I want to use a shorter bat to reach it?

Like I said at the beginning, I choked up with two strikes at different times but that normally had to do with how the bat felt to me and less to do with the count.  The two-strike approach should be a mental adjustment more than physical adjustment.

Remind yourself to see the ball longer and make sure you have recognized to pitch before swinging.  If you can barrel an inside pitch with two strikes you probably are not waiting long enough to recognize the pitch leaving you more vulnerable to off speed pitches and fastballs down and away.

Don’t be afraid to get jammed with two strikes and fight!  Find a way to get that ball in play.

Until Next Time,

Chad

The Love and Frustration of Hitting a Baseball

The art of hitting a baseball can become a lifetime love affair.  But at the same time it starts a journey filled with frustration and failure. 

Hitting is often called the most difficult thing to do in all sports.

The challenge of hitting a baseball is what drives so many athletes to spend hours upon hours of practice along with hours of watching games on TV or in person.  This can become an obsession or idol if your have played long enough then you know exactly what I mean. 

Waking in the middle of the night with thoughts about our swing filling our heads, or hitting till our hands bleed only to do it again the next day are aspects of this love affair. 

Always searching for that one thing where we can say I GOT IT or I FIGURED IT OUT.  Only to go 0-3 the next day with three punch outs.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  It’s those good days that keep us wanting more.  The feeling when we hit the ball perfect on the sweet spot.  Much like golf except in golf you hit the ball pure and you’re on the green, in baseball you can hit the ball perfect only to see the centerfielder make the catch without taking a step. 

Even writing this blog stirs emotions of those sleepless nights and frustration over O’fers. 

The funny thing about baseball is that we tend to focus on the negative, not the hit that you did have but the three you didn’t get.  That is why we must focus on the things we can control.  Your approach or plan and how you executed those. 

Did you stay in the moment? 

The practice of one pitch at a time! 

The pitcher needs to execute three pitches to beat us where we as a hitter only need to execute on one pitch.    

How we handle the mental side of the game will make a huge difference in the success we have as well as how much we enjoy this wonderful frustrating game.

Enjoy the beginning of your lifetime love affair with hitting.

 

Until Next Time,

Chad

Baseball Hitting Timing Drill

Baseball Hitting Drills For Timing

 

Rhythm and timing are so important to a hitter. For a hitter to get loaded, we need him to get back.  We need to him to be in a good position.  The timing of that, and when does it take place.

I have a drill that can help with that.  It can take place in a cage or on a field, like we are right now.  But the idea behind the drill is that I am going to load back.  As I go back, Coach Casey is going to toss a ball into the air.  From here I’m going to drive down through the ball.  It’s really important that I get a good load, that I get behind this ball because you will see, as the drill goes on, the speeds will change.  Much like they do in a game.

So, let me show you what this is going to look like.

BALL HIT

That simulated a fastball with his toss.  They are down and away.  He’s not going too high with it.  I’m loading as his hand goes down.

BALL HIT

You could see that he tossed the ball a little higher right there.  That would simulate a change up.  As time goes on and you get better at this drill, you mix it up.

Kind of like what the pitcher does to you during the game.  Let’s take a look at a few more.

BALL HIT

That would have simulated a fastball.  The toss was low.  I got back in time.  I’m in position, and I’m driving down.  Let me show you what it looks like when you don’t know what’s coming.

BALL HIT

You could see that was a change up.  The toss was higher.  I have to be ready for the fastball still, and how I’m going to drive down at the ball, depending on the pitch.  It is so important that we get back behind the ball and be in a position to always hit the fastball number one, and we can react to a change up.

Let’s take a look at another.

BALL HIT

The lower pitch was the fastball.  We got to be back in time.  We got to be in position to hit the fastball every time.

Use this drill.  It’s a fantastic timing drill.  Tony Gwynn swore by it.  It saved seasons for me.  Use the timing drill.  It’s going to help you become a more complete hitter.

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WHY PRACTICE BASEBALL FUNDAMENTALS?

Why Practice Baseball Fundamentals

 

To the naked eye, baseball is not all that complex. You “catch the ball,” “throw the ball,” and “hit the ball.”  Not all that difficult, until you start to play the game.  It is then that you realize you are constantly “learning,” but never achieving perfection.  The more you practice, the more you improve, and the more you improve the more you realize there is so much more to learn.  One never achieves perfection.  That is why we continually practice the simple things in this game.  Normally it’s not the trick play, or the great play that makes the difference; it’s the routine play that puts the game in the win column. 

-Did the pitcher cover first on a ball to the right? 

-Did the infielder take a step to the right to set up for an accurate throw?

-Did the batter put the ball in play, even with two strikes?

-Did the batter move the runner over even if making an out?

-Did the batter get the bunt down to advance the runner?

The list of routine fundamentals is endless, yet the routine plays should be made nearly every time.  Yet, that won’t happen unless they are practiced over and over.  If you watch a major league game, where the players are considered the best in the world, you will see these plays often screwed up.

Here’s an example: One of the jobs of the catcher is to remind the pitcher to cover first on a every ground ball to the right side.  Simple, right?  Pitchers, often pitching since Little League, mess this play up more times than one can count. This simple play that’s practiced endlessly in spring training, as well as during the season, is messed up nearly every night.

The key is to be mentally and physically prepared to play the game.  Before a play happens, one has to know all the possible options.  Ask yourself before each play what could happen, and what would I have to do to make the play turn out right?  Practice the routine fundamentals so they become natural.  Only then is the brain ready to make that split second decision.  If one stops to think, it is too late.

Take the fundamentals seriously during practice thus giving you the best chance to succeed. 

Sure, mistakes will still happen, but less often with more repetition.  Remember, practice makes better, not perfect. 

 

Until next time,

Chad  
 

 

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