3 Hitting Drills to Improve ConnectionDec 14, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes
This weeks episode is with Andy Barkett.
Andy is a former MLB player and coach, and recently was the hitting coordinator for the Chicago White Sox
Today, we're going to talk about rotation and 3 drills you can do with your players to help them improve their ability to keep their have a direct path to the incoming pitch.
First let's define it:
The first movement when the hitter starts to turn their body towards the ball. The hitter should start to rotate slightly before their front heel lands at the launch position and continue to rotate into contact.
The most common flaws I see is at the beginning of rotation.
Hitter's will either stand up too early and lose posture, causing them to have a steep bat path (swinging down), their top hand gets lazy and the barrel is under the ball, or they cast their hands away causing them to have timing and consistency issues.
Obviously, it is pitch dependent, if it's an outside pitch the hitter's hands will slightly move away. But for a pitch right down the middle, I like to look at the back elbow.
If the elbow is extending too early, or you see the first movement of the hands move straight ahead towards opposite batters box, they're casting.
If the back elbow is staying close to the hitters body and their hands have a direct path to the incoming pitch, they're not casting.
Here are a few side angles that show how each of these hitter's hands stay close to their back shoulder at the beginning of rotation, and their hands have a direct path to the ball.
Below are 3 drills you can do to help hitter's improve their first move in rotation.
Equipment: Tee, coach flipping/throwing
Purpose: To help hitters improve their bat path during the initial rotation phase.
- Have the hitter get in the batter’s box
- Tell them to get in their stance
- Initially, have them spread their feet apart and not let them stride
- Have them place the handle of the bat on the shoulder
- Instruct them to 'load' so the knob of the bat is facing the catcher
- Tell them to swing directly off of their shoulder.
The 'Band Turn' hitting drill aims to enhance a hitter's swing connection and overall mechanics by utilizing a resistance band. By incorporating the band's resistance, the drill helps hitters develop a better sense of the path and connection of their swing, promoting more efficient and powerful hitting techniques.
- Begin by securing the resistance band to a sturdy anchor point or having a partner hold the other end.
- Hold the band with both hands, positioning it in a way that mimics the grip and motion of a bat.
- Initiate the swing while maintaining tension in the band, tracing the path of the swing while focusing on the connection between the hands and the body.
- Emphasize the importance of a controlled turn, ensuring that the hands and bodywork in sync throughout the entire hitting motion.
- Pay attention to the resistance provided by the band, using it to provide tension but not so much that the hitter is ‘forcing’ a movement to move the band.
Hook em (MB)
Equipment: Medball Wall to throw it against.
The 'Hook Em' hitting drill aims to improve a hitter's connection with their upper body (casting, losing scap during forward move, etc) while enhancing proper weight transfer and balance during the swing.
By having the front foot hooked around the back foot in the starting position, the hitter is forced to start in a position where their back hip is already loaded.
- Tell the hitter to start with the front foot slightly hooked around the back foot, then tell the hitter to stride toward the wall, releasing the 'hooked' foot position.
- Emphasize maintaining a balanced stance during the stride, focusing on 'controlling' the forward move (stride) and not rushing.
- Tell them to relax their upper body with squared shoulders and one hand on each side of the ball.
- The player will stride and release the ball with both hands, resembling the swing motion.
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