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Hitting Drills

posted Oct 24, 2011, 11:37 AM by Ray Hughes   [ updated Oct 26, 2011, 3:41 PM by Pam Nelson ]

You don't have much time in your practices, so it is critical to maximize the time you have. As a coach, one of the best things you can do to improve the skills of your players is to minimize the amount of time they stand around waiting. This takes more planning and preparation, but will produce greater results. Utilizing multiple hitting stations and rotating your players can help you maximize the number of swings they take. Nothing is worse than one kids hitting and the rest of the players standing in the field waiting for the one or two balls that may get hit their way.  

Below is one example of how to maximize the number of quality swings each player gets in a short amount of time.

Divide players into 3 groups. Pick 3 of the 4 drills below and have stations set up with coaches at each station. Groups spend 10-15 minutes at each station and then rotate to the next station. Players can get 100 or more swings in a 30-45 minute period of time. 

Station 1 -- Live Hitting

Players are at home plate for live hitting with baseballs or whiffle balls depending on the amount of space available. Each batter gets five to ten pitches. Second hitter should be nearby, waiting to hit. Others gather (shag) balls that are hit. After hitting, rotate to shagging. Have players rotate quickly so as not to waste time. Base runners can also be added and instructed to work on reacting to the hit ball. Hitters can also work on hitting the ball to different fields according to the base runners and the situation. In this drill the focus is on timing a live pitch from the proper distance, or tee-ballers getting used to hitting on the field in a game like situation.

Station 2 – Soft Toss / Tee Work

Players hit whiffle balls into chain fence off tee(s) or soft toss. Depending on the age of the players, they can toss to each other and rotate to hitting off tee(s). Try to have enough tees or coaches to have them hitting constantly in this drill. Older players may not like the idea of hitting off a tee. Help them understand that big league players practice off the tee because it helps them focus more on the mechanics of their swing without having to worry about getting good pitches to hit.

Station 3 -- Hit/Take

Coach lobs ball in or out of the strike zone and commands “hit” or “take.” Toss five whiffle balls to each player and have non-hitting players gather the balls back to the coach. Rotate after every five to ten pitches. Keep them moving. In this drill the focus is on balance.

Station 4 -- Circle Hitting

Coach stands in outfield with a bucket of whiffle balls. He has 4-6 players around him in a circle, about 40 feet away. All hitters should be ready to hit as coach throws a pitch to one kid and then the next in rapid-fire succession. When you run out of balls, gather them up and continue. Coach calls out prompts such as "trigger", "step" and "swing" as needed to help players with the key language and the progression of the swing. In this drill the focus is on technique, hand eye coordination and maximizing the number of pitched balls the players can hit.