|- Tips from the
Ripken, Sr: The Ideal Hitter
The ideal hitter would probably have a
combination of these qualities: strength, determination,
coordination, confidence, vision, rhythm, style, body
control, quick hands, and the will to learn and to take
advice. The following is a list of batting tips that can
help anyone become a better hitter.
- Select a bat you can handle.
- Learn the strike zone - don't swing at bad pitches.
- Keep your front shoulder and chin tucked in, and your
hands back. Turn your head so that both eyes are on the
pitcher - don't look around your nose. Stay on the balls
of your feet - keep off your heels. Keep your head still.
- In order to get the bat started, move your hands back
slightly as the pitcher is getting ready to release the
ball. If you like the pitch, go ahead and hit it. If you
don't like the pitch, then hold up your swing.
- Take a short step and stride - a long stride will
only throw you off balance.
- Stay on top of the ball. A slight downward swing
allows this and is a good way to keep from upper-cutting.
Keeping the front shoulder in and down also allows a
hitter to get the bat head out in front and prevents
dropping the back shoulder.
- Learn to hit your strength. Every hitter has a
strength just as every hitter has a weakness. Hit your
pitch. When you get it, don't let it get away.
Concentrate on solid, hard contact.
Piazza: Fundamentals of Batting
In 1997, Mike hit .362, the highest
batting average for a catcher in more than 50 years, and
racked up a slugging percentage of .638. With 40 homers,
124 RBIs, 104 runs, and 201 hits, Piazza had the greatest
offensive season of any catcher in the more than 100 years.
Here are some of Mike's baseball batting tips:
- Look for a good pitch to hit.
- Have a quick bat.
- Stay inside of the ball so you can hit the ball to
- Try to spread your feet a little wider than shoulder
width for balance.
- Hold your bat at a 45-degree angle to alleviate
unnecessary movement in your swing.
- Keep your back elbow close to your body to help your
hands and the barrel of the bat swing through the ball.
- Have someone watch you while you swing and check your
Gwynn: Tee for One
For me the most effective way to practice
hitting is to use a batting tee and a bag of wiffle balls.
Tee it up and start hacking. The sooner you can hit a
wiffle ball cleanly off a tee, the sooner you will become a
better hitter. When you hit a wiffle ball off a tee
correctly, it acts like a knuckleball. You can hear the air
going through the ball. When you don't hit it correctly,
you create spin on the ball and it goes all over the place.
When the ball spins alot, I make adjustments to correct my
swing. Even after 18 years in the big leagues, every winter
I go home and break out the tee and wiffle balls. It's not
the most exciting thing, so you have to be creative. I put
my headphones on and listen to my favorite music while I
concentrate on my hitting technique.
Dawson: Hitting Philosophy
"I never considered myself a home run
hitter," says Andre Dawson. "I had quick hands, a quick
bat, and the ball would jump off my bat. But I always liked
to focus on hitting for average."
- Be patient and selective.
- Try to avoid the temptation to be overly aggressive
and simply focus on putting the ball in play.
- Try to use the entire playing field.
- Do not be afraid to wait on the ball.
- Approach the plate with a plan in mind. Think
thoroughly about what you are trying to do, but try not
to force anything.
Mota: Approaching the Plate
Concentration, rhythm, and purpose are
some of the most important aspects to hitting, according to
legendary Dodgers outfielder Manny Mota. "Hitters should
take short strides and use quick hands," he said. "Taking a
short stride actually helps your hands be quicker. It keeps
your swing compact and under control."
- The most valuable advice that I can give a young
hitter is to think about hitting the ball up the middle.
If you think about hitting up the middle, you can adjust
to hit the ball wherever it is pitched. If you go to the
plate hoping to pull the ball and hit a home run, you
will have trouble hitting an outside pitch. Your front
side will have already opened up and you will not be able
to drive an outside pitch.
- Concentration at the plate is critical, and positive
thinking helps. You have to walk up to the plate saying
to yourself, "I'm going to hit the ball".
- You have to have balance in everything that you do in
baseball, especially in hitting. Your body is going to
move, but you must keep your head still. The only way to
do that is to have good balance.
- A hitter needs rhythm. Try to watch the pitcher's
hand and keep your eye on the ball.
- Be aggressive at the plate, but also remain loose and
relaxed. If you let your arms get too tight, you will
lose the advantage of having good wrist action, as well
as your power.
- If you find yourself in a slump, try to concentrate
on defense and possibly save the game with a good play.
Slumping hitters should remember that it does not always
take a home run to help the team.
- You should have a purpose to each swing in batting
practice. In your first round of batting practice you
might concentrate on hitting every pitch to the opposite
field. In the next round, try to make sure that you are
swinging down on the ball. Prepare yourself for game
situations, or the practice will not be as helpful as it
Power Bat Drill
The purpose of the Power Bat Drill for a baseball player is
much the same as a boxer using a heavy bag to train with.
Boxers learn how to develop power in their punch by trying
to power through the heavy bag. Baseball players learn to
develop power in their swing by hitting through a heavier
object than a normal baseball. The result is the same for
both athletes… increased power through the point of
- What you will need:
- A batting tee
- A plunger
- A flat soccer ball or basketball
- A hitting net (or wall)
- A bat
- How the drill works:
- Slide the plunger handle into the batting tee.
- Place the flat soccer ball or basketball onto the
plunger cup top.
- Execute your normal swing repeatedly.
The goal is for the hitter to strike the much heavier ball
without having the bat decelerate at the impact point. This
takes proper technique and explosion at the point of impact
to achieve. What you will see is that with the first few
swings, the barrel of the bat will "stutter" through the
impact zone, meaning that it will decelerate at the point
of impact for a fraction of a second before resuming its
speed to the finishing position. Concentrate on the proper
mechanics, not with launching the ball. Proper mechanics
will accelerate the bat head sufficiently to power through
the heavier ball. The flight path of the ball should be
level (around chest high) into the hitting net (or wall).
Power is all about bat speed at impact, not the size of the
player. This drill will increase the power at impact if it
is used on a regular basis. Remember to always use a flat
ball for this drill.
Strike Zone Drill
The purpose of this drill is to teach the hitter "strike
Teams get 3 outs per at bat.A coach pitches the ball from
about 40 feet in front of the plate. The hitter sets up at
the plate with a bat, strides at the proper time, follows
the ball with his head into the catcher's glove, and calls
"ball" or "strike" as the ball hits the glove.
Colored Ball Drill
The purpose of this drill is to improve reaction time and
thinking at the plate.
Paint several baseballs with different bright colors, and
place them in a bucket behind the mound. Have someone place
one of the balls in the pitcher's glove without letting the
batter see the color. The pitcher then calls out a color
before pitching the ball. The batter can only swing if the
ball matches the color the pitcher called out (and if the
pitch is in the strike zone).
(coach Mike Cole)
Pitch Behind Drill
The purpose of this drill is to prevent timid hitters from
backing out at the plate.
The timid little league batter always seems to assume that
backing out will automatically prevent him from being hit
by the pitch. He usually starts his getaway before he has
any notion of where the pitch is really headed. I have had
some success against this tendency by throwing behind the
timid batter's back. After all, he will get plenty of these
pitches at the little league level, and you don't want him
backing into them and getting hurt.
Start out using spalding or tennis balls. At first, throw a
lot of pitches behind him, then gradually decrease the
frequency of these pitches as he starts to break the habit.
Soon he will realize that he had better not back up until
he sees where the ball is really going.
This will make him safer and more confident at the plate.
And while he's watching the ball more closely, he's going
to realize that he doesn't have to hide from the good
pitches, but can stay put and hit them.
(coach Randy Wert)
Ball Hitting Drill
This drill is actually a hitting game
that allows players to build skills, learn to perform under
pressure, identify strikes, and develop a line drive swing.
Teams of 2 or 3 players compete against other teams. The
first team to score 11 runs wins. The drill can be used
indoors or outdoors. The games requires a wall, curtain, or
sections of fence. The rules are outlined before
competition begins. The wall or fence should have a "top
line" that represents the top of the scoring zone. Any ball
that hits the wall, curtain, or fence above that line is an
"out". To score, the batter must hit a line drive that hits
the scoring zone without touching the ground. The batter
that hits a ground ball keeps the inning alive. He does not
score, but he also does not make an out. Each player gets
only one swing per bat. He is either going to hit a score,
hit a ground ball or make an out. Any ball that is caught
by the defense before it touches the wall or ground is an
out. All pop ups, foul balls, and missed swings are counted
as outs. Bats are not allowed to touch the ground. Batters
must stay alert and jump in to bat as soon as the other
batter swings. Each team gets 3 outs per at bat. Defensive
players are allowed to "knock down" balls to prevent
scoring. Any ball that hits the "scoring zone" without
touching the ground is a score. The defense must learn to
react quickly and catch the ball or knock it down.
This drill is best done in a tournament format. Reward the
winning team in some way. This is a great drill for indoor
hitting. Players get to take a lot of swings. The
competition becomes fierce. It will build a competitive
fire in your timid players, and teach players to be
aggressive. Make sure to use foam or wiffle baseballs.
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