Do you have a young student athlete who is just learning to hit? Maybe you would describe your young hitter as inconsistent. Do you feel like you understand when your child is hitting correctly and when he/she is hitting incorrectly?
We want you to be able to help your athlete reach his/her full potential when it comes to hitting, so here is the best way to developing your athlete's hitting.
1. Balance is the key to hitting. The objective of the pitcher is to get the hitter off-balance. You must develop your hitter is such a way that he/she consistently stays on balance.
A. A hitter must get to twice their shoulders width to be on balance. This truth has been known and tested for years. The hitter must have the weight on the balls of the feet. To execute this, the hitter needs to bend forward at the ankles and slightly at the knees.
B. A hitter must also have the weight distribution in the stance with seventy percent of the weight of his/her back side or back leg. The back knee is slightly inside of the back foot. This weight distribution is maintained to right before contact with the ball.
C. A wonderful drill is soft toss. During the hitting session while tossing the ball, every fourth or fifth ball, fake a toss. This will immediately show if your athlete is staying properly balanced and the head is not moving forward. A hitter must stay “behind” the ball when the swing is executed.
2. Science states that an object in movement tends to stay in movement. This is what needs to be taught to your athlete concerning their hands in hitting. The common term is “LOAD” or “trigger”. When the pitcher comes forward to throw, a hitter’s hands must move back to ready the hands to take the clubhead to the ball. There are two key components to the “LOAD/Trigger”
A. The core of a hitter’s body must start to engage. To properly do this, the hitter must feel like they are “tucking” their front hip back from the pitcher. In other words, they are moving the belt of their uniform straight back from the pitcher. This will lower their front shoulder which is proof that the core is engaging. This is not a turn of the shoulders or waist. It is a simple tuck of the front waist side of the body.
B. As the core is being engaged, the hands must move straight back. Now the hands are moving readying them to be used to swing the bat. The hands are used to swing the bat, not the arms and shoulders. A hitter desires great bat speed and that is done by using the hands.
3. Both hands are to be used by the hitter. However, the top hand is the most crucial hand in the first half of the swing. The top hand controls the clubhead or “sweet spot” of the bat. It is simple to understand this because the top hand is closest to the weight of the bat. The shortest distance between to points is a straight line. A hitter must take the “sweet spot” straight to the ball. This is done by using the top hand. The top of the bat should not drop at the beginning of the swing. The most common mistake of all hitters is they do not use the top hand to initiate the swing which causes an upper swing which is a much slower swing.
A. A wonderful drill is to soft toss your son/daughter balls, having them using only their top hand on the bat. To execute the drill the hitter must choke up on the bat at the very top of the taped handle. Put their free arm across the chest. The hitter is to take the bat straight to the ball, hitting line drives into the net.
If you put these principles into practice, you can set your athlete up for success. Which one are you going to try first?