Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Make the most of batting practice by addressing mechanics in steps

It's easy for young baseball and softball players to get wrapped up in the commotion of batting practice. Sometimes it turns into a home run derby, and other times it may be looked at as a break after a long day. For some players, this is okay, but for the ones that actually need extra attention devoted to their swing, a weak batting practice session is only going to make matters worse.

Coaches are usually eager to tell their hitters about the minor tweaks they need to make to their swing after they strike out or pop up during a game, but rarely is there even time to address that individual adjustment during practice. Sure, hitters can keep it in mind during batting practice (BP), but with so many other parts of the swing to focus on, it's a hard way to break a bad habit.

The best way to tackle small adjustments to a swing is by breaking it down and concentrating on the areas that need attention. Likewise, the best way to focus on those minor mechanical issues is to break up batting practice into stations.

The only softball and baseball equipment that players need for these drills are batting tees, batting nets, baseballs or softballs and baseball or softball bats.

The first station should be a tee drill that allows hitters to focus on just their swings, rather than seeing the ball in. The next logical station should be a soft toss drill, where players should consistently hit the ball directly into the middle of the net. Sprinkle in some upper body strength exercises and perhaps a bunting station, but ultimately end with live BP and have players put the whole swing together.

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