Batting Beam Drill
The first of our Basic Hitting Drills, encourages the batter to be on the balls of the their feet and to maintain a balanced swing.
Here’s a drill you may find useful. Construct a batting beam with pieces of 2″ x 4″s. The main piece should be about 4′ long. Two cross pieces about 18″ should be nailed about 16″ from each end of main piece. Have player stand on this during soft toss. The player should remain on beam throughout swing.
The beam encourages the batter to be on the balls of their feet and to maintain a balanced swing. It also helps the batter to take their timing step straight to the pitcher. The players don’t like this beam at first, but it does help.
This drill is the best I have found yet to increase bat speed and decrease the time it takes to get the bat into the contact zone. Once your players get adept at hitting regulation-sized softballs, try using tennis balls or even black eyed peas and smaller diameter bats. We use this drill in warm ups before every game and have had some great results.
The drill consists of a dropper (coach or player) and a hitter. The hitter takes their normal batting stance facing a net or fence about 6-8 feet away from the net. The dropper (coach or player) stands about 1 1/2 steps to the plateside of the hitter and 1 1/2 steps in front of the hitter (toward the pitcher) so the ball will drop directly into the contact zone, which is slightly out in front of the hitter.
The dropper drops the ball into the contact zone and the hitter must see the ball (she watches the dropper drop the ball) and hit it before it hits the ground with a level swing and proper stride, pivot and hands to the ball mechanics. If the hitter gets wide too early, she will never hit the ball except on an upward swing which must be corrected immediately.
I like to start the dropping height as high as the dropper can reach and then as the hitters become more adept at hitting the ball, slowly drop the ball from lower heights until you are dropping the ball from the players’ shoulder height. If you have very small players, you may want to have them stand on a milk crate to drop the ball. Try this drill with your coaches before you do it in practice to get the droppers position correct.
The players always think they are going to get hit by the bat, but I have been doing this drill for a long time and have never had anyone hit by the bat. Try this drill and I am sure it will help your hitting out greatly.
In order to be a great hitter, it is always important to focus on fundamentals. Regardless of age or skill level, a hitter must learn to keep their eyes on the ball. The Hawk Eye drill can help in training a player’s eyes to follow the ball from the pitcher’s hand to the contact point where the ball meets the bat.
It will serve to solidify the importance of keeping your eye on the ball at any level of play where pitchers are throwing various pitches.
Invite a number of players (who are not pitchers) out for pitching practice and have them bring their helmets. I tell them they will stand in as a live batter, so that they will be unaware of their task at hand. After the pitchers are warmed up and throwing their pitches for accuracy and movement, have a hitter step into the batter’s box without a bat.
Their only responsibility is to watch the rotation of the ball from the pitcher’s hand to my glove. The batter then has to tell me what the rotation of the ball was, what kind of pitch it was (based on the rotation), and if it was a ball or a strike. Each batter can read five pitches, and then move back into the line.
If you have multiple pitchers and catchers, more than one batter can practice ‘seeing’ the ball at the same time, but a coach should be watching each set of players both for safety reasons and to ensure that the hitters are calling the pitches correctly.
Through this drill, this player has strengthened their vision’s muscle memory. Reading these pitches will enable them to watch the flight of the pitch, concentrate on the ball and focus on the contact point. It can be a big help in developing the subconscious action of viewing and reacting to a quickly-pitched ball.
More Fastpitch Softball Batting Drills – http://topsoftballdrills.com/batting-drills/hitting/