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Sunday, July 18, 2010

TOP 5 Hitting Drills Every Serious Ballplayer Needs

TOP 5 Hitting Drills Every Serious Ballplayer Needs
By Guest Author Joey Myers

There are so many hitting drills out there; it can leave you wondering where to start. This article will reveal Swing Smarter's greatest baseball drill hits! These drills are the cream of the crop when it comes to hitting success. You won't:

Need an expensive hitting contraption,
Require a hitting partner (one exception), or
Waste anymore time with hitting drills doing absolutely nothing to help your swing.
Future reference: these drills go into more depth under the Smart Hitting Tips tab on the navigation bar.

Also, the hitting drills included here are arranged in of importance. The rotational lower half drills are mentioned first because they need to be mastered before moving onto the linear upper body drills.

Before we get started, there are two issues before starting any baseball drill work to keep in mind...

A less is more approach, AND
Making smaller circles.
Taking a less is more approach means to slow the hitting drills down at first until muscle memory can be created, and even then, move into a 60-70% game speed swing. Swinging under control transfers power generated in the hips and core without tense muscles into the upper body.

Making smaller circles means to break each movement down into digestible parts. The first drill we talk about does just that...

1. Balance & Reach
For a right handed hitter, stand sideways on a small 3 inch platform, feet together with bat in hands (we're NOT swinging, just holding it in a starting position).

Lift the left foot slightly off the ground, then raise the left knee up to hip level; you should be in a solid balance position.

Now, balancing on the right leg, have the hitter reach out with a closed left foot like they're striding towards the pitcher, then have them tap the ground softly (about 2-3 feet out) like they're striding on eggshells, and slowly return to the starting position. Reverse directions for a lefty.

The goal of the drill is for the player to get what it feels like to really load up the backside with a majority of their weight. And, tapping the ground lightly simulates what a correct stride should be. So, in short, they learn:

Maximum load of the back leg, and
How to be light with the stride foot.

Building into the next hitting drill...
2. Bat Behind the Back Drill
We start with the bat behind our lower back gripping it like in a karate punch stance.

Step 1 is to transfer our weight to the back leg (70/30),
Step 2, keeping our weight back, we stride with the front foot 1-3 inches (a separation occurs between our front foot and weight shift), and
Step 3 we squish the bug, or rotate the back foot, so the toe finishes pointing at the pitcher.
The latter two hitting drills help train the central nervous and muscular systems with the right rotational energy transfer, while the next few drills will train the upper body to harness that power and transfer it into the baseball.

Remember, less is more with the following...

3. Top/Bottom Hand Drills Off the Tee
First, when doing this drill, we want to choke up to the top of the bat grip tape, so we have more control. Take the off hand and lay it across the stomach, and don't let it flop around while swinging.

Two things to focus on with the TOP hand (besides the footwork we've been working on with hitting drills 1 & 2 above), is to:

Take the knob DOWN to the incoming baseball (imagine it's incoming off the tee), and
Take the barrel through three imaginary baseballs hovering an inch apart past the contact point.

The TOP hand is our push and power hand ALWAYS, no matter what side you're hitting on...

would you rather PUSH a big giant heavy dresser or PULL it, to move it? We impress the girls (or boys) with the power in our TOP hand NOT our bottom hand.

Two things to focus on with the BOTTOM hand:

Take the knob DOWN to the incoming baseball, and
Keep the front elbow DOWN.
The bottom hand guides the hands DOWN, it's like the rudder on a boat, steering the barrel as short as possible into the swing plane. The bottom hand starts to work first, then the top hand takes over like the thruster on a rocket ship, pushing through the ball.

4. Two Tee Drill
This is the best drill for practicing the DOWN part of Down & Through, shaving down to a shorter swing.

You set up 2 tees, one behind the other, with about 2-3 feet distance between a ball sitting on top of each. The back ball should stand about 6 inches higher than the ball on the front tee.

Once we're all setup, then we take our stance...the object of the drill is to NOT hit the back baseball, only the front one. If we hit the back one, then our swing is too long and we need to shorten it. The best key to shorten it is to tell ourselves to take the knob DOWN to the incoming baseball.

Last but certainly NOT least...
5. Hitting Through 3 Baseballs
This part of these hitting drills requires an extra pair of eyes or a video camera, in the beginning, to give the hitter proper feedback.

You're going to set 3 baseballs an inch or so apart on the ground spanning a straight line from the contact point of the tee. As you hit the ball, try to extend the TOP hand out, palm up, through the three baseballs (imagine the baseballs you set on the ground in front of the tee are floating in mid-air after the contact point).

Martial Artist do this all the time when breaking boards...they envision a spot well past their striking point because they know a broken hand would result if they didn't, so they strike THROUGH the board 3-4 feet past.

This drill should be done in slow motion at first to get a feel for how the top stays palm up well past the contact point. This is one of the hardest things for young hitters to do because they've gotten in the bad habit of rolling over too early.

If you're hitting the ball on the ground too much, then use the TOP hand to push through more...AND, if you're hitting the ball in the air too much, then take the knob down more to the incoming baseball.

I didn't get this concept until after my college career had ended, from a Rod Delmonico book. I had a hard time keeping my barrel in the hitting plane, which meant I was rolling over too soon.

If you like this, then please check out the two Part Series that cuts through swing flaws like a hot knife through butter...

Also, rolling over too soon causes a bump in the pitched ball a swing in slow motion while rolling too soon and see for yourself.

SHORT to it, LONG through is the only way to create the vital backspin, helping us to swing smarter NOT harder!

My name is Joey Myers, and I played 18 total years of baseball finishing my career after my fourth year of college (2000-2003) as a Fresno State Bulldog (the 2008 College World Series Champions). I'm very grateful for the success I had at Bullard High School, and getting a scholarship to play at a Division I university, Fresno State, where I started 110 out of the 178 games I played, in the outfield. Now I devote most of my life to baseball swing coaching and personal fitness training. My website are and

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick