America’s favorite pastime rose in popularity for its special players who captivate fans with their athletic abilities to this day. Thanks to improved science and training methods, each generation of ballplayers displays improved mechanics and skills that are better than the ones before them. To better prepare the future stars of this great sport, here are five hitting drills every youth baseball player should master.
Simple Front Toss
The front toss is the most common hitting exercise for caged batting, and it helps players improve their swing and follow-through. A pitcher stands behind a screened barrier, around ten feet away from the batter. The pitcher throws consistent underhand strikes, encouraging the player to focus solely on their mechanics. Film this exercise to further help the player analyze their stance, rotation, and follow-through.
This is a great hitting drill for younger kids entering more competitive play, but the routine benefits all ages. A pitcher rests on one knee, off to the batter's side. The pitcher lobs strikes for the player with an underhand delivery—gentle tosses are essential for this drill. Thanks to the soft toss, batters can focus on hitting the ball's sweet spot with proper mechanics. This is an excellent routine to kick-off or end practice. For older players, consider using a weighted ball for better power training.
Two-Ball Soft Toss
This drill involves pitching two balls at the player for a more advanced version of the soft toss. Using two balls, batters hone their eyes at the plate. The pitcher lobs two pitches back to back, one low and one high. They call out either “high” or “low.” The batter makes the proper adjustments to hit the called location. The player must focus on hitting the sweet spot from different levels and angles. Practice this drill for older kids who see different pitch types.
Bottom Hand Hitting Drill
Your hands play a massive role in batting, but younger children tend to rely solely on the strength of their dominant side. The result is a wrist roll-over that hinders contact with the ball. The bottom hand hitting drill involves swinging the bat with your non-dominant hand while resting the other across your chest. This builds strength and muscle memory within a player's swing, providing stronger pop in the bat.
Hip To Shoulder Separation Hitting Drill
During a swing, a powerful, fluid hip motion gives the batter a smaller plate. This is preferred for more consistent contact and—hopefully—dingers. Using a tee, have the player take their normal stance. Then, the batter should step their front foot out, giving a wider stance than usual. Use a bat on the ground to keep their feet wide and open. Lastly, have them take whacks at the tee in this stance, allowing the player to feel their hips drive through the swing. With practice, batters quickly learn proper plate mechanics for optimal launch angles.
With these five hitting drills every youth baseball player should master, your young one can quickly perfect their mechanics and begin efficiently smacking the ball. For that extra bit of help, The Bat Doc proudly offers quality products such as shaved and rolled bats for superior pop and performance.