We all know the adage: practice makes perfect. Here are some suggestions that can help keep your hitting practice fun and interesting.
The "Pepper" Hitting Drill
Pepper is a great drill to develop bat control and a short, quick swing. The hitter stands 20 to 25 feet away from three infielders who position themselves two feet apart. The batter hits the ball using a short, quick downward stroke. Try to hit the ball sharply with just one or two hops to the fielders. The fielder plays the ground ball and quickly tosses a one-half to three-quarter speed pitch back to the hitter. The batter hits the ball where it is pitched.
If you are a right-handed batter, the object is to hit the inside pitch to the fielder to your left, hit the pitch in the middle of the plate to the infielder directly in front of you, and hit the outside pitch to your right.
Once you are comfortable with this drill, mix it up by using two softballs at once. This keeps you ready to swing and keeps the infielders on their toes.
The "Wiffle Golf Ball" Hitting Drill
This drill is excellent for perception. You will be hitting the smaller waffle golf balls utilizing a taped-up a narrow stick as a bat. The pitcher tosses the waffle golf ball and the batter should practice hitting line drives or balls hit hard on the ground.
It is a difficult drill at first, but it is useful for tracking the ball better and keeping your head still so you can make contact with the ball.
The "Toss from Behind" Hitting Drill
You can use tennis balls or softballs for this drill. The hitter sets up for a normal soft toss, however the pitcher tosses the ball from behind the hitter. The drill forces the batter to wait until the last moment to start their swing. It also helps to initiate a short, compact swing.
The "Don't Squish the Bug" Hitting Drill
This drill is done with a tee. Once the ball is on the tee and the hitter’s feet are in the proper batting stance, a coach or teammate places the bucket of balls behind the back foot of the hitter. The drill allows hitters to work on the transfer of weight from the back leg. The hitter cannot simply rotate their back leg while the foot is anchored. This drill will also give immediate feedback on whether the weight transfer is correct or incorrect.
Double Tee Hitting Drill
For this drill, set one tee in front of the plate and the other tee behind the plate, but two inches higher. The hitter takes their proper stance, except a little further back from the plate than normal. A softball is placed on the front tee and the batter must hit the ball without disturbing the back tee.
Tee Hitting Drills with the Tanner Hitting Deck
When doing tee work, it’s important to have a visual reference to help hitters with their stance. This training guide instills fundamental hitting concepts with a trusted visual aid and instills consistency throughout the tee drills. Understanding that the stance (i.e. front foot land) stays the same whether the pitch is in our out is an important concept for hitters. While the feet should stay the same, the contact point changes based on where the pitch is located.
The Hitting Deck shows a complete right and left side contact zone and the hitter’s stance in relation to the tee placement. The Stride Guide and Front Foot Landing zone help to teach this principle.
Train Hard, Train Often!
By utilizing various hitting drills like the ones mentioned here, players can elevate their game while staying engaged during practice year round.