Combat And Team Sports Receive The Go-Ahead For Full-Contact Training Baseball Hitting Drills That Really Work

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Baseball Hitting Drills That Really Work

I have used baseball batting drills to become a better hitter since I was a child. Which is a long time ago. One thing I had that maybe not everyone has is the benefit of great coaching. From my dad in little league through high school and American Legion baseball and then the minor leagues.

Oftentimes, little league coaches are well-meaning parents who have kids on the team. But they may not know what makes a good batsman. You must know the proper mechanics of a good baseball swing before you can practice them. Otherwise, you’ll be practicing the wrong mechanics.

Rocky Balboa vs. The Russians

Remember in the movie Rocky 4 when Rocky was training to fight the Russian? There was Russian training on all this high-tech equipment and what was Rocky doing? He was out in the snow, pulling a sled full of rocks and chopping wood! The point is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on all kinds of expensive training aids.

Here are some easy-to-learn baseball batting drills that will not only improve your swing, but will cost little to no money. And most of them you can do yourself.

Muscle Memory

I was taught early on about muscle memory. One quick example of muscle memory is tying your shoes. Try it now. See how fast you can tie your shoes. You do it without thinking about it. That’s because you’ve done it so many times that your brain and muscles almost do it for you. It’s muscle memory.

I still play baseball in what is called the Men’s Senior Baseball League. It’s a league for us old guys who still want to play, but are no longer up to the young ones.

I’m not bragging when I say I’m one of the best strikers in the league.

But it’s not because I have more skill or talent than anyone else. That’s because I tirelessly practice the proper mechanics of a good baseball swing.

The goal is to train your body to swing properly without thinking about it, so that in the game you have to concentrate only on hitting the baseball. You can’t think about keeping your balance, stepping back, taking a short step, etc.

Practice the correct mechanics over and over and Muscle Memory will take care of it for you.

Visualization

Visualization is becoming a popular training aid. We did it 35 years ago. With all the baseball batting practice I did, visualization was used throughout. Another word that describes visualization is pretending. Visualize yourself hitting the line drives in your mind. Create pretend scenarios and play them out in your mind as you practice your baseball shots.

Pretend you have 3 and 1 and the pitcher is hanging a curve ball. See yourself swinging the ball off the 375-foot mark in right-center field. This actually helps with muscle memory and makes these exercises more fun.

Stay back

If I had to teach a young hitter from scratch, and I have, about the proper swing, the first thing we’d talk about would be staying. I’ve seen so many young hitters fall on the ball when they swing. It’s like they can’t wait for the ball to reach them so they step forward to hit the ball.

We used to do a simple drill in the minor leagues that helped me learn to hold back. Our coach would put us in our batting stance. He told us to pretend there was a steel bar that went through the top of our heads, down our bodies and out our butts. This steel rod was then anchored in the ground so that we could not move forward.

Then he would have us step and swing. The goal here is to step forward with your front foot, but don’t let your body move forward. When doing this drill, think of your stride as reaching toward the pitcher. Now, for this exercise to be effective, you must practice it many times every day. Especially if you used to be crazy. Do not step forward to hit the ball. Be patient and let baseball come to you.

You can supplement this exercise by practicing head discipline. Your head should come down to the baseball when you swing. Your body will follow your head. So if you stick your head out when you swing, your front shoulder will follow and open up quickly which will completely screw up your swing.

Practice your balance with this exercise. When you swing, you should be balanced. Don’t swing so hard that you fall into the batter’s box.

Practice all of these things with this exercise, but do them one at a time. Don’t try to do three things at once. Work on holding for a few swings, then concentrate on balance, and so on.

Dominant Eye

We all have a dominant eye even if we are not aware of it. Try this one.

Take the index finger and thumb of your left hand and make a V. Do the same thing with the index finger and thumb of your right hand. Now touch two index fingers and two thumbs together to form a triangle. Select an object on the wall and look at it through the triangle. Then close your right eye. Can you still see the object? If not, close your left eye. Can you see it now? The eye with which you can see the object is your dominant eye. So when you settle into the batter’s box, be sure to see the pitcher with your dominant eye.

If you are right-handed and right eye dominant, you may need to turn your head a bit more to make sure you can see the pitcher with your right eye.

Ball on a string

Here’s another cool exercise you can do yourself. And you can do this exercise all day. Take the baseball and the eye hook. The eye hook is small and looks like a screw at the bottom and has a loop at the top. Look for them at any hardware store for a few cents.

Push the end of the screw onto the baseball and turn it as far as you can. If you have to, put a screwdriver through the loop to make it easier to turn.

Get some string and hang a baseball from the ceiling in the garage.

I hang mine on the fence for my automatic door opener or drive a small nail into the horn in the basement and tie a rope to it.

Use enough rope so that the ball is about thigh high. Put the baseball away from you. When he comes back hit him with the bat. Now, don’t beat the daylights out of her with a full swing. Just tap it with the bat. Make contact. Play with the pepper.

This is an exercise for hand-eye coordination. You’re not so concerned with the mechanics here. At first it will seem difficult to even make contact. But the longer you do this exercise, the better you will get. Concentrate on watching the club hit the ball. Tap it right back on the imaginary pitcher.

You can add to this exercise. I was visiting a local sporting goods store and found some small training balls. They look and feel exactly like regulation size baseballs, but smaller. Using this smaller ball will improve your hand-eye coordination even more.

You can also replace your club with a piece of wood from your local shop. Or use an old broom handle. Make sure it’s at least as long as your club. Cut some off if you have too. Now with a smaller bat and a smaller ball you can really work on your hand, eye coordination.

After you get good at this exercise, change the height of the baseball. Hang it higher or lower and keep practicing.

Super Pepper

When I was a kid my brother and I used to play this game all the time. I think you all know what pepper is. One guy with a bat and a few players. Players from the field throw the ball to the player, who returns the ball to the field. Since only my brother and I did it a little differently. Stand about twenty feet apart. The goal of the pitcher is to get the ball into the strike zone. For a hitter, the goal is to hit a line drive straight back to the pitcher. Again, you’re not taking full swing. Just tap the ball back to the pitcher.

The spin we put on this drill was for the batter to hit as long as he hits the ball so that the pitcher can catch it on the line. If the batter hits the ball on the ground, over the pitcher’s head, or far enough away from the pitcher to catch it, the batter and pitcher switch places.

It will be difficult at first. But you will improve. My brother and I did this exercise for hours and had a blast doing it. It got to the point where we rarely missed.

This drill forces you to watch the ball and concentrate on making square contact. What happened with my swing was I would hit smoke lines to center and right center field in the game. It’s a great exercise.

Heavy Bat

When I played American Legion Baseball we used wooden bats. During the game, I smashed my favorite, Robert Clemente, Louisville Slugger. My dad taped the handle. He then drilled large holes in the barrel and filled them with lead. The lead made the club quite heavy. I would stand in front of our basement wall and put a shop light behind me so I could see my shadow on the wall. Then I would swing that heavy club over and over again.

You can replace the lead with one of those weighted donuts. Practice your mechanics while swinging this heavy club. Make sure you stay back. See the putter in your mind and pretend you are hitting different heights. Make a play of it and see yourself driving the ball over the opposite field fence or hitting a curve ball out of the park.

One thing to concentrate on while doing this exercise is balance. A heavy club will throw you off balance. Don’t let that happen. Swing normally, but don’t swing hard. Make sure you maintain a good balance in your tracking. What you will notice after doing this drill for a while is that your club speed will increase dramatically. And that is what produces power. Swing faster, not harder

Reverse rotary drill

I read somewhere a long time ago that practicing the backswing helps build muscle memory. An article I read said that Japanese players do this exercise all the time. So, consumed with the goal of becoming the best hitter I could be, I practiced my backswing so many times, it’s almost 35 years later and I still can.

A good way to prepare for this drill is to have someone record your swing. Then watch yourself swing back and forth, over and over again until you get the hang of it, so to speak.

If you don’t have someone to record you, that’s okay. You can still do this exercise. I always did this exercise in slow motion. Take your stand. Go through the swing slowly. At the end of your follow through, just reverse the sequence until you are back in your stance. It’s like hitting the rewind button on a swing.

This is actually a fun exercise and like I said, it helps build muscle memory.

Tennis racket Drill

Here’s one I bet you can’t. But once you master it, you’ll most likely be the only player on your team who can.

I’m sure you’ve seen tennis players bounce the tennis ball up and down off their racket. Do it with a bat and a baseball. This is a great exercise for hand-eye coordination. I guarantee you won’t be able to at first. This exercise will show you how good or bad your hand-eye coordination is.

After doing this for a few minutes every day, you will be amazed at your progress. It’s easy to do with a tennis racket. Doing it with a round bat and a round ball is not.

These are some of the exercises I did and still do. When I was a kid and decided baseball was what I wanted to do for a living, I practiced these drills almost until my arms fell off. These exercises worked and worked dramatically. But I spent a lot of time perfecting my swing.

There will be times when you would rather watch TV or play video games. Go ahead, but then don’t expect to be the best striker. Your physical talent has something to do with it. But these drills will make anyone a better hitter.

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