How to Maintain Your Batting Mechanics
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- Never neglect the small focus drills - batting tee, soft toss.
- At the beginning of batting practice, have players track a few pitches without swinging to the catcher’s glove or backstop before taking a few bunts. Next, have them make some swings without a stride. Along with the tracking of the ball, a key to hitting is staying back and not lunging. The no-stride technique helps avoid over anxiousness and steadies the head, a key component to proper batting mechanics.
- Have players begin and end batting practice with trying to hit everything up the middle and to the opposite field. To do that, players must let the ball get a little deeper in the zone and requires bat control. Opposite field hitting also helps prevent "rolling over" on balls, a common problem when hitting balls out front too much.
- Make sure coaches know to change speeds in batting practice too, along with working the outer half of the plate as much as the pitcher can control their location. One cannot work on outside pitches enough to become an accomplished batter.
After all, hitting is tee ball with timing because ultimately contact happens in the immediate zone in front of home plate. The best way to stay in the groove is to hit in the zone. It pays to keep up with the offseason drills that keep players focused in the contact area, like batting tee work and short flipped balls. They keep players concentrated at the point of contact, which is crucial for good hitting. No better habit exists than tracking the ball from the pitcher’s release point all the way to contact. Many a player have reversed a hitting slump by keeping their eye on the ball and the head down through the finish of the swing.
* Remind players not to expand the strike zone in batting practice. Becoming lazy with that in practice will lead to the same in games. Another cause of a batting slump is swinging at bad pitches. Coaches should inform players when they chase out of the zone pitches.
* Help players learn their strengths and weaknesses. All hitters have both, even the best of them. Coaches should help players discover the ball locations and pitches they hit best and which ones they struggle. Batting practice is for working on one's weaknesses, but games are about playing to their strengths. Choosing the right pitches to attack before two strikes are what makes a great hitter, whereas the mentality with two strikes is more of protection on anything close.
*Help players learn to analyze in-game at-bats to identify hitting issues. Hitting is about having hope, if not confidence, and knowing the problem is the first step to fixing things.
*Once issues are figured out, provide players drills and a process to work on the flaws. This action gives players control over their hitting direction.