Hitting a Baseball
The Reason Drills are Important for Hitting a Baseball
One of the Hardest Skills
In The World
It has been said that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest skills in the world to acquire. I’ll take that one step further; hitting a baseball on the “Sweet Spot”
of a bat (That small 2-3 inch area located roughly 3 inches in from the end of the barrel of the bat to the label of the bat) makes this skill even more of a challenge. This is the one feeling that every hitter strives to attain. The pure sound of the ball when it hits that point and the distance of travel by the ball when it does gives the batter a feeling like no other. It is a sound that is easily recognized by every fan and player alike. It is the WOW, in baseball!
Don't get Complacent
The problem most amateur athletes run into is that they fail to practice. Professionals do the things that amateurs fail and don't like doing and that quite simply is doing batting drills daily. Simple things like swing a bat, hitting off a batting tee and soft toss drills are done repetitively day after day. They always go back to the basics. They realize the things and disciplines that got them to where they are now. Even though they play 162 games a year and only have one day off a week they never fail to do their drills. They realize how important it is to stay focused. Don't become complacent and think you are beyond practicing the simplest of drills. If you’re an amateur and you think getting up to bat 6-9 times a week is enough to improve your hitting ability, then your only kidding yourself. Do yourself a favor and take up soccer or horseshoes. Hitting a baseball will become much easier for you by doing more drills. I take that back, the more drills you do correctly and the more often you do them the easier hitting a baseball will become.
Pros and Joes
Ted Williams once said that doing just that, hitting a baseball thrown by a pitcher is the single most difficult thing for any athlete to accomplish and perfect, when compared to skills found in other sports. Many proficient athletes who excel with ease in other sports meet their match when they try to hit a baseball hurled by a pitcher at 80 to 100 miles-per-hour. The strength, coordination and athletic instincts that serve them well in other sports somehow fail them when they try to hit a round ball with a round bat, squarely. Let it be known, that a Little League pitcher who throws in the upper 60’s or lower 70’s is actually throwing in the 90’s on a speed conversion chart because the distance between home plate and the pitcher’s mound is roughly 14 ½ feet closer than that of the professional distance. This means that Little Leaguers also have the same challenges as do adult hitters when it comes to making good contact.
It is the ability to make solid contact with this round ball that is baseball's true art and separates this sport from every other sporting skill. Its difficulties and frustrations are matched in intensity only by the tremendous satisfaction that comes with improving. Speeding up that improvement and maintaining this unique ability of hitting a baseball is the reason for putting this web site together.
Overcoming the Hurdles… Drills are Crucial!
Playing any sport well requires that the athlete understand and perform the necessary physical movements that bring about rewarding results. The best way to accomplish this in baseball is through proven systematic hitting drills and exercises that embed sensations that produce positive muscle memory. This positive muscle memory helps the baseball athlete acquire consistently good habits which eases the difficult process of hitting a baseball.
Drills applied to hitting a baseball are critical—and rewarding—because they allow any level player to achieve instant positive feedback when done properly without any verbal explanation. To cure a player who consistently swings early, for example, the coach has two choices. He can tell the player, “In order to make optimum contact with the ball, the bat head must be square upon impact as the ball travels through the plate.” That explanation though correct, is likely to confuse the hitter who needs to know how to transfer the thought into physical action. On the other hand, if the coach has a player hit balls placed at different locations and levels on a five point batting tee to attain maximum impact, the hitter now has a vivid picture of what the coach is trying to accomplish. The player also knows what it feels like to pull his hands through the ball at those different ball locations and can more readily apply it to his normal swing. This is another added dilemma a batter has in making contact; the strike zone is 17” wide and goes from the batter’s chest to his knees, so the batter not only needs to adjust his eyes and body movement to the width of a strike zone but to the different levels the strike zone presents.For more on hitting drills please refer to this site page Baseball Hitting Drills
Words vs. Physical Sensations
Words and physical sensations are worlds apart. Every player experiences different sensations when hitting a baseball. More often than not, what the batter is actually doing isn’t what he is really doing. To complicate things further, not every player feels motor movements the same way. That’s why some great hitters seldom watch their swings on videotape. They know what they feel, and they don’t want their mental picture destroyed. For more on how to mentally practice refer to this page on the site Hitting a Baseball. They don’t want that feel disrupted by analysis. This brings us to another point. That point being that no two individuals are the same and no two individuals will approach hitting the same. An open stance for one batter could be poison to the batter who prefers a closed or balanced stance and so on.
When a coach explains something about hitting a baseball with words alone, the interpretation of those words seldom results in the action the coach and batter need to accomplish. Drills are the answer, because they allow the hitter to feel the correct movements in his own way and he can easily repeat those movements after he locks in the muscle memory.
The beauty of a drill is that it usually is specific to a small part of the swing. Once the hitter sees and understands the drill, he usually can perform it satisfactorily. With flawless practice, he can perfect the drill and thus change the incorrect movement in his swing—or more important, lock in the correct movement.
Become the Hitter You Want to Be
The drills described throughout the site cover virtually every aspect of hitting a baseball. Rather than recommend a single, dogmatic method that claims to “Cure All” we chose drills used by coaches with widely divergent views on how to hit. It is our belief that there is no single “system” that will benefit every hitter because no two hitters are alike. Some hitters seem to respond better to some systems of coaching than others. In every instance, we have carefully selected drills that are simple, practical and of benefit to everyone and every level player. Most of them are illustrated to bring you along more quickly and provide a clearer picture of how they should be performed. It is not necessary to read every web page if some aspects of your swing are satisfactory already, although we believe there is always room for improvement and are confident that a wide variety of drills will strengthen every part of your hitting discipline. We are confident that you will find something in this website that will improve your skills and help you to become the hitter you want to be.
Make it Fun
However, like anything else in life it is your responsibility to work at the drills. Merely looking at or reading them will accomplish nothing. It strictly depends on how “serious” you are
in becoming the hitter you want to be. Just wanting something to happen doesn’t make it happen. We have been told
that the drills presented in this website are excellent practice tools for players of all levels who want to learn how to successfully hit a baseball. All you need to do is make use of the vehicle. Drive it often because the key to making the drills work is to perform them regularly and daily, when possible.
Don’t use the drills alone. Incorporate the sensations they teach you into your normal swing and challenge yourself. You’ll progress more quickly that way. For more on challenging yourself, making it fun and how to improve on focusing refer to Hitting a Baseball
some backyard fun. Once the correct feelings are established, leave the drills, coming back to them only if the old bad habits seem to be cropping up again. Remember to always go back to the basics. Sometimes the correction is alot simpler than you think.
Enjoy the baseball hitting drills and the improvement that is sure to follow!
Elia Partners, LLC
Dublin, OH 43017
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