Here in Milwaukee, we don’t exactly think of November as baseball season. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hone your craft. While others may not touch a bat until February, now is the time to get a leg up on the competition. Our coaches at BRX Performance are regularly asked which hitting drills contribute to the most success in games. Here are our top five that you should be working on in the offseason.
1. Tee Work
Ask anyone in professional baseball and they’ll tell you that tee work is imperative for improving as a hitter. Sure, it can become monotonous quickly, but it does wonders for your swing if done properly. This is the drill where you can work on everything, from your load to the finish. As much as possible, try to simulate game action when doing your tee work. You may be wondering, “How many balls should I hit off the tee in one session?” There is no magic number. Think quality over quantity. It does no good to rush through 50 swings where your front side is flying open, for example. Maybe start with 30 quality swings and go from there.
2. Flip Drill
You will need a partner for this one. The flip drill is meant to help the hitter spray the ball to all fields. For an inside pitch, the ball should be tossed at the hitter’s front hip, allowing him or her to pull the ball. For a middle pitch, the ball should be tossed from a 45-degree angle directly in front of the hitter. The ball should be driven back up the middle for middle pitches. For an outside pitch, the flipper will be a bit behind the hitter. Doing so forces the hitter to take the ball to the opposite field.
3. Short Toss
Now we’re finally bringing a ‘pitcher’ into play. Short toss should be done just before moving the ‘L’ screen back in preparation for traditional batting practice. With short toss, the hitter needs to emphasize keeping their hands inside the ball and going with the pitch. By no means is this drill meant for the hitter to pull everything. Keep in mind that with each of these drills, the hitter should be establishing good habits.
4. Batting Practice
It’s time to put everything together in batting practice. The first few rounds should be geared toward driving the ball back up the middle and to the opposite field. If you’re throwing batting practice, be sure to mix in a few offspeed pitches. Similar to tee work, there is no magic number with batting practice. Just remember: Less is more with hitting.
5. Live Pitching
If you have the opportunity this winter to step in against live pitching, do it. Nothing truly simulates game action better. Even if you’re simply standing in on a teammate’s bullpen session, work on tracking pitches. This can make a huge difference when preseason workouts begin in February.
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