Use Fundamentals: Hitting as an introduction to hitting mechanics. With footage pulled from a Dugout Captain coaching clinic, this is an overview of Hitting 101. What are the basics to the swing? How do we recommend teaching? These questions are addressed in a coaching-the-coach format.
If run as a drill, highlight the three main positions of the swing. Going forward, instruction can be more specific and follow Dugout Captain’s training plan (How to Coach Hitting – #1 / #2 / #3). Use the drill to introduce the entire team to a hitting philosophy. Learn to use the body to make the ball move – it’s relevant for ALL positions – hitters, pitchers, infielders.
EXECUTION – Use the following number system, including the position and coaching keywords:
- Position #0 – STANCE / Feet outside shoulders, hands in front of back shoulder, eyes on pitcher (or baseball)
- Position #1 – STRIDE & LOAD / Front foot steps forward lightly (4-6 inches), hands “load” back in rhythm
- Position #2 – CONTACT POINT / Palm-up, Palm-down hand position, hips rotated/back knee turned in, eyes locked
- Position #3 – FINISH / Chin on back shoulder, firm front leg, full rotation of hips and back leg – Strong and balanced!
Positive coaching involves equal parts repetition, instruction, and fun. If Fundamentals: Hitting is run as a drill, you must ensure first that there is a group discussion where athletes are safely separated to follow your guidance. Then, move into individual repetitions and have fun introducing hitting instruction. Consider this your investment into establishing “batting practice etiquette.” Lay down expectations for how hitting will be run at practice and work hard to create a culture of hard work and athlete focus. Finally, always, always, always encourage and remind the athletes that their job is to SWING HARD. There can’t be any hesitation or fear of swinging and missing.
TEACHING PROGRESSION – In general, Dugout Captain follows a 1-3-2 philosophy:
- Teach Position #1 First – Once a stance is established, ensure that the athlete understands and can execute a stride & load
- Teach Position #3 – As a second step, teach the finish position. Goal is to establish anchor points at positions #1 and #3, while the athlete swings HARD without the fear of failure!
- Teach Position #2 – Move into details and more specific instruction.
By the time you get to the third step, the athlete has a good foundation to build upon. They quickly and consistently set up to the plate and get into a stance. They stride and load to a solid “launch position” (#1) and do so on time! They let it rip, swing hard, and hold their finish. With these accomplished, the athlete is ready for more advanced instruction.
- 1-3-2 – Follow a progression. Strength and balance early… and late. Then pour gas on the fire – get more physical.
- Swing Hard – Most important rule: Let it rip! WE WILL NOT BE SCARED TO FAIL.
- Wider is Better – Spread out the feet and engage the legs. Encourage your athletes to be physical from the first swing!
- SMALL GROUPS
- LOAD & EXPLODE
- GROUND UP
- STAY BALANCED
- 1-3-2 APPROACH
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- Catch Net1
- Batting Tee1