How to Coach: Hitting #3 is the third session in DC’s How to Coach: Hitting series. Session #3 brings the fundamentals together so that the LEGS (Session #1) work together with the ARMS (Session #2). This series establishes a firm physical base within an athlete as well as a mental understanding of the movements taken, and terms used, to describe the swing. It prepares the athlete to receive more advanced training, and more specific instruction relevant to swing mechanics. Essentially, work through How to Coach: #1, #2 and #3… then continue instruction as appropriate.
Coaching Note: Tests can be great teaching tools. This drill presents the opportunity to use the power of a test through the “push test.” This is where coach physically checks for athlete stability at the stride/load position. Another example is “the pump fake test.” During soft toss, front toss, or live arm, reach back to release the baseball only to freeze at release point and hold onto the baseball. Because the athlete does not know when it is coming, he must gear up to swing at each baseball and the pump fake can truly tell both hitter and coach if the athlete is loading correctly.
EXECUTION / DRILL STATION & SET UP – When teaching an individual, the station and set-up isn’t as relevant. In a team environment, however, station and structure is a huge part of creating athlete focus! Use six cones to mark initial staging area and group instruction. Then, use a batting cage or catch net to set up the ‘live’ hitting station. Tee work is best to teach early hitting, as the focus is on swing fundamentals rather than the challenge of hitting soft-toss, front-toss, or live pitching.
- Group – Start the drill by having each group member take their hitting stance at a cone. Place six cones in a semi-circle, with ample room for each to practice their swing. Stand in front of the group and explain the way the drill will be conducted… and then get into instruction (movement of the hands, see below). Next, move inside the cage or over to the catch net for individual swings.
- Individual / Broken Swings – Each athlete rotates through the ‘live’ hitting area individually for 5-8 swings. Initially, athletes are to execute proper fundamentals using freezes and holds to see / feel / experience the correct technique. Adjust number of swings depending on the size of the group.
- Individual / Live Swings – Continuing to rotate through individually, athletes are to apply instruction to live swings.
EXECUTION / INSTRUCTION – HTC Hitting #3 follows a consistent teaching methodology: Group / Broken Swings / Full Swings. Broken swings mean freezing after taking a stride/load (position #1 in DC’s hitting system) as well as the finish (position #3).
- Start – Feet begin at the narrow position (under shoulders), similar to Session #1. Hands start in front of the body so that the bat is in front of the nose.
- Stride & Load – Front foot strides to a physical and athletic position (feet outside shoulders). Hands move from in front of body to the knockout position (in front of the back shoulder).
- Rubber Band – Foot goes forward, hands go back… stretching the body horizontally.
Goal: Start with feet narrow and the bat in front of the nose… foot strides, hands load… let it rip and hold the finish. Strength and balance throughout the swing.
- Strong, Athletic Position – Look physical, feel physical, pass the strength test (see DC KEY #3).
- Rubber Band – Use this analogy to help athletes “feel” separation between front foot and hands. Also helps to “snap” powerful and attack the ball.
- Test It! – Use the push test to check for a firm base and solid triangle. Visible triangle is formed between the two feet and the head, and should be present both @ stride (position #1) AND @ finish (position #3). Use the pump fake test to see if athlete is stepping firm, on ball of foot
- Assign Homework – Use MyClipboard’s Homework tool to get athletes to work at home. Dry swings, tee work, balance beam drill… ANYTHING!!
- GROUP / BROKEN / LIVE
- START: FEET NARROW, BAT IN FRONT OF NOSE
- WEIGHT @ 60/40
- STRONG ATHLETIC POSITION
- RUBBER BAND - FOOT FORWARD... HANDS BACK
- TEST - PUSH / PUMP FAKE
- ASSIGN HOMEWORK
- Baseball Buckets1
- Catch Net1
- Batting Tee1