When it comes to the core fundamentals of baseball, mastering the proper mechanics and technique at the plate are inmportant. The proper mechanics, which are generated from the core, for a batter, must be second nature for the batter allowing him to hone his craft by more hitting drills for baseball. In this article we will break down the mechanics that go into a swing and discuss hitting drills for baseball that will create more consistency in your movement.
HITTING DRILLS FOR BASEBALL Start With Proper Mechanics
When stepping up to hit the ball, it is very important that you are balanced and standing strong and solid more on the balls of your feet and not your heels. This means that if somebody came up to you while you were in your stance and the plate and that person pushed you hard, from any angle (even if you never saw him coming up to push you), you should be able to remain standing in your position without moving your feet, or falling over. Now that you are balanced and centered, it is important to utilize your body weight in relation to the swing of your bat. Let's look at golf as an example of fluid weight distribution. When pro golfers are hitting the ball off the tee, they raise the golf club back, right before bringing the club head down in their swing. As they do this, the golfers shift their body weight, from what was initially equally distributed weight to both feet, and end up dispersing that weight towards the back foot as they complete the swing.
Think about how this helps wind you up and generate power for an explosive golf swing. Well, this is what you do in baseball. As you get the bat back and are ready for the pitch, as the pitcher winds up for his pitch, shift your body weight first to the back leg and then use your hips and core to wind simultaneously. Lead with The Hips. It is important to remember here that your bat positioning needs to be consistent and so therefore locked in to its starting point behind your head. Do not move the bat as your shift your body to the back leg.
Another important reminder is that you need to make sure not to shift your weight past your back leg. As you begin to swing the bat downward and then shift your body weight back to the front leg, it is important to remember not to allow your front leg to overextend because this will hinder the movement in your hips. So will having your foot pointing towards the pitcher. Just as you lined up at the plate with both toes facing the plate, you want to land on that front foot so that it is still facing towards the plate. This way you do not hinder the force generated by the hips as you bring the bat through the strike zone. When you actually swing the bat down remember to keep your eyes on the ball and your head down, even as you make contact with the ball. The grip of the bat is very important here because the movement of the wrists can generate much greater power and so therefore distance to the ball by allowing them to snap as the bat makes contact with the ball. Having your wrists locked and flexed is only hindering your bat power in addition to using rotational hitting drills to generate more power.
Rotational Hitting Drills
As the bat is in the strike zone, you need to remember that as the bat comes over the plate, your grip on the bat should be so that both of your knuckles are lined up directly parallel in relation with the ground. The last part is the follow through of the swing. Lead with the knob of the bat on the swing. Once the barrel head has gone through the zone, you want to follow through and finish high. As you take your swing, your head should stay down and steady. Do not just swing to the baseball but swing through it. The follow through is the most important part of the swing for generating power and distance to the ball, which will be helped by using rotational hitting drills. Often times, players shorten up their swing after contact with the ball or do not fully extend their elbow on the lead arm follow through of the swing. You want to fully extend that elbow and keep that arm up. It should not drop below shoulder level. To obtain this finish on the swing it is suitable to keep the swing of the bat lower. Think about the physics of it. By keeping the bat head lower on the downswing; you will be generating greater bat speed while covering the hitting zone at a more flat angle. This gives a higher probability of hitting the ball correctly on the bat head, while making it easier to raise the bat up for a solid follow through. Remember to have the lead arm fully locked out and extended high above the shoulder.
Some Extra Pro Tips: When reading pitches you want to watch the release point of the ball. In order to focus in without trying too hard to focus (this leads usually to failure) concentrate on the hat of the pitcher, some players even focus in on the logo on the hat of the pitcher. As the pitch comes around your eyes can slide off the logo of the cap and zone right in on the release point. The further you let the ball get deeper into the zone the ball is going to the opposite side of the field. There is a higher chance of error if you hit the ball early in the zone sending it to the same side of the field. The grip should not be tight and tense. Flexing your muscles hard in your forearms and hands when you swing the bat will hinder the distance. You can give the ball far greater hitting power by allowing greater range of motion in your wrists, when the bat head comes around and makes contact with the ball.