Drills to Make a Child a Better Baseball Hitter
Successful batting requires a whole lineup of skills including strength, coordination and confidence. Coaches can help their young players develop those skills through creative batting drills. It's important to vary the drills to practice different aspects of batting -- and to keep kids interested.
This drill uses a tee to help batters hit in a variety of locations, according to QC Baseball. The coach places the tee in the middle of the plate thigh high to the batter, and the batter swings a few times. The coach moves the tee closer in for a few swings, and then moves it out for an outside "pitch." She also varies the height of the tee so the batter gets used to hitting high and low pitches. During this drill, the hitter should visualize a real pitch. He should look at where the pitcher would stand and imagine an actual windup and pitch, with the ball ending up at the tee.
Colored Ball Drill
BaseballCorner.com recommends this drill to improve a batter's thinking process and reaction time. The coach has several balls, each painted a bright color. He picks up a ball and puts it in his glove without letting the batter see it. Right before he pitches, the coach calls out a color. The batter should swing only if the coach has called the correct color.
This drill helps batters develop strength in the top hand of their grip, according to Hastings Little League in Hastings on Hudson, New York. Strength in the top hand is important because the top hand guides the bat toward the ball. The coach softly tosses a ball above the batter's waist. The hitter holds the bat with only her top hand and tries to hit the top of the ball, sending the ball straight to the ground.
Short-Toss Batting Practice
In the short-toss drill, the pitcher can deliver the ball to the batter with greater control, according to Hastings Little League. The coach stands about a quarter or third of the way closer than usual to the batter and uses an L-screen for protection. He throws the ball to the batter several times at a steady speed. From this distance, the batter can improve his skill level and work on a quicker bat.
Barbara Dunlap is a freelance writer in Oregon. She was a garden editor at "The San Francisco Chronicle" and she currently specializes in travel and active lifestyle topics like golf and fitness. She received a master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has been a Knight Foundation Fellow.