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A lot has happened at Baseball Rebellion since February 8th, 2013. On that date, I wrote “The WORST Hitting Drill for Baseball and Softball EXPOSED”. In that article, I highlighted the high tee/low tee drill where the high tee is in back of the low tee where the ball is. The hitter must go ‘over’ the high tee and then hit the ball on the low tee. Since Baseball Rebellion moved into a new 12,500 square foot space in Durham, North Carolina, we now have had team rentals here in our new team rental space. The move has been good from a business perspective, getting new people in the door, showing others our beautiful new facility and weight room and all the technology we use from Hittrax to Rhapsodo. It has also exposed us to a lot of youth coaches that uses some questionable setups, drills, and demonstrate a complete and utter lack of understanding how to stay behind a screen when you toss to a hitter. So now, the NEW and UPDATED versions of some of the WORST HITTING drills we’ve seen since our move.
This is when the coach, thinking more reps is better, just chucks balls at the hitter as fast as he can over and over. JK mentioned this in his 5 swing clogging moves to avoid article a while back, you can revisit that if you like. This is bad for obvious reasons: not allowing the hitter to get set, inaccurate tosses, and rushed movements which are inherently bad (and unrepresented) in hitting. This drill not only leads to frustration for the hitter but also develops poor swing mechanics. A better drill would be simply allowing the hitter 3 seconds from the time their swing finishes to set up for the beginning of the next pitch.
Behind the batter toss is also a horrific drill...now add TIMING challenges to that drill and you’ve got a real chaos training monster! The hitter is looking the wrong direction, and almost always forced into a reaching position just to make contact with the ball. The Behind the Batter Toss Drill makes the hitter have bad posture and bad arm movements...No good at all! The main issue with this drill is the head movement forward towards the pitcher this causes during the toss. A hitter’s head only moves ‘back’ towards the catcher in the swing, see my “Headlight Headright Drill” (Seen here and here) and this is the opposite movement. This neck move teaches a ‘pull off’ move of the head and front shoulder, no good! An alternate drill would be a ‘ball drop’ drill once the hitter is already in their stride position. This alternative drill will help with the quickness of the hitter's turn and doesn’t hurt hitter vision and neck movement.
So I suppose there could be some value in hitting a weighted baseball or softball or a DEFLATED basketball to help a hitter who is very weak at contact. But an INFLATED ball just shoots the back at the hitter’s face...NOT SAFE, DO NOT ATTEMPT!! Alternative drill: take some air out of the basketball or just do some pushups, pull-ups, abs, and med ball throws to increase your power.
Another drill high on danger and low on results is the Partner Med Ball Juggling. This drill has two players tossing med balls at each other, at the same time, so the balls cross while in the air and then the ball must be caught. A proper med ball throw is a powerful anabolic and ballistic movement. The hitter also having to focus on the “catch” of a jam or med ball in this exercise takes away from the power the hitter can generate in the throw and puts them in awkward and possibly injurious positions. Alternate Drill: Use a somewhat bouncy med ball and a cinderblock or brick wall. The wall will give the ball return and deceleration work the coach may be looking for, without the inaccuracy of young med ball throwers.
Thanks for reading! If you’re doing these drills, it’s OK...just stop them. We’ve all made drill mistakes, I’ve made my share as well, remember the ‘saw drill’ with The Drive Developer? Sheesh.
Chas Pippitt, CEO Baseball Rebellion