Prepare for Pitching Speeds with a Simple Hitting Drill [ARTICLE]
|Prepare for Pitching Speeds with a Simple Hitting Drill|
By: Cindy Bristow
Provided by: Softball Excellence
Having good hitters is one thing, but having hitters that can successfully hit pitchers of all speeds is when you win ball games. Check out this simple drill for hitting against slow, medium and FAST pitchers.
If your hitters struggle hitting either really slow or really fast pitchers then this drill is perfect for you.
Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a pitcher on staff who can throw live batting practice to our hitters. So, here's a pretty simple drill designed to help your hitters get practice hitting against a slow pitcher, a fast pitcher and a medium-speed pitcher.
The setup for this drill is pretty simple and shown to the right. It doesn't matter whether you do this drill on your field, in your batting cage or indoors. What you'll need are 3 home plates - one placed at the standard distance from the pitcher and the other 2 placed in a row toward the pitcher with each one being about 10 feet closer than the previous one. You'll also need a protective screen, some balls and either a live pitcher, a pitching machine or someone throwing front toss.
Have your hitter start the drill at the Normal distance Plate (1). She'll get 6 tosses/pitches at this distance bunting the first 2 and hitting the next 4. After 6 tosses/pitches at Plate 1 she'll move up to the Medium Plate (2) and take another 6 pitches or tosses - 2 bunts and 4 swings. And finally, she'll move up to Plate 3. This plate represents the fastest pitcher she's likely to face and will force your hitter to load prior to the pitch, track the ball and react faster.
Another way you can do this is to have your hitters start at Plate 2, take their 4-6 pitches and then move up to the faster plate. After another 4-6 pitches then move back to the slower plate. This really forces your hitters to adjust to the speed of the pitch. Remember - hitters don't swing slower on the slower pitching or faster on the faster pitching, they simply load later on the slower pitchers and must load before the pitch on the faster ones.
Don't be surprised if your hitters struggle with this drill at first as it does require a lot of adjustments and can be very frustrating for them if they don't adjust to each distance. Remind your hitters not to carry their frustrations and emotions from one plate to another. Work patiently with them to "Forget what you just did and get ready to succeed at what you're doing now!" Since this can be a somewhat frustrating drill don't use it if your team is struggling with their confidence.