Hitting development goes far beyond simply hitting baseballs off the tee, front toss, and “groove me fastballs” batting practice.
In my opinion, true hitting development covers the following key areas: 1) Swing Mechanics - Movements 2) Bat Speed & Power 3) Pitch Recognition - Discipline 4) Game Performance and 5) Mental Conditioning.
1 Swing Mechanics - Movements
Good hitting starts with optimal movement patterns. Is there one absolute way to do it? No. Are there some absolutes that elite swing patterns have? Yes. Using video analysis is a great way to compare how some of the best performing hitters at the highest levels move their body through the hitting sequence. The most common mistake hitters make in the sequence usually involves a hands first approach. This leads to bat path issues and timing issues. A good sequence for a hitter would include hips/pelvis - torso/shoulders - arms/hands last. In the image below, Braun is in a powerful launch position. His hips have started to open while his shoulders remain closed.
Ideally, we want to help hitters create a powerful sequence throughout their swing.
When working to improve movement patterns, I recommend PVC pipes, mirrors, and the Baseball Rebellion Rebel’s Rack. We want to help hitters feel balanced and powerful through proper hip hinge, side bend, and turning the barrel through the zone. Compare and contrast quality movements from poor movements and recognize how each move has a different feel.
Constraints are also useful to create an environment that challenges the hitter to move and execute a task in a better way. External cues help the hitter self-correct issues by focusing on the result of their movement. Example: a hitter with a negative approach angle and poor bat path may see improvements simply by focusing on hitting the ball in a higher spot of the batting cage.
Stay tuned for part two: Bat Speed & Power
Below is a summary of the 2019 Paul D. Camp Community College offensive season: