Here are 7 hitting drills and tips from Division 1 baseball coaches, Todd Buttler and Troy Buckley:
Head Coach, Todd Butler
Team: Witcha State, Shockers
Experience: 27 Seasons at Collegiate Level
Swing Training Tips and Drills
- Three most important things for our hitters maintenance program are short bat working each hand individually as each hitter has a hand that isn’t as productive as the other, low flip working on staying in their legs to elevate the ball, and short screen batting practice either sitting in a chair or standing about 25 feet away to work rhythm and timing.
- Pregame each individual has their own maintenance drills they do in the cage before the game. It can be very extensive or very simple dependent upon the player’s needs. Pre-game batting practice is getting the contact points and timing grooved in preparation for the game. We work on all situations that can arise throughout the course of a game that will need to be executed. We take our time so the players have finite focus on each swing and situation.
- Favorite tee drill for power is low tee. low tee puts the ball at the bottom of the zone and when done properly teaches the hitter to elevate that pitch with backspin producing the proper plane to drive the ball into the gaps.
- Oppo tee is important for average as 70% of the pitches at our level are going to be away from the hitter. The hitters that hit for average handle the ball away from them better than the rest.
- Up and In tee is a drill we do with our hitters as it helps them understand the hand path to the ball. They hit the ball up the middle the other way so they get comfortable with the hands being close to them and being on plane with the pitch as they approach the ball.
- Great hitters when they swing they make contact with the ball. Common mistakes with young hitters is over swinging. We talk about 80% effort and 100% ball. We keep tabs in practice of execution and hard hit balls. This competitive environment creates focused intent on solid contact with each swing.
- All drills we do we emphasize solid contact. Counting how many balls they center up in each round they take is an important piece to our daily work.
Head Coach Troy Buckley
Team: Long Beach State, Dirtbags
Experience: 6th Season as LBS Head Coach
Swing Training Tips and Drills
- The three most important pieces of swing training are simplicity, functionality, and buy in.
- The team’s pregame hitting routine includes tee work, cage work, and on-field batting practice COUPLED WITH BASERUNNING READS.
- Our favorite tee drill for power is using the Power-Thru Balls or Ammo Bat System and a 2 tee drill: the front tee has the ball on it and the 2nd tee is right next to the 1st tee, yet the stem is a tic lower than the front tee. This makes sure there is a small angle of lift/angel/bat path.
- Three swings each of Out, Middle, and In are important for average and learning plate coverage and contact points: prefer away and middle over in. Be aware that if doing an inside contact point to not have the tee outside the stride leg/knee.
- Some other tee drills we do are Hi tee, Low tee, Up and In, and Drive the Other Way. We like the high tee and having it on the inner 1/2 of the plate with the goal of trying to hit the ball over the SS head. We use this a lot for hitter that hit the opposite they throw (mainly RH throwers that are LHHs).
- To improve making contact, let the ball travel and stay behind the baseball. Have a purpose off the tee and also be competitive in flips since “comfort” flips aren’t always beneficial.
- Pepper Velo Drill is a great drill to work on making contact, a machine drill with FBs only and the batter moves toward the machine trying to get barrel to ball, like pepper. As one improves then a full swing can occur. It is explained in depth in this article.