I have been against "hitting drills" because of the fact that no matter what drill a player does, his swing stays the same.
This page is a collection of baseball hitting drills to actually move better.
These drills (or movements) are designed to allow players to feel what its like to move like the best hitters of all time.
I will explain each movement in detail, the feel involved and the thought process behind them.
Triangle Turn / Barrel Turn
The triangle turn is something that you will see in the overwhelming majority of world class hitters.
This shape should be maintained for as long as possible.
Rock the triangle and tilt the shoulders to bring the barrel to the baseball.
This is a different movement for most people, the majority of hitters I come across are taught to swing down. Typically you see things like this.
This thought process is not new to baseball. Many hitters think they swing down and then perform something completely different in a live game.
Here is how you turn the triangle.
If you are new to the triangle turn, stand up, grab your bat and try it. This is the most important part of the swing. Nearly all great hitters have mastered the triangle turn.
Shoulder Tilt / Back Hip Extension
This drill is great for players who were taught to keep the shoulders level.
The shoulders need to be level with the height of the pitch. In the modern MLB, nearly all strikes are thrown below the waist. This means that ALL swings happen with back shoulder tilted below the level plane.
The majority of young players are taught to "squish the bug" and "rotate the hips."
This leads to players spinning their body and ultimately swinging in the wrong direction.
By using ground force and extending the back hip to the baseball, players can produce force back towards the pitcher.
It's important to note, the back leg drives the swing. The upper body should resist turning forward.
If you have been around baseball for any length of time, you have heard the term "stay inside the baseball."
If you ask players and coaches what "stay inside" actually means, you will get a different answer every time.
Here is what those coaches really want when they tell you to "stay inside."
1. Oppo Power
2. The ability to keep inside pitches fair
How do we do that?
Players who stay inside well typically have a very vertical swing plane.
Forcing the ball to the opposite field is not necessarily something I recommend to do in game.
For guys who swing very flat and pull every pitch, I do recommend getting a feel for this drill.
Notice how the hands finish out towards the pitcher.
This is especially helpful for players who are 13 years old and have to get used to playing on the big field.
Fall Forward / Pull Back
In this drill, you will get a feel for what its like to pull the elbow back against your forward momentum.
This loading sequence can be found in the majority of world class hitters.
Preset Tension / Torque
Creating stretch or tension between the back elbow and back knee is a common similarity in all great hitters.
The back leg should pull the bat through the swing.
Notice how the shoulders tilt without turning towards the pitcher.
Circle the foot
"Slow and early" - Jose Bautista
The idea here is to fall forward and resist with the upper body until the very last moment.
The back elbow should resist the forward momentum, resulting in a stretch and fire unload.
Notice how explosive the swing becomes when the kinetic energy is released. The leg pulls on the bat for several frames before the bat is finally allowed to swing forward.
The barrel turn is something that you will find in the majority of world class hitters.
This action of the barrel allows for momentum and centripetal force.
Keep the back arm bent until after contact.
Notice how far the barrel moves without the shoulders opening. Once the bat is level with the pitch, then the shoulders turn.
The majority of players do not know what a proper contact position looks like.
The bat and shoulders should be tilted parallel to the height of the pitch.
Both arms should still be bent.
Barrel below the hands.
Body behind the front foot, not over the front foot.
Spine tilted over the plate.
This is a picture of Nolan Arenado hitting a baseball 471ft. Photo courtesy of 3dswingcenter.com.
Create torque by pulling the elbow back while the back knee stays straight.
Launch the swing by extending the back hip towards the baseball and maintaining the stretch created in the beginning.
Hit the ball as hard as you can towards the opposite field. This is a great way to develop good swing direction and power to the opposite field.
Here is Manny Ramirez doing a variation of the torque drill during my time with him this off-season.
There you have it. Baseball Hitting Drills to move better.
These drills are designed to allow players to develop the right movements and feelings created in a great swing. (feelings?) Hitters must feel what its like to create early bat speed, torque and efficient bat path.
All of these movements can and should be done while watching yourself in a mirror. The truly dedicated can be found randomly watching themselves in the reflection of windows or any other reflective surface.
Share this article with everyone you know.