Help Your Young Hitter Learn the Perfect Swing With These 5 Drills

Jack Perconte Hitting Instructor & former MLB Player

Jack Perconte Hitting Instructor & former MLB Player

I have a favorite saying. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Most coaches will tell you that hitters are not born; they are made. Hitters develop the proper swing from drills and habits they learn in practice. It is better to take 10 fundamentally correct swings than to take 100 swings the wrong way.

Drills are an instrumental part of teaching hitting, Perconte believes. Here are five drills I recommend for parents and coaches to teach young ballplayers the fundamentals of hitting:

  1. Pad Drill – Have the hitter place a pad or fielder’s glove under the armpit closest to the pitcher. The hitter will take a full swing and allow the pad to fall out after contact with the ball. This places the hitter in a good hitting position since it is difficult to hold the pad under the front arm and be out of ideal hitting position. It also forces the hitter to learn to use his forearms and hands to swing the bat. In addition, it keeps the front elbow and knob of the bat from lifting, and thus disallows the hitter to start the bat barrel on the wrong path to the ball. Fourth, by allowing the pad to fall out on the follow through, it forces the hitter to get the proper extension with the hands and arms through the hitting zone.

  2. Fake Flip Drill – The coach is off to the side or directly in front (behind a screen) of the hitter. Holding a ball, the coach flips the ball to the hitter. The coach has the option of holding onto the ball or letting it go to the hitter. This drill makes the hitter go to the proper hitting position. It also teaches quickness and a compact swing because the hitter cannot cheat and start early on the swing. In addition, the hitter will start to develop confidence and understanding as he learns to wait for the ball to get to the hitting zone before starting the swing.

  3. Fast Knee Drill, or Check Your Swing Drill – The hitter takes a stride and fires back the knee while holding up on the swing. His weight shifts forward, but he checks his swing. The knob of the bat remains down as the hands come forward a few inches. In this drill, the hitter must stay back in order to develop a fast back leg (if he lunges at all the back leg will not fire forward). Also, the hitter will begin to develop a fast back knee and hips. In addition, he will learn to keep the front elbow and knob of the bat down on the first movement, thereby keeping the barrel of the bat above the hands on the first move.

  4. Pull, Pivot, Push Drill – Using a much smaller bat or choking up on his regular bat, the hitter holds the bat only with the lead hand. With the top hand, the hitter straightens his fingers as if to make a karate chop and places it directly above the bottom hand touching the thumb of the lower hand. The hitter begins his swing with a slight pull with the lead hand towards the ball and then straightens the lead arm as the top hand remains on the bat and pushes the barrel through the ball. The hitter finishes the drill with the bat moving forward in only the lead arm. The top arm finishes pointing directly at the pitcher with the palm of the top hand pointing down and right at shoulder level. The hitter should also push with the back hip so he ends with the back heel up in the air and the chin up on the back shoulder. Only use softer balls or work on the tee with this drill because regular balls that are pitched at the hitter may strike his hands when he swings.

  5. 1,2,3,4 Drill – This drill puts the swing in slow motion. On the count of one, the hitter takes a stride in the correct hitting position while landing on the ball of the front foot. On the count of two, the hitter breaks the back knee slightly as the weight stays back but the front foot goes down. On the count of three, the hitter swings as fast as possible with the proper weight shift. On the count of four, the hitter freezes in the finish position and is able to see the bat come all the way around to the middle of the back with the chin finishing on the back shoulder with both hands on the bat. This drill ensures that the hitter can perform and understand each move of the swing properly.

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3 Comments

  1. "Private Villas"

    October 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    “Your site layout is a bit off in Chrome. Good post however.”

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