Presentation on theme: "Little League Coaches Hitting Clinic Session Organization"— Presentation transcript:
1 Little League Coaches Hitting Clinic Session Organization A few points about coaching kids and coaching hitting (just my opinions) (10 minutes)What’s and How’s of Hitting (30 minutes)MechanicsRhythm and TimingStrategy and Mental ApproachDrills and Progressions (50 Minutes)Break down some of your swingsPut into practiceQuestion and Answer: As we go.Goal: Starting tools and things to think aboutIt isn’t rocket scienceBut it does help to have an idea
2 Coaching Kids It’s a GAME! Have fun! Positive Reinforcement 5 minutes practice with joy more useful than 5 hours of drudgeryPositive ReinforcementWe all get excited at times, etc.; the more positive you can be, the better the resultsHitting is difficult; kids must learn to manage failure; have a sense of humorEvery kid is different.Have to learn personalities and tailor instructionWork as a teamWe’re all in it together; the more we can help each other, the better we all will do
3 Coaching Hitting Hitting is difficult: patience is key! Both hitter and coach! Take long-term approach. Be happy with small successes, they’ll add up over time.Work with natural swingAllow natural athletic ability to come through. Don’t want things to be mechanical.Different bodies, different styles, different strengths; Can be successful hitter in a variety of ways.In the end, we do want everyone to swing basically the same right way; how they get there will be different.Don’t overwhelm: Work on one thing at a time.Celebrate success, but don’t be satisfied!Strength, weakness, strength.Repetitions: Muscle memory.
4 A few important miscellaneous things Bat weight: too heavy bat kills hittersGood Rule of Thumb: weak arm/nose testHeavy bat drops and drags through hitting zoneUpper body swaysChoke up on bat if needed! (Ty Cobb: .367).Batting gloves are goodJust can’t really work on hitting without glovesCoaches: Pitching L Screen a mustDon’t end up in the emergency room.
5 Three Areas of HittingMechanics: What the various parts of the body do to swing the bat most effectively.Rhythm and Timing: How we get our swing to the right place at the right time.Strategy/Mental Approach: Hitting pitches in different zones against different pitchers in different game situations.
6 The Real Basics Be Aggressive! Be ready to hit (early!) Be up there to hit!Hit the ball hard!Be ready to hit (early!)Swing at good pitches!Eyes on the ball!Head must be still!Rotate your whole bodyHit ball out in front
7 Mechanics Simplified Swing: Rotate, Finish. Rotate Body. Finish through ball with arms and hands.Body first, arms and hands second.Hands straight to and through ball.Palm up, palm down! All through hitting zone.!Not a tennis racketUse back shoulder to accelerate hands (don’t drop hands and sweep).!or a golf clubMaintain some flex in lead arm to avoid slow long arc to ball.Palm does not face target.
8 Rotate, Finish Hit ball out in front. Palm Up, Palm Down Rotate, Finish Hit ball out in front! Palm Up, Palm Down! (Some flex in lead arm!)
9 Mechanics: A Bit More (1 of 2) Grip: Door-knocker knucklesStance: Balanced, Athletic, Flex in ankles and knees, Relaxed upper body, Hands near back shoulder, Head straight, 2 eyes to pitcher, Some easy motion. Recommend square stance.Stride: Preparation and RhythmBegin before ball in air (Watch Manny).Weight shift back; small counter-rotation; small motion of hands. (“Loading up.” Don’t overdo.)Some tension in lower half; upper body must remain tension-freeSOFT FRONT FOOT ON STRIDE!Front toe closedRotate in place (minimizes head movement, among other things).Weight shift during swing: “Back to middle.”
10 Mechanics: A Bit More (2 of 2) Rotate in place. Head cannot move.Rotation: Push from back side. (But push to rotate.)Use back foot. (Don’t just let it roll over.)Don’t pull from front side (subtle)Rotation: Firm front side. Front leg pushes front hip back to aid rotation. Do not collapse front knee!Rotation: Frame rotates as one. Hips and shoulders turn together.Rotation: Feel the back shoulder accelerate the hands. Want hands reasonably close to body: “Short swing.”Rotate all the way through ball. Drives ball in the air.Arms and Hands: “Power V” (Dusty Baker)DO NOT EXTEND TOO SOON. Extend through ball, not at ball.DO NOT ROLL WRISTS OVER; DO NOT HOOK!Finish OUT (to pitcher), not across; finish where you want the ball to go.
11 Rotate. Finish Hit Ball in Front Palm Up, Palm Down Rotate. Finish Hit Ball in Front Palm Up, Palm Down! (Some flex in lead arm!)
12 Palm Up, Palm Down! Don’t Extend Too Soon! Extend Through Ball!
13 Finish all the way through! Back arm finish out, not across!
14 Killers Moving head Lunging at ball (Landing hard on front foot) Front arm lock-outStepping open (in the bucket)Wrapping bat around headHooking hands through zoneCollapsing front side
15 Subtle Killers Trying to swing with arms too soon Upper body tension Too late preparation/initiation of front sideDropping handsOveractive wristsQuick front hipRoll over back ankle
16 Rhythm and Timing Preparation Hitters have their own individual rhythm and timing mechanisms. We work to change this just a little at a time.Preparation should begin before the ball is in the air! Early initiation of front side preparation. Prepare, recognize, swing. (Young players may have trouble with this). Many players: recognize, quick stride, swing.Learn to wait for the ball. Wait for fastball, wait for change-up.Stride is for preparation and rhythm only; separate stride from swing (otherwise beat the ball into the ground).
17 Rhythm and Timing The Hitting Plane Contact is made in different places for inside/middle/outside pitches.The contact area is a plane diagonal to the plate. The more inside the pitch, the further out in front (towards the pitcher) is the point of contact. Likewise, the further outside, the further back (towards the catcher) is the point of contact.Regardless, the contact point is still out in front of the hitter.
18 Drill ProgressionRepetition (of the correct way!) is critical. Must develop muscle memory; in hitting, there is no time to think, only to react.TeeSoft TossShort tossBatting PracticeLive Hitting
19 Hitting off a Tee Great for warm up Great for working inside/outside Important for players to understand: tee stand is not home plateMust have ball teed up in proper place; must hit ball out in front.Visualize ball coming in from pitcherPrecise in ball trajectory: hit ‘em where they ain’tBasketball: work on finish through ball. Great way to learn to hit to opposite field with authority; Palm up, palm down! Best drill for wrist-rollers: feel hand position.
20 Soft TossGreat for focused mechanics work, focused rhythm work; lots of kids, lots of swings45° angle between tosser and hitter; tosser must make good toss into hitting zoneVisualizeMany variationsSoft stepHigh toss: tomahawk (especially for “sweepers” and wrist rollers); finish straight outLow toss: drive, don’t lift: “take out pitcher’s knees”Cut off inside pitch (hitter turns)Basketball: drive through ball; palm up, palm down. Get excellent feedback through hands; players can feel hand position through contactAgain: Be precise in ball trajectory. Don’t practice grounding out to shortstop.
21 Short Toss Toss from 25-30 feet. Use screen. Great intermediate step between soft toss and regulation pitcher distanceWork on rhythm! Initiate front side early.In/out; Up/down; Slow/fastLearn to hit with authority to all fields; hit the ball “where it is pitched.”(Good place to practice “taking inside pitch” drill with tennis balls: make sure players know to turn back to catcher, take it in the back.)
22 Batting PracticeClear mind: focus on the ball. See the ball and hit it.Use other drills to work on mechanics and develop muscle memory. I only make adjustments during batting practice with advanced hitters.Hitting with counts develops plate discipline.Situational hitting (man on second, no outs; man on third, less than two outs).Critical to have a pitcher that can throw strikes. Move up closer to batter if you have to.
23 Mechanics of the Swing: Detailed Analysis StancePreparation/StrideRotation, Rotation, Rotation!HeadFeet and LegsTorsoArms and HandsFinish
24 Stance (1) Relaxed, Comfortable, Athletic, Balanced! Flex in ankles and knees: weight on balls of the feetCan pigeon toes in a little: Keeps front side closed, aids in turning back sideHead turned all of the way to pitcher: binocular visionPosition of hands is variable; relatively close to back shoulderHighly recommend square stanceOpen stance: difficulty with outside pitch; maximum bat speed generated too late—after contact zoneClosed stance: severely reduce hip rotation, difficult to drive ball; difficulty handling inside pitch
25 Stance (2) Hitter position in box variable Typical position: front foot at midpoint of plate, 6-8” off plateOn plate:For hitters looking to pull the ball; takes away the outside corner; dares pitcher to come insideCan be intimidating to pitcher, especially if physically big hitterTakes guts; will occasionally get hitOff plateFor hitters looking to go opposite field; reduce chance of getting jammed, but may give away outside cornerForward in boxMore field to hit in; angles keep ball fair (so bunters should move up in box a bit)Catch breaking ball before it breaks too farBall gets to hitter quicker; must be readyDeep in boxMore time to see ball and read pitchGive breaking pitches more chance to breakTougher angle to keep ball fair; need to work ball to middle of the field
26 Preparation and Stride (1) Variable from hitter to hitterMaintain some easy relaxed motion in batters box:. Cannot be a statue!“Loading up” (Lift front foot to shift weight back)Subtle weight shift. Control front leg!Early! “When pitcher shows you his pocket, you show him your pocket.” (Dusty Baker)Sink a bit into back legSome counter-rotation of torsoWill build some tension in lower body to release into swingSome small motion of hands back to shoulder or just behind! Don’t overdo loading up. Upper body stays relaxed.! Don’t turn head.! Don’t lock out front arm.! Don’t wrap bat back around head
27 Preparation and Stride (2) Stride is for rhythm and timing only! You do not hit with your stride! Do not lunge forward!Soft on front foot!! Land on ball of foot. (Swing initiated with a drop of the front heel).Do not shift weight on stride (minimal weight shift).Rhythm: Learn to waitDon’t even really need a stride at allNomar; Jeff BagwellFront toe closed on stride
28 Rotation, Rotation, Rotation! Hitting is a rotational skill: I cannot stress this enough; Torso (Frame) rotates basically as one.!! Too much forward weight shift causes myriad problems. Shift weight “back to middle.” (Separate slide)It is primarily rotation of the body frame that accelerates the hands and bat! (Use of body’s large muscle groups.) Arms are mostly along for the ride.Arms finish the swing. Too much arm action early in the swing leads to a long, slow, weak swing.Basic swing: Rotate body, finish with arms and hands
29 Pitfalls of Early or Too Aggressive Forward Weight Shift Hinders rotationMoves headSusceptible to changing speeds or pitches moving in the zone (Can’t “stay back”)Increase relative speed of pitch: susceptible to being jammed on inside pitchesHarder to get bat out in frontTends to cause wrist rolling
30 Rotation, Rotation, Rotation! Feet and Legs Back leg main driving force of rotation, especially early in the swingWant to initiate rotation by pushing from back leg. Use back foot to push. Don’t just roll over back ankle.“Turn the back side”Initiating turn by pulling from the front (“quick front hip”) slower and weakerBack leg, classic “L.” Be sure cause, not effect!Front leg firm, straightens, and pushes backStrong pivot for rotationPush back to rotate front hip backGood key: drop to front heel to initiateFront toe will eventually rotate open.! Do not collapse front leg: death to rotation
31 Rotation, Rotation, Rotation Torso Whole frame rotates together: hips and shoulders move as oneKeep frame straight: no bending at the waistSlight lean into plate ok; Lean away from plate no good (“pulling off the ball”)Slight angle back to catcher ok: straight line through front leg and torsoMaintaining balance throughout entire rotation obviously critical
32 Rotation: Arms and Hands For most of the swing arms are just along for the ride. Rotate with body, finish with armsFrame: Must bring arms along with torso rotation. Coordinated rotationElbows should be close to body so that hands are swung in a tight arcBack elbow tucks to body at start of rotation; pulls bat backKeep front elbow tight as wellUseful for some players: keep hands inside ballRelaxed upper body until driving through ballHave players feel body accelerate hands!Critical point: Palm up, palm down at contact!!! Do not roll wrists at contact
33 Finish Hips fully open at contact; must hit ball out in front Extend arms THROUGH BALL. (Through ball, not at ball.)! Must avoid too early extension of arms (sweeping)Palm up, palm down through entire hitting zone!!! Avoid reaching and “hooking;” again, hands inside ballKeep bat in plane of ball for as long as possibleArms and bat should finish pointing right at pitcher before wrists naturally begin to roll overFinish where you want the ball to go
34 Rhythm and Timing Prepare early: ideally, before ball is in the air. “Prepare, recognize, swing”Sooner or later, hitters who “recognize, stride, swing” will have troubleLearn to wait. Help deal with changing speeds.Rhythm: Cannot be a statue. Motion and balance in stance and preparation.Variable: each player needs to find his own rhythm; changing a player’s rhythm in preparation must be done cautiouslyPlane of contact: diagonal vertical plane. Must “cut off” inside pitches and wait on outside pitchesPractice, practice, practice
35 Hitter’s Approach Aggressive attitude: Be up there to hit. Get a good pitch to hit!!No strikes: “Zone up”: look for a particular pitch: your strengthOne strike: hit a good strikeTwo strikes: protect the plate, battle, make the pitcher throw as many pitches as you canPatience: Be up there to hit, but take a walkKnow your strengths and weaknesses: What is your pitch? Look for your pitch until 2 strikes.Read the defense: Is there a big hole to shoot for?Know the situation (i.e. man on 2nd, no outs: look for pitch to hit to right)Try to figure out the pitcher: Is there a pattern? What are his tendencies?The better the pitcher, more aggressive early in the count; can’t fall behind a good pitcher
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