submit
Training Preview

TSC Lessons

Daily Drill

Pro Performance

Coach-To-Coach

Mind & Body

Now Batting

Ask Dr. Screwball

Contest Your Best...

Parents Must Read

Caught In The Web

Member Benefits

Youth Sports Coaches

Youth Sports Players

Youth Sports Parents

Youth Sports Fundraising

Join Now!

Join Now

Contact Us



Member Login
User Name

Password




 


Drawing Winners
Grand Prize:
Rick Wolf
Hart Pony Baseball and Softball
Autographed Tony Gwynn Bat
 
1st Place:
Brenda Dunbar
Santa Susana BB
Fielder's Glove
 
2nd Place:
Tracy Lavarnay
West Hills Pony BB
Bat
 
3rd Place:
Tom Bunker
El Rio LL
Baseball Cleats
 
4th Place:
Bob Oliver
Federal Way American LL
Batting Gloves
 
Congratulations!






 


Home   About Us   My Account   Contact Us
Join Now for More Training!     Click here!
 





Contact Attack: Problems and Solutions
By JERRY STITT
Head Coach, University of Arizona

If a player is having problems making contact, these guidelines should help pinpoint the reasons why. Keep in mind that it's not how much you know, it's how much you communicate with your hitter that makes the difference!

I. Key Coaching Points

 A. Observe many strokes from many angles to determine the "root" problemthe fundamental error that causes a hitter to do something incorrectly.
  1. If changes are made for the sake of change, then often the coach has to correct his actions.
  2. Behind the pitcher or the hitter is the best angle for seeing the flight of the bat and for observing how well the hitter stays "inside" the ball. Head movement, balance and basic swing mechanics are best observed from the side.

 B. Check vision firsthow well a hitter is "seeing" the ball is absolutely fundamental to his mechanics.
  1. Only the hitter can tell the coach if he is getting an "A" look or an "F" look at the ball.
  2. Not seeing the ball will first manifest itself in poor timing and next in consistently missing square contact.

 C. To correct mechanics, start from the ground and work up.
  1. It helps to slow the feet by spreading them apart and "squeezing" the knees. There should be an angle between vertical and horizontal to the thighs. This forces the hitter down into his center of gravity. Straightening the legs (vertical position) pulls the hitter away from his center of gravity, and a loss of power from the lower body will result.
  2. The torso should be almost vertical to allow for a flat angle of rotation.

 D. Be on the same wavelength as the hitter.
  1. Different hitters learn differently. Some are "feel" learners, some are "visual" learners, some are "auditory" learners. Try to know each hitter and how they learn.
  2. Provide:
   a. Clear, positive directions. Key words and cues are extremely important. Be sure those words and cues remain consistent. Be sure the hitter understands the words and cues.
   b. Clear visual images.
   c. Clear demonstrations.

II. Common Faults and Corrections

 A. Not seeing the ball well:
  1. Hitting is a perception/vision skill, not a reaction skill. The instructions "see the ball and react" are very difficult to accomplish. The most important reason is that the front foot must be completely set before the pitcher releases the ball.
  2. Vision Rhythm (swing rhythm). The key is to be in "rhythm" with the pitcher, so that the head is still and the eyes are "hard" focused on the release point at the correct time. It is important to "anticipate" the release of the ball and not "wait" for the release of the ball.
  3. "Logo" (release). This is a verbal reminder for the hitter to focus on the cap logo of the pitcher. As the pitcher's hands break, the eyes will hard focus on the release point, intent on the top of the ball.
  4. Have the hitter grade "looks" instead of grading swings. Give letter grades; "A" for huge, early, and far into the hitting zone, all the way to "F" for not seeing the ball at all! Too often hitters and coaches are overly concerned with mechanics; the most important ingredients of hitting are when, how well and how long the ball is seen.
  5. "Ball" and "ball-hit" are two easy drills to help a coach and hitter determine when the hitter first sees the ball and how long he sees it. In the "ball" drill the coach throws batting practice to the hitter. The hitter says the word "ball" when he first sees the ball, which should be when the ball is about to leave the coach's hand. At first the ballwill be well on its way before the coach hears the word "ball." As more repetitions take place, the ball moves back toward the release point. In the "ball-hit" drill, the hitter says the word "ball" when he first sees the ball and the word "hit" as he makes contact with the ball.

 B. Drills for overstriding or front-side hitting:
  1. Rhythm-balance drill. With the feet spread and the knees squeezed, place a volleyball or a junior basketball between the knees. Hit balls off a tee or straight-on underhand toss. If rhythm and balance are consistent, the volleyball or basketball will remain between the knees until just before contact. A key point is that the front knee stays behind the front ankle at all times. The back knee moves down and in as the back hip rotates.
  2. Weight-shift hitting. Most young hitters shift their weight too soon, either in the stride or as they start the bat. To have significant power, the weight must shift as the barrel is traveling through the hitting zone (just before contact and through contact). Hit balls off a tee. Using ankle flexion, the inside ball of the back foot is pushed down into the ground and the back foot "squashes the bug," then the back foot comes off the ground slightly as the barrel of the bat moves through the hitting zone. The important point here is to feel the weight shift against the front leg just before contact.

 C. Long, slow bat. A common fault of young hitters is to take the hands away from the body. I tell our hitters all the time that we are not playing hand ball, we are playing barrel ball. Encourage a young hitter to keep his hands "inside" (the side closest to the body) the ball rather than to "throw the hands at the ball."
  1. Standing one-hand drills.
   a. Use a short bat in the bottom hand. Hit balls from straight-on underhand toss. Top hand on the chest. Keep the front elbow down and the barrel of the bat as close to the body as possible until right before contract. Hit the inside of the ball and try to hit the ball to the opposite field.
   b. Use a short bat in the top hand. Hit balls from straight-on underhand toss. Bottom hand on the chest. Keep the back elbow close to the body, striving to get it even with the belly-button at contact. The barrel stays close to the body until right before contact. Hit the inside of the ball and try to hit the ball to the opposite field. Stop the barrel as soon after contact as possible without slowing the bat through contact, being careful not to roll the hand over.
  2. Backside soft toss.
   a. The feeder in backside soft toss is on the same side as the hitter, rather than the opposite side as in traditional soft toss, but at about the same 45-degree angle as traditional soft toss. The ball is tossed across the plate, and the hitter keeps his head still, stays inside the ball and hits it to the opposite field. This is a difficult drill, especially if the hitter turns away from the ball. The feeder may want to use a screen!
   b. The feeder is in back about where the umpire stands behind the catcher. The hitter's head should be angled slightly toward the back shoulder to pick up the ball as it comes through the hitting zone. The ball is tossed slowly through the zone and the hitter stays inside the ball, keeping the barrel "on" the ball out front as long as possible. This is a very difficult drill and can be extremely frustrating. It takes the hitter's maximum concentration to do it right.

 

At the University of Arizona, our entire hitting philosophy is based upon keeping the head still. From initial rhythm through contact, the head must remain still. If rhythm is off, balance is poor, and weight shift occurs too early or too late, then a still head is practically impossible. If rhythm, balance, and weight shift are correct then a still head can be attained.

 

JUST FOR YOUTH

  • Key Coaching Points
  • Observe many strokes from many angles to determine the "root " problem.
  • Check vision first.
    How well a hitter is "seeing" the ball is absolutely fundamental to his mechanics.
  • To correct mechanics, start from the ground and work up.
    Move from feet to eyes.
  • Be on the same wave length as the hitter.
  • Determine which players are "feel " learners, "visual " learners, or "auditory " learners.
  • Provide Clear, positive directions, clear visual image and clear demonstrations.

  • Common Faults and Corrections
  • Not seeing the ball well
  • Set front foot completely before pitcher releases the ball.
  • Keep your head still and the eyes focused on the release point at the correct time.
  • Focus on the cap logo of the pitcher. As the pitcher's hands break, focus on the release point, intent on the top of the ball.
  • Grade "looks " instead of grading swings. Give an "A " for in the zone, to "F" for not seeing the ball at all!
  • In the "ball " drill, hitter says the word "ball " when he first sees the ball, which should be when the ball is about to leave the coach's hand.
    At first the ball will be well on its way before the coach hears the word "ball ".
    With more repetitions, the ball moves back toward the release point.
    In the "ball-hit " drill, the hitter says the word "ball " when he first sees the ball and the word "hit " as he makes contact with the ball.

  • Drills for overstriding or front-side hitting
  • Rhythm (balance drill). With the feet spread and the knees squeezed, place a volleyball or a junior basketball between the knees. Hit balls off a tee or straight-on underhand toss. If rhythm and balance are consistent, the volleyball or basketball will remain between the knees until just before contact. A key point is that the front knee stays behind the front ankle at all times. The back knee will move down and in as the back hip rotates.
  • Weight-shift hitting. Most young hitters shift their weight too soon, either in the stride or as they start the bat.
    Hit balls off a tee. Using ankle flexion, the inside ball of the back foot is pushed down into the ground and the back foot "squashes the bug." Then, the back foot comes off the ground slightly as the barrel of the bat moves through the hitting zone.
    The important point here is to feel the weight shift against the front leg just before contact.





 
Note: Site Members have access to our exclusive baseball and softball training program from the top professional coaches, athletes and experts in Mind & Body. To discover about hitting, pitching, fielding from the pros, click here to join to TheSportsCoach.com.
 


















Clinic Chat
New schedule to be posted soon.

Our Experts

Bringing years of impressive experience. Providing specialized instruction. Sharing exclusive knowledge. Revealing insider tips and strategies.
Click Here

The 50/50 Club
Enroll in The 50/50 Club today and give the participants of your organization access to the Internet's leader in sport-specific training/educational material.
Click Here


 


 

TheSportsCoach sports:

Baseball ¦ Soccer ¦ Softball


Terms and Condition of Use | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer


TheSportsCoach.com, Inc.
5325 N. Commerce Ave., No.2 Moorpark, Ca 93021
Tel: (805) 553-9400 Fax: (805) 553-9415
email support :


Copyright ©2001 by TheSportsCoach.com, Inc. All rights reserved.