3-Day Accelerator Email Course
Day 2 - Hitting and Baserunning
Coach Bob Bennett
These insider drills were developed by one of the winningest Division I coaches of all-time - former American Baseball Coaches Association President, Bob Bennett.
Drill #1: Bag Hitting Drill
Take a large punching bag and position it at a height that approximates the strike zone for your hitter. Secure it against a fence or a pole with duct tape, velcro straps or rope. The hitter should set up in his normal stance facing the punching bag.
The hitter will go through his normal swing sequence (relax - ready position - stride - swing) and make contact by swinging the bat into the punching bag.
Practice hitting the middle pitch by setting up with the front foot lined up with the middle of the bag. Practice hitting the outside pitch by moving forward, so the bat makes contact with the bag at back part of the hitting zone. Work on the inside pitch by moving backwards slightly, making contact with the bag in the front of the hitting zone. Also practice hitting high, middle, and low pitches by adjusting the hands to the pitch location. Take 5-10 swings for each type of pitch you are working on.
- On contact, the bottom hand should be palm down while the top hand is palm up.
- Outside pitch: keep the hips slightly closed, try to make contact deeper in the hitting zone, and hit the ballto the opposite field. Middle pitch: open the hips slightly, try to make contact in the middle of the plate, and hit the ball to center field. Inside pitch: open the hips even more, try to make contact out in front of the plate, and pull the ball on contact
- The back hip always goes to the target. Practice placing one hand on the back hip, taking the stride and pointing the finger (and hip) in the direction you would hit the ball
- Always stride to the same spot regardless of the pitch location
- Use visualization to help players picture how they will swing on different types of pitches
- Low pitch: take the same stride and keep the hips at the same level. Adjust the hands lower to make contact. High pitch: take the same stride and keep the hips at the same level. Adjust the hands higher to make contact
- Keep the hands inside the ball to create a shorter, more compact swing. Avoid looping or casting the bat around the plate. Be short to the ball and long after you hit it to generate more power.
Drill #2: Baserunning Sequence Drill
Divide your team into 4 groups. Station each group at a point halfway down each baseline.
- Group 1 halfway between home and first
- Group 2 halfway between first and second
- Group 3 halfway between second and third
- Group 4 halfway between third and home
The drill begins with the player at the front of each line proceeding to the next base, then executing a turn using the proper fundamentals. He then advances to the next line, going from first base, to second base, to third base to home.
There are four phases to this drill:
- Walk through
- Jog through (approximately half speed)
- Run through at three quarter speed
- Run through at full speed
Note: start at phase 1 and do not proceed to the next phase until the players have demonstrated the proper fundamentals.
- Try to tag the inside corner of the base with the left foot. But don't change your running rhythm in order to do this. (over time the left foot tag will become more natural)
- To make the turn, throw the left arm across the chest and turn the shoulders to the right, while the hips and feet turn to the left (the direction of the next base)
- To help your players remember to this, place a coach behind the bag, and have them reach across their bodies with the left arm and touch his chest as they make the turn
- Try to "run in a square" and cut towards each base on the sharpest possible angle