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Developing Successful Hitters

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  1. Developing Successful Hitters By: Shannon Miller

  2. Approaching an at Bat • What is a successful at bat? • When a hitter swings on time, sees the ball well, hits the ball hard and executes the skills of the game. • Common Mistakes • Good at bat is when you get a hit. • Fact • Event the best hitters fail 7 out of 10 times.

  3. Mental Preparation • Players must learn to deal with failure. • Mental preparation begins in the dugout. • Some questions batters should be thinking about are: • Does the pitcher show her pitches? • What pitch does she use to get ahead? • Does she have a good off speed pitch? • Does she work in and out or up in the zone? • Does she have a pitch sequence that is consistent?

  4. Mental Preparation Continued • In the Hole • Batter puts on helmet and batting gloves and starts preparing to hit. • Have a mental checklist of physical and mental cues she observed while in the dugout or from a previous at bat. • Control breathing and use self talk to become relaxed and confident. • On Deck Circle • Practice timing of swing off of pitcher. • Visualize hitting the ball.

  5. Physical Preparation • Position in the Box • Allows the hitter to maximize her visual skills and see the ball longer while ensuring a strong base for balance. • Deciding Where to Stand • Consider the pitchers strengths and tendencies. • Good position in the batters box can take away a pitchers strengths. • Main Factors in Deciding Where to Stand in the Box • Movement • Speed

  6. Up or Back in the Box? • Instances where batter stands up in the box. • Pitcher has average to below average velocity. • When pitchers dominate pitch is down in the zone. • When the pitch shows a late break. • Instances where batter stance back in the box. • Pitcher has above average velocity. • When the dominate pitch is a rise ball. • When the pitch shows an early break especially for a drop ball. • When a hitter needs a longer look at the pitch

  7. Types of Stances • Open Stance • Front foot is farther from the plate than the back foot. • Used by a pull hitter. • Allows batter to see ball longer. • Looking to hit inside pitch for power.

  8. Types of Stances Cont • Closed Stance • Front foot is closer to the plate than the back foot. • Opposite field hitters

  9. Types of Stance Cont. • Square or Normal Stance • Both feet are equal distance from the plate. • Equal plate coverage. • Not giving away visible weaknesses to pitcher, catch or coach. • Most widely taught stance.

  10. The Stance • Weight on the balls of the feet. • 60% of weight on back foot. • Feet shoulder width apart. • Knees slightly bent. • Slightly bent forward at the waist.

  11. Stance Cont. • Shoulders level. • Bat at 45 degree angle. • Arms form an upside down “V”. • Knocker knuckles and hands high. • Head level and turned towards the pitcher. • Chin tucked to front shoulder.

  12. The Stride Stride 3” to 5” step with front foot towards the pitcher. Stride onto the ball of the front foot keeping feet square to plate. Hands remain exactly where they started in the batting stance still forming the upside V. Helps the batter with timing, balance and control.

  13. The Swing Swing Hips begin to open. Back heal pivots (heal high). Front leg straightens (pushing toes into ground) Rotate down through the center of the body creating straight line from the head, shoulders, torso and back thigh to the ground. The knob of the bat and the back foot rotate together. Eyes on the ball and chin tucked to front shoulder. Arms fully extend at contact then the wrist roll over. Follow through.

  14. Bunting • Purpose • to help move runners in to scoring position. • Mechanics • Place back foot in the middle to the front of home plate. • Pivot on balls of feet with both feet pointing at the pitcher. • Knees and arms slightly flexed. • Create a small shelf to hold bat with the thumb and index finger. • Angle the bat up to avoid pop ups to the catcher. • Hands high and move with your legs.

  15. Hitting Drills • Tee Drills • Inside Pitch • Helps the batter practice hitting the inside pitch. • Point of contact is out in front and on the inside the plate. • Outside Pitch • Helps the batter practice hitting the outside pitch. • Point of contact is farther back in the zone at the center of the body.

  16. Hitting Drills • Top Hand • Purpose of this drill • When to break wrists. • Swing through the ball. • Bottom Hand • Purpose of this drill • Knob and hands to ball. • Extension of arms. • Contact point.

  17. Hitting Drills • Soft Toss • Purpose of Drill • Focus on contacting ball in front of the body. • Putting the different parts of the swing together. • Allows the batter to do a self check on their swing. • Bunting Drill • Purpose of Drill • Allowing the batter to watch the ball in to the bat at a slower speed. • Practice proper bunting mechanics.

  18. Review • What is a common mistake made by many young hitters? • What are a couple questions a batter should think about when mentally preparing for an at bat? • Where does mental preparation begin? • What are the two main factors in deciding where to stand in the batters box? • Explain an open stance.

  19. Review Cont. • What percentage of your weight should be on your back leg during you stance? • How big should your stride be? • What is the purpose of the bunt? • Name one purpose of the bottom hand drill. • Name two other hitting drills discussed in the presentation.