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Thread: Hitting in practice

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    Checking out the clubhouse lynx's Avatar
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    Default Hitting in practice

    Hey Ken,
    What do you believe are the best or most important hitting drills in practice (HS level team)? Reading a bunch of your posts, I truly enjoy and feel the same on many topics and ideas you share. Thanks for your help...Lynx

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    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Sorry Lynx, just saw your message. I wasn't ignoring you!

    I'm not huge on using a bunch of drills. I prefer full swing work, then use drills surgically to correct specific issues. So do tee hitting and front toss.

    One drill I like is to have the hitter start in the fully turned position, with her hips facing the pitcher. Then pull the shoulders back and hit off the tee. Another one, for hitters who are having trouble separating the hips and shoulders, is to have the hitter face a fence, then grab it around the area of her back shoulder and turn the hips, keeping the shoulders facing in.

    For learning tracking and early pitch recognition, I like one I invented called the Ronaldo drill. It's a front toss drill. The pitcher goes through the motion, preferably a full circle, and the hitter loads as usual. As the pitcher releases the ball, the hitter closes her eyes and swings. On my blog I said to close the eyes when the ball is halfway there but that's too easy. I need to update that! It's tough, but it works.

    For extension, I like the one where you turn the top hand over and grip the bat thumb-to-thumb, then hit off the tee.

    There's one other one for learning to drive the back hip forward. Put a ball on the tee hip-high. Press the wrist against the hip, then go through the load, stride, and rotation and snatch the ball off the tee.

    Those should be enough to get you started. If there is a specific issue with your team let me know and I'll see what I can come up with.
    Ken Krause
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    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx View Post
    Hey Ken,
    What do you believe are the best or most important hitting drills in practice (HS level team)? Reading a bunch of your posts, I truly enjoy and feel the same on many topics and ideas you share. Thanks for your help...Lynx
    Forgot to reply with quote above so you'd know I finally answered!
    Ken Krause
    IOMT Castaways 18U
    Contributing editor, Softball Magazine
    Life in the Fastpitch Lane
    NFCA Three Star Master Coach

    For help with technical problems with the Forum, email me at support@discussfastpitch.com

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

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    Checking out the clubhouse lynx's Avatar
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    Hey Ken,
    better late than never (lol)...can you explain that Ronanldo drill a little more.....Thanks and thanks for your input on other hitting drills....so are you a big believer basically in live hitting...front toss, pitching live, etc?

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    Administrator Ken Krause's Avatar
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    Yes, I believe strongly in live pitching/full swings versus drilling for the sake of drilling. Not saying I don't use drills - I do. But they are to isolate a movement for correction. Once that's been done it's back to full swings, because that's ultimately the way you will hit.

    For the Ronaldo drill, the hitter gets in the box as usual for front toss. You throw her one pitch so she gets an idea of the speed of the pitch. The next time, the hitter goes through her normal load and stride, watching the pitcher. As soon as the pitcher releases the ball, however, the hitter closes her eyes. She has to use what she saw when her eyes were open (the early flight of the ball the first few feet) to judge where the ball is headed and try to hit it. They usually struggle at first, then learn to at least get a piece. The more you do it, the better they get at it (usually) and they start hitting the ball well. It's important to pitch to different locations, by the way, rather than trying to hit the bat with the ball.

    The concept comes from a Sports Science episode where they said the reason Ronaldo is the best soccer player in the world is his brain recognizes patterns faster than everyone else. They demonstrated it by putting him on an indoor field in a building with no windows or skylights. They then had someone do a corner kick, and as soon as the ball was kicked they shut off all the lights. He then had to try to score a goal based on his judgment of where the ball was going. He did it every time. It was pretty cool to watch. They used infrared photography to capture the video.

    For the last one, they shut the lights off right before the ball was kicked. He still managed to figure out where it was going, although he really had to contort his body to do it. It was pretty clear that if he didn't recognize the pattern he wouldn't have gotten to it because it was kind of off-line.

    So that's why it's called the Ronaldo drill. Since you can't turn the lights off in your facility (presumably), the next best thing is to have the hitter close her eyes.

    Let me know if you still have questions.
    Ken Krause
    IOMT Castaways 18U
    Contributing editor, Softball Magazine
    Life in the Fastpitch Lane
    NFCA Three Star Master Coach

    For help with technical problems with the Forum, email me at support@discussfastpitch.com

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

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