Hitting in the off-season, how much and how often?
Ok, first things first....for the best programs, there really is no "off season", there certainly isn't for ours. But in the winter time when there's not tournaments going on, how often do some of you with "A" level TB teams get together and hit? 1-2-3 times per week? 1-2-3 hours per session?
How much is too much? Or not enough? I know the answer is "it depends on the player", but looking for some personal experiences here.
14U age group.
My DD will hit at least one night a week from Dec until Feb. In Feb. we will do more as weather dictates.
We plan on doing an 80 minute workout inside our local highschool indoor area.
1. 5 minutes of stretching.
2. 15 minutes of throwing( long toss routine that Alan Yaeger helped me with for a 10U player).
3. 15 minutes of infield work( alot of footwork, 30 ground balls to keep fresh)
5 minute break
4. 40 minute- We will then move to the cage, T work- soft toss with TCB's and real balls. The last part will be working on hitting inside,
middle, outside pitches.
No section or time is set in stone, but we will try to touch on throwing, fielding and hitting each session.
She takes gymnastics one day a week, so that takes care of a good bit of stretching, agility and strength. She has a very tough conditioning program 3 days a week at school in her PE class.
Last edited by Hoover's Dad; 11-25-2011 at 10:46 PM.
Starting in Nov. ( She takes two months off due to soccer) she works in the cage two days a week. along with throwing and fielding. Each weekend she hits in the cage for 30 min's before she plays indoor softball. This is from Nov. till Feb. when the high school season starts. Then 6 days a week till summer ball.
After our fall tournaments ended at the end of October, we took a couple of weeks off, then began hitting twice a week for an hour.
We focus a lot on technique and do a lot of Tee work, stop at contact, then move to soft toss, still stop at contact. We did stop at contact for about 3 weeks, and have just moved on to stop at extension, and some full swings.
We use video analysis to show the girls what they are doing right and things they can improve on. If you are interested in video analysis, we have started using powerchalk.com, an online video analysis product that you don't have to install and is free to try. They have a pay version of course, but you can try it for free. PowerChalk - Video Analysis for Serious Coaches and Players.
In my experience, swing mechanics tend to break down during the spring/summer because we don't have the time to work on hitting nearly as much when we are playing tournaments, so this is the time of year to work on swing mechanics and try to improve the swing before school ball starts in February.
Powerchalk looks very interesting, tks.
Here's some thoughts on how to possibly structure off-season hitting. We've always struggled doing individual instruction during indoor team practices. If you've tried it, you know why. We have a nice facility, four tunnels, two machines if needed, screens, tees, etc. But even twice per week for an hour on the hitting side of our facility it is hard to get enough consistent, one-on-one time with girls to make real progress.
So...I mentioned this in another thread: in this in-between time, November and December, we've scheduled 6 weeks of half hour "private" hitting sessions with our girls, Sunday nights and Monday nights. 12 girls x 30 minutes about six hours total. A big commitment for myself and another coach, but only a half hour per week for the girls so they actually feel like they are getting a break in the season even as we work.
We are two weeks in, 11 of our 12 girls have made both sessions (other is big basketball player) and the one-on-one time has allowed us to make tremendous progress very quickly. This is a 14U team, so they are experienced, but even so we started week 1 with some evaluations (we already know these girls and their swings but it was a good starting point) and week two we started from ground zero with them: looking at their throw, relating it to the swing, moving throw pattern into swing so they understand the mechanics, working on three drills focused on weight shift and pattern (feet together, flamingo and walk up). And we have more four weeks to go. Lots to still accomplish!
And, in January, when we go back to more regular team practices, we'll have this "base" of instruction to build on during team hitting sessions (I can't keep up six hours of of privates all winter, but for six weeks we'll make it work : >)
Best thing we've ever done.
My older DD went to a hitting coach for lessons for years, half hour slots, one-on-one work. These days, with the economy,it's harder to ask parents to pay another $500 for private hitting lessons on top of everything else. I'm very glad we can do this for the girls, and that we figured out a time in the season and a way to make it happen. I highly recommend it.
Last edited by RichK; 11-29-2011 at 10:25 AM.
Reason: small addition
That sounds a lot more productive. Great plan!
Originally Posted by RichK
RichK ... very nice summary. There is a lot to be said for having smaller, and more focused, hitting sessions. I do something very similar to what you described. No question on my end ... your advice here is excellent IMO.
As much as possible, as often as possible. Of course. As long as it is practicing correct movements.
They should also go to college or elite camps if possible , and get instruction from different knowledgable people in a lot of cases
Its not that they are taught anything really different at camps, but that different people teach different ways, work on different details, and some methods work better with some girls. Its also not the same old thing all the time so its a bit more interesting for them. Dont forget that some are hard-headed too and need to be told things repeatedly sometimes, by different people, until it takes finally takes hold.
I agree focus is desireable. Often practice with team is two lines of girls rotating thru soft toss from screens . Each hits ~5 pitches, might rotate thru 6 times or so. 30 pitches total. 30 hits per week is not enough. Not nearly enough. They need hundreds of hits per week.
1 night a week in November/December for 1 1/2 hrs. 2 nights starting January...can't wait!
~2hrs a week split up between the 2 practices we have at this time of the year. Lots of tee-work here too right now getting the muscle-memory on any changes we make.