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Self Toss

Jul 16, 2013
3,948
113
Pennsylvania
I was born and raised in Alaska, where there’s a gravel pit and lake every 50 feet. My parents let me keep a simple wiggle ball bat in the car and anytime we’d at someone’s house or out and about and I got bored, I’d grab that bat and go hit rocks into a lake.

My obsessive nature kept me working on hitting the rock as far as I could. I didn’t even know it at the time, but I was learning how to place hit, adjust my swing to the ball (rock), build fast hands, make contact on the sweet spot of the barrel, etc.

When I started coaching I had the girls do this at a young age. Most didn’t keep up with it, you tell which ones have when they play. It works on many levels and is worth doing it. Now I have the girls hit their own infield practice. That alone has increased their contact rates across the roster.
In PA we did a similar thing with acorns.
 

NBECoach

Learning everyday
Aug 9, 2018
258
43
The better you get at this the smaller the ball. Square up tennis balls and you are doing well.
 
Jun 6, 2016
1,132
83
Chicago
I'm assuming by self toss you mean basically hitting fungo? I don't know if that will do much as far as live hitting sequence/mechanics go (really different between live hitting and hitting fungo) but it will definitely increase hand/eye coordination and it's a great teaching tool for how to hit the ball in specific directions, ground ball vs fly ball vs line drive, etc.
Self toss and hitting fungo are not the same thing beyond the throwing the ball up to yourself part.

Teaching actual self toss is a great idea, and I'm absolutely certain it will make someone a better hitter. Doing it properly forces a player to sequence properly. It might also help players understand the load/gather aspect of hitting a little better, since you really need to already be in that position, coiled and ready to launch, when you toss the ball.

It's not a substitute for hitting off live pitching, but you can expose some flaws that tee work won't. And you're teaching them a skill that will allow them to get some reps on their own time.
 

NBECoach

Learning everyday
Aug 9, 2018
258
43
From what I've seen those learning to do this tend to throw the ball up too high and too close to themselves. Thus awful timing and if they happen to hit the ball it's with the handle.

Don't throw it so high and throw it out in front more because that's where contact is usually made.
 
Nov 30, 2018
279
43
Marikina, Philippines
The biggest problem I see in self-toss, soft-toss, etc. is the unraveling, the antithesis of everything the hitter is being taught in proper hitting training. Too many coaches think of it as an exercise in speed. How many balls can you hit in 30 seconds? I try to teach the coaches here to execute toss technic that incorporates and encourages every aspect of good hitting technic, from setup, load, stride, to contact. The inverse is a setback or step-back from what you and the player have accomplished. Some small benefit can be accomplished with all forms of soft-toss. Loosening the muscles, etc. But can you measure how much is sacrificed. If you are a rec level coach, perhaps none of this matters.
 

Strike2

Allergic to BS
Nov 14, 2014
1,004
83
There's a reason players look a bit foolish when trying this. At least for me, self-toss more closely mirrors a long slow-pitch swing than a compact FP swing. I can hit self-toss all day pretty much wherever I want, but my swing against a FP pitcher sucks. Similarly, DD's hand-eye is probably better than mine, she does well at the plate, but she struggles to hit a ball consistently at self-toss. It's necessary for practice and warmups, but I don't think it does anything positive for a FP hitter.
 
May 4, 2020
77
18
Self toss can help with Body to barrel awareness.. most hitters know where the sweet spot on a barrel is by looking at it. But in relation to their body or swing they perceive it to be a little closer to the hands. I struggled with that for years. Self toss helped me figure out where the sweet spot was in relation to my body and swing. Don't know if that makes sense, hard to explain

Believe it or not.. I never ever used a tee growing up :)
Same here. Never used a tee growing up. Self toss hitting rocks & balls and live pitching.
 
Sep 17, 2009
1,583
83
The biggest problem I see in self-toss, soft-toss, etc. is the unraveling, the antithesis of everything the hitter is being taught in proper hitting training. Too many coaches think of it as an exercise in speed. How many balls can you hit in 30 seconds? I try to teach the coaches here to execute toss technic that incorporates and encourages every aspect of good hitting technic, from setup, load, stride, to contact. The inverse is a setback or step-back from what you and the player have accomplished. Some small benefit can be accomplished with all forms of soft-toss. Loosening the muscles, etc. But can you measure how much is sacrificed. If you are a rec level coach, perhaps none of this matters.
Never heard of speed self-toss. When you toss the ball up to yourself if you aren't in sequence it's not really going to work. In sequence='setup, load, stride, to contact'...it's perfect for working all those things, and you can do it without a pitcher, a machine or a tee.
 

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