"How do I hit faster pitching?" is a recurring question I get in my DM and it seems like it's one of the most popular reasons why ball players and parents begin their training in the Applied Vision Baseball App. So I figured I'd share "3 baseball drills to hit faster pitching + PLUS one important hitting tip" to understand to make sure you get the most out of these hitting drills.
When I'm working with a young player - after getting a feel for what their general strengths and weaknesses are at the plate and with their swing, I put them through a series of hitting drills that:
- simulate game speeds in a controlled environment
- address holes in their swing (Swing Viruses)
- address holes in their approach
Though mechanics are important - it's usually not the first aspect I address with hitters who have a feel for the bat since I believe oftentimes, the correct approach and right mentality can clean the mechanics and fix most mechanical issues.
For example, if a hitter has an early collapse or is chronically late, we can fix that by having an opposite-field approach or a more aggressive mindset.
These three drills for hitting faster pitch are designed to make sure the hitter has the right mind-set and timing.
Often times, if a hitter is struggling with hitting higher velocities, it's because they're not starting their swing soon enough and they lack aggression.
The Yes, Yes, NO/GO Drill
The yes, yes, no/go drill can be done either on a Tee, front-toss or during live B.P.
It requires an additional person moderating your swing. (Explained in a moment)
When you're just starting out, I highly suggest you start on a Tee.
The point of this drill is to reinforce the assumption that you're GOING to swing even on pitches you end up taking. (Not swinging)
With the ball set on the Tee, get in your stance.
You'll be repeating the word "yes", rhythmically during your stance and pre-swing movement.
"Yes" - as you begin your hitting stance and load your hands...
..."Yes"- as transfer your weight to your back-side...
...then as you transfer your weight to your front-side and fire the hips, the person moderating your swing will call out "NO!" or "GO!" just before you throw the hands.
If the moderator say's "NO!" then you're taking. (Not swinging)
If the moderator say's "GO!" you're swinging away!
This drill's main benefit is reinforcing the hitter's swing trigger™. The idea is simple. In order to be on time with a high-velocity fastball, the hitter must assume that the next pitch is going to be the best pitch they will see.
The thinking is not "if it's a strike, I'm going to swing".
Instead, the thinking needs to be "it's going to be a strike, and I'm not going to miss."
Once the hitter gets familiar with this drill during tee work, they can transition to front-toss and live batting practice.
*See below on what a good "take" should look like.
Short Distance - Soft-toss Drill
The short-distance soft-toss hitting drill is fairly straight forward. As you shorten the distance between the release point and home plate, you're limiting the time the hitter has to react, mimicking high velocity in a controlled environment.
A good place to start is placing the L-Screen about half the distance of where you would normally place the L-Screen. (10-15 feet from home-plate).
The goal here is to have the feeder work both sides of the plate while the hitter focuses on initiating the swing in time while getting the foot down early enough.
Often times, a hitter gets beat by the fastball because the front foot lands too late.
Shorten the amount of time the hitter as to react to the pitch and then reinforce proper pre-swing movement.
The hitter should be able to make consistent contact by getting their bat to point of contact while initiating the swing earlier.
If you're chronically late, you have to start sooner.
The Rhythm Drill
As we transition to higher, and higher velocities, our ability to take controlled violent swings while staying under control with our body becomes crucial to peak performance at the plate.
In other words, staying balance before, during and after contact is what allows hitters to take consistent swings that show up on time with good fastballs.
In many ways, being a good fastball hitterS starts with being a good athlete.
The drill is a variation of a soft-toss/quick-pitch drill where a feeder gives the hitter a series of 5 soft-tosses in a row.
The goal is not to rush the hitter, but to minimize the amount of extra movement in the pre-swing, swing and follow-through.
As the hitter takes a swing, the hitter must get back into their power position as they prepare for the next pitch.
The feeder's goal is to give the hitter a nice rhythm without rushing them.
The general rule for this drill is to execute one swing a second.
Key things to keep an eye on during the drill:
- Good balance with the hitter's feet firm planted during the drill.
- Knees above and slightly between the feet, not on the outside of the feet.
- The hitter is able to transition from the follow-through back to their hitting stance without losing balance.
To get the most out of this drill, have the hitter start with a wider stance with a "slight" choke-up on the bat while taking out the stride.
What we're trying to execute with this drill is essentially a "B-Swing."
A short-compact stroke with a bat-plane that stays through the zone early and often while achieving "good fLight" on the ball.
What a "Good-Take" Should Look Like.
As mentioned above, hitters have to be geared up and ready to hit the fastball. This means we have an assumption that each pitch will be a good pitch to hit.
This is how we show up "on-time", with the assumption that we're going to swing.
We're not swinging "if" it's a strike.
Instead - we're assuming it's going to be a strike until it's not.
The finger is always on the Swing Trigger™.
3 Baseball Drills To Hit Faster Pitching + One Important Tip - Checklist
As we transition to the next level of baseball, the game will naturally speed up which is why it's important that the hitter has a sound mental game and approach.
During practice, we have to leverage simulating game-speed in controlled environments like the short-front-toss drill.
Once we understand how to take controlled, violent swings with "good takes" and the Swing Trigger™ high-velocity fastballs will start to resemble "faster batting practice" and be less intimidating.
I hope you enjoyed these 3 Baseball Drills To Hit Faster Pitching + One Important Tip!