It will be impossible to master the game of baseball without understanding the fundamentals. By training various baseball drills that help us to become better competitors, we're able to keep things fun while overcoming the obstacles that keep most young athletes from reaching their potential.
As ballplayers, when we become efficient at arranging ideas, we will find success in our performance.
We'll shoot for goals, and achieve them.
When we master our emotions, we will build confidence while becoming better teammates.
When we master how decision-making works while sharpening our instinct on the field, we grow wiser and the game grants us opportunities, off the field.
As a ballplayer, we’re always harnessing, refining, and sharpening a skill set on the path to mastery.
Whether it’s bat speed, strength, instincts, or character.
If any of this resonates with you, here are 5 Baseball drills that will give you an advantage on the field.
1. Soft Focus VS Hard Focus Vision Training Drill
If you want to pick up the ball as efficiently out of the pitcher's hand at the release point, you need to understand the soft vs hard focus transition to help improve your pitch recognition skills.
Below is a short video with a transcript from Coach Trent Mongero where he breaks down the exact method he uses to help his hitters improve their pitch selection. This clip is part of an entire course that you can access for $1 in the Winning Baseball Program.
Enter Coach Trent Mongero...
"Recognizing spin, speed, and location is crucial to having consistent quality at-bats.
How I want to accomplish seeing the ball as early as possible is I want to take my eyes while the pitcher's getting his sign, and I want to focus it at a distance very similar to his release point.
Most pitchers release the ball right here off their right shoulder. If they're a sidearmer, it might be down here. And every once in a while, you face those submarine guys down here.
But the distance is very similar away from the plate. So for the overhand guy, I like to focus in, soft focus, a relaxed focus, on the emblem on his cap.
It's going to be about the same distance away from the release point. So as the pitcher turns to come into his balance point, I'm going to transfer my eyes to an imaginary window right off his right shoulder...
And the baseball is going to come right out of this window and I'm going to pick that ball up very early.
The key is to have a soft focus early. Just as I talked about earlier, tight muscles are slow muscles. If we are staring in real hard on the emblem of his cap, as we go to focus to the window, the muscles in our eyes are going to be tight and they're not going to be able to relax and focus and track the baseball as it moves to the plate...
...so we want to have a relaxed, easy, free focus right here. Take it to the window. And the eyes are going to be able to adjust very quickly.
They're going to see rotation, they're going to see speed, and we're going to be able to see the ball very early and put a good swing on the ball if it's in our hitting zone."
2. Swing Thought Drill
Okay so this is a mental drill, and it has everything to do with the mental chatter happening in your mind that is responsible for your performance on the field. It's based on a concept we can call a "Swing Thought."
Understand: What you focus on, expands, and the story that you tell yourself about your abilities, performance, and outcomes on the ball field, matters.
So an important question we could ask ourselves is how can we take complete ownership of our mental process and mental chatter so that our inner dialogue is supporting our performance in a positive way.
This is what having a Swing Thought can do.
It's a simple one or two-word phrase that you can say over and over like a mantra to reinforce the mentality, goal or outcome that you want.
The goal is to increase your powers of attention so that you're existing in the present moment instead of being stuck in the past or worried about the future.
Swing Thought Examples
- “Drive it, drive it.”
- “Stay back, stay back”
- “See it, see it.”
- “Swing Trigger, Swing Trigger”
- "Kill it, kill it”
- “Be quick, be quick”
- “Under control, under control”
- “Compete, compete"
A perfect example of this was shown in the movie For The Love of The Game. The protagonist on the mound uses the Swing Thought, "Clear the mechanism".
Yes, he's a pitcher, and technically he used three words, but the idea is the same.
Use your mental dialogue to increase your power of attention in the moment.
The goal is simple. Allow your instincts & training to take over.
You don’t have to do this every at-bat. Just when you need to switch things up a bit, or to reinforce a mindset or movement.
If you need to clear your mind, consider using a Swing Thought.
3. Eye-Tracking Drill
When a hitter with off-the-charts pitch recognition skills makes solid clean contact on a pitch, they're not swinging at where the ball is, they're swinging at where the ball will be at the point of contact.
4. Post-Up Drill
How can we increase our hard contact percentage while lowering our chase rate at the plate? It starts by addressing the approach.
What is our plan at the plate? What does our pitch selection look like? In this clip below, I discuss how Posting-Up will help with taking more quality swings on quality pitches while leaking and leaving your posture to make contact with pitches out of the zone.
Ultimately, Posting-Up is about taking control of the at-bat. It's about hitting the pitch you're looking for instead of the pitch the pitcher wants you to swing at.
5. Swing Trigger Drill
We take swing after swing in the cage, trying to perfect our mechanics, and then once the game starts, we're like a deer in headlights on Fastballs down the heart of the plate, or we freeze on the hard-breaking ball.
It's because your finger wasn't on the Swing-Trigger. Listen to me explain this exact concept in this short clip below.
Ultimately, being ready to hit is such an important factor in achieving peak performance at the plate.
We have to be thinking, "Yes, yes, NO" on a ball and "Yes, yes, GO!" on strikes.
We're not swinging "if" it's a strike. Instead, we're assuming the next pitch is going to be a strike.
We're going to take the "if" out of your swing, and then we are going to REFUSE to be cheated by the Fastaball! Ever!
5 Baseball Drills Conclusion
I hope you enjoyed these 5 baseball drills. More importantly, I hope you do something with them. If any of them resonated with you, or if you have a question, I'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out anytime here.
Remember: baseball is a game and it's meant to be played. The game will be full of adversity. Use it. Build upr your teammates. Continue to compete and good things will happen.
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We would love to have you as an Applied Vision Baseball Member. You can get access to over 1,000+ pitch sequences, and advanced coaching with Trent Mongero, and MLB hitting coach Tim Hyers.
Learn more about the Winning Baseball Program and Vision training drills here. You can access both for $1
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