This week's Tip of the Week will focus on some very good drills to correct some common problems with hitters.
1. Basketball Drill: This drill is great in correcting those players who do not swing "through the ball." If there is a used sporting goods store in your area, find a couple of old basketballs, preferably one that does not hold air and make sure that most of the air is out of it. Now, drive by a road construction zone and see if you can find one of those orange cones that the city loves to "donate". I have found that these places are more willing to "donate" these cones after the workers have gone home and nobody is looking. Cut off a portion of the top of the cone so that the mostly deflated basketball will sit on top of the cone. Place the cone and basketball in the contact zone and have a hitter and a basketball-placer at the station. MAKE SURE THAT BOTH PLAYERS WEAR HELMETS!! I want to stress this so I will repeat it. MAKE SURE BOTH PLAYERS WEAR HELMETS!! Have the hitter take her normal batting stance and swing and have her drive the barrel of the bat "through the contact zone" so that the basketball will be knocked off the cone. The reason for the helmets is that if the hitter does not drive through the ball, the bat may bounce off the basketball and come back at the hitter or placer and hit them.
NOTE: If it sounds like I am speaking from experience, I am. The first time I did this drill, I had a basketball that was about half inflated and did not drive through it and wound up with a nasty bump on my head, so again, MAKE SURE BOTH PLAYERS WEAR HELMETS!!! After the basketball has been hit of the cone, the placer positions another basketball atop the cone and the drill continues. I generally have the hitters work in front of a net or fence so that the placer does not have to go far to retrieve the balls. With all of these drills, try this out in the backyard or with your assistant coaches BEFORE going the field so that you can instruct the players in the proper mechanics of the drill. This drill and many more can be found in our extensive library of drills on eteamz.com