How to Hit the Fastball

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

My favorite drill for teaching young hitters how to hit 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs is the "drop drill". This drill improves bat speed and reaction time in a short time and is fun to do.

Softball Hitting Drill Basics

One player has a bat and is in her hitting position (hitter). Another player or coach stands to the plate side of the hitter (right side for a righty, left side for a lefty) and about 2-3 feet in front of the hitter, just out of reach of the bat.

The second player or coach (the dropper) holds a ball up high in the air (if she is small, you may have to use a bucket for her to stand on). The hitter looks at the ball and when the dropper drops the ball, the hitter has to hit it before it hits the ground. Sounds simple doesn't it? Try it!

Softball Hitting Mechanics

To make solid contact, the hitter must use proper hitting form and mechanics. This is why I like to use a coach or parent to drop the balls. This way the coach can instruct the hitter and correct any mechanical flaws in her swing. As the hitters get more comfortable and hit every ball dropped, slowly move your hand lower and lower until the ball is being dropped at the hitter's shoulder height. When she can hit from this height, she is ready to hit off any pitcher.

Softball Drill Variation

Another variation I like to use is to get a small diameter bat and drop smaller objects than a softball. I use whiffle golf balls and my favorite is black eyed peas. I try to select a dimly lit section of the field for this drill to make the hitters concentrate on the ball more. If the players are having a problem hitting the black eyed peas, ask them to tell you which direction the black eye is facing. You will see a marked improvement in their ability to hit the pea.

I have explained this drill many times and I always seem to get some response like this: "I cannot understand where the dropper stands for this drill. If he/she stands to the plate side of the hitter and slightly in front of her, she will get hit by the bat." What you coaches or parents must do is to try this drill out in your back yard or anywhere prior to practice to locate the spot where the dropper is to stand. The ball must be dropped into the contact zone. I have been using this drill for many years and have never gotten hit once nor have any of my players.

Discuss This Article