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3 Pitching Machine Drills
Batting cage batting practice is a great way to improve batting skill, bat speed and batter confidence. Coach Dixon discusses three Hitting Drills That Make Batting Cage Work More Productive. The three drills are the MOVE UP, COUNT ADJUSTMENT and LINE DRIVE CONTEST. These drills are great ways to get maximum benefits from your baseball teams batting cage workouts. The three drills are:
Move Up Batting Drill
Purpose: Used to improve bat speed, visual concentration, and batter confidence.
Description: The MOVE-UP hitting drill: The batter learns to see and hit the ball quicker out of the machine or batters hand. Before the drill begins, 4 spots are marked on the floor, in measured distances of 40, 35, 30, and 25 feet. The machine or pitcher should maintain a safe medium speed velocity during this drill. The accuracy of your pitching machine must be checked and rechecked during the drill for safety purposes. The spots are the locations at which the batter will take a certain number of swings. The batter hits 4 balls at each spot and then move closer to the machine or pitcher at the next spot.
Procedure: The batter hits 4 to 6 balls at each spot, then moves to the next spot closer to the machine or pitcher. The machine or pitcher should not deliver the next pitcher until the batter assumes a proper stance, triggers or loads to the proper launch position, and has visual focus on the pitcher or machine. The batter starts the drill at 40 feet and hits at all spots until he has hit 4 to 6 balls at each spot, ending with ball hit at the closest spot to the pitcher, 25 feet. Distances can be shortened or made longer to meet the needs of your players.
Coaching Points: Sometimes you may have the player hit two balls at each spots moving toward the machine and then hit two balls at each spot moving away from the machine, until two balls are hit at each location or distance. This process makes the batter adjust to varying changes in pitch speed. This drill is great for teaching batters to stay-back and let the ball in.
Count Adjustment Drill
Purpose: The drill is great for teaching young hitters to make adjustments in their approach at the plate based on the current count. Batters learn to be properly aggressive for the following counts or situations 0-0, 2-0, 0-2, 3-1, runner at 3rd with 1 or less outs, and hit-in-run.
Procedure: We have 5 batting cages at our facility. Batters are always hitting in all cages. In a normal situation, the players would be hitting every pitch that they can reach to a location based on the pitch location. To change the approach, a coach calls a count such as 2-0. For the next two pitches, the batter will be properly aggressive as he would with that count in a game. Of course in this situation, the batter is looking for a pitch in that perfect spot. If the ball is at that anticipated location, the batter attacks, the ball. If the ball is not in that spot the batter will hold off the pitch and adjust to the new count of 2-1 or 3-0. If the coach calls, Runner at 3rd, the batter is looking for a pitch up to drive deep enough for a score or tag and score. The batter will try to lift the ball and drive a deep fly ball to the outfield. If the coach calls, Hit-n-Run, the batter will execute a hit-in-run approach at the plate.
Line Drive Contest Drill
After a session of batting cage workouts, we often end the day with a line-drive hitting contest. An assistant coach will do the pitching. The coach is protected by a L-screen. The player should only swing at great pitches. The contest is to see which player hits the most line-drives in a row. A line-drive is a ball that hits the side walls, back wall, or pitchers L-Screen hard and directly off the batters bat. The hit ball can not touch the top of the cage in front of the pitching protective L-Screen. As long as the batter hits line-drives with each swing, the batter continues to bat and his TOTAL COUNT increases. This drill tends to put pressure on the hitters making them learn to hit under pressure.
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