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Friday, May 14, 2010
Baseball Hitting Drills - Teaching Plate Discipline
By Hunter Sendefer
Hitting drills are very important for young players and one of the best hitting drills that a coach can utilize teach plate discipline. It is very important that a hitter learns to have an approach at the plate, rather than simply swinging away at every pitch, so this drill is vital to the hitter's overall makeup.
This drill starts with the screen close enough to the plate that the batting coach pitcher can have excellent control. Each hitter then gets up to ten pitches, although only three strikes will be permitted. Before the hitter steps up to the plate, he or she will be told how many strikes he or she currently has, as this will directly influence how the hitter handles the pitches.
If the hitter is stepping up to the plate with a fresh count, he or she will begin by showing the pitching coach where he or she likes the ball. If the pitch is in the hitter's hitting zone and he or she takes a swing, the pitch count is reduced by one. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone, but the player still swings, the hitter not only loses that pitch, but one additional pitch. If the pitch is outside of this hitting zone and the player does not swing, the pitch does not count at all. If the pitch is outside of the strike zone altogether and the player swings, however, he or she will lose half of his or her swings remaining.
If there is one strike, the penalty for swinging at a pitch outside the strike zone is less strict, as the player will only lose that pitch plus one more. This is because when there is one strike, pitchers will tend to come after the hitter a little more, which makes these pitches a little harder to lay off.
Finally, when there are two strikes, the hitter's goal is to be as tough an out as possible. If the player swings at a pitch that is in the strike zone, he or she only loses that pitch plus one more. If a pitch that is around the strike zone is taken, it is an additional pitch penalty because umpires tend to call borderline pitches strikes when there are already two strikes. If an obvious strike is taken, that player is done completely because it is never a good idea to take a third strike.
The goal of each hitter turning this drill is to make sure that he or she gets through all ten pitches without striking out. Also make sure that your players know that each strike that you call will be a judgment call, which is exactly how an umpire will make the call. By teaching your players to have an approach at the plate based on the strike count, you can turn them into smarter hitters. You will also be giving them a better idea of where the strike zone is, so they will know which pitches to take and when to take a cut.
Hunter Sendefer is a former player and current youth baseball coach who consistently coaches his teams to the winners column including an active 26 game winning streak. He frequently contributes to http://www.Batting-Trainer.com where you can sign up for free baseball batting videos and hitting tips or learn about the revolutionary new Insider Bat batting trainer. http://www.Batting-Trainer.com/features
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