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Quality over Quantity
We have all heard that statement before. Yes, one of the main ways to get better at hitting a baseball or softball is to hit reps. But does that mean the more reps we take the better? You have to really ask yourself, how many quality reps are you actually getting? In this article I’ll walk you through a few easy steps to have a better batting practice.
Sometimes, well-meaning parents rent a cage and throw BP to their son or daughter. Without warming up or without getting their bodies ready they begin to hit. The parent flips the ball and the kid hits it, the parent flips the ball and the kid hits it, and on this goes. At this point, after maybe 15-20 mindless swings the kid finally wears out and takes a break. Then they pick back up and continue.
BE HONEST, IS THIS YOU?
How many of you reading this feel that this is what you do or have done? I know that in my career, I have done this day in and day out. At that time I didn’t know any better and thought I was doing the right thing. This is why I’m here now about to tell you how to hit on your own more efficiently.
Success has to do with deliberate practice. Practice must be focused, determined, and in an environment where there’s feedback.-Malcolm Gladwell
IDENTIFY WHAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON
As a player, if you are really trying to turn your game around and become a better hitter you have to first understand what needs to be fixed. Often, players at young ages have major flaws in their swings but can get away with it due to the poor competition. Furthermore, getting ahead of the game and laying down the foundation of good mechanics will set you up for success long term.
WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW WHAT I NEED TO WORK ON?
A good place to start is to evaluate your statistics. If you are striking out a lot, not making solid contact, or not hitting the ball harder this should be a good indicator of what to focus on. Secondly, get a hitting evaluation done either in person or online. Here is an example of an online hitting evaluation from JK Whited, Director of Online Hitting at Baseball Rebellion.
By getting a professional opinion by one of our instructors you will know exactly what you need to do. You can also check out other hitting articles from Baseball Rebellion here.
HAVE A PLAN
Having a plan is key to not only getting better but also preparing your body and mind for the session ahead. After you know what you need to work on you can put it into action. In order to keep getting better, practice with a purpose. As I have mentioned before taking mindless swings just to get reps will lead to creating bad habits. This will also give you a false sense of actually getting better. Taking more reps does not necessarily mean you are getting better. Quality over quantity is the priority in hitting training.
STEP ONE – RACK TURNS
No matter how far along you are in your training, step one should start with the Rebel’s Rack. Ideally doing your turns in front of a mirror will give you the most feedback. The importance of getting your body in the correct position is much more important than taking 100 mindless swings. The best way to develop a proper and explosive movement pattern is to train to go faster and hit the ball harder.
KEY POINTS WHEN DOING RACK TURNS
- Pay attention to where you are striding, IF YOU DON’T STRIDE STRAIGHT YOU WON’T HIT GREAT!
- Don’t just go through the motions
- Make sure you keep your head and chest back
- Do not rush to get a million turns in, reset after every turn
- TURN AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!
STEP TWO – TEE WORK
A tee is a great tool to help you get a feel for the proper swing path before you start taking batting practice. Check out Baseball Rebellions 10 Tee Drills for Power to improve your tee training today. Although using a tee is great, do not take all your swings off it. At the end of the day, you have to be able to hit a moving ball!
KEY POINTS WHEN HITTING OFF THE TEE
- Do not hit off the tee just to get loose
- Move the tee around and adjust the height
- Make sure you are turning fast
- You shouldn’t be hitting the tee
- Get your work in off the tee then move to front toss or overhand batting practice
STEP THREE – FRONT TOSS OR OVERHAND BATTING PRACTICE
When moving to front toss or overhand batting practice, know what you’re working on. The first round you are trying to get find timing and rhythm. Your body is still trying to get loose, really focus on squaring up the ball as much as possible. Take no more than eight swings your first round. After that, it’s time to take shorter rounds of around five to six swings turning as fast as possible focusing on what you need to work on. If you find yourself needing more from front toss or overhand batting practice, change the speed of the ball thrown.
KEY POINTS WHEN HITTING FRONT TOSS OR OVERHAND BATTING PRACTICE
- Take shorter rounds focusing on what you are working on
- Turn fast hitting the ball hard and in the air
- Make adjustments, focusing on not making the same mistake over and over again
- If you are struggling, step out and figure out why
- Use the V1 Baseball app to record your practice swings too. Look back on the last practice session you did and be a little better this time.
A Better Batting Practice is in Reach
At the end of the day, if you want to be good at anything you need to practice. But it is not how much you practice, it is how well you practice. The goal of getting better should be “work smarter, not harder”. I really hope this article gives you a different perspective on how to look and approach practice sessions. Take the time to do things right, do the drills that are specific to your son or daughter’s swing, and most importantly don’t just hit to hit. Have them practice with purpose and they will find themselves in the line-up performing well in games.
Still don’t know where to start? You can connect directly with JK Whited in the V1 Baseball app for an online hitting analysis in the app by clicking Coaches, Select Academy and Coach, searching “Baseball Rebellion”, and choosing JK Whited from the list. You can also connect with JK here, and follow Baseball Rebellion on Instagram for more great tips and drills.