Thursday, December 01, 2005

Checking the Straight Line

Objective:

The hitter will check their bat path by redirecting the ball in a straight line flipped by the coach from directly behind or to the side of the player.

Procedure:

The coach will set up a bucket of balls behind the plate. The hitter will take their offensive stance in the batter’s box. If indoors, the coach should place the plate directly on a straight line. Then, when taking a knee behind the hitter, the coach should kneel on the line as well. The line will serve as a guide for the soft toss flip. Also, the line will show the hitter exactly where the ball should be redirected. The coach should verbally cue the hitter through the oral commands of the swing: load, stretch, and fire. After the “stretch” command, the coach should flip the ball along the line, directly in front of the hitter. After the flip, the coach should shout the command of “fire”. The hitter should redirect the ball straight ahead with a proper linear swing. If this does not occur the hitter and coach must locate the problem. If the hitter is pulling the ball, the coach may look at top hand dominance. Is the hitter releasing with the top hand? This is a question the coach may pose to his hitter. Also, if the hitter is popping the ball up the other way, the coach may look at the back elbow positioning. Is the back elbow getting the hands to the “flat” position or is the elbow too high and not getting the hands to the ball in time for solid contact to be made? Another question the coach should pose to a young hitter.

Side toss is another way a hitting coach can check the hitter’s line. Again, the coach does not set up in the traditional soft toss position. The coach should set up directly to the side of the hitter. From this angle, the coach should have a “bird’s eye view” of the hitter’s weight shift and lead arm extension. Once more, the ball will be flipped and the coach will ask the hitter to direct the ball in a straight line. If this is not achieved, the hitter must focus on producing swings that produce line drives up the middle.



Baseball Screen or Net
___________________

H *

C

H = Hitter

* = Plate

C = Coach



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