Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Recent Baseball Clinic: A Linear Hitting Reminder

Omaha Hillside Little League Baseball Clinic
Jerry Kreber, Assistant Coach, Council Bluffs (IA) Abraham Lincoln HS   

Objective:  
To produce a quality linear swing that helps players use their maximum body weight to generate force during the swing.  

Keys to the Linear Swing
I.      Straight Line Stride                 II.    Weight Transfer (Back to Front)
III.    Lead Arm Extension            IV.    Lead Leg Extension
V.      Kick Stand and Follow Through

Drills to Produce a Linear Swing:  
Rear Toss (Key I, Key II):
The hitter is standing on both feet, which should be shoulder width apart.  The coach, positioned behind the hitter, will flip soft toss to the hitter from back to front.  The hitter will try and continue the ball on its straight-line path.  The hitter should forcefully push of the back foot to try and catch up will the flip from the rear.  This seems to be the most challenging drill of the series for the hitters.    

Lead Arm Tee Work (Key III):
The hitter stands, in proper batting stance facing his target, with bottom hand solely gripping the bat and top hand holding the ball.  As the hitter rests the bat on their back shoulder, their center of gravity is in a vertical line with chin and belly button. After a comfortable stance position has been created the hitter should take a 5-7 stride with the front foot, picking it up and moving it forward toward the pitcher.  The weight shift forward, should cause the hitter’s lead arm to become extended because their hands stay back.  This extension was caused by forward body weight bracing on the hitter’s front flexed leg.  The hitter should glance down at his bottom arm to make sure it has become extended before swinging.  

Back Foot Float (Key II, Key IV, Key V):
The hitter is standing on both feet, which should be shoulder width apart.  The coach will say,” Float!” and the hitter will stride forward transferring their weight from the back foot to the front foot.  While the hitter’s weight strides forward, their hands stay back, creating lead arm extension.  Once this position is established, the coach, stationed in proper soft toss position, will flip the ball to the batter.  During the flip, the coach will say,” Fire!” and the hitter’s torso and shoulders should rotate snapping the hands through.  Only the back toe should be in contact with the ground when finished and the hitter should practice a top hand release.     

Two Knee Hitting (Key III, Key V):
The hitter is down on both knees taking soft toss from a diagonal angle so the ball can be delivered out in front.  The hitters partner should say,” Reach” and the hitter should reach by as far as possible with the lead arm.  Then, the hitter’s partner should say,” Release” as the ball is toss for the batter to strike.       

Cement Drill (Key III, Key V):
The hitter is standing on both feet, which should be shoulder width apart.  During the drill, the hitter should take no stride.  Instead, the batter should reach back with the lead arm.  The hitter will be taking soft toss from a diagonal angle so the ball can be delivered out in front of the hitter.  The hitter will swing, but not turnover the back foot.  The hitter’s heels should never leave the ground; only the torso and shoulders should rotate snapping the hands through.  The hitter should finish by practicing a top hand release.           

Kick Stand Finish (Key I-Key V):

The hitter is standing on both feet, which should be shoulder width apart.  During the drill, the hitter should take a stride and transfer their weight through the ball.  The hitter will be taking soft toss from a diagonal angle so the ball can be delivered out in front of the hitter.  The hitter will swing and turnover the back foot.  The hitter’s torso and shoulders should rotate snapping the hands through and only the back toe should be in contact with the ground.  Also, the hitter should finish by practicing a top hand release.           

Down Hill Hitting (Key II, Key IV, Key V):
 
The hitter is standing on both feet, which should be shoulder width apart.  Next, the batter will take their lead leg back and cross their rear foot.  Once positioned, the coach will command the hitter to “fall”.  The hitter will uncross their feet and fall forward.  As the hitter falls forward, the coach, stationed in proper soft toss position, will flip the ball out front of the hitter and say “Fire!”  The hitter will swing and turnover the back foot.  Sometimes, the hitter’s back foot will come completely off the ground.  The hitter’s torso and shoulders should rotate snapping the hands through and only the back toe should be in contact with the ground.  Also, the hitter should finish by practicing a top hand release.     






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