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Thread: Batting Cage Practice?

  1. #1
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    Batting Cage Practice?

    We all know there are many different styles of hitting.

    What I want to center in on is the stride and no stride for batting practice.

    My son(13) has been working with a few batting coaches the last few years, all have come from MLB ranks to coach in college baseball. We have 3 colleges in our area and a wood bat league around our area which draws in college coaches from around the nation, during the summertime.


    Needless to say my son has learned both approaches when it come to loading and striding and no stride.


    Baseball strength and conditioning started beginning of December, they are now having informal batting cage practice. There was a clinic given at our local indoor baseball facility which my son attended. Since this is the first real batting cage work I saw my son bat since his last lesson back in November, I noticed that his swing is quicker even though he has gone up to a -3 bat back in fall ball and makes fairly good contact sending the ball back to the L screen or back of the net. I have seen him hit the ball harder is the reason why I said fairly good contact.

    The coach was playing a game that you get extra swings if you hit the back of the net or L screen on the fly. He told each student he was only going to throw them 8 good pitches, my son got 6 extra swings/balls tossed to him. Only one other student got 1 extra swing. I am not adding this because he is my only son (grin)and he got more extra swings (well dad did smile on the inside from a far) but it seems to me that the boy did adjust to this L screen drill. Where as some of the other kids just looked slower. I know some of the other young 13 and 14 year old and they are good power hitters.

    The batting drill was coach under handing the ball in front of them from behind the L screen about 10 ft away at a fairly good clip for being that close.

    My question is after watching this is, for batting cage work with this drill should you just use a no stride approach? Shorten the stride? Or try to maintain timing by make sure you slow the coach down to give the student time to time load and stride to hit the ball, if that is there hitting approach. Or is this just a drill gone wrong?


    After watching him he/my son didn't really think about it but it looked to me on some balls he was no stride and others a stride.

    What would be your suggestion on this drill and batters approach to stride or no stride.

    Not that I would change the coaches approach, but to warn my son about what to watch out for in this drill.

    thanks,

    drill
    Last edited by Drill; 01-25-2008 at 08:20 AM.
    Yogi Berra was asked by a reporter "How do you catch a knuckle ball?" He came right back and said "When it stops rolling"

  2. #2
    Drill,

    You say or try to maintain timing by make sure you slow the coach down to give the student time to time load and stride to hit the ball, if that is there hitting approach.

    This is good advice IMO.




    EL,

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drill View Post
    The batting drill was coach under handing the ball in front of them from behind the L screen about 10 ft away at a fairly good clip for being that close....My question is after watching this is, for batting cage work with this drill should you just use a no stride approach? Shorten the stride? Or try to maintain timing by make sure you slow the coach down to give the student time to time load and stride to hit the ball, if that is there hitting approach. Or is this just a drill gone wrong?
    I am a "no stride" hitter because it works for me and keeps me from getting my weight out on the front and lunging at the ball. I use the short toss drill in my own BP and for the players on my son's team. IMO It is important that the batter slow the coach down in between pitches and hit in the "style" they are most comfortable. I have found that in BP it is often easy to speed the pace between pitches because you often have 2-3 balls in your hand while throwing. I try to be really careful and avoid doing that when I am throwing because I want the batter to "see" the ball well and be able to focus on their hitting mechanics. With the short toss drill, I tell my players to load up when they see my arm go back and then they can either "stride" to the ball as it is released or uncoil and swing if that is what they do naturally. I am against maintaining one stance for BP and another for games. That just seems to be a recipe for disaster. My objective in BP is to do everything as consistently as I am able and repeat that in the game ABs.

    Hope this is helpful.
    Play hard and have fun.
    Have Fun and Play Hard!

    Chuck Faulkner
    Tazewell TN 37879
    The Glove Medic

  4. #4
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    soft toss

    there are many soft toss drills, some focus one one thing over the other. the stride IMO is meant for timing. it is hard to work on timing from 10 feet. again IMO you have to make sure he is loaded before the swing. when i do soft toss. i show them the ball, pull my hand back then toss. ( simulate some timing so that they can start to load ) I also think it is different one player to another, type of stride etc. especially for a bigger/longer stride. i have no technical data on this, but at least it is a way to get them set and ready to swing. nothing is worse than doing soft toss and the student is not ready and just swings with out any form.
    P.S. we also do stride drills during soft toss.

  5. #5
    Drill, I'm not sure of the point of your long war story about your son's success in the cage, since you don't tell what he did during or preceding the session that you think might have helped him improve. But, don't get me wrong, there's always room in Baseball Fever for Dads to brag about their sons. Better here than on the field, where people you know and like (as opposed to us ) might lower their opinion of you ... for being an overly-obsessed Dad.

    The important point is this -- it's not an all-or-nothing question. Some times you'll want to isolate a function of the upper body and will want to take your stride out of the equation while you work on the upper body action. For example, a lot of 13 year olds drop their hands before beginning their swing; a no-stride drill can help them focus on turning while keeping their hands up. If you do so and the kid is not in fact adopting a no-stride swing for game use, I'd recommend instructing the kids to do that drill with their feet the same distance apart as though they'd completed their stride.

    But, if you're working on lower body mechanics -- say, trying to prevent hip slide or a soft front leg -- not using the kid's game stride would seem to take much of the value out of the drill. An exception would be if you're tying to really isolate a micro part of the lower body mechanics. For example, a tip I picked up from Englishbey's advanced Swing Training DVD is to have kids try turning with their feet completely planted to help them focus on the very concept of how the hips and knees should move in conjunction with one another.

    Beyond that, we don't know your kid well enough to see if he'd benefit. It's all got to be adjusted for the kid based on his flaws, mental makeup, what he's been working on, and your priorities. I am a little worried about your suggestion that the kid should change his swing to adjust to the drill. Helloooo! Drills are to be used to serve the kid; the kid isn't there to serve the drill. If the way the drill is being handled forces him to adjust his swing patterns for a reason other than it's because you want him to try something new, you're doing it all wrong. Move the coach back, if need be.

    By the way, excellent advice by GloveMedic about not hurrying between pitches in BP so kids can't ready themselves. One of the biggest problems with youth hitters isn't that they can't swing well, it's that they aren't really ready at the plate for every pitch, so they'll either pop up with lousy mechanics or let a good pitch go by. It's important that a kid treat every pitch in every at-bat as though the game was on the line and he has a 3-and-2 count. That starts with BP and going through their little mini-checklist before each pitch. Otherwise, they'll just be practicing as many swings with old bad habbits as they are with good habits. Since, in my opinion, a swing with bad (particularly bad old habits) undoes the work of 3 to 5 good swings, this can be disastrous.

    Other question -- why use an L screen to throw under-handed? Do you put the screen upside down?? (Sorry, just kidding. I assume that's the only screen you have . . .)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by glovemedic View Post
    With the short toss drill, I tell my players to load up when they see my arm go back and then they can either "stride" to the ball as it is released or uncoil and swing if that is what they do naturally.
    I'm not sure this is what your meaning to say or teach? I don't think your teaching the kid to load and then stride, it happens at the same time doesn't it. If you are in turn teaching it this way then you are also teaching one thing in the cage and another in the live at bats. Just something to think about.

    cally

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by callyjr View Post
    I'm not sure this is what your meaning to say or teach? I don't think your teaching the kid to load and then stride
    I guess I mean shifting weight and hands back as the pitcher goes back.
    Have Fun and Play Hard!

    Chuck Faulkner
    Tazewell TN 37879
    The Glove Medic

  8. #8
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    soft toss

    depends on the drill like UM said. I bet we all do it similar. it is hard to put all the training info into a written response. UM mentioned using the completed stride position.. and BM said load. again depends on the drill. sometime kids are comfortable with starting in the completed stride position and lifting their front heel and loading their back side for certain soft toss drills. you are trying to get them into proper positions before they swing. the only way you can achieve perfect everything is live pitching. for everything else some compensations have to be made. even in BP cage or machine pitching. you try to simulate timing of the pitch with lights, wheels, mechanical arms, different release points, different eye adjustments, .... you can, well i can go on and on.
    most of the time you are trying to work on their mechanics.
    try to keep it simple but precise, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  9. #9
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    in case that didnt come out right i am agreeing with UM and BM

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Drill View Post
    We all know there are many different styles of hitting.

    What I want to center in on is the stride and no stride for batting practice.

    My son(13) has been working with a few batting coaches the last few years, all have come from MLB ranks to coach in college baseball. We have 3 colleges in our area and a wood bat league around our area which draws in college coaches from around the nation, during the summertime.


    Needless to say my son has learned both approaches when it come to loading and striding and no stride.


    Baseball strength and conditioning started beginning of December, they are now having informal batting cage practice. There was a clinic given at our local indoor baseball facility which my son attended. Since this is the first real batting cage work I saw my son bat since his last lesson back in November, I noticed that his swing is quicker even though he has gone up to a -3 bat back in fall ball and makes fairly good contact sending the ball back to the L screen or back of the net. I have seen him hit the ball harder is the reason why I said fairly good contact.

    The coach was playing a game that you get extra swings if you hit the back of the net or L screen on the fly. He told each student he was only going to throw them 8 good pitches, my son got 6 extra swings/balls tossed to him. Only one other student got 1 extra swing. I am not adding this because he is my only son (grin)and he got more extra swings (well dad did smile on the inside from a far) but it seems to me that the boy did adjust to this L screen drill. Where as some of the other kids just looked slower. I know some of the other young 13 and 14 year old and they are good power hitters.

    The batting drill was coach under handing the ball in front of them from behind the L screen about 10 ft away at a fairly good clip for being that close.

    My question is after watching this is, for batting cage work with this drill should you just use a no stride approach? Shorten the stride? Or try to maintain timing by make sure you slow the coach down to give the student time to time load and stride to hit the ball, if that is there hitting approach. Or is this just a drill gone wrong?


    After watching him he/my son didn't really think about it but it looked to me on some balls he was no stride and others a stride.

    What would be your suggestion on this drill and batters approach to stride or no stride.

    Not that I would change the coaches approach, but to warn my son about what to watch out for in this drill.

    thanks,

    drill
    Congrats on your son's success with this hitting drill. There are college as well as pro scouts that will use this exact batting practice drill to project a players future hitting ability. Anything over 4 "extra swings" projects out very well. Some of the scouts, college and pro, look for more hits of the "L" screen which they feel could produce more base hits. The future looks very bright.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
    Drill, I'm not sure of the point of your long war story about your son's success in the cage, since you don't tell what he did during or preceding the session that you think might have helped him improve. But, don't get me wrong, there's always room in Baseball Fever for Dads to brag about their sons. Better here than on the field, where people you know and like (as opposed to us ) might lower their opinion of you ... for being an overly-obsessed Dad.

    The important point is this -- it's not an all-or-nothing question. Some times you'll want to isolate a function of the upper body and will want to take your stride out of the equation while you work on the upper body action. For example, a lot of 13 year olds drop their hands before beginning their swing; a no-stride drill can help them focus on turning while keeping their hands up. If you do so and the kid is not in fact adopting a no-stride swing for game use, I'd recommend instructing the kids to do that drill with their feet the same distance apart as though they'd completed their stride.

    But, if you're working on lower body mechanics -- say, trying to prevent hip slide or a soft front leg -- not using the kid's game stride would seem to take much of the value out of the drill. An exception would be if you're tying to really isolate a micro part of the lower body mechanics. For example, a tip I picked up from Englishbey's advanced Swing Training DVD is to have kids try turning with their feet completely planted to help them focus on the very concept of how the hips and knees should move in conjunction with one another.

    Beyond that, we don't know your kid well enough to see if he'd benefit. It's all got to be adjusted for the kid based on his flaws, mental makeup, what he's been working on, and your priorities. I am a little worried about your suggestion that the kid should change his swing to adjust to the drill. Helloooo! Drills are to be used to serve the kid; the kid isn't there to serve the drill. If the way the drill is being handled forces him to adjust his swing patterns for a reason other than it's because you want him to try something new, you're doing it all wrong. Move the coach back, if need be.

    By the way, excellent advice by GloveMedic about not hurrying between pitches in BP so kids can't ready themselves. One of the biggest problems with youth hitters isn't that they can't swing well, it's that they aren't really ready at the plate for every pitch, so they'll either pop up with lousy mechanics or let a good pitch go by. It's important that a kid treat every pitch in every at-bat as though the game was on the line and he has a 3-and-2 count. That starts with BP and going through their little mini-checklist before each pitch. Otherwise, they'll just be practicing as many swings with old bad habbits as they are with good habits. Since, in my opinion, a swing with bad (particularly bad old habits) undoes the work of 3 to 5 good swings, this can be disastrous.

    Other question -- why use an L screen to throw under-handed? Do you put the screen upside down?? (Sorry, just kidding. I assume that's the only screen you have . . .)
    sorry about being long winded. LOL my war story is my son is a young 13 year old went up to large field last fall ball season, hence went up to a -3 bat from a -11. Last year was his last season for the small feild

    He has been working on his strength and bat/body timing since fall ball was over, he is a 97lb 5'7",13 year old just eligable to go out for JV this spring. I was happy to see improvement but what bothered me was seeing some of the other kids swinging from the top(these kids are good players), no lower body and my own son not getting the power he can hit with proper load. Yes he was using a no stride, but it looked like he was protecting the plate, he still hit some solid shots.

    Excuse me for sounding proud, but I did see him struggle some in fall ball by staying with a -3 bat to get use to it. I was just happy to see him hit solid hits somewhat even in a hurried batting practice cage drill. It showed me the lessons are paying off in learning what to do in certain situations.(this was the first live batting practice i saw him hit in this year. I stay clear of his practices but had to drive him to his clinic and saw him hit.)


    We talk and discuss which style of hitting is the best, it looks to me that if you learn the mechanic of all the hitting styles you can only add to your own hitting style.




    drill


    PS thanks for your advice
    Last edited by Drill; 01-30-2008 at 05:22 PM.
    Yogi Berra was asked by a reporter "How do you catch a knuckle ball?" He came right back and said "When it stops rolling"

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