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by Jeff Holt
(Hendersonville, Tn USA)
Because he throws the shoulder open, he misses outside pitches and hits inside pitches off the end of the bat. We have worked all off season on this....using a tanner tee that we can move around. Once games started, he threw this muscle memory out the window and continues to throw the shoulder open.
1. The Towel Drill: Put a small towel, rag, wash cloth between the chin and the front shoulder. When the batter swings have them try to keep the rag from falling or releasing as long as possible while taking a good swing.
Good hitting coaches and batting instructors have a saying, "Chin goes shoulder to shoulder." In other words the chin stays touching the front shoulder early in the hitting swing and finishes with the chin rubbing against the back shoulder.
2. Try to diminish too much early hip turn. The hitters hips should only be 1/4 to 1/2 of their hip rotation at the point of contact.
This should allow the front shoulder and chin stay in contact with each other longer.
3. Practice swinging at pitches on the outside half of the plate. Practice hitting the ball up the middle and opposite field. This should naturally force the hitter to keep the front shoulder 'closed' longer if you are going to hit the ball for power.
4. Use Tennis Balls:Many hitters open up
I like to use tennis balls and toss them or underhand them at the hitter. Show the batter how to roll-away from the pitch if the pitch is going to hit them.
That way if the batter does get pegged it will certainly sting for awhile but the back of the helmet, the back of the shoulder, back, rear end, and back of the legs are the only body parts exposed.
If the hitter is opening up early they will have vital body parts exposed and in harms way. The face, the fingers, hands, arms, chest, and other important areas of the anatomy are open targets.
So, you want your batters to roll-away from the inside pitch—not open up to it.
You can also try to use a face mask attached to the batting helmet, too. This provides confidence to somewhat jittery batters.
Hey, baseball batting is not for the meek and timid. It takes courage to stay in the box and challenge up to fast pitchers. The best will do it—others will move on to other fascinating opportunities out side of baseball.
These are a few hitting tips, batting drills and teaching baseball techniques that we use for professional hitters, high school baseball, college baseball, little league and all youth baseball ages.
Look forward to hearing how the practice drills workout. Be patient. This is a tough batting habit to change.
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