Hitting a thrown baseball is one of the most difficult acts in all of sports. If you are a coach, or just a dad teaching his kid how to hit a baseball, the best batting tips for youth baseball players involve sticking to the fundamentals. To achieve that, your best youth baseball hitting drills involve teaching young players how to maintain a sound and consistent swing.
One mistake often made by youth baseball coaches is attempting to establish conformity in the batting stance. You can’t find two professional baseball players who have exactly the same batting stance, so why try to teach every young player the exact same traditional stance? Let them find a stance they are most comfortable with.
All good swings boil down to keeping your eye on the ball, having your hands flow smoothly through the hitting zone, and generating power with a back-to-forward weight shift and proper hip rotation. The starting point, the stance, is irrelevant. All that matters is that a swing possesses these characteristics at the point of impact.
The hitting drills that will most help in developing a swing that consistently maintains these fundamentals are:
The baseball tee is still the best hitting tool around. It teaches a young player to repeat and perfect a swing. As a coach, you can easily find broken swing mechanics because you get to closely watch a player’s full swing from stance, through the coil, the swing forward, and follow-through. Have your player take a number of swings. Analyze what you saw and offer advice to improve. Repeat the same process until you are both satisfied with the results.
The soft toss drill is another traditional drill known for its simplicity, but don’t underestimate its usefulness. It’s an outstanding time saver and teaching tool. All you need is a bucket of balls and your student. Sit or squat several feet off to the side, parallel to the player, on the same side that he or she hits from and soft toss baseballs into the strike zone. Watch all aspects of their swing to detect faults. It’s important that you don’t rush the tosses since the purpose of the drill is to produce a good, repeatable swing.
Teaching youth baseball players the fine art of hitting isn’t easy, but if there are only two hitting drills you ever have them do, make sure they are the tee and soft toss.