As the weather starts to get colder, youth baseball season starts to come to a close. While fall ball practice may be ending, that doesn't mean you have to put off practicing until spring. Instead, use the winter season as an opportunity to refine your skills and condition your body for the upcoming season. Here are a couple drills you should practice (weather permitting, of course):
Ultimately, there are three main goals that every fielder, no matter their age or skill level, must mentally work through in a ground ball situation: get in front of the ball; get down in an athletic position; field the ball while moving towards the target.
By getting down in an athletic position, you'll ensure yourself the best chance of cleanly fielding the ball and being able to transfer it quickly into an accurate throw. In a similar fashion to crow-hopping before catching a fly ball, you'll want to move ever so slightly towards your target just as the ball is approaching your glove. This way you won't be starting from a static position while trying to throw out a quick runner. Take a look at our Fielding Ground Balls Training Tips video for more visual instruction.
To be a successful hitter, it is important to be able to drive the ball to all sides of the field. Hitting to the opposite field makes you a less predictable hitter and a harder out for the defense. Waiting for the pitch and not trying to pull the ball allows the hitter to drive the ball the other way. Having the skills to hit the other way will help you beat the traditional "pull hitter" shift and get on base.
Hitting to the opposite field requires discipline from the hitter to wait for the pitch to get deep.
As a hitter you must first fire your hands down to put yourself in position to swing down on the baseball. Firing your hands means that you swing down on the ball and have a direct swing path to the ball. Dropping your shoulder early inhibits the ability to effectively fire your hands.
Aim to hit the inside half of the baseball while elevating through the pitch and sending it to the opposite field.
For more baseball hitting tips and baseball training videos, check out our tips to help perfect your baseball swing.
Remember, the offseason is a perfect time to focus on fundamentals such as fielding ground balls and perfecting your baseball swing. Coaches are a great resource to utilize because they can help with just that. They can throw you batting practice, hit you fungos and do drill work with you. So, take advantage of the offseason while you can and get out there to practice.
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