Soft toss drill
Stickball in the Street
One technique I thought of when coaching Little Leaguers in stressing the importance of staying short to the ball was soft tossing wiffles to a batter who swings only his hands at the ball.
They would stand in the normal stance with the hands simulating holding the bat, and get them to swing at the soft tossed ball opening their palms at the ball with thumbs touching at contact with the ball.
Obviously the ball has to be tossed much closer to their bodies and belly button high as this allowed the hitter to maintain proper form throughout the swing and it seemed to work.
This helped reinforce the D&T process with them when they were young. It hasn't worked with the older (school ball age) kids because they seem to feel silly doing it rather than applying the principles behind the drill. Appearance seems to be more important than getting better at the game.
Have you or anyone else used a technique similar to this and do you think it still has relevance as they get older?
Swing Smarter Response:
Great drill Vic, and one I think the older kids grow to not do because it seems too simplistic. To keep kids from swinging with their arms too much I'd advise having them bring an old broom stick without the bristles, and have them do dry swings with it.
Because of how long the stick is and the wind resistance it creates, the kids cannot swing it with a dominant upper body. They actually have to swing it with their hips and core. This is also a great tool to use with older kids in whiffle ball soft toss and light weight ball games.
Please try that and let me know how it goes Vic...
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