Last year our fall and winter HS workouts emphasized fastball hitting. We believed this was the fastest way to see improvements for all our players, from the top of the roster guys to the bottom, and it worked, as our team average went up by over 50 points with lots more extra base hits.
As we prep for the upcoming fall/winter, we want to get better at hitting curves as well. Any suggestions on training techniques? Seems to me there are at least four areas to be worked:
1) the mechanics of hitting curve balls -- get used to tracking balls curving in flight and then making contact; recognize the difference in 12-6 vs 10-4 type breaks; keep hands back; hit to opposite field; hit ball deep in zone; etc;
2) the recognition of whether the curve will be a ball or a strike -- balls thrown at shoulder will break into strike zone; balls thrown behind batter will break inside; balls thrown at strike zone will probably break wide; balls thrown above head will probably stay high; balls eye high/chin high will break into strike zone; balls belt high will break low; etc
3) pitch recognition out of pitchers hand -- recognizing differences in spin and release angle for fastballs, curves, sliders, etc as well as the end result processing associated with 2) above
4) pitch anticipation -- what pitchers tend to throw in different counts and different situations, etc. and how to change mental and physical actions based on getting to know pitchers and watching the ongoing game develop.
Any good training aids, videos, or other suggestions? Areas 1 and 2 above seem to me to be something you can work on indoors. Areas 3 and 4 require game-type situations to truly learn.