Anyone got any good opposite field hitting drills?  Too many of my guys missing and trying to pull everything.

Original Post
Nathan posted:

Anyone got any good opposite field hitting drills?  Too many of my guys missing and trying to pull everything.

It's not about drills.  It's about leadership.  Your guys are pull-crazy.  You disapprove.  They don't respond.  Why?

Last edited by game7

Tee work, and lots of it.  Put the tee on the outer corner of the plate deep in the  zone and practice driving the ball to right-center (right hand batter).  This is where the majority of youth and HS pitchers live so getting comfortable with this will bring success at the plate.

This is a problem I ran into over the years and I wish there was an easy button fix. The issue is what works for one kids doesn't for another. Everyone ultimately has their own swing/mechanics/timing/etc....  I found the most success with teaching oppo by focusing primarily on the mental side of hitting. Instead of saying hit the ball to RC gap, I would emphasize DRIVING the ball to RC gap (RHB obviously). With this in mind, then all the kid needs to do is recognize pitch location and timing.

But if your looking for a drill, the one that help my oldest the most was the drop bat drill. Basically he would swing the bat extremely choked up with the emphasis on not hooking his rib cage with the handle. Forgot where I picked this up over the years, but it really helped him get through the ball, instead of around it. 

(with this all this said, I don't necessarily promote oppo hitting in all situations. I want the kid to feel comfortable when he gets ahead in the count and look to do damage) 

Nothing revolutionary but we used to do several of the basics with our HS team...

* heavy specific T work

* heavy specific front toss rounds

* front toss cage competition - "X out of six" or "X consecutive" hard hit oppo balls

* specific on-field bp rounds

* bp competition (tunnel of cones sent up in OF slightly oppo of center and slightly inside the foul line - "X of 6" hard hit through the tunnel)

* live scrimmage with one or two OF's, two oppo side IF's (plus a 1b if LH hitter).  Coach pitch.  Only oppo field is in play.  Make pull side an automatic out while oppo foul is just foul.  Coach pitch (or machine) from the mound keeps hitter properly squared - prevents the closed cheat.

Of course, all of this has to come with proper instruction along the way.  Particularly on tee and front toss rounds, there would be consistent feedback on things like staying on and through the ball longer, letting it travel, the importance of not letting the barrel get below the ball, etc.  I know the barrel below the ball is a contested POV but the tendancy with hitting oppo is for the barrel to drop and weak pop-ups the result.  So, this teach worked for our HS teams.  "Drive through the 3-4 hole" was a common visual teach.  

Also, we didn't just teach oppo based on pitch location.  We taught oppo as the first thought when recognizing breaking ball.  Then, if it hangs, the body will automatically tell you to turn on it.  This helped most hitters quite a bit with general handling of CB's.

That said, there are some players who are better off left with their pull approach.  They just need to be on top of the plate more so that they can safely let outside pitches go.  But, we would only arrive at this exception approach after extensive efforts to help them become a complete hitter.

PS - we found over the years that you need to provide the right mix and timing of oppo and straight up hitting drills and reps for a majority of young HS hitters.  If there was a particular overload of oppo work over the course of a few days or even a full day, the hitters would struggle the next day with inside stuff.  As example of proper mix, we may have three cage groups working.  One would be oppo work, one would be something else and then we would finish with some type of drill that incorporates both.  On-field hitting would include an oppo round early but end with a more general "where it is pitched" round.  Over time, recognition becomes more automated and the hitter can react properly to any pitch/location.

Last edited by cabbagedad

For front toss:

Set up a tee on the outside black for rh hitters with a ball on it.  Front toss middle in.  They will have to stay inside out to avoid hitting the tee.  Every few pitches swing the arm but don't toss the ball, when this happens they are to hit the tee ball with the same approach.

Go to the Tanner Tee website and order one of their mats.  It has a home plate with spots where to set the tee to work pitch locations.  It is well worth the money although it's actually not THAT expensive.

Then do everything CabbageDad said

Batting cage.  Move plate six inches toward batters box.  This makes every pitch look away.  Then focus on staying back and hammering ball into oppo net.  Do not "dive" simply recognize away - drive front foot toward location of ball and stay closed on front side for just a tick and then explode into pitch.  Total cost if you work with cage owner is probably $200-$250.

Start in the 70MPH BP cage to focus on technique before pumping up velocity.  Once you have your 1500 to 2000 working away swings over 3 weeks with another 1000 at straight away and turning on inside should probably do it.

Once established tee work and occasional trip to cage can maintain.

You may develop a little inside out approach - but banging the other way with pop will always get a coach to notice.

Make Sure it is not a mechanical issue. It could be an approach issue but it could also be a mechanical weakness. Many dead pull hitters have mechanical weaknesses like a lack of deceleration, lack of upper body resistance at launch bad direction and swing that cuts right to left, sometimes too flat vertical bat angle (especially on low pitches)

One drill I have used is what I call open stance oppo drill. Use a 45 degree offset stance and still try to hit ball oppo. This teaches you to swing away from the body and not around the body.

Also work on rotational deceleration as it is important to decelerate rotation a bit earlier on outside pitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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