The next time you are participating in some soft toss drills with a training partner, try this particular drill to mix it up. Instead of the traditional soft toss from the side, have the “tosser” deliver balls from out in front, just like the angle the ball is coming from in a game. In order to keep everyone safe, it’s important that the tosser has a proper L-Screen protecting them.
The tosser is instrumental in this particular drill, because it is important that they mix up the location of the ball - inside corner, outside corner and middle. This will allow the hitter to work on hitting the ball to the opposite field on an outside pitch, and to pull the ball on the inner half of the plate. When hitting the belt high, inside pitch, look to make contact out in front of the plate and turn on it. To accentuate the importance of where the hitter in driving the ball, it’s a good idea to set up cones between left-center field and right-center field.
To make this a more advanced drill, the tosser can randomly switch locations and pitch trajectories (to simulate right/left and breaking pitches). Varying higher and lower strikes can also make this drill more challenging, and even mixing a few “balls” among the strikes can be effective. Always remember to have a good pace in this drill - not too fast where the hitter is creating bad habits, but quick enough to where it is a cardiovascular workout.
This is an ideal drill for ballplayers nine years and older. High School aged hitters and above should include the advanced version of the drill in their workout. In order to participate in this drill an athlete will need a tosser or MaxBP machine, flat plate, a game bat or BetterBat Skinny Barrel Training Bat, a minimum of 20 balls and an L-Screen (whether training with a tosser or a MaxBP). Always remember to finish this drill and others with a game bat, if you are using a heavier or lighter bat earlier in the workout.
This is a great exercise to recognize pitches and drive them where they are pitched. Once a hitter can perform this drill correctly they should be able to hit the outside pitch into the gap for extra bases, rip one to deep center on a pitch down the pipe, or turn on a pitch and pull it with authority.