If a ballplayer is notorious for being a “dead-pull hitter” and is aiming to start using the entire field, this top hand batting drill is a great one. The objective of this exercise is to train the top hand by itself and to feel what the true responsibility of the top hand should be in a mechanically sound swing.
To begin this drill it’s important for a hitter to acquire their consistent location in the batter’s box and have a fixed plate to measure that exact stance against. From there the athlete should move the tee to the center of the strike zone (right down the pipe) and choke up on the bat. Choking up, with your top hand on the bat and the bottom hand off completely and simply hanging down your front side, take a nice and relaxed swing, hitting the ball up the middle every time.
The purpose of this drill is not to move the ball around and work on inside and outside pitches, nor is it important to work high and low sections of the strike zone. Again, the purpose of this drill is to train the top hand by itself, to have it functioning properly and lead to desired results. An improper gripper of the baseball bat may be really uncomfortable with this at first, but over time and practice that discomfort will dissipate.
A hitter can change the drill by switching to the bottom hand; however, focusing on the lower hand accentuates the ability to pull the ball, which may be counterproductive for a “dead pull hitter.”
This exercise is not to be used as a band-aid, but as a tool to help a hitter understand how to grip the bat and hit the ball the other way. It is a tremendous drill to focus on hitting all the way through the ball, which should be a major focal point for hitters who pull off the ball.
Another thing to consider, a pupil doesn’t need to take full swings. Half-swings are perfectly fine, especially for hitters who need to establish some comfort with the drill. Oh, and feel free to knock the tee down by missing the ball by a foot, it’s all part of the learning process.
This is an effective drill for athletes ages 13 and older, with more experienced hitters likely to practice the advanced version of this drill with a variety of locations (up and down) and while performing a full swing. In order to perform this exercise a hitter will need a game bat or BetterBat Skinny Barrel Training Bat, a hitting tee, flat plate, netting (to hit against) and a minimum of five baseballs.
This drill is great for helping a hitter use the whole field; however, it doesn’t need not to be done on a consistent basis, unless the hitter frequently reverts back to older habits. In that case, it’s an eye opening experience for a hitter who is one dimensional or has some obvious shortcomings. With hard work and dedication that light bulb will eventually turn on. At that point, a hitter will be using the proper “top hand” mechanics to hit the ball back up the middle and to the opposite field.