Players who pull the ball long but foul often get the “oohs” and “ahhs”, but it’s the player who drives the ball hard up the middle that will help win you games.
To help your players hit the ball hard up the middle, all you need is a batting T, a pitching screen, and this simple yet very effective drill.
Often referred to as UTM, hitting Up The Middle, along with hitting to the opposite field are vital for a hitter to be considered a “good” hitter. Anyone can pull the ball as that simply takes reaction on the hitter’s part instead of skill. But waiting on a pitch long enough to hit it either up the middle or to the opposite field takes time and practice.
At the younger levels coaches and players are always impressed when a batter pulls a long ball hard, and foul. You’ll hear the “oohs” and “ahhs” as the ball sails over the left field fence – foul. But, as soon as that player gets to college or faces any kind of quality pitching that consistently hits the outside part of the plate, these hitters usually struggle.
So if you have one hitter like this or a lineup filled with them check out this simple hitting drill that will really force your players to learn to hit the ball up the middle:
- Hitter has her bat and her helmet on
- Place a ball on a batting T and place the T at her front foot after she takes her stride.
- About 15 feet in front of the hitter place a pitching protective screen – the kind with the hole opening for the pitch to go through.
- Position the opening so it points directly up the middle
- Your hitter must stand there and hit the ball off the T through the opening. While this sounds easy it requires a great deal of bat control on the part of the hitter.
- This drill is also great because it gives the hitter immediate feedback!
- NOTE – be sure the net is no closer than 15 feet from the hitter and the harder the player hits the farther away the screen to prevent the ball from quickly ricocheting back at the hitter.
For more help with hitting check out the following: