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Up, Up, and Away

hitter rise riseball swing elbow above ball

Do you tell your players to lay-off the riseball, only then to watch them take a swing at one and miss badly? Riseballs are hard for most batters to resist because they’re so tempting.

Well, they can’t lay off them forever, so let’s look at some ways to help your hitters start hitting those riseballs, and hitting them hard!

Hitters see the riseball coming near their hands at about eye level and it’s virtually impossible for them to let the pitch go by. As a result, too many hitters end up either swinging and missing at pitches that go over their head, or else pop up the rare pitch they do get a hold of.

While hitting a riseball can be tough, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There are some things that batters can do to help make hitting this pitch a lot more likely. Let’s look at 5 keys for hitting the riseball:

  1. If Your Hitter is Disciplined, Have Them Move Back in the Box
  2. Have Your Hitters Go Up to Bat Expecting to See High Pitches – if the riseball is the pitcher’s favorite pitch, then tell your hitters to expect to see it, and to see it a lot
  3. Make the Pitcher Throw the Ball Below the Hands – remind your hitters that any pitch coming hand-high or higher they should let go by
  4. Swing at Nothing Above the Hands – tell your hitters that their hands are also the top of the strike zone, so another reason not to swing at anything above the hands
  5. Keep the Front Elbow Slightly Above the Ball During Swing – have your players work on keeping their front elbow from flying straight up, as this will help prevent swinging under the ball and popping everything up. And have them avoid trying to swing level with a riseball, as Also, your hitters should never swing level – they should always have their elbows slightly higher than their hands and their hands slightly higher than the barrel at contact. The same is true when hitting a riseball – if your hitters try to swing level when hitting a riseball, they’ll end up topping the pitch and hitting a weak ground ball

In addition, have your players practice by using a High T. To create a High T, place a batting T on a bucket so the ball is about mid-chest to shoulder height. Have them work on hitting the ball out near their front foot, and driving the ball hard forward and slightly up. Make sure your hitters work on keeping their hands slightly above the ball and driving through the ball, instead of trying to swing level.

These tips are part of the hitting module contained within our Level 6 Coaching Certification program. For additional help with hitting, check out:

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