Pitching and Hitting baseballs are complex motor skills that some players develop naturally and most players develop over time. Obviously the more you train, the better you get.
What’s most often missed in team settings is the discipline needed to keep a player on point in treating each individual swing or pitch as a focused, game intense movement, rep after rep.
Our biggest challenge to our players is to teach them how to practice well indoors or outdoors ON THEIR OWN.
Private lessons do so much for our players because we can keep them on point and focused as much as they need to understand what they do right AND wrong.
Private lessons are meant to evaluate and repeat proper mechanics at game speed and introduce new drills and progressions. It also gives us a chance to have some “couch-time” with them to help develop their hitting mentality and approach.
When players are on their own in a team practice setting, they must be also trained to treat each rep on its own to develop and build their swings or pitches. It is very easy to become distracted and then take distracted swings or throws.
Its important to train discipline and hold players accountable for their distractions. But discipline in training should be more of a positive challenge to do better each time. Players should have fun trying to compete to do better when they’re in the cages or on the mound.
Teach your kids to be responsible, give them competitions or rewards to stimulate their competitive drives and hold them accountable and challenge them if their discipline wanes.
Coaches must make sure to correct players when they perform incorrectly at practice. Sometimes, words aren’t even necessary. Most times, I would grunt or make a noise that gave them an audible cue about what they are doing.
Most in-game corrections should be very minor in movement, but can really help (example: an audible cue to get a hitter’s hands up will make the difference in a popup or line drive.)
Having Coaches that work with hitters every practice should be the coach that provides these audible cues.
Be careful not to overcoach in games, but overcoach in practice.