Last month the main topic was timing with the body. For those of you that missed last month’s Newsletter check back and find Timing is Everything – Part 1.
This month I will continue to talk about timing, but my main focus will not be timing with the body, my main focus will be learning to time with the pitch. As I stated last month this is one of the biggest issues I see with my hitters at the beginning of the year. Mainly due to being so anxious/excited about their first tournament or games of the year. Often times when young hitters are off on their timing, they are also off on their balance – lunging forward, over swinging and falling off their finish. These are just a few of the issues I see when timing is off.
I believe that this topic is worth writing about because I think that the concept of timing is missed when we are teaching our hitters how to swing the bat properly. I have made a list of the things that I enforce every lesson with all the girls I see.
Concepts of Timing
1) It all starts on the Tee. As stated in Part 1 – Contact points are a part of timing. If the contact point is off, that ultimately means that the hitter is either late or early. So I believe that it is very important to make sure that the girls are lined up properly when hitting off the tee.
– Middle Pitch – Steam of the Tee lined up with the front foot of the hitter
– Outside Pitch – Outside half of the plate inside the front foot of the hitter
– Inside Pitch – Inside half of the plate in front of the front foot of the hitter
Keep in mind all hitters are different so contact points may vary. Play with the contact point. Where do your hitters get the most power as well as where are they the most balanced and comfortable?
2) The second part of timing is taking those contact points and putting them to use off of front toss, live pitching, or the machine. There are a lot of different drills to help with this, but the ones listed below are my favorite.
Drills For Timing
1) RIGHT NOW! – Have the girls say out loud “Right Now”. I tell them that when they start saying Right is when they load, and when they say Now the front foot should be down and the bat should be at contact. I have found that this helps the girls understand if they are early or late as well as help them to see the ball.
2) 1,2,3 – Using a count is my favorite way to help the girls understand their timing. I try to keep it as simple as possible when explaining it, but the main idea is that 1 is your set position, 2 is the load, and 3 is contact.
– The girls have to figure out when to start their count.
– If it is a faster pitcher the count would start earlier
– If it is a slower pitcher the load would start later.
That being said, the swing stays the same, is always connected, and by using the count it allows the girls to understand at what point they need to start their load in comparison to the pitcher they are facing.
3) Using bunting to test the 1,2,3 count.
– One of the drills that I have found to be very effective is using bunting practice as a way for the girls to get their timing. Have your pitchers throw live bunting practice and make your bunters count out loud while they are practicing their sacrifice bunting.
– They will know if they are on time or not very quickly by understanding that if they say 3 then the ball hits their bat they are early. If the ball hits the bat and then they say 3, they are late.
Check out our E-Training page for drills on timing!