The soft toss drill is one of the best baseball coaching drills around and please don't ever sell it short. It is a great time saver to break a bad habit, get into a good habit or to simply maintain your baseball swing if you are in a good groove.
Let's say you're into baseball coaching and you want to break a bad habit that one of your hitters has suddenly gotten into. It may take about 300 swings for the baseball hitter's muscle memory to take over and break the bad habit. For you to throw this player enough pitches for him to get 300 swings would take a long time. Even if you went to the park every other day and threw 50 pitches a day to the hitter and they were all strikes, it would take a couple of weeks. Now you can see the major advantage if you can accomplish the same thing in only one or two days. I would much rather have my player struggle for a day or two instead of two weeks. That's awesome.
Remember, you don't have to be in a baseball hitting slump to practice your swing. It is simply one of the outstanding baseball coaching drills and do yourself a favor and make very good use of it.
Some Benefits of the Soft Toss Drill
It doesn't even require a baseball field or a glove.
You don't need someone to round up all the balls in the outfield.
The person doing the "soft tossing' to the hitter doesn't even have to have any baseball skills at all, so you can get anybody to "soft toss" to you. Please don't take this the wrong way but your grandmother can soft toss to you. I say that with total respect.
Soft toss only requires a bat, some baseballs, a fence and an optional plastic bucket or two.
I know more than one person, including my 17 year old son, who has a setup in the garage with thick carpeting fastened to the wall of the garage and that acts as a fence. You can then soft toss any time of the day or night. It can be ten degrees outside or even raining or snowing. You can still get your swings in.
Regulation balls are not necessary and you can use a softer type of ball to practice damage control in your garage or even in your back yard if you opt to soft toss there. (And you will remain on good terms with your neighbors if a batted ball should go over the fence)
If using non regulation baseballs, you will not detract from the benefits of the soft toss drill at all, as the swing is the same no matter what type of ball is being used for the drill.
Many players, coaches and parents use this drill incorrectly. There are many variations and I've tried lots of them.
My Favorite Method:
You stand about 12 feet from a hitter who is about 8 to 10 feet in front of a high fence.
Be very careful. Make sure to avoid areas of the fence that have posts or the batted ball may come right back at the hitter. Make sure the fence you are hitting into is high enough! The person doing the "tossing" should make sure to be in a very safe position so they don't get hit by the batted ball.
Your angle to the hitter should be just about like he's in the batter's box and you're in foul territory just outside the foul line. In other words, if he's a right-handed hitter and you were soft tossing to him, imagine that you are positioned along the first base line, slightly in foul territory. Stay very safely out of the way so there is no chance that you can get hit by the batted ball.
Squat, kneel or sit down with as many baseballs as you want to use right next to you. A plastic bucket is very helpful to sit on and and an additional bucket to hold the baseballs is also very useful.
Three Easy Steps involved:
Holding the ball underhanded, show the hitter the ball.
Drop your hand with the ball in it down toward the ground and pause for about one or two full seconds. (At that point, the hitter should "load up," cocking his hips, hands and elbows.)
Softly toss the ball to the hitter, so that it has a slight arc up and then down. Aim for his back hip, or a different spot if desired and the hitter hits the ball into the fence. Repeat with the remaining baseballs.
It's very important that this drill never be rushed. The purpose is to have a good swing repeated many times until the hitter can do it in his sleep. It is one of the best baseball coaching drills for getting a hitter to break a bad habit or to develop a good habit through repetition.
Once again, be very cautious as to where you are when soft tossing the ball to someone. And make sure there is nothing in front of the hitter that can possibly have the batted ball come right back at the hitter.
The amount of time spent to break a bad habit will be at an absolute minimum because you can soft toss a hundred balls in no time at all!
Larry Cicchiello is the author of "Excellent Baseball Coaching: 30 Seconds Away." His very user friendly eBooks cover 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY players, coaches or parents who want to help their child improve will be fully equipped! Some FREE tips are available at http://www.LarryBaseball.com/product/all
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If you are looking for great coaching articles, please consider one of our sites: The BaseballCoachingDigest.com, the YouthBaseballDigest.com or the BaseballParentGuide.com. Have a safe and happy season! Nick Dixon
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