For the coaches out there and the players, I want to emphasize two important points when you’re doing hitting drills.
One, be patient for your rate of success. And two, when you’re doing your drills, make sure that you have quality in every single swing. Every swing matters.
Bucket of Rice Drill
Becoming a consistent and a better hitter, you have to have strength in your forearms, in your wrists, and your fingers. So we have a series of exercises that we use to help strengthen these areas of the body. Because the forearms, the wrists, and the hands help control the bat through the zone. So you not only want to be on time, but you also want to have some power behind your swing.
The first drill that we’re going to look at is simply a bucket of rice. You can go down to the store and buy a 20-pound bag of rice, dump it in there. Our goal is to drive and dig and rotate our hand down to the bottom of the bucket–a very difficult task to do. Very few players can do it. What we do is we’ll go through a series of them.
This is a station where they may do it three, four, five times with each arm. We usually work 30-second intervals. In our sport, usually you’re stronger on one side versus the other, depending on what side you throw with. So we try to work strength in both areas because as a hitter, you need both hands to be strong, wrists and forearms.
You’ll notice your players initially get in very quickly, but then it becomes a little more difficult as they gets down to the bottom of the bucket.
It’s a drill that kind of breaks up the monotony of doing drill work. They can compete against each other, and they can mark the side of the bucket so they can measure their success. As they get deeper in the bucket of rice, that shows that they’re getting stronger.
We use the grippers to help increase our palm, finger strength. When we do this we usually try to get each player to go to their maximum and do it three times. As we go through the fall, we try to build up that number as they get stronger.
The key to this is not to be swinging the forearm. This is simply a palm, finger exercise. And also you want to make sure that the rubber handle touches when you complete your grip. Sometimes we get a little bit sloppy and we don’t finish. It’s counterproductive to what we’re trying to attain, so make sure you completely close it and go to max.
We have a short bat that’s an overload bat that helps our players work on building strength at the angle at which they’re actually going to be hitting the ball. What we’re going to do with one hand, we’re going to work on our wrist strength at the same angle we would when we hit. What the batter does is they just work on the wrist strength at this angle. We do the same thing, we’re going to go to maximum. We’ll do that three times. They do it with both hands.
Many of you may not have a short barrel, but you can use anything that they’re able to grip and execute the wrist snap. As a coach or a player, be creative if you don’t have something like we typically use. Just get a weight in your hand that you can work on extending in the position, similar to hitting a softball.
We went to the local hardware store, we got a dowel, had it cut to about 12″. String, drilled a hole through, put the string to hold the weight at the end. The key to this drill is to make sure that the player is at a 90-degree or an L-position–that the elbows are in when they’re doing this drill. This is a softball practice drill that’s going to strengthen the wrists in a vertical fashion.
There are lot of variations to this drill. You can roll it out. You can roll it in. You can resist as you unroll it. The entire time you’re getting strength build-up in the forearms, in the wrists, and the fingers.
Once again, you can do this drill to max and do it three times. Then you can build up. Throughout your workouts you can build up in your strength.
These are things that your players can do at home. They don’t necessarily have to do it during your practice time.
Which of these softball practice drills do you think will most help your players become stronger hitters? If you’re excited about trying out these drills, don’t forget to share this post with your fellow coaches and players!