The beauty of some sports is that you can play it all by yourself. All you need in basketball is a ball and you can improve. All you need as a runner is to run. But baseball is complicated to a point where it seems like you always need someone else around to become better at it.
So if you want to get better and you don’t have a batting cage, a coach around or a friend to play catch with – here are two simple ways to improve by yourself.
Dry Swings: Take dry swings in front of a full length mirror or outside. By not concentrating on a ball and where it flies to, a young hitter can focus on the proper fundamental components of a swing; the load, drive, back leg pivot, and the finish and balance. Take fifty dry swings a day to improve your bat speed and fundamentals. If you do have a mirror then you can see each component of your swing. You can see if your load is correct. You can see if your back leg is pivoting. You can see if your finish is balanced.
Use a wall for defensive footwork: A tennis ball, a wall and your bare hands is all you need. Simply throw the ball off a wall and move your feet to catch the ball. Challenge yourself by throwing the ball to your left and right. Mix in short hops, long hops. Work your feet back and front. Catch the ball on the backhand side and the forehand side. Watch the ball into your hands and transfer into your throwing motion.
This drill can also be done underhand and closer to the wall where you are shuffling to the left and to the right (never crossing your feet) and under handing the ball off the wall. You can make sure that you are catching the ball in the middle of your body or on the glove hand side. It is important to be bending your knees and not bending strictly from the back. This simple drill is known as pick-ups and you can build up your stamina to the point where you can do 100 total pickups – 50 to the right and 50 to the left. But start with five one each side and work your way up to a hundred.
Remember your hands are only as good as your feet. Good feet often translates to good hands.
These drills are not only effective but essential to your development as an offensive and defensive ballplayer. You might not always have a team but you can always practice by yourself.
Until Next time