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3 Hitting Drills to Stop Lunging

Today’s Video comes from Matt Antonelli.  Antonelli was drafted in the 1st round by the San Diego Padres.  He then spent time in the Nationals, Orioles, Yankees and Indians organizations.  

Matt Antonelli in a Padres uniform and a bat

Today, Antonelli owns a baseball facility near the Boston area and coaches several elite travel teams.  

He also puts out loads of great content on his YouTube channel, Antonelli Baseball.

The explanation he gives in today’s video is some of the best I’ve heard on this topic - How to stop lunging - which is generally a VERY difficult one for hitters to understand. He also shares 3 hitting drills to stop lunging so you can practice at home or in the cages. 

What is “Lunging”?

Typically, it’s a huge struggle for hitters to learn how to be in control of their body weight during the entire swing, with the biggest problems happening during the stride.  

You may hear it described in different ways…

  • Lunging
  • Collapse forward
  • Falling forward
  • Crashing
  • Shift forward
  • Jumping

If your hitter is doing any of those things, hitting becomes a LOT more difficult.  

Big Problems Caused By Lunging

This leads to several big problems:

  1. Can’t adjust to off-speed pitches
  2. Can’t see the ball as well (because your eyes are moving)
  3. You lose power
  4. Affects bat path and direction… which leads to a lot of OTHER problems

Bottom line… it’s a lot harder to be a good hitter if you’re making this mistake!

Video | 3 Hitting Drills to Stop Lunging

In the video below, former professional baseball player Matt Antonelli shares:

  1. How to recognize if you’re lunging
  2. The #1 huge key to control your weight AND build power/separation into your baseball swing load (hint: It’s how to “coil” the right way… and it’s a HUGE key to being a better hitter)
  3. Three drills to get a feel for doing it correctly

Watch the Video Below for 3 Hitting Drills to Stop Lunging:

Video Transcript

Hey, what's going on guys? Today we're talking about controlling our weight as a hitter, and I'm going to give you three drills that we use to help our hitters understand how to properly control their weight.

We've got a couple of things to get into. The first thing is, what does it mean to control your weight and be in control of your body as a hitter? Well, for me, it all starts with the ability to load this back leg right here, and not only load it but keep it loaded as we stride forward. It's really key. We've talked about it in some other videos, but the idea of loading this back leg, the way that we talk about it, the simplest way to think about it is that we want to feel our back pocket make a slight turn towards the pitcher. When that happens, our hips are going to start to close or coil, and when our hips close or coil, this back leg starts to work back in the opposite direction that it's going to turn when it's time to hit. You should feel like you are connected to the ground. We'll talk about grabbing onto the ground or screwing down into the ground. That feeling of screwing down into the ground or grabbing the ground with our lower body as it loads, you'll feel that foot really feel connected. You should feel your whole foot in the ground.

Now, that's the first thing. When we want to control our weight, we've got to get ourselves loaded. This is one part of hitting where a lot of times coaches would just say, "Hey, get your weight back or get loaded." When you see this, it's a coiling action. My leg is working back this way. I'm not just shifting my weight back so that you'll see a lot of hitters do. They'll just get back like that. I'm coiling and feeling like I'm getting down into the ground. I'm grabbing onto the ground now.

From here, because my feet are so close together, I have to have an exaggerated stride forward. It's going to be bigger than your normal stride because I have that exaggerated stride forward. It's going to force me to really control my weight as I move out. I don't want to feel my weight shifting forward. I want to feel like when I get coiled, as I pick this foot up, I'm going to continue to coil. Stay coiled, keep your hips closed as you move out. If you felt like your body was split in half, the front side is going to move out, the backside is going to continue to stay coiled and back.

The better job I do of controlling my weight by loading the lower body properly, well, one, my timing will be better because I'm going to control myself as I move out instead of shifting or jumping. If I shift forward, if I jump forward, if I don't control my weight well, it's really difficult for me to see the ball as well. It's difficult for me to adjust to off-speed pitches. So, I've got to do a really good job of controlling that weight.

The other thing that happens is hitters that want to jump forward, when they jump forward, they typically want to swing forward. We want to feel like we're going to turn our barrel deeper in the zone. The only way I can turn my barrel deeper is by staying connected to the ground and keeping my weight around this leg and not getting forward into this leg. If I get forward into this leg too early, I want to swing out here. If I do a good job of coiling, getting this leg loaded, and then staying loaded as I stride out, I'll have a much easier time turning my barrel deeper in the zone and getting the barrel behind the ball.

Now, let's talk about some drills that we can do. I've got three drills that we're going to do today. You can do these drills off of flip balls, throwing balls. Today, we're going to use the tee. This is a Tanner-heavy tee. I love this tee. The great thing about it, especially if you're working with younger players or someone old like me that can't really hit anymore, some people say I never could hit, but the good thing about this tee is that you can hit this tee pretty hard. It's not going to go anywhere. There's nothing worse than working with a hitter or being a hitter yourself. You hit the ball, you clip the tee a little bit, and it falls over, and you've got to pick it up. This is not going anywhere.

Here are the three drills. The first one that we'll do is... You don't have to do these in any particular order. The first, let's go with the first two that require really nothing. You don't need any equipment or anything. The first one is super simple. It's just a Babe Ruth drill. You're just going to take your feet, you're going to put your feet really, really close together, alright? A few inches apart. Now, what this is going to force you to do and really two things. One, you'll be able to make sure that you're able to make this coiling move right here and get that back leg get around that back leg and feel yourself screwing down into the ground. So, remember, I'm trying to get my hips to slightly closer coil, and that's going to get my back leg to load back. We're going to have our feet close together. We're going to coil. I like to coil and stop and make sure that I feel that pressure in the ground. Again, I'm grabbing onto the ground. Now, from here, because my feet are so close together, I have to have an exaggerated stride forward, right? It's going to be bigger than your normal stride because I have that exaggerated stride forward. It's going to force me to really control my weight as I move out. Again, I don't want to feel my weight shifting forward. I want to feel like when I get coiled, as I pick this foot up, I'm going to continue to coil, stay coiled, keep your hips closed as you move out. If you felt like your body was split in half, the front side is going to move out, the backside is going to continue to stay coiled and back.

Now, that's the first drill. It's just the Babe Ruth drill. Coil, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, hit. Okay? The second one is basically the same thing, except on this one, instead of having our feet just right next to each other, we're going to just cross our front foot over our back foot, okay? So, that's all it is. It's the same idea. I'll be here, cross my foot. I'm going to coil. I'm going to hold it. I'm going to fight, fight, fight, fight, fight, hit. Okay?

The last drill, I call it a crate drill or a hover drill. All we're going to do is take any implement. You can use a ball, a helmet. We have crates that we use, but I'm going to show you simply just by using the ball. You just need something to put your front foot on. So, now I can't put any weight on it, right? So, I'm nice and light. All right? So, I'm going to set up. I'm really light on that front foot. Now, I can feel myself again coil around this back leg. I have no weight here. I'm going to pick up and fight to stay coiled, fight to stay coiled, fight to stay coiled, and I'm going to hit.

Those are the three drills, all working on controlling your weight. If you can control your body, then you can control your swing. I've got to control my weight, get my back leg loaded, keep it loaded as I stride out. So, hopefully, that helps you out. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section below. Subscribe to the channel, hit the notification, give a thumbs up, all that good stuff. We'll talk to you later. If you've got hitters that you're looking to improve before the start of next season, this is essential for you. Matt Antonelli here, former major league player, first-round pick, and college coach. With this course, we're going to show you exactly step by step how to generate power, develop bat speed, and enhance swing mechanics regardless of your hitter's age. This course is going to deliver advanced hitting techniques that will allow any hitter to get better and make an impact at the plate this spring.

We have a full catalog of training content that you can access from anywhere at any time. This course is perfect for players, parents, coaches, instructors, and more. It offers a comprehensive package of drills and techniques that you can directly implement. Our course has helped hitters all over the country at different competition levels, and the feedback that we've received has been outstanding. The work you put in now will drive your success at the plate this spring. Get the essential knowledge that you need to take your game to the next level.

Equipment Used in Video

  • Tanner Heavy Tee - Commercial-grade durability, ultra-stable batting tee… a favorite of both pros and youth coaches
  • Tanner TrackPad - Pitch Recognition and “Coaching Communication” Tool
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Tanner Heavy Tee - Click here to learn more

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About the Author

Andy joined the company in 2012 after seven years in the military as a member of US Army Special Forces. As a Green Beret, he worked in small teams of highly trained combat soldiers and brings a special operations mindset to business and leadership. He has a degree in exercise physiology from Stetson University and was a collegiate athlete. At Tanner Tees, his focus is on brand building, ecommerce operations, and customer experience. Andy enjoys fitness, all things sports and doing yardwork at home.

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