Best Pre-Game Hitting Drills | Work Through a Robotic Swing with Doug Bernier
Avoiding Hitting Slumps in Baseball
In this article, Tanner Tees welcomes former MN Twin Doug Bernier to share his pre-game hitting drill and warmup routine that you can do before every baseball game - ensuring you stay clear of the actions that can lead to a hitting slump.
No matter what their skill level, every player experiences a hitting slump at some point. It happens to all of us.
Hitting slumps can happen for a variety of reasons. Players may experience hitting slumps when they develop a bad habit or when they get away from a good habit.
However, the number one thing that makes it more difficult to pull out of a hitting slump is when the hitter becomes too focused on doing everything "right" at the plate.
This can cause their swing to become "robotic", or even out of sync. When a player's confidence is low or they feel out of rhythm at the plate, they tend to try and overcompensate.
And when a hitter thinks too much, they won’t be comfortable.
And if they aren't comfortable at the plate, the swing will be affected.
And when that happens, the hitter won’t be using their natural athleticism.
Soon, the hitter is in a downward spiral, and frustration sets in.
Enter The "Walk-Through" Batting Drill
Luckily, there is a batting tee drill that can help a hitter work their way out of a mechanical swing.
While not as commonly used as some other drills, this one gets results for players that regularly use it. Often called a walk-through drill, players of all ages can use this exercise to regain their swing, and their confidence.
With the baseball resting on a Tanner Tee, stand in the back corner of the batter’s box, making sure your chest is facing the ball.
The hitter’s feet should be together with the bat resting on their back shoulder. Their arms and hands should be loose.
The hitter should step forward first with their back foot, then take a normal stride toward the ball.
Once the front foot is down, hit the ball squarely while working through the swing.
With its easy adjustments and hand-rolled flexible rubber top, Tanner Tees are the original and still the industry standard. Their entire line of tees is the closest thing to real pitching in the marketplace.
The walk-through drill can help hitters:
- Loosen up before batting practice
- Transfer their weight off the back side to their front side
- Provide hip rotation
- Create momentum with separation while maintaining balance
This is also known as a rhythm drill. With this exercise, the player focuses on slow, controlled movement while working through the ball and driving the ball to center field.
Add Constraints to Enhance the Hitting Drill
Once this drill becomes comfortable for the hitter, it can be enhanced by adding the Weighted Rubber Training Ball instead of a standard baseball.
Made of a durable, hardened rubber coating and a weighted core, this ball will give you instant feedback when the bat makes contact with the ball. Because of the construction of the Tanner weighted ball, contact that is not through the center will cause the ball to pancake or spin. The result is a noticeable loss of distance.
Fractions of an inch can be the difference between poor contact and a solid swing. This is why barrel position is so important. To hit the weighted ball squarely, the hitter will have to be palm up/palm down with their hands and have the back elbow close to their rear hip. If the elbow strays from the hip, the hitter will feel more recoil in the barrel of the bat and the ball will not be driven as far.
After a dozen or so weighted balls have been hit, the hitter can then continue the walk-through drill with standard baseballs once more. The hitter should see a livelier bat and a positive change in their swing when this drill is performed before batting practice each day. The player should also experience a noticeable change in confidence at the plate.
Getting Back on Track
Even great hitters occasionally get off track. The best way to get back to hitting the ball with power and confidence is through hard work, practice, and repetitions. By utilizing the Tanner Tee and the Walk-through drill, you can get back to hitting the ball solid and hard, and use your natural athleticism to its full advantage.
THANK YOU Doug!
A big thank you from all of us here at Tanner Tees to Doug Bernier for sharing the "walk-through" drill.
Keep an eye out for more hitting drill content like this from our friends, coaches, and players throughout our community!