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Correct Off Speed Adjustment

hitting drills off speed adjustment Aug 23, 2022

As a coach of youth baseball and softball, the game continues to advance as the ages go up. As baseball players advance, the selection of pitches advance, therefore, your youth players needs to be exposed to off speed pitches and how to successfully hit against them. Coach Steve Nikorak and Coach Duke Baxter show simple drills to teach players how to adjust to off speed pitches.   

The first drill is done with a simple front toss. The variation in the front toss is to have a ball in both hands and not let the player know which ball you are going to throw and when. This causes hesitation in the hitter and recreates the unpredictability of a real pitcher. Oftentimes, players will recognize a ball that is different than a fastball, but it will ruin the flow of their swing. As they become more comfortable, they should continue moving and loading, keeping flow on any pitch.   

Another drill is front tossing with regular fastballs and switching it up randomly by adding a spin on the ball.   

The final drill is to set a tee on the outside corner of the plate with a ball on the tee. The coach flips fast balls to the middle or inside corner as the player hits them. Randomly, the coach should look like the ball is being thrown, but never release it. When this happens, the player has to continue through the swing and hit the ball on the tee in a smooth motion. This drill is so challenging because the players start their swing, but stop when they realize the ball isn't being thrown and attempt to restart to hit the ball on the tee.   

The verbal cues that Coach Steve uses is "stay in swing mode", "hunt the fastball", and "adjust to off speed". The minute the player is looking for a breaking ball, they get hit with a fastball and that is why it is necessary to always be prepared for a fastball but know how to adjust to a breaking ball with these drills.

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