By: Nick Dixon
Hitting a baseball has often been described as the most difficult task in all of sports. It certainly is a skill that requires a great amount of practice to master. Great hitters are not born, they are made. They have a love for the game, they live to hit, and they never grow tired of hearing the reaction of the fans when they drive one off the wall in left-center for a stand-up double. Players at every level including high school baseball, college baseball and major league baseball must commit themselves to a regiment of daily batting practice if they are to maintain their swing and stay at the top of their game. What gives the great hitters the ability to perform so well under pressure and to dominate their game? What is the one common trait of all great hitters other than a great swing? The answer can be found in their eyes. The great hitters have the ability to focus. They have the ability to see the ball better, to pick it up quicker out of the pitchers hand, and to track it into the zone and off the bat.
Batting practice with Small Baseballs is a proven method of improving the ability of a batter to see and focus on the baseball. The small ball concept has been around for decades. The theory is simple, if you practice hitting a ball much smaller than a baseball, then when you actually are hitting a real baseball, it will look bigger and easier to hit. I was skeptical about this movement when it first came about in the early to mid nineties. But, firsthand experience has made me a believer. I purchased 6 dozen small baseballs last season for my players to use in batting drills and the batting cages. I must admit, I had visions of the small baseballs flying through the netting of our batting cages. That concern proved to be unmerited. During months of use and thousands and thousands of batting practice swings, I never witnessed a single small baseball pass through the net.
Players are always receptive to new ideas and concepts. My players are always eager to see what I come up with next. As the inventor of the hitting stick, BatAction Machine, Hit2win Trainer, and ZipnHit, I often use my team practices to experiment with new ideas and concepts. The players loved the small baseball on first sight. I basically gave them access to them to use in our daily batting cage workouts.They quickly developed their own routine and drills. They quickly adopted a 3-stage progression during their daily batting cage workouts. They used the small baseball in two of our 6 mini-cages. When they hit the small baseball, they would take 12 swings with a Livewire brand training bat, a small barreled bamboo bat. Then they would take 12 swings with the Sweetspot brand training bat. Then they would finish with 12 swings with their regular metal batting cage practice bat. After hitting the small baseballs, they would use regular sized baseballs in the batting cages, taking 48 swings in 4 sets. So the small balls acted as a warm-up or prep work before their regular batting cage workout with regular batting cage balls. The small baseball performed great. Soon, all of our hitters used then on a daily basis. The use of the small baseball greatly improved eye focus, batter concentration, and most of all, it improved batter confidence. There was normal wear and tear on the small balls because they were sometimes used in cage with bare cement floors. If you are looking for a new twist to add to your daily practice routine, I highly recommend small baseballs. I am sure that you will see and experience the same benefits that I did with my team.
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, the "Hit2win Company". Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Dixon is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill development. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of several of baseball and softball's most popular training products such as the Original BatAction Hitting Machine, SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Original Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, Batting Cage Builder, the American Baseball Directory and the Hit2win Baseball Coaches Monthly Newsletter. Dixon has 5 blogs related to baseball training including the BaseballCoachingDigest Blog, CoachesBest Training Blog, Hurricane Machine Training Blog, Batting Cage Buyers Blog, and the Bat Action Training Blog
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