Swing Design… 3 Drills to Pattern an Efficient Swing

By Evan Klugerman (BA, Director of Hitting at RPP)

There are many ways to skin a cat, however, often one is the most efficient. Although each player’s swing looks different, great hitters achieve the same goal by putting their body in the best position to hit. Given the complex nature of hitting and its many co-dependent variables, an efficient move will make it easier to recreate a consistent motor pattern. Consistency is the name of the game as it separates a high school player from a college player, and college players from a professional.

Here at RPP, we evaluate every player and their ability to move as an athlete, channeling the most efficient way to swing given the mobility/stability abilities and movement strategies of the athlete. Based off the physical foundation of each player and what each is trying to accomplish, incorporating correctives and training programs will differ slightly.  However, the following 3 dry drills are a staple in most of our programs and we believe they can help lead to a repeatable and efficient swing.

    1. PVC X-Factor
    2. Coil Drill
    3. PVC High T/Low T

Below is a summary of each drill, its purpose, when we use them, our performance cues, sets / reps, common mistakes to avoid and a video to help you execute the drill properly.

PVC X-Factor

Purpose – PVC X-Factor is used to not only exhibit proper sequencing, it also helps create/maintain separation throughout body segments. The drill is great for young players who are attempting to create better movement patterns/sequencing by identifying spinal restrictions that can cause the upper and lower half to rotate together instead of sequentially. For more experienced hitters, this drill puts a focus on finding the optimal amount of hip-shoulder separation and, thus, furthering a hitter’s ability to create better timing of when that separation unfolds.

Used to Improve:

      • Upper/Lower Body Sequencing
      • Scapular Activation
      • Hip/Shoulder Separation Timing
      • Creating Space with the Hands

Performance Cues:

      • Place the bottom of the PVC on the outside of the back foot
      • First, Stride – landing softly on the front foot
      • Next, Back hip pulls at the same time hands get loaded
      • Hold for three seconds
      • Repeat

Sets:

      • 1-2 sets of 6 reps
      • Included in the players warmup
      • Should be implemented in between rounds of hitting

Common Mistakes:

      • Control the forward move, DO NOT fall into your landing
      • Do NOT have the PVC move forward when you stride – this can create a “push” with the hands
      • Keep shoulders parallel to the other batter’s box, DO NOT over counter rotate with the upper body

Coil Drill

Purpose – The Coil Drill helps the hitter feel how to get into his lower half more efficiently. Given young athletes generally possess inefficient lower body strength, this drill lets them feel hip internal rotation and stability. This athletic move/ drill allows the hitter to feel how important it is to be grounded.  This drill is great for young players who are losing posture due to weight distribution issues as well as, for more experienced hitters, to help focus on adjustability.

Used to Improve:

      • Lower Half Loading
      • Lower Body Drive
      • Sway
      • Weight distribution

Performance Cues:

      • Start with feet together
      • First, step back at a 45-degree angle, as if you are running a slant route in football
      • Next, load into your back hip – as if you are corkscrewing your heel into the ground
      • Next, resist the forward move by putting “200 percent” of you body weight on the back
      • Land softly on your front foot
      • Repeat

Sets:

      • 1-2 sets of 8-10 reps
      • Should be implemented in between rounds
      • Roll out after each set as it activates your back glute.

Common Mistakes:

      • Keep shoulders parallel to the other batter’s box, DO NOT over counter rotate with your upper body
      • DO NOT rush the forward move, looking for a 2-3 second forward move in order to help “feel” being grounded

PVC High T / Low T

Purpose – PVC High T/ Low T helps trigger proper upper body sequencing for different pitches while allowing the hitter to feel consistent motor patterns given different constraints (pitch location). It is great for young players who need to fix adjustability issues when attempting to adjust for pitch location. For older hitters, this drill puts a focus on the rotational acceleration aspect of the swing, prioritizing the ability for the hitter to rotate on a vertical axis.

Used to Improve:

      • Attack Angle
      • Vertical Bat Angle
      • Rotational Acceleration

Performance Cues:

      • Hold the PVC in a front squat position -across the collar bone
      • Next, stride landing softly on the front foot
      • Create separation by pulling the back hip at the same time hands get loaded
      • Hold at contact
      • Slowly retrace your steps
      • Repeat

Sets:

      • 1-2 sets of 6 reps
      • Included in the players warmup
      • Can be implemented in between rounds

Common Mistakes:

      • Keep shoulders parallel to the other batter’s box, DO NOT over counter rotate with your upper body

PVC Drill – High T

PVC Drill – Low T

As always, these dry drills must be done with deliberate practice. When training, you are attempting to change the motor pattern of inefficient movements you have accumulated over the years. The body cares little about what a coach is trying to do. If you continue to struggle with these drills after a few weeks, it is more than likely a movement issue and you need to either get an assessment or tailor your training routine to tackle such deficiencies.

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