The best drills in baseball

godwindrillCliff Godwin, Ole Miss

Played at East Carolina University; has prior coaching experience at UNC-Wilmington, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, LSU and Central Florida

“Here are a few drills our guys do every single day before they ever have a live pitch thrown to them:

1. Fungo swings- toss up the ball and hit 10-15 balls with a fungo to get loose. Try to hit line drives.

2. High tee drill series- set tee up away to start with and go “no-low half” where you’re eliminating the lower half where you’ve already taken your stride and both your feet are on the ground. You can either have your hands in a normal position or put them out on their front shoulder (front shoulder load).

The whole basis of the drill is to eliminate the lower half and produce three head-high line drives over the opposite-field infielder’s head. [Our players at Ole Miss] have to do three in a row and that’s what I really take pride in, getting our guys to do that, because anybody can produce one line drive and move on to the next step, but it’s not consistent. Once they do that, they take swings regularly off the high tee away and do three in a row there. Then we move the tee to the middle and finally to the inner half, repeating the same sequence:

I’m a big believer in the high tee; it helped me a lot as a player. If you put the tee down low you can do a lot of things on the backside of your swing and still produce a line drive, but if you put the ball on the high tee, you have to go straight to the ball or else you’d pop it up. It promotes a short swing, a downhill swing, a flat swing- all the things we talk about in our program.

3. Front toss- this might vary, we have a lot of different drills we do- but we do the “no-low half” drill away-to-inside (away one pitch, inside the next). And then they’ll do their regular swing the second round and do whatever we’re trying to work on that day.

We do all three of these drills before we ever see a live pitch and I think it helps our guys repeat their swing and “feel” their swing when it’s going good. The other thing it gives them confidence because these drills take 20-30 minutes a day so they’re feeling like they’ve outworked people. We know how hard hitting is- it’s a confidence thing- and our guys think that they deserve success because “I’ve worked harder than everybody else,” and they take pride in it.”

Scott Brown, Vanderbilt

Takes over as pitching coach at Vanderbilt after Derek Johnson’s departure; spent previous nine seasons at St. John’s University

“Each pitcher on my staff has an individual menu of “everydays” (former pitching coach Derek Johnson, now with the Chicago Cubs, called them “staples”). It is an individual prescription of drills that each pitcher believes in that makes them consistent and ultimately successful. An example would be READ THE REST

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