There are good Hitting Training Aids available on the market which will help develop proper fundamental mechanics and muscle memory, and then there are the ones, which despite their claims, are either worthless, or worse yet, teach bad habits to young hitters.
Everyone has an opinion and my remarks and analysis on the following Training Aids are just that … my opinion. I am not endorsing these products for sale or as a magical cure to all hitting issues. There is No such thing. What I am saying is “That in my experiences, these are the results I have seen.”
Before we exam manufactured aids allow me just a second to say …
The Best Hitting Aid
The First & Very Best hitting training aid is setting on your shoulders, your Brain is Key to your hitting success, and you have the opportunity to shape this skill into a finely tuned engine which will react instantaneously to the location and speed of the baseball.
Make no mistake about it, as far as perfecting a batting swing and developing the fundamentals of a good eye to ball to bat contact, there are few hitting training aids better than the Old Fashion Batting Tee.
There are numerous brands of batting tees available and the only reason I chose the Easton 5 Point is because of the ability to move the ball to different parts of the plate, simulating different pitches and locations.
Hitting Training Aids - 5 Point Tee
Tees come in different configurations as far as how they stand up, as some have bases which are to be filled with sand, others use water and some tees are incorporated into the home plate.
The choice of style depends on the user and their intended usage, however, I will strongly state this: Buy American !!!! This is not a political statement, although it could be, but I have yet to find a foreign made tee which will take the abuse without falling apart long before the end of the season.
It doesn’t matter if Tee Ball players or College players are using the tee, it takes abuse and only good quality tees withstand the torture, and duct tape will not work to fix it.
If you’re going to be driving balls, whether it be baseballs, softballs, rubber balls or whatever, you need a method of catching or keeping them close to cut down on retrieval time. A hour of hitting doesn’t do much good if you’re spending 45 minutes retrieving the balls you hit.
There are several different designs of netting, some with pockets, some angled, some larger than others and there are a few issues to consider when contemplating purchasing a portable net.
(1.) The Size & Quality of the netting is of course quite important, but there are certain issues to take into consideration before purchasing a net. Because the retrieval net is to be portable, weight is a major consideration, therefore most available netting will not be commercial grade, as it’d be too heavy and cost prohibitive.
Without research or recommendations from a reliable source, use your gut feeling when analyzing the net. By feeling and looking at the netting it appears as if it’ll last two hitting sessions, or two seasons, chances are that’s exactly how long it’ll last. Another consideration is repairing or patching poor quality netting is a waste of time & money, so don’t think you can buy poor quality netting and repair it to extend its life, it doesn’t work that way.
(2.) How it is secured to prevent moving? Some portable nets are held stable by pegs being driven into the ground, which is excellent for outside hitting, but not so good if you plan on holding indoor practices.
Some will have a self sustaining frame, which most also have the pegs for added security, which will pretty well do the job, although they may scoot on a gym floor. Check the framing to see if you can place a sand bag on it in order to keep it in one place.
(3.) Know in advance how you intend to use the netting as the overall size of the net is totally dependent on the planned usage. If you anticipate positioning the batter close to the net, the smaller net will suffice, but the more distance between the batter and the net, the larger the net size required to catch the balls.
Hitting Training Aids
(4.) Some Hitting aid products come as a complete package, netting, ball and tee, which provides a certain amount of convenience. In this particular style the ball is attached to a flexible line on which the ball’s height can be changed to accommodate the players’ size.
There is a target incorporated into the netting which if the batted ball strikes, indicates the ball was correctly hit with a level swing, however because the ball is attached to a flexible line, there is a certain amount of wasted time waiting for the ball to become still again.
Again, intended purpose dictates whether or not this is a good match for your needs, as disassembling, moving and re-assemble could become a problem.
We all know the importance of Balance when hitting and this little beauty takes knowing if you’re balanced or not, to a new level. The platform is designed for the player to take his batting stance, keeping the platform from rocking, then execute his swing, in which the platform should rock forward as the hitter’s weight shifts.
I can’t really verify it’s effectiveness, as I have never seen it in action, but the theory is solid and perhaps worth investigating.
If you’re a member of the Swing Down on the ball school, then this batting aid is right up your alley. The sheer design of the aid insures the hitter either swing down on the ball, or strike an obstacle indicating his swing is not correct.
If you’re attempting to correct an upper cut of a hitter, this is the hitting aid to use, although it takes some getting used to, as the fixture itself distracts the eye until it becomes accustomed to its presence.
When contemplating buying any baseball hitting training aid consider these questions:
1. Is it age appropriate?
2. What exactly am I trying to accomplish with this aid and will it work?
3. What is the Quality of the product?
4. Is it cost effective or can a cheaper aid perform as well?