The Big Dog Baseball USA hitting program that I used for my son Jeff, really helped him. But the problem was I wasn’t his hitting coach in high school or college. We had to give our trust to other coaches and it just did not work. Whenever I worked with Jeff over the 6 years of high school and college he hit very well until we had to trust someone else with the coaching.
I am totally shocked at some of the things that I have seen and heard at the high school and college level. But that is all past history, and it is time to go to the present and the future.
A hitting session consists of a minimum of 100-150 swings a practice. We need this many to build confidence and muscle memory with my program.
With my hitting program there is a lot of cage work. I have learned from Ex Red and Cardinal Tom Lawless. I have studied and watched videos and gained a lot of experience with a lot of hitters and my son Jeff. He raised his front foot and put it right back down, and was quick and short to the ball.
I am going to go through all the stages of my program to make all hitters better! You will see that I am a firm believer in using the whole field when hitting. I will not get technical on the swing in this program, but will show the stages that it takes to be a better hitter. As you go through each of these stages you have to be patient, as you have to be successful at a stage before moving to the next stage.
The first time in the cage you have to pick up the ball and hit it right up the middle. What this says is that you have to go back before you go forward. You have to walk your hands back in a slow manner then explode into the ball. Take and hit the ball up the middle well a good 10 times.
Stage 2: Tee Work
Next Is the tee work, and what this does is keeps your head right on the ball. Most coaches love this kind of work, but it is just a start in my program. All you need to do is get about 10 swings then advance to stage 3. I am not very big on the tee as it is boring and the pitch being thrown is not sitting on a tee for you to hit, it is moving.
I had a high school hitting coach tell me that if he was in charge the players would only hit off the tee right up to the first game. I just shook my head and thought this guy was crazy. I was really shocked by some of the teaching from this crew.
What we do next is a soft toss from the side. Soft toss the next ten pitches and all the hitter does is watch the ball from my hand to where it goes past home plate. He watches it like a hawk. Next ten soft tosses he bunts and watches the ball meet the bat. He has to do this well to move on.
What happens next is he swings at the ball but with a slow controlled swing like playing pepper. Patience! Once he is doing all this well he can advance. Our hitters will be taught to use the whole field, because it is harder to pitch to a hitter who can use all fields properly. Soft toss him middle and out pitches and he has to hit every pitch to right field! As he starts to get better start to jam him and he still has to hit to right. He has to concentrate on keeping his hands inside of the ball. This may take a while and when he is ready he can move on to stage 4.
Remember don’t hurry through stage 3, 4, and 5, as it takes time. I remember the Cardinals old hitting coach Hal McRae several years ago was in spring training for about three weeks, and was asked how the hitters were doing? He thought for a second and said they will probably be ready to go in another 4-5 days. Take your time and you will be rewarded! Now let’s get to stage 4, this is my favorite, because you can get a lot of good work in.
Turn the screen around so that the tall part is directly in front of you. Put the screen about 15 feet from the hitter. You have to make sure that you stay protected. The coach can either stand or sit behind the screen and soft toss the pitches middle and out in an underhand motion.
The hitter has to hit all pitches to the opposite field. No ifs they hit all to right field! This may take a while and we all have to be patient. Start to jam him and he still has to hit to right. Give this time it will give him confidence, shout out praise when the hitter is doing well! When he has this process in good shape, then we can do center field the same way and then do the same for left field. When he is doing this well he can start to hit the ball to all fields. Do not let him get pull happy! Make sure he is opening his hips on the middle to in pitches and is hitting them hard. You have to show encouragement and enthusiasm! Believe me it is contagious. When he is doing well then he can start to hit 3 to right, 3 up the middle then pull 3. When he has a lot of confidence and is hitting the ball hard and using the whole field he can got to Stage 5.
You need to turn your screen around with the short directly in front of you and move the screen back to 25-30 feet. You need to start pitching with firm pitches and they have to watch 10, and then bunt 10. When they are bunting well you can go to hitting.
This has to be done the exact same way as stage 4! Patience! Enthusiasm! When he is doing well then start to challenge him with more velocity. Once he conquers this then challenge with even more velocity! When he has some real good confidence, you can begin to change speeds. You have to challenge, push, high expectations, and praise! You can now stay at stage 5 unless the hitter starts to slump, then you can probably go to stage 3 or 4 to get him going again! After he gets into a groove again then get him back to stage 5. You can also work on hitting the curve ball with a video by Dave Hudgens that I highly recommend. Your hitters have to get 100-150 swings a practice and about 50 swings before games.
He is now ready for some live pitching with the pitchers throwing at 75-80% of their velocity. In due time the pitchers will be ready to go full blast and then the hitters will be prepared to hit. Don’t forget they have to use the whole field! Patience and Enthusiasm!
Wood Bat: I always had Jeff and my players use wood bats along with aluminum with our hitting program. The reason for this is they are a little heavier and thinner. The players have to know how to hit with a wood bat!
This is a must soft toss from the side with small beans “Great Northern Beans” with a thin swift stick. He has to concentrate on hitting to right and center. Jeff got real good at this, and this has to be a part of your program.
Play Pepper: This is real good for the players to be doing to concentrate on watching the ball meet the bat and using the sweet spot.
Use the Swift Stick and throw small wiffle balls from the side or front with a canvas on the screen. The small balls will go through the screen and can hurt. If you go to the front get close and challenge him!
- xlr8speed stick system is another small ball and thin stick method. I really like this method as it can really help on off speed pitches.
- Big League Eyes is another small ball and thin stick method that is very good.
- Sports Eye Site is a computer program that can help you to track, and identify the pitches; it is a good addition to the program.
I am telling you right now that if you follow my advice the player will be a lot better hitter! Something real good about my hitting program is it can be done with the small ball program in a small area with 2 people. Don’t forget hard work, hit to right, praise, enthusiasm, and do well at a stage before moving to the next! Please contact me for more information or questions.