Part 3: Drill Series
Front Toss Routine. Here is our full and recommended front toss routine for you to take and do hopefully each day that you go to get your work in. We recommend you start every hitting session with the full tee routine, then this full front toss routine. Most professionals do something like this every time they work on crushing the ball the other way.
As we go through this routine, it’s very important that you pay attention to the little things. When preparing to drive the ball the other way, the velocity and distance of the front toss is critical so we hope you took a screenshot of the grid in the previous section and execute that part successfully.
- Warmup. You should already be warm because this is after the tee routine.
- Middle (2-4 Rounds of 5): Start the front toss routine with two or three rounds of 5 nice and easy driving the ball to the back net on a line. It’s not a bad idea to use a skinny trainer bat for these like this one: Marucci Training Stick
- Bottom Hand (2 Rounds of 5): It is so critical to have a good bottom hand if you want to drive the ball the other way.
- Choke up to the top of the grip, or use a short bat like this one: Link to a short bat
- Pitch the ball middle-in, and hit the ball toward the right side of the back net, ideally in the middle of the right side of the back net.
Top Hand (1-2 Round of 5): As noted above, we don’t want to overdo it with top hand work on the tee. If you throw right and hit right, or if you throw left and hit left, then your top hand is your throwing arm. Lots of top hand work can be harmful for your throwing elbow but in moderation it’s fine. It’s very important to choke up to the top of your grip of this, or to use a short bat.
- Place the tee middle-in and up in the zone.
- Hit the ball to the right side of the back net.
- You want to feel like you are punching the pitcher with your palm up. To emphasize this I sometimes like to have players punch my hand out in front of home plate with their palm up from their hitting position.
- Deep Oppo (2-4 Rounds of 5): Now you should be fully warmed up and creating the proper bat path. For these we recommend using a heavy bat if you have something 2-5 ounces heavier than your game bat. If you don’t have one just use your game bat or a practice bat. We start with deep oppo because it’s easier to stay inside the ball when it’s deep so we want to keep creating that proper bat path and hitting the ball with true backspin wherever we hit it.
- Put the tee even with your belly button. You can use the plate if you stand in the same spot every time and you know where on the plate this spot is.
- Drive the ball on a line over the first base bag. If you are in the cage use the backline of the plate that’s the same line as the first baseline.
- Out Front Oppo (2-4 Rounds of 5): This is where you basically want to follow what Freddie Freeman was talking about. Really have to emphasize staying inside the ball now that it’s more out front. For this the ball is usually set up at the front edge on the outside corner. Sometimes it’s good to work on one or two balls off the plate because the umpires call that pitch anyway.
- A younger hitter is going to tend to get around this ball and hit it up the middle or pull it because it’s more out front, we have to lead with our knob to the pitcher and continue to stay inside the ball.
- When we get to further into our tee routine we have to remember to square our shoulders to the pitcher. A lot of time when we do a lot of tee work, hitters tend to turn their shoulders to where the tee it’s not how we hit in the game. Every single swing off the tee you should look up at the imaginary pitcher and then react to the ball as if it were just pitched wherever it is on the tee.
- Finish with 5 or 10 to the back net on a line. You may be able to get through this whole thing twice if you are older and in better shape.
Now onto the moving ball stuff!