THE SLIDER HITTING DRILL
THE BEST WAY TO HIT A SLIDER
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One of the most difficult pitches to hit in baseball is a slider, especially a slider on the outside corner of home plate. Being able to hit the slider away can virtually make or break a hitter’s career, on the grounds that second to the fastball the slider is the most commonly thrown pitch in baseball.
RIGHTY RIGHTY LEFTY LEFTY SLIDERS
Due to the angle that is created, right-handed hitters are particularly susceptible to a right-handed pitcher who throws sliders. Likewise, left-handed hitters face tremendous difficulties when competing against a left-handed pitcher who throws sliders.
Then, there is the ‘death pitch’, also known as the back door slider, that can be thrown to a right-handed hitter by a left-handed pitcher and the same for a left-handed hitter with a right-handed pitcher.
HIPS BEFORE THE HANDS
The key to hitting late breaking off-speed pitches such as the slider is to lead your swing with your hips and keep your hands back. This will allow you to hold your swing if you recognize late movement down and out of the strike zone.
Front Tolls Slider Hitting Drill
Slider Front Toss Drill is a spin off from the popular and effective front toss hitting drill except, in this case, the pitching screen is placed 3-5 feet to the right or left of center from home plate.
- Normally with front toss the screen is about 6-10 feet directly in front of home plate.
- Move the screen to the right or left of center by about 3ft to increase the angle/trajectory of the incoming pitch.
- For a right-handed hitter the screen is placed 3ft to the right of where the screen would normally sit.
- For a left-handed hitter the screen is placed 3ft to the left of where the screen would normally sit.
- The coach or parent must sit behind the screen and attempt to spot the ball on the outside edge of home plate.
- The tosser can vary his speed and location. In fact, we encourage the ball to be tossed outside of the plate so the hitter can recognize when he needs to take a pitch for a ball. This teaches good plate discipline.
- The idea is to create an angle on the pitch to imitate the trajectory that is generated from a slider on the outside of the plate. During THE SLIDER DRILL the ball will cut across the outside edge of home plate. This forces the hitter to make contact with the baseball just as it reaches the front edge of the plate, the ideal spot to hit a tough slider.
- If the hitter pulls the ball or pops the ball in the air then this indicates he is pulling off the baseball. In this case, the hitter needs to reset and focus on hitting the next pitch to the opposite field. If the hitter tries to hit the ball too late then he will more than likely swing and miss, as the ball will angle directly away from home plate.
- The responsibility of the hitter is to hit the baseball to the opposite field, as this is the best way a hitter should learn to hit an outside slider.
- Track the ball and keep your head down at contact
- Aim to hit the ball up the middle or to the opposite field
- Stay in your legs. Don’t lunge to the ball, stay back and extend out with your arms
- Release the top-hand as you feel pressure on the back shoulder (for down and away sliders)