The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Aug 15, 2013 11:13:00 AM

Hitting to the Opposite Field…15 Reasons Why Hitters Struggle

No one has ever said hitting a baseball is easy. In fact, it has been said that hitting a baseball may be the single most difficult athletic skill to do successfully. Consequently if hitting a baseball is that difficult without taking into account any direction or field, even for the best in the world, let’s examine 15 reasons why hitting the baseball to the opposite field is an even more difficult task.

These 15 are in no particular order. Simply put, there are several reasons.

  1. Young hitters lack strength and when strength is lacked, it will have an enormous effect on the bat speed, swing plane and a hitter's timing. One of the fundamental pillars to hitting that goes hand in hand with mechanics, mental approach and visual awareness, is physical strength. Young players just need to get stronger.
  2. Most hitters are pull conscious and would prefer to hit the ball to the short side of the field than the large areas of the field. The irony is that standing around a batting cage or listening to the game within the game you will forever hear coaches say to their hitters, “use the whole field”. For whatever reason, hitters will make conscious efforts in practice to do so, but once the game starts, their mind set reverts back to the pull happy concept.


Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting preparation, hitting approach, hitting, opposite field hitting, batting practice

Ryan Armstrong | Jun 13, 2013 6:22:00 PM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Derek Jeter Drill"

This week's Baseball Drill of the Week is the "Derek Jeter Drill" (aka Driving the Outside Pitch).

We're calling this one the Derek Jeter Drill as Jeter is widely known as a player who can drive the ball effectively to the opposite field. However there are a vast number of players who can also do this, with some other famous examples being Roberto Clemente, Ryan Howard, Mike Piazza, etc., the list goes on. In fact, let's invite a sabermetrician to inform us on who the greatest opposite field hitter of all time is. Until then, we'll stick with the household name of Derek Jeter.

Driving the outside pitch is something that doesn't come naturally to many hitters. Our instinct is usually to pull the ball no matter where it is pitched. As we know though, this will lead to disconnection in the swing (i.e. hands too far from the body) thus weak grounders, or poor stabs at the outside pitch. Hitters need to be comfortable and confident in their ability to drive outside pitches as that is where pitchers, especially younger ones, live - on the outside part of the plate. Some pitchers never get comfortable throwing inside, and even as you get older and play in better leagues, pitchers will still try and get you swinging weakly at outside pitches. So get comfortable with hitting the outside pitch, and not just hitting it, but DRIVING it.


Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, baseball instruction, baseball drills, hitting drills, Derek Jeter, opposite field hitting

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