Ball Down Front Toss

Tech in Baseball
Presented with Diamond Kinetics

Skill Set: Hitting
Difficulty Level: Easy
Number of Athletes and Coaches: 1-2 athletes and 1 coach, or 2 athletes as partners
Average Time to Complete: 10 minutes
Equipment Required:Bat, screen for coach to throw behind, home plate, and a bucket of baseballs

Goal: Focus on hitting the ball up the middle by hitting the inside of the ball off of the tee

Description of the Drill: 
• Screen set up 20 feet from the plate, baseball placed 18 feet in front of plate
• Hitter sets up even with the plate
• Coach throws under/overhand while seated on a chair or bucket, down the middle of the plate on a line at a slow to medium speed from behind the screen
• Hitter hits the ball, with the focus on trying to throw the knob of the bat toward the placed baseball 18 feet away
• If the hitter is pulling the ball to the pull side, they are casting their hands
• Focus should be on good quality swings, with hitters swinging with a direct path to the ball
• Partners switch after 10 swings

Add Difficulty:
• To add a degree of difficulty, coaches can throw pitches inside and outside. Be sure to move the placed baseball to the pull or opposite side of the hitter.
• Hitters should hit outside pitches to the opposite field (or opposite side in a cage)
• Hitters should try to hit inside pitches back up the middle or a little to the pull side of the middle

Using Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker Sensor and mobile App - the following metrics and tools can help you measure your swing and see improvement when doing this drill:

Distance in the Zone
Overview: Using the Distance in the Zone metric, hitters can determine when their barrel is entering and leaving the hitting zone.  The longer the barrel stays in the hitting zone, the better chance the player has to make consistent, solid contact.  This is clearly depicted in the 3D viewer as the blue portion of the swing path.

Optimal Ranges by Age:
• U10-14: Good is 29-32 inches
• U15-18: Good is 31-34 inches
•College-Pro: Good is 33-37 inches

Coaching Insights:
• Having a swing that maintains a good Distance in The Zone gives the batter a better chance of making contact with the pitch. It also means the swing is “more forgiving” 
• Having a good Distance In The Zone can account for small errors in timing because there is more “space” for the batter to make contact and still put the ball in play.
• This metric can help coaches identify loopy swings based on how early the barrel enters the zone and if there is a ‘hard-turn’ coming out of the zone.
• Additionally, based on where contact is most often made, it can help identify if a hitter is having issues with timing up the pitch.

Impact Momentum
Overview: Impact Momentum is a combination of barrel speed and the size of the bat the hitter is swinging.  The higher the impact momentum, the better chance a hitter has to do damage with greater exit velocities.  Impact Momentum is a great measure of the power potential of a given hitter.

Top 10% of Age Groups: 
• U10 Players: 13 KG/M +
• U12 Players: 15 KG/M +
• U14 Players: 19 KG/M +
• U16 Players: 24 KG/M +
• U18 Players: 27 KG/M +
• D1 College:   28 KG/M +

Coaching Insights:
• Impact Momentum is a “smarter version” of barrel speed because it takes into account the size of the bat. If a kid swings a bigger bat at the same speed, when contact happens, the ball goes further.
• If you want to understand how improving Impact Momentum translates to the game – for every +1 a hitter adds to their Impact Momentum, it equates to roughly a 1.5 MPH increase in exit velocity. And every 1.5 MPH of exit velo translates to roughly 6-10 more feet of carry, depending on launch angle.  
• If you have a high-school kid playing on a full-size field, the magic Impact Momentum number to hit dingers is 27 + (with the right launch angle, of course). A well hit ball with an “IM” of 24 is caught well inside the warning track. Hit it with an IM of 27+ and it is out of the park.

Max Barrel Speed 
Using Barrel speed, hitters can know the maximum speed of the bat’s barrel during their swing.  It’s measured in miles per hour, so it’s easy to understand and measure improvement over time.  Higher barrel speed is the main factor in producing high exit velocity after contact so the ball goes further… faster.

Top 10% of Age Groups:
• U10 Players: 49mph +
• U12 Players: 54mph +
• U14 Players: 58mph +
• U16 Players: 63mph +
• U18 Players: 69mph +
• D1 College:   72mph +

Coaching Insights:
• This is the maximum speed of the bat’s barrel during a swing, at a point 20% from the tip of the bat (i.e. the sweet spot). It is the main factor in producing high exit velocity when the ball is hit. It greatly affects both the distance and speed at which the ball travels after impact. 
• Keep in mind that hitters need to “square the ball up” to maximize ball exit velocity.
• Increasing barrel speed is an important goal. Improvement should be measured over time to see if there is real physical and/or swing-mechanic growth. 
• Mechanics are important, but so is size & strength. So when thinking about a kid’s projectability, keep in mind if a player is not done growing yet.

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