Offensive Weapons

Offensive weapons in baseball are more than just getting a base hit. Imagine the situation of a runner on third base with one out. There are at least three options to helping that runner successfully cross home plate. A base hit, a sacrifice fly and the squeeze play are available to the manager.

The squeeze bunt, which is covered in Chapter 5, is not an easy weapon to use, but can certainly catch the defense off guard. The critical aspect here is that the runner on third runs at the pitchers point of release and the hitter successfully lays down a bunt. Techniques for bunting are found in the hitting handbook.

Check out the Bunting Drill for the Hitting Handbook below: The second offensive weapon is the Hit and Run also covered in Chapter 5. The key here is that the hitter makes contact to protect the runner. The runner must go only halfway down the base line to ensure the ball has not been caught and thus a double play would occur. The Hit and Run is an exciting play for the offensive and is an aggressive approach for sure.

These and many more hitting suggestions are found in the full volume of Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook. Happy Hitting!

Hitting Techniques Overview

Dusty Baker breaks down the Hitting Techniques into several basic steps. It is easy to overlook bat selection. The batter must

find a bat that is not too heavy or light and allows the greatest comfort. We suggest that the hitter hold the bat straight out away from their body holding the end of the bat in their hand.

Youcan watch the approach on the Hit Dudes website. is located at

Remember a common mistake is to think the bat needs to be very heavy to be effective. In actuality bat speed and bat weight must be considered.

Why Hitting Is Hard?

You will fail at hitting the majority of the time. You will find yourself either striking out, hitting a fly ball or grounding out most of the time. Why do we play the game then if it is wrought with failure? The challenge is what makes it great. The thrilling success of hitting a baseball is one of the most gratifying experiences for an athlete because it is so difficult.

We developed a systematic approach to hitting to make one aspect of hitting easier. The approach can be broken down into several critical areas including: Grip, Depth and Distance To The Plate, Squish The Bug and Ike To Mike. These are easy things to remember and implement. The practice is where the difficulty lies. You have to do the hard to experience the great.

Deliberate practice is your approach to hitting a baseball at your next at bat. Practice and repetition the correct way to maximize your success factors. Practice holding the bat properly. Practice swinging the bat by throwing the bat head at the ball. Practice using the drills in the Hitting Handbook over and over again.

Your success ought to be measured in the amount of correct practice takes place. Success is not always about hitting the ball out of the park. It could be that you applied the best in class fundamentals at each at bat.

I am thrilled that you can now access Dusty’s Hitting Handbook on the Kindle and Nook along with the Itunes bookstore.

Coaching With Stations

One of the most effective ways to manage a baseball practice is through the use of stations. Coaches are able to have players work on key skill areas during an intensive period of time. Stations could include, hitting from the tee, throwing, fielding and hitting whiffle balls. Coaches group your players into three or four groups and move them at 10 – 15 minute intervals to keep the process moving.

We like to typically split practice up into two major phases with stations being one of the parts with situational hitting as the other. There are two key items for coaches to consider during station work, the first is variety the second is need. Players need variety to stay focused, so doing the same station at each practice could become boring for the younger player. The second is need. During a game, the coach can assess the need of the team and design

practice to enhance those areas. For example, if you team batting average is poor, focus on hitting stations, such as wiffle ball and tee work.

In chapter six of Dusty’s Hitting Handbook, several pictures explain some possible examples of how to leverage stations in practice.

How have you best used stations in practice?

Two Common Hitting Mistakes

As you or your players approach the plate, it is easy to think about getting a big hit and being the superstar. We encourage hitters to focus on the fundamentals and come to the plate prepared. As the hitter

prepares, it is important for coaches to be able to recognize hitting mistakes. In the Dusty’s Hitting Handbook, he covers 10 Common Hitting Mistakes.

The first hitting mistake is Stance And Stride. It is easy for the hitter to have his back foot angled out or for the hitter to take too large a stride during his or her at bat. It is important for the hitter to feel comfortable at the plate. We recommend that the hitters feet be shoulder width apart. Remember, we ask our coaches to give the hitter a small shove to see if the hitter can remain balanced at the plate, while in his stance.

The second common mistakes is what is called the Dead Stop Hitter. The Dead Stop Hitter is defined as a hitter that makes no backward movement toward the ball to propel himself toward the swing. The hitter’s first movement is forward without any type of momentum toward the ball.

The correction for the Dead Stop Hitter is to create an inward turn. An inward turn provides extra power and momentum. You can learn more about the Dead Stop Hitter and the corrections for this mistake in Dusty’s Hitting Handbook on page 85.

What other hitting mistakes have you noticed for young hitters?

Favorite Winter Drills

The midwest is starting to experience freezing temperatures. Your baseball player may be moving into some indoor sports, which is fantastic. This is not the time however to forget about preparing for the Spring baseball season. There are some fantastic drills to work on indoors in the comfort of your own home.

Here are our top 2 winter baseball hitting drills:

1) Drill #1: The Mirror Drill is one of Dusty Baker’s favorite drills. All you need is a baseball player, the right sized bat and a full length mirror. The batter takes their regular baseball stance and practices their swing. The benefit is the batter can look at their balance, swing and follow through. Check out the video of the drill on page #122 of Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook.

2) Drill #2: The Bat Behind the Back Drill is a an easy cream online drill to do indoors. All you need to complete the drill is a bat and a player. The drill starts with the player in their regular stance with the bat behind their back held parallel to the ground. The player strides and pulls making sure he can complete the rotation or squish the bug on the back foot. For more on this drill check out page #117 in Dusty’s Hitting Handbook.

Mom and dad you can head down to the basement or move the furniture around to help you player complete about 15 – 20 reps a day with each of these drills. You will be amazed how this preparation will assist your child at the plate this Spring.

Check out all the drills in Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook.

Happy Hitting!

3 Ways To Stay Balanced At The Plate

It is easy for a young hitter to step up to the plate and swing for the fence. It is harder to execute that objective. One of the reasons a batter fails at the plate is due to poor balance. In many ways, consider this the foundation to the entire swing. What are three ways to stay balanced at the plate?

1. Pigeon Toe: We are not talking about a disease here or a foot injury. We are talking about having our feet turned in slightly and the weight on the balls of our feet.

2. Knees Bent: The player should bend their knees slightly for comfort at the plate not straight up and down like a ladder.

3. Parallel Stance: We all love geometry. What we are saying is that your feet should be lined up straight and parallel with the plate. There are two other stances called Open and Closed. These would not be recommended for the beginning hitter.

How do you know if you son or daughter is balanced at the plate? Well, go up and push them. That is right go up and push them at the plate and see if they fall over or retain their balance easily. You need to check our video to see what we mean. Also this entire lesson is located on page 36 of Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook.

You get a sense of the stance by seeing a natural at balance former Cardinal Willie McGee below.

Happy Hitting!

Listen to Author Jeff Mercer Right Here

Listen to author Jeff Mercer on the Lance McAllister show co-author of Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook. This will be a great opportunity to hear the story of the book and hear some great ideas for teaching hitting.

Dusty Baker, Jeff Mercer and Marv Bittinger collaborated on the book many years ago and recently released an enhanced e-book full of video content and instruction to help you teach hitting to your child or players.

Click on the mp3 file:

Radio Show

Happy Hitting!

Where do I stand in the batter’s box?

Too close or too far away…How do you know how to approach the batter’s box and make sure you are in the best possible position to hit the ball?

The goal of the Depth and Distance portion of the systematic approach to hitting is to make sure you can cover the entire

strike zone. Check out our latest video on this topic for more information.

I remember as a kid that if you could pound the bat on the middle of the base and stood somewhere in the middle of the batter’s box that I was good to go. In actuality, young kids sometimes get as close as possible to the plate, which is not a good idea. At that point, they have put themselves in a position of potential failure.

This is one of those posts, where it is really best for you to see a video on how to help your child or player come to the plate. We call it Depth and Distance. Oh, your kids may wish to emulate MLB players on this…Well, sometimes that is a good idea and sometimes not…

Happy Hitting!