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Hitting Curriculum by Jeff Kane


This beginner’s curriculum on the swing is broken down into 4 parts: Stance, Stride, Pivot and Approach.  Please note that this curriculum allows for much elaboration in each aspect, and that all of the aspects have to work together to produce a strong result.  The drills at the end of this presentation will be helpful to all hitters, but especially beginners.  If any of you have specific questions or would like different drills to address different parts of the swing, please feel free to ask.



  • Feet/Good base—feet wider than should width, fairly square to pitcher, not pointing in or out, weight more on balls of feet then heels
  • Knees—bent, not stiff
  • Shoulders—square to pitcher, not showing pitcher your back or chest, relaxed (not uptight/hunched), and FLAT!
  • Head—chin up, relaxed, both eyes on pitcher, head NOT MOVING
  • Hands
    • Keep hands up high, near ear
    • Make “the 3 V’s”—meaning front arm and back arm should look like the letter “V” or “L”, upside down “V” (or “A”) in middle.
    • Line up knuckles
    • Point knob of bat at opposite batters box
    • Side notes:  don’t “bar the front arm” or bury the hands too deep

Important Points for Stance:

  • Always have rhythm/be relaxed—don’t hit w/ “dead hands”
  • Hitters will vary, as long as they’re doing the right things and are comfortable, it’s OK…every hitter is different
  • Be careful telling kids to “Load”…sometimes this leads to bad habits.  Although it is good for them to generate some movement w/ their hands, be careful that they don’t drop the hands or get them too deep
  • Always have BALANCE


  • Front Side should be firm—flexed is ok, NOT BENT
    • Why?? If front side breaks down, not only do we lose power b/c our weigh is gone, but our eyes actually move, making it harder to see/track the ball
  • Stride to BALANCE—meaning when stride foot comes down, weight distribution should be somewhere b/w 50/50 and 60/40 (back).
  • Stride foot should be closed (not flying open)
  • 5 S’s of the Stride—slow, soft, short, shallow, straight

Important Points for Stride:

  • The stride is the beginning of our swing but it MUST occur before our hands and hips come forward....IT’S IMPOSSIBLE to swing w/ a foot up in the air
  •  The front foot is like the gate-post around which we swing…it must be firm
  • Make sure upper body doesn’t come forward w/ the stride…have players envision a wall right in front of their lead shoulder that they can’t bump into
  • As always, BALANCE is key…bad balance=the beginning of a bad swing

Pivot/Hips and Lower Half

  • To get players to get hips/lower half through the ball, have them “drive the knee”—meaning their back heel should be pointed up to the sky (or in the general vicinity” and their back shoelaces should be pointed towards the pitcher
  • Knee should be slightly bent
  • Front side should remain firm
  • Every player should ALWAYS finish w/ BALANCE

Important Points:

  • Getting players to get their lower half through the ball is difficult and they tend to do it in a lot of different ways....some finish up on their back toe, others don’t…As long as they don’t “lift up” w/ their upper body, either is OK.
  • I encourage a more classical finish (w/ back knee bent), but again, if the player is getting through the ball and not lifting up, they will be ok

The Hands/Approach

  • When it comes down to it—this is the MOST important aspect of the swing
  • Swing path should resemble that of a banana, or a plane coming in for landing, staying on the ground then taking off again
    • Why??—we want the barrel of the bat in the hitting zone for a LONG time, have players envision hitting numerous baseballs throughout the zone
    • Lead with the knob of the bat, keep hands moving across the chest and in front of the face (this keeps hands “inside the ball”)
    • Try and keep the “barrel above the hands”
    • Encourages a flat path to the ball.  Realize that there are times (low pitches) where the barrel will drop below hands, but trying to keep it flat will help
  •  Stay “behind the ball”—again envision hitting multiple baseballs
  • Always go from “Point A to Point C”—dropping hands down or getting them away from the body is considered “Point B” (basically an INDIRECT path to the ball)
  • Shoulders should stay relatively FLAT!!!  If the shoulders tip, the hands drop, the barrel drops and you can’t stay flat through the zone

Important Points for All Aspects of Hitting:

  • One of the most important aspects of hitting is BALANCE
  • Emphasize hitting hard ground balls and hard line drives
  • Emphasize using the whole field
  • Make players realize that they can learn from the result:  meaning that pop up are the result of dropping the hands/barrel, balls w/ topspin signify going “around the ball instead of through it”, bad balance at the finish means something in our swing went wrong (usually hands)
  • Realize that everything is connected!!  If the backside doesn’t explode, the hands can’t go forward, and the body compensates by tipping the shoulders and dropping the hands, leading to a BAD result.



Tees/Extended Tees- allow hitter to use tees to work on all aspects of the swing.  Separate stride and swing so players know that one has to happen before the other.  Let players hit the length of the cage so they can see their result and make adjustments.  Goals should be to hit balls hard/flat with backspin and finish with balance.  If hitting in a cage, have players hit the length of the cage w/ the goal being to hit line drives off the back of the cage


High Tee—set tee up so that it is at chest level…this will stop players from developing loopy swings.  Same goals as above….


IMPORTANT NOTES ON TEE WORK:  Always have the players hit balls up the middle, meaning the tee should be set up off the front foot (unless they are working on driving the ball the other way or pulling the ball, which is a little more advanced).  If they set up to the tee incorrectly, they will develop bad habits.  Also, always have player start with their eyes up (meaning they are not looking at the ball to start…they should make their eyes track back to the ball)


Soft Toss—your basic soft-toss drill.  Always have players separate stride and swing.  Variations can be working balls up, down, in and out.  Emphasize finishing w/ balance and hitting the ball flat. 


Leg Up Soft Toss- same as regular soft toss but have player set up w/ his back leg on a chair.  This makes it nearly impossible to drop the back shoulder.


Front Toss—same as soft toss, but from right in front of hitter (with L screen) and under handed.  Helps player track and hit a ball coming at him.   Focus on driving the ball through the middle


Start at the Finish Drill—have player start w/ his back foot already pivoted, shoulders square to pitcher (as they would be during stance).  Have hitter swing.  This makes them feel what it should feel like to finish their swing the right way