This simple little drill is an outstanding tool to help the player to make more consistent contact with the baseball. Designed to ingrain the proper path for the lead hand to attack the ball, it also develops proper top hand action. When correctly employed, the drill helps the hitter to understand the role of each hand during the swing. A hands only drill, the drill promotes active hands and wrists in the hitters swing. As you will see, the player also gets instruction on when to hit the pitch in relation to the pitch location; inside, outside or middle. To add even further instruction into one drill, the player gets feedback on where the bat strikes the ball; top, middle or bottom. All in all, this is an outstanding hitting drill and one which is not well known or practiced.
The “pitcher” will need a fence or “L” screen to protect himself for this drill. The player gets on both knees. By being on both knees the lower half of the body is virtually eliminated in the swing. This is important because the hands do need to be separated in drills in order to ingrain the proper muscle memory for their actions. The pitcher situates himself behind the “L” screen approximately 10 feet from the hitter. The pitcher then rolls the ball toward the center of the strike zone. The hitter “takes the knob of the bat directly toward the ball” (bottom hand leads). As the ball reaches the “hitting zone” the hitter then “directs” the head of the bat with the top hand (top hand directs) and strikes the ball. Immediate feedback is generated from each swing. If the bat strikes the ground first this is an indication that the bat-head is leveling out too soon. This is a major cause of pop-ups in real play. The player must make the adjustment with his top hand. If the ball is struck but rolls along the ground, or bounces away, the player has hit too much of the top of the ball. Again, the player must make the top hand adjustment. Ideally, the player will hit the center of the ball and the result will be a line drive slightly off the ground and headed sharply toward the pitcher. As you can see the drill is essentially three components; 1) the bottom hand must lead the bat to the ball 2) the top hand must direct the head of the bat to the ball 3) the player must strike the proper portion of the ball to be successful. Three tremendously important facets of hitting are rolled into one simple drill!
The player can take the drill even further by having the pitcher roll the ball to the outside portion of the plate or to the inside portion. These are outstanding variations of the “NOW” drill seen elsewhere on this site. The player must “wait”, “wait”, “wait” for the outside ball to roll into the “hitting” zone and then accelerate the hands to strike the ball. Wait, Wait, Wait… Accelerate! This is the proper approach for hitting to the opposite field AND for hitting off-speed pitches and curve balls. On the contrary, the pitch rolled to the inside of the plate requires the player to get started early enough to get the bat-head into the hitting zone. The rolly-polly drill has many uses and can assist a hitter with several aspects of the swing. It can help you to BeABetterHitter.