Find the Rhythm: Build the Perfect Pregame Hitting Routine

A consistent routine of pregame hitting is essential to prepare your batters for confident at-bats during the game.
A hitter takes pregame batting practice before a baseball game.

For your hitters to have positive results during the game, it’s important for them to find the rhythm of their swing before first pitch. 

And when they find ‘the feel,’ it’s important not to overdo it. Youth players shouldn’t take more than 50 swings before a game.

Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout told ESPN that his pregame hitting routine is essential to his success. “Some days it could be 5 swings and you feel good—you don’t want to overdo yourself. And some days you’re in [the batting cage] battling, trying to find it.”

These pregame drills are targeted for teams that have access to an on-site batting cage. If your league or tournament site doesn’t have a cage, hit sticks—training balls on a long flexible stick—are a great option to get your hitters some swings. 

Tee: 15-20 Swings

Pregame work on the tee should be focused on mechanics. Between two tee locations, batters should move on after getting four or five hits in a row that feel good to the hitter.

Middle of the Zone: Set up the tee in the middle of the zone, trying to hit to dead center without any sort of hook.

High & Away: Set the tee at the letters and on the outside edge of the plate. Try to hit the ball to the opposite field. 

Inside: Set up the tee on the inside edge of the plate. Try to pull the ball down the line. 

Flips (soft toss): 15-20 swings

After working off the tee it’s important to get the batter’s eye used to movement. It’s key to determine visual cues for the hitter to load and step. These underhand throws can start with a loaded position slightly in front of you. The cue for your batter to rock back and load is when you drop your hand. They should take their step when your hand begins forward. 

Soft Toss: From a seated position along the opposite foul line from the hitter, gently toss the ball underhanded across the front of the plate, placing it in the hitting zone. 

Front Hip: From behind a screen in front of the batter, flip the ball underhand directly at the hitters front hip. The batter should focus on keeping their front side closed to pull the ball instead of flying open. 

Inside-Outside: From behind a screen, targeting the outside-thirds of the plate. Alternate flips for inside/outside location at various heights in the strike zone. 

Live Pitching: 8-12 swings

From behind a pitching screen, use a natural pitching motion to throw your batter easy, consistent strikes with a little more pace [40-60 mph depending on the age]. Throwing rounds of four balls can help keep the tempo up, so the player easily keep focus. Hold three balls in your non-pitching hand. 

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