Most baseball training aids are designed and endorsed by former pro players or expert coaches and typically focus on improving the skills of upper-echelon players.
The folks at SureHitter (www.surehitter.com), have developed a product for the beginner who might otherwise have been left behind. SureHitter hones in on a simple concept which is, if children can train their eyes to see a real baseball or softball at a slower speed, without fear of injury, they’ll have a better chance of success when facing the real thing.
Most coaches rely on either the tee, or live pitching when working with players. Both have their plusses and their minuses. But the SureHitter is like a combination of the two, allowing coaches and parents of younger players to provide repetition in a safe and progressive manner. Holding the ball out still on the end of the reinforced stick allows players to gain confidence and improve technique, much like hitting off a tee. But then the SureHitter goes where a tee can’t. Because an instructor can move the ball towards the strike zone, the batter gets a more realistic feel, like hitting a pitch in slow-motion. As skill improves, the speed of the ball presentation can increase – allowing players to get great practice reps in a secure environment.
The other benefits of the SureHitter are numerous. Because of the proximity of the coach to the batter, corrections can be made on the spot more easily. When coaches are 45 feet away throwing BP and they observe a minor flaw, they are less likely to stop, walk to the plate, and make a swing adjustment. But with the SureHitter, it is no problem to quickly fix the issue and proceed.
Clearly, one of the biggest drawbacks to throwing live pitching is that young players often miss more than they hit, which is frustrating to the player and the coach. Picking up balls in the field and behind the plate wastes valuable time. But in three minutes with the SureHitter, players could have more swings and more solid connections than they would in a half-hour of BP.
Speaking of solid connections, another great thing about the product is the way it is designed to provide instant feedback to both hitter and instructor. I took it out on the street with my son and we both knew instantly when he’d driven a line drive, and when he’d just gotten under one. And there was no net to set up in the backyard, no need to drive down to the school with the bucket of balls.
And finally, you can even use the SureHitter to help your players with their fielding. Youngsters just learning the game have a tremendous aversion to catching fly balls properly. It is scary putting the mitt in front of the face as the ball is hurtling downward, consequently, most try to simply “basket catch” it out front. However, now a coach can eliminate the fear and simulate the ball coming down into mitt without any risk of injury.
When I coached beginners who were struggling at the plate, very often I’d take the ball in my hand, and walk it toward the batter, and ask them to give me a slow-motion swing and meet the ball. The idea was that if they could visualize their bat connecting at the sweet spot, and get a feel for it, there was a much better chance they’d do it when the pitch really came in. The SureHitter takes this very same concept and improves upon it, helping coaches of up-and-coming superstars provide technically-sound repetitions in a safe, fun and easy-to-use format. Not sure how to teach hitting to your youngsters? You can eliminate the guesswork along with the anxiety by letting them swing away on the SureHitter.