For those who love the sport of baseball or for those who are just getting into it, one of the common questions players have is wondering how often they should be taking batting practice. The answer to this question can vary from player to player due to where they are at in their baseball journey, but one thing players can all agree on is that batting practice is an essential part of the game. So, how often should you take batting practice?
In general, players should take batting practice 3 times a week. The more advanced the baseball league, the more times players should be taking batting practice. Little League players usually take batting practice 2-3 times per week while Major League players take batting practice 7 times per week.
Nonetheless, hitters must combine batting practices with learning the fundamentals of a powerful swing. Without these fundamentals, weeks of batting practices can turn into years.
Should I Take Batting Practice Every Day?
In sports, repetition makes perfect and baseball is no exception. Just like infielders get better with more ground balls they field, hitters can only improve with more swings.
Depending on the player’s age, players may not need to take batting practice every day. For example, Little League players will generally practice with their team 2-3 times per week during the off-season and 1-2 times per week during the regular season. The purpose of these practices is to keep players sharp so they are ready for the game.
On the other hand, Major League players will take batting practice every day. This also includes the off-season. For Major League players, baseball is their job so they must be practicing every day in order to stay competitive.
Sure, a couple of days of rest are good to relax and clear the mind. However, to master the art of batting, players should consider taking batting practice at least three times a week. Every practice swing builds up muscle memory, so the more batting practices a player takes the more natural their swing will feel.
Batting Practices for Youth and Recreational Players
At a younger age, especially in Little League, baseball players hit for enjoyment. Getting together with their team and hitting a baseball sounds like a lot of fun to almost all players at this level. With this in mind, it’s important to not over-do batting practice by having it every day. Instead, schedule batting practice 2-3 times during the week where players can get together.
On the other hand, some kids love hitting so much that they would prefer to hit every day. If this is the case, then there’s no harm in letting them hit every day since they won’t be burned out by it. In fact, some kids are lucky enough to have a batting cage in their backyard where they can always go to hit.
Growing up, I was one of these lucky kids with a batting cage in their backyard and I loved going out and hitting for 20-30 minutes multiple times per week. So hitting every day can be beneficial when it’s something you truly enjoy.
For teenage and recreational baseball players, the aim should be to take batting practices 2 to 4 days per week. 2 to 4 days of hitting per week provides steady improvement without overloading the player and it still gives them plenty of time to be present for activities that occur outside of baseball.
Batting Practice Frequency for High School Players
Lots of high school players seek to play baseball in college, which makes it necessary to increase both the days per week of practice and the number of swings per session. In fact, players between 15 and 18 years old should aim at taking batting practice 5 to 7 days of the week.
Nevertheless, keeping up with both school and baseball can be impossible sometimes. So establishing a 5-day or a 7-day training program would be beneficial for most players. If players have to miss a day or two of hitting, they would still take enough swings to make progress during that week.
Batting practices 5 to 7 days a week not only maintain the quality of the swing but also ensures progress is made toward developing the perfect swing, which is especially important for those wanting to continue their playing career into college.
Take More Swings During the Off-Season
When looking at how often batting practice should happen, hitters should also take into account what time of the year it is.
During the off-season, hitters should be taking more batting practice because they are not playing as much. The off-season means players are not playing baseball games so they’ll need to have more practice to stay sharp.
If a player would typically take 1 to 2 batting practices per week during the season, they might want to consider having batting practice 2 to 4 times during the off-season. This is especially true for those players who are attempting to make a team via try-outs or are trying to earn a starting spot on their team.
Age can also be a factor in the frequency of batting practices during the off-season. For example, youth ballplayers typically have summer and winter breaks from school where they have lots of time available for batting practice. During these off-season times, players can aim for taking batting practice 4 or more times per week.
How Many Swings Should a Hitter Take?
Youth ballplayers will usually take around 50 swings per batting practice session, whether it’s soft toss or tee work. However, they all have different levels of commitment. The idea is not to suck out the fun out of the game for them, but to give them the opportunity to improve while also having fun.
High school players will typically take around 100 swings in the batting cage per session. If done consistently and with a focus on proper swing mechanics, players can take their swing to the next level.
For comparison, professional players will take batting practices with as much as 500 swings during the offseason. Of course, this is a full-time job for professional players, but this also sums up the hard work it takes to become a professional hitter.
Focus on Batting Mechanics Over Repetitions
Great players don’t focus on repetitions as much as doing things right when taking batting practice. In fact, a lot of professional players don’t even count repetitions. Batting practice stops when they feel they are very close to what is the ideal swing.
Remember, batting practice is for improving hitting fundamentals. Knowing the fundamentals of a good swing will enhance your progress from a young age.
So when taking batting practice, it can be in the hitter’s best interest to only focus on the fundamentals like bat speed, balance, and transferring their weight during their swing. More repetitions can be a good thing, but it’s only a good thing when the proper mechanics are utilized. The sooner you master the fundamentals the better, as muscle memory will start to take over.
Batting practices become a more important part of baseball as youth players grow up. At first, batting practices can work as a way to have fun while making moderate progress at the same time, which ensures they also already have a decent swing when the season starts.
Meanwhile, as youth hitters start thinking about playing with more competitive opponents, batting practices are paramount. As they grow up and play in more competitive leagues, the pitching speed increases which means they need more practice.
At this stage, players should take a lot of swings every week, but also start mastering the fundamentals of a powerful swing.
At the end of the day, it is batter to strive toward having a swing that allows batters to hit the ball consistently and with power, no matter if hits don’t come out of the bat just yet. Knowing the fundamentals along with hard work will make any athlete a great hitter.