Lob toss is an advanced hitting drill, perfect for players who have just made the transition to the full-sized, 90-foot diamond. It's also a great drill for hitters who have trouble waiting on pitches.
We have a hitter who constantly ends up on their front foot with all their weight transferred before the ball enters the strike zone. All the power generated by the weight transfer has been exhausted before contact is made, and we either end up with an errant swing or a very weak ground ball or pop fly.
This is a common problem for players who have just moved up to a 90-foot diamond. Their bat speed stays the same, but the distance to the mound has increased, and now the ball is taking slightly longer to reach the strike zone. As a result, the hitter grows impatient and finds himself out on his front foot before the ball has entered the strike zone.
We want to develop a player's ability to keep their weight back until the last possible moment, when they can explode forward and shift their weight as they hit the baseball with authority. Reinforce this by telling your players, "Let it get deep."
L-screen, bucket of balls, coach to pitch, bucket or stool to sit on.
Executing the Drill
This is a drill that Cal worked on all the time. It's an incredibly easy set-up for an extremely effective drill.
Coach, set up your L-screen about 20 to 40 feet in front of home plate, depending on the player's ability level and your ability to lob the ball with accuracy. Toss each ball with a high arc (think slow-pitch softball). The batter should let the ball travel as far as possible, letting it get deep in the strike zone, before trying to drive the ball.
Have fun with this drill. As players learn to stay back on the pitch, they'll be able to really wail on the ball. Eventually, this can turn into a fun hitting contest for your team, but don't lose sight of the goal: getting your hitters to wait on pitches so the power generated by their weight transfer is maximized at the point of contact.