There are many versions of the "ball-on-a-rod" trainer. The first and original version was the HitnStik*. Then later came
other versions including the Hit2win Trainer^ and the SKLZ Target Trainer. All of these are handheld units. They have different
names but they all are great trainers to teach and train young players. All of these baseball trainers basically work and
perform the same. These trainers are some of the most popular baseball batting trainers used today.
The popularity come from the benefits they offer the baseball player, baseball coach, and the baseball parent. You can
learn to hit without having to chase, pick-up or retrieve a single ball. The unit is portable and requires no setup. It is
welcomed in complexes and parks because it allows safe pre-game warm-up, requires little space, and does not damage fences.
It is important to know the proper angles when using this product.
As the inventor of the HitnStik*, Hit2win Trainer^, and SKLZ Target+ Trainer, I sometimes cringe when I see someone using
the product incorrectly. First, the product is to be used as a "still" ball trainer. You should not move the ball when using
these trainers. Second, the holder must stand at the proper angle to the batter and direct the ball at the correct angle to
the batter. I often see coaches and parents working with players when I visit a park. I sometimes get frustrated because I
observe the product being used incorrectly.
The key to proper use of any hand-held batting device is KNOWING AND USING THE CORRECT ANGLE FOR THE DRILL YOU ARE DOING!
If you do not direct or point the ball at the proper angle, the batter will always make poor contact. The first thing to remember
is that the holder should always direct the rod and ball toward the hitter's back foot. This simple rule insures that proper
bat-to-ball contact is made. If the angle is wrong, the end of the bat will hit behind the ball and the bat will never actually
touch the ball. This is what I call "coning out".
The 4X5 Baseball and Softball Pre-game Warm-up Drill
The batter takes 5 swings at 5 different ball locations. Remember to direct the ball toward the belly button or back foot
of the batter.
1. HIP TURNER LOCATION - The holder stands slightly behind the batter directing the ball at the batter's
bat pocket. The purpose of these swings is to make the batter use the hips as the batter turns and hits the ball. The batter
should take a step and drive the ball.
2. INSIDE STRIKE - The holder moves toward the direction of the pitcher from the batter. This location
simulates hitting a pitch over the inside 3rd of the plate. The ball should be positioned slightly in front of the batters
front foot. The batter should attack the inside strike earlier to keep from getting jammed.
3. MIDDLE STRIKE CONTACT - The holder will move around a couple more feet. The ball will be positioned
in a location behind the front foot. The batter will drive the bat through the box. The ball hit is on the middle 3rd
of the plate. The ball should be positioned at a location inside the batters front foot. This teaches the batter to allow
the ball down the middle to get inside the front foot so that maximum power can be generated during the swing. Allowing the
ball to pass inside the front foot allows the batter to use the front foot and leg as a anchor and leverage to generate a
more powerful swing.
4. AWAY STRIKE LOCATION - The holder will move around a couple more feet to give the batter a ball to
hit that is on the outer 3rd of the plate. The ball should be at a location just inside the batters back foot. The batter
swings and drives the ball in a direction that would be to the opposite field. The batter may have to take a slight inward
step with the front foot to properly execute this swing.
The holder changes location and height and allows the batter to take 6 swings at each location. Every player on the team
can take 30 warm-up swings each in less than 10 minutes.
1. Make sure the ball is directed at the batter's back foot.
2. Make sure the batter does not over stride.
3. The batter should keep the head still and the head should stay down with the eyes on the ball throughout the swing.
4. The batter does not move. The holder will change the location of the ball by moving.
5. The height of the ball should be raised and lowered in the strike zone to give the batter swings at both high and low
6. Make sure that the hitting area is safe with no one within 15 feet of the holder or the batter.
7. Make sure that the batter is swinging in a direction that is free of persons should the batter lose the grip on the
8. Check to make sure the batter is using proper grip, stance and stride mechanics.
9. Positive reinforcement should be given when the batter makes good solid contact.
10. The holder should make sure that the trainer safety strap is used to prevent the holder from losing their grip on the
trainer when the batter hits the ball.
*HitnStik is a registered trademark belong to Easton Sports. ^Hit2win is a registered trademark of Nedco Sports Products.
+SKLZ Target is a registered trademark of Pro Performance Sports.
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports.
Dixon, a high school baseball coach, is widely recognized as an expert in the area of baseball training, practice and skill
development. Dixon invented several of baseball and softball's most popular training products including the BatAction Machine,
Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, Hitting Stick, Hit2win Trainer, SKLZ Target Trainer, and the ZipnHit.