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MaxBP Drill Of The Week: Track & Tap

  • by Neil McConnell
  • 3 min read

MaxBP Reaction Training Drill – “Track & Tap” [VIDEO]

Improved reaction timing is established with the use of the MaxBP pitching machine. It will improve overall hand-eye coordination as well as increase pitch recognition in the batter’s box through quicker adjustments to off-speed pitches.

What the Track & Tap drill focuses on?

In this video, Ryan Harrison from Slow The Game Down displays the value of using the MaxBP small ball pitching machinefor the “Track & Tap” training drill. Professional baseball player, Tyler Heineman, joins Harrison for the drill demonstrating major league talent. Notice Heineman’s proper batting stance throughout the drill.

Why is the Track & Tap drill effective?

The Track & Tap training drill is effective because (1) it forces the hitter to make focused eye contact with the ball, and (2) it requires the hitter to be patient in order to make contact. In baseball, a player’s eyes and reaction time are his keys to success. The MaxBP pitching machine allows the hitter to perfect both essential techniques to optimize their abilities.

 How can coaches implement the Track & Tap with their teams?

As Harrison describes in the video, when prepping Heineman for the Track & Tap training drill, the drill’s purpose is not to hit the ball, but rather to stop the ball. In addition, the Track & tap enforces the baseball to hit the smaller-sized bat effectively. When coaches and teammates are not shagging balls, more time is available to spend on advising, coaching, and observing players during the drill.

As with all MaxBP training drills, one of the great aspects of the MaxBP pitching machine in addition to strong results is that the drill can incorporate multiple athletes. When solo, plug the machine in and place the whiffle balls into the open-air container with the automatic-feeder, and begin your training. Additionally, place a coach with the whiffle balls near the open-air container, while a hitter gets to execute the training. A third coach may observe and provide feedback throughout the practice contributing a superior overall benefit to the drill’s results.

 What are different variations of this technique drill?

One potential, unique variation of the Track & Tap training can be utilized as a bunting drill. While bunting skills may be generally reserved for pitchers and leadoff hitters, it can be a great team exercise. The small-sized bat and small golf-sized balls strengthen the hitter’s ability to focus using the front of rear hand to stop the ball at the point of contact. With a larger bat and baseball, the ball will travel further. However, the aim of the exercise is to not pop up the ball or hit it too far but to construct a successful bunt attempt.

Furthermore, the MaxBP wiffle ball pitching machine permits a coach or assistant to easily control the direction and eventual location of the ball. This is coordinated by maneuvering the outside of the machine box, and therefore the ball filter.  As a baseball hitter or football receiver on the field, a ball never falls in the predicted zone.  The MaxBP machine prepares you for unpredictable ball location by allowing a free athlete or coach to direct the ball filter purposely to various spots in the hitter’s zone.

Why is small ball training with the MaxBP machine important?

As the “Aim small, miss small” motto is demonstrated by Ryan Harrison and Kyle Heineman in the “Track & Catch” video, both skills are necessary to advance because the whiffle ball is smaller than a baseball, but larger than a golf ball, while using your hand to catch the ball without a bat or glove.  Again, the Track & Tap training drill requires focus on your hand-eye coordination working as one component. It is a difficult task, but a necessary one to reach the elite level. 

MaxBP Products used in this Drill

Ryan Harrison is using the MaxBP Pro Softball & Baseball Pitching Machine, but you can use any of our 3 models. He is using a custom small bat to use for the "tap", but we have a 3-piece hand/eye training bat. This 3-piece bat comes apart and can be used as a "small bat" to tap the ball.