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More and more I am thinking that soft toss is useless.
The angle... from the side just isn't working for me. It's convenient when an L-screen isn't available or for quick pre-game warmup.. but I really am growing to dislike it.
Totally disagree. We use soft toss after tee work at every practice and the benefit is still strong for us. Approaching hitting in the natural progression (tee work, soft toss, point to point, short cage work (30') to live hitting) not only cuts down on the ridiculous number of reps that just live hitting takes (while wasting time for everyone else on the team), but it also allows our guys to focus on each element of hitting for them.
I guess it depends on what it is being used for. In the cage with an L-screen, we soft toss from the front. On the office season, this and tee work is the primary source of cuts. As the season gets close, we ramp up live pitching and reduce soft toss.
But as mentioned, in the off season, soft toss is the primary. Never from the side, though. In fact, after tee work, I generally soft toss a bucket from behind the batter. Then we move to front toss (about 20 feet from the batter) at a varying rate of pitch speeds.
Kip, apparently I missed something in the original post. We don't side toss, we soft toss. I agree that side toss sucks as a teaching tool. Soft toss on the other hand gets the ball in motion after tee work while allowing hitters to still focus on the basics of their swing and work towards the finer points.
I don't like what we know as soft toss because it is slower than game speed.
We do soft toss from the front in our "timing tunnel" but much different than regular soft toss and it prepares us for game speed pitching..
Have you noticed in most sports, the starters practice against slower, less skilled "B" team, 2nd string, reserve squad players. But at game time, who do they face; faster, quicker, more skilled players.
In baseball its the same way...we conduct batting practice, whether it is hitting off the tee, soft toss or BP.
(Yes hitting off the tee is good to create muscle memory...if done correctly)
But wouldn't we love it if the opposing pitchers threw BP...but they don't...so what have we prepared for?
However,baseball, unlike basketball and football, you can actually practice against better pitching then you will see in the game...even better pitching then you will see all year...including the playoffs.
If you are a College coach, I would love the opportunity to explain how this is possible.