How to Improve Plate Discipline

The Beginning Hitting Series

Baseball and Fast Pitch Softball


Quality at-bats are increased by improving plate discipline and selectivity. This post details 2 concepts, demonstrates 4 drills, and shows 1 game to increase the rate of hard-hit balls for your beginning hitter.


Concept 1 for Improving Plate Discipline

Young Hitters CAN Become Patient and Selective


To develop plate discipline, deliberately and purposefully focus on pitch selection during every practice and warmup. It is really remarkable how selective and disciplined young hitters will become when that is the intent.


Plate Discipline Drill 1 – Talk to Hitter About Strike Zone Rules

For Little League Baseball and Softball, The STRIKE ZONE is that space over home plate between the batter’s armpits and the top of the knees when the batter assumes a natural stance.


Plate Discipline Drill 2 – Talk to Hitter About Umpire’s Strike Zone

In reality, though, the actual strike zone is whatever the umpire thinks it is. Most umpires will enlarge the strike zone, considerably, from the rule book, for the younger age groups.


Plate Discipline Drill 3 – “Show the Ball Strike Zone”

Show the ball at various positions around the plate, some strikes, and some balls. Ask the player to tell you if they think the location is a ball or strike.


Plate Discipline Drill 4 – “Toss the Ball Strike Zone”

Perform a soft front toss. Ask the hitter not to swing, but watch the ball and call out ball or strike. Then ask the hitter to call out, for balls only, whether the pitch was high, low, inside, or outside.                             

The next step is to add the swing decision.  This upcoming game works well as a “plate approach” primer for youth hitters.


Plate Discipline Game 1 – “Swing at a Good Pitch”

While the rules are simple, execution is challenging at first. The hitter gets one point for swinging at a strike and one point for letting a ball go by. If they swing at a bad pitch or let a strike go by, take away one point. In each game, the batter gets 20 pitches.

This is a great game as it guides the hitter in a fun way toward improving an essential ability, being selective at the plate.


Concept 2 for Improving Plate Discipline

Value of Measuring and Tracking


Regardless of age, whatever the hitter measures and tracks, they will improve upon.

Also, trying to beat their personal record in various games adds fun to each practice session for all hitters.

Confidence will grow when the hitter sees measurably how they are improving.


Building Rome Series Blog: The Beginning Hitting Series

Here are the 12 videos and articles contained in The Beginning Hitting Series:

Introduction to the Beginning Hitting Video Series

Seven Steps to Successful Youth Coaching

Best Bats Ages 9 and Under

Top 5 Priorities for the Beginning Hitter

Choose a Bat in 5 Steps

Improving Vision of the Beginning Hitter

Improving Hand-Eye Coordination

Position in the Batters Box

How to Overcome Fear of Being Hit

How to Improve Plate Discipline

Check Swing to Increase Productivity

Develop an Aggressive Batting Swing


Building Rome Series Books: Building the High-Level Swing Series

step by step hitting fundamentalsSee Building the High-Level Swing for a detailed and comprehensive description of 100 hitting fundamentals and 140 step-by-step drills that efficiently construct the batting swing from the ground up.

In the Building Rome Series of books, the construction of skills are in functional order, providing a “roadmap” to becoming a great hitter.

All baseball and fastpitch softball players can “climb the Roman Coliseum steps” to become a powerful and productive hitter.

Enjoy the quest!