Coaching Baseball: How to Improve Plate Coverage

What is Plate Coverage?

Plate coverage pertains to how big your hitting zone is. Simply put, can you hit an inside pitch as well as the low/away pitch on the sweet-spot of the bat with a similar swing? We will also look at how to identify poor plate coverage and illustrate how to improve plate coverage.

Check out this plate coverage from Miguel Cabrera

Courtesy of Drew Sheppard at

You can very well see that the best hitter in the world can cover the plate with the sweet spot of the bat. Great hitters can keep the sweet spot of the bat in the hitting zone for a long time.

How to Identify Poor Plate Coverage

  • Does your player say “man that was right down the middle, I can’t believe I missed that one.”
  • Ball hits off the end of the bat consistently
  • soft pop ups to the second basemen (to the SS for the right handed hitter)
  • Cannot drive the ball to the opposite field
  • Afraid of swinging at a pitches out over the plate because the player’s hands keep getting “stung”. (You know, when you hit the ball off the end of the bat…ouch!)

So having poor plate coverage ultimately leads to a “dead pull” hitter.

If we can learn to hit the outside half of the plate we can almost double our chances of success.

I spend a lot of time trying to get youth hitters to be comfortable with hitting that outside pitch.

How to Improve Plate Coverage

  • First, address the stance of the hitter. Their knees should be bent and hips should have an anterior (forward) tilt.
  • Make sure, in the stance, toes are pointed straight toward the plate and not pointed outward like “Duck Feet”. This will ensure that your weight is on the balls of your feet and not on your heels.
  • Make sure your hitter is striding toward the pitcher and not stepping in the bucket.
  • Lead with the knob of the bat and hit the inside of the baseball
  • Work on “Clearing the Hands” at the right time
  • Low and away Tee Drill. Get a batting tee that can be set very low (Like the Tanner Tee Short) and set it up about knee high and on the outside corner. See this VIDEO for some hitting drill examples.

I Would love to hear any feedback or questions you have about this post. Please feel free to add to the conversation below.

Stay on plane…

About CoachK

Owner and head instructor at Colonial Baseball Instruction. CBI serves Southern VA with baseball camps and private lessons. CBI also developed My Coach: Baseball App and sells a variety of baseball training aids.

Kyle Nelson says:

Great article!

This becomes a much more relevant topic as players move up the ladder. It is often what separates a player who can hit at the youth level from a player who can hit at the varsity level. Parents and fans often wonder why a player who was one of the best hitters as a 12 year old just can’t seem to hit varsity pitching. The answer is usually one of two things, either they don’t swing at good pitches to hit, or they simply cannot hit the ball to all fields. As pitchers learn to locate better, they are unable to adjust. They will show glimpses of what everyone saw when they were 12, but they will never be able to hit varsity pitching consistently.

Great article as usual! Keep up the great work!

Kyle Nelson
Cornerstone Coaching Academy