Baseball Drills to Increase Bat Speed and Hitting Power
By guest author: Dustin Peek
Baseball drills that create head-turning power at the plate are something that every baseball player can benefit from. Sure, good hitters are known for making consistent contact with the baseball, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the harder the ball is hit, the more likely it is to find a hole or a gap. This power at the plate is the difference in being a good hitter and a great hitter, and great hitters get noticed. Just one single extra base hit for every ten at-bats can mean the difference in a 0.200 batting average and a 0.300 batting average, and that little extra "pop" on the ball is the easiest way to get those extra hits. Power is everything, and it is well known that hitting power is created with bat speed. Luckily, there are some great hitting drills and techniques that can be used to harness this power in any player. There are two specific baseball drills that are very good at increasing bat speed and hitting power.
Before discussing these specific hitting drills, it is first important to understand how a hitter creates power. A hitter creates power through bat speed, and a hitter's bat speed is created through the efficient transfer of energy from the batter's body to the bat. Many people believe that this energy is created with the batter's arms, but in fact, this energy is created through efficiently transferring a hitter's body weight from his back foot to his front foot during the swing. The important term to remember is "efficient." Every batter that swings a baseball bat shifts his weight when swinging, but power hitters have strong cores and excellent balance. This keeps their bodies compact so that almost all of the energy created though the weight-shift is transferred directly to the bat. So the two keys to increasing bat speed and hitting power are balance and having a compact swing.
Hitting Power and Bat Speed Drill #1
This first hitting drill addresses one of the biggest problems that many hitters have when trying to hit for power. They simply do not have a compact swing. What do I mean? Weak hitters do not keep their elbows close to their bodies, and they over-stride when stepping toward the ball. This "flailing" of limbs results in a very weak swing because so much energy is being lost in the additional motion instead of being transferred directly to the bat. To transfer the maximum amount of energy to the bat, a hitter must keep his elbows close to his body and he must take a short, balanced stride. This allows the energy from the weight-shift to be efficiently transferred from the legs, up through the core, and finally to the arms. This creates the greatest amount of bat speed and hitting power.
An excellent drill for keeping a compact swing is to place small objects under the hitter's arms and between his knees while practicing hitting from a tee or during soft-toss. The objects under the arms can be anything small and soft that the hitter can hold against his body with his elbows while not interrupting his swing. Rags or towels rolled up into tubes and taped work great for this drill. The object between the knees should be a light and soft spherical-shaped object. For older players, a volleyball works great. For younger players, you might need to find some other small ball-shaped object. The idea is for the player to hold these objects under his arms and between his knees during soft-toss or while hitting from a tee to practice keeping his limbs close to his body. This drill forces the batter to have a compact swing and an efficient transfer of energy from his body to the bat.
Hitting Power and Bat Speed Drill #2
The second baseball drill to improve hitting power at the plate addresses a hitter's balance. Similar to having a compact swing, balance is critical because having bad balance also causes a batter to have poor energy transfer to the bat during the swing. We've all seen the young batter that tries to swing too hard and actually loses his balance while stepping back away from the plate. While this is a very common problem for young hitters as they try to hit the ball farther, this poor-balance approach actually prevents the batter from hitting the baseball as far as he could.
A great drill for practicing good balance is to have the hitter stand on a flat 2 x 12 inch board while hitting from a tee or while taking soft toss. This board should be about six feet in length and can be purchased at any lumber yard or most home improvement stores. The idea is for the hitter to stride directly forward toward the ball without falling off the board. Over time, this baseball drill teaches the hitter to have good balance, and it prevents stepping backward. This improved balance will absolutely improve a hitter's bad speed and hitting power.
To summarize, to improve a hitter's bat speed and hitting power, one must focus on having a compact swing and good balance. The above two baseball drills focus on these two factors, and over time, they will ultimately help a hitter improve his power. However, this only scratches the surface of improving bat speed and creating power at the plate. If you are interested in further improvements, I encourage you to keep learning about this incredibly important baseball skill!
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The BatAction Blog presents baseball batting training tips, baseball hitting drills, and other information to help Bat Action owners produce unbelievable results from working out on the BatAction Baseball Trainer. Baseball coaches, players and parents will find this information very interesting and extremely useful. The Regular posts include new and innovative training drills and techniques to increase bat speed, improve power, improve hitting skill, and increase batter confidence.