Friday, June 23rd, 2017

How to improve bat speed: A simple tip

December 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Hitting

To start,  let’s begin with a few questions.  When a bullet is shot out of a gun, does it gradually speed up as it exits the gun to reach its maximum velocity somewhere in the distance?  How about an arrow shot out of a bow?  Does the arrow travel faster as it moves farther away from the bow?   Of course, the answers are all NO.  As the bullet travels farther away from the gun, gravity and friction slow it down.  The same thing is true with the arrow.  Both go from zero to 100% velocity immediately when the gun is fired or when the arrow is shot.  For baseball players, understanding this simple concept can help with hitting. 

One major problem that most young players have is poor bat speed.   For a moment, visualize this sequence …

Load up … stride … recognize … ssssswwwwwiiing!

Visualizing your barrel exploding forward like
this bullet can be a quick way to improve bat speed.
The long, drawn out “ssssswwwwwiiing” represents the approach that many of these hitters take to the ball.  Their swings are slow and if they are facing a pitcher who throws with any kind of velocity, they have no chance.  By the time the bat reaches the hitting area, the ball is already past them.  In order to hit the ball, they will have to start their swing earlier to have the time needed to get the barrel to the ball.  When this is done, the batter becomes susceptible to many of the problems that haunt poor hitters. 
By contrast, a very good hitter hits as if the barrel of the bat is that bullet or arrow being shot.  As a result, their swing process would be more like this …

Load up … stride … recognize … BANG!

Their bat goes from practically zero to 100% velocity in a flash instead of the drawn out manner.  This quicker swing allows them to wait longer before deciding to swing which has numerous advantages when it comes to pitch selection and recognizing and adjusting to location.  It’s also just more of an aggressive swing overall.
Getting stronger and training with heavier / lighter bats can help improve bat speed in the long run.  However, if hitters are looking for something to do today, visualizing their barrel reacting like a bullet exploding out of a gun can show instant improvement.  

When the mind thinks of swinging this way, the muscles will follow.

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