Monday, February 18, 2008

Hitting Secret: Early Bat Speed

RT Staff Note: Jon Doyle,owner of Baseball Training Secrets, has been contributing an articles on pre-season and in-season Strength and Conditioning, but he also has great insights on hitting as well. Enjoy Jons contribution to Rounding Third.

By Jon Doyle

Within the next 3-5 years the term “Early Bat Speed” will trickle down to all levels of baseball, becoming the next buzz term within the game. And with good reason.

Early bat speed is one of the most light-lipped hitting secrets ever. Improving early bat speed is an extremely quick method to improved hitting. In fact, there are a great deal of player’s who aren’t even sure what the term means, but they certainly have it. To them it just comes naturally. For those of us who aren’t so lucky, it needs to be developed.

Consider yourself very lucky because I am going to break down what early bat speed is and how you can develop it. You won’t find this type of information down at your local batting cage!

This is real inside baseball training information only found . Chances are if you ask a local coach to explain Early Bat Speed he will look at you like you have 3 heads.

Basically early bat speed is the ability to generate a large amount of force early in the swing. The great ones all do this.Think about a car engine. A 4 cylinder may be able to get up to 80 mph, but it takes forever to get there. However, a supercharged 6 or 8 cylinder engine can get way above 80 and reach it’s max speed in a few seconds flat.

The great hitter’s have “supercharged engines” and tremendous early bat speed.

Early bat speed is the key to Major League power and strength. The great thing is you do not have to be the biggest guy around or have the best weight room numbers to develop early bat speed. You simply need to develop proper loading patterns.

They know how to utilize the “Load” phase of the swing perfectly. Everyone knows the load is used as a timing mechanism, but it should also be used as a source of power. While most coaches teach the load coming from the hands, it actually comes from the shoulders and hips. It is individual to every hitter, but it should be a smooth transition from the stance to the load to the swing.

Most hitter’s will do best if they are slightly moving and loose the entire time they are in the batters box. This makes it easier to develop a rhythm and proper loading skills. Be sure not to just throw your hands back and stop, then having to restart the swing. Again, a smooth transaction from the load to the swing will create early bat speed that will add distance and power to every ball you hit.

So now the question is “Can I develop early bat speed in the weight room?”

The answer is YES!

The key is to work on movement patterns. Become a better athlete. Continue to push the limits.

Without further ado, here are my “Award Winning” 5 Weight Room Steps To Lightning-Quick Early Bat Speed & Awesome Hitting.

1. Perform medicine ball circuits every day. Follow medicine ball circuit #1 and Circuit # 2 (Found in Diamonds Baseball Training Manual) every day.

2. Focus on movement coming from the torso and shoulders. This will have a dramatic carryover into the batter’s box.

3. Spend a great deal of time on Hip, Torso and Shoulder Range Of Motion – Both Dynamic and Static. Do these everyday.

4. Perform tumbling drills every day. Forward somersaults, backwards somersaults and spider lunges.

5. Perform One-Arm Snatches, starting with a dumbbell or kettlebell and quickly moving a barbell.

Really focus on being loose on each and every rep you perform. Again think movements and do not try to muscle anything. The key is to train your body to move explosively in a relaxed state. This is how you need to be when you are hitting. Your strength work needs to mimic the batter’s box in this regard.

There you have it. It may look simple, yet it is extremely effective in combination with batting practice and tee work. This is a great beginning that anyone can perform to improve early bat speed and overall hitting.

Now, in three years when someone thinks they are on the cutting edge and mentions early bat speed, you will simply laugh as your son is crushing balls over the fence!

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