This Article is About
baseball swing
swing mechanics
bat speed
josh hamilton
weight shift
conventional wisdom
Power Hitting
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Power Hitting

Increase Your Bat Speed/Maximize Power and Distance

The 'Bambino', Ted Williams or Hank Aaron are names that conjure up images of towering home runs and pure 'power hitters' from days gone by. More recently, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton or Jose Bautista are the players garnering the home run headlines. But, whoever is in the limelight is not as important as how they got there. It doesn't matter if it's baseball or softball power hitting; whether you want to be a home run king or just maximize your power; the most important factor in power hitting is generating bat speed.

Stance, Load and Swing

In order to generate bat speed, hitters first need to execute the proper baseball swing mechanics. The batter must be aligned toward toward the pitcher, feet shoulder width apart and weight on the rear foot. (toward the catcher) As the pitcher releases the ball, the hitter 'loads' by moving the front foot forward about six inches while lifting the heel, then 'jamming' the heel into the ground and pivoting the foot toward the pitcher, opening the hips. The swing then follows, shoulders after the hips, keeping the hands in tight, maintaining as small an arc as possible.

Linear vs. Rotational Hitting/Hand and Wrist Torque

The 'old school' linear batting philosophy constitutes shifting the weight from back to front toward the pitcher and 'throwing' the hands to create bat speed. You can probably recall hearing the buzzwords 'Squish the Bug', 'Swing Level' and 'Keep the Elbow Up'. This system incorporated the forward shift of the body axis 12 - 18 inches. Conventional wisdom has shifted to the 'rotational' philosophy where the body axis remains constant. The initial force in bat speed comes from body torque produced by the weight shift transfered from the legs through the hips and shoulders. However, to generate total bat speed, the wrists and hands must act conversely in a push/pull fashion just prior to the point of contact. The bottom hand pulls inward toward the catcher while the upper hand continues to rotate forward toward the pitcher creating a 'snapping' action and producing the additional torque required to maximize bat speed.

Contact Point

Once the shoulders have rotated and the hands are through and above the ball, the hitter needs to make contact at a point in front of the body, perpendicular to the pitch with the wrists as straight as possible. The correct contact point is at the apex of the swing where bat speed is the greatest. When combined with the 'snapping' action of the hands, this produces the maximum power and distance.

You Can't Make a Hitter

Ted Williams said it best. "There has always been a saying in baseball that you can't make a hitter, but I think you can improve a hitter...More mistakes are made hitting than in any other part of the game." Mistakes are made regularly, at every level of the game, which accounts for the fact that all professional teams have batting coaches. There's always room for improvement. Let's face it, the best hitters in the game still only go three for ten!


Street Talk

Where was this article when I was in little league ;) Nice one

Reply
  about 6 years ago

thanks david - it sure as heck wasn't on the internet - lol - at least we had a little league

Reply
  about 6 years ago

thanks shawn

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Great tips Stephen

Reply
  about 7 years ago

thanks - i played a little baseball when i was young, but since my son was in teeball i've become somewhat of a fanatic to the point where i'll probably watch about 300 games this year (my son, Sox, preseason, postseason, college) - my mission now is to educate as many parents and kids about the correct way of playing to prevent injury and give kids a chance to progress in the sport - go baseball!!!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Nice article! Brings back memories of little league for me. Old school all the way. Keep that elbow up and swing level! Yup right on! Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

thanks for the comments - i'm in a minor hiatus but am in the process of starting an academy in my area - currently there are no public facilities to promote the sport and proper mechanics and awareness - i intend to change that situation

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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