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Batting & Pitching Blogs
|Posted on August 7, 2016 at 9:10 PM|
In our batting cages I often hear to get more power you need to twist your hips faster and have faster hands. When they twist and swing faster they either miss the ball, foul it off or hit the ball softly. Trying to hit this way rarely works because if you are using mainly your arms, the faster you swing, the faster you are pulling the bat out of the hitting zone or away from the ball. This means you won't hit the middle of the ball as often and there will be much less power at impact.
For more power and consistency the bat needs to go out through the ball, not be pulled in and out of the hitting zone fast.
Every new baseball and fastpitch softball hitter that comes in for lessons is looking for more power, consistency and better timing. I video them hitting live pitching and then show them what they are presently doing in their swing. I ask what they have been learning and get the same answers like twist the hips, squish the bug, fast hands, stay back, swing down, etc.. I then put them beside the very best Major League hitters like Mike Trout, Ken Griffey Jr., Miguel Cabrara, etc or the best Team USA fastpitch softball hitters to show how they use their body to swing the bat. They see the best hitters do none of the hitting cues they have been taught. What they have been learning is why they have less power, consistency and bad timing.
An example of losing power by trying to swing faster with your arms is Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. According to baseballsavant.com the first 15 weeks of the season, when he made contact his average exit velocity of the ball was approximately 6 mph faster than the mlb average. The last eleven weeks of the season his average exit velocity was .2 mph under the league average. There were some very interesting stats on fangraphs.com showing how his power and consistency went down the second half of the season.
First half Second half
Line drive % 17.1% 3.6%
HR vs Flyball % 25.3% 11.3%
Infield Flyball % 10.1% 22.6%
Hit Ball Soft % 14.9% 29.4%
Hit ball Med % 43.6% 40.3%
Hit Ball Hard % 41.5% 30.3%
Batting Average .230 .178
Homeruns 20 6
Slugging Average .487 .300
At Bats per HR 15/HR 30/HR
Why such a big turnaround? The first half of the season he was using his body to swing the bat. He was going forward and looked so smooth and effortless. In the home run derby, the first two rounds, he was swinging so smooth and hitting the ball so hard with alot of homeruns. The commentators went on and on how smooth he looked, they couldn't believe his power and they said he wasn't even breaking a sweat when he was swinging. The last round he started swinging much faster with his arms and didn't hit the ball nearly as hard or consistently. He wasn't smooth at all and didn't hit near the homeruns.
Over the next week I had at least ten students and parents come in and mentioned seeing him in the homerun derby. They said they could see that he was swinging so smooth and powerful but he started swinging much faster the last round and the faster he swung the worse he did. Now they were understanding more what I had been teaching them, that when you swing faster with the arms even Major League batters hit the ball with less power and consistency.
Why did he have such a tough second half of the season? He started doing everything that is taught in The Major Leagues. He started taking a smaller step, staying back, twisting his hips, swinging down and using fast hands.
The second half of the season he kept swinging fast with his arms. A dad of one of my students said "he went from swinging so smooth to now swinging out of his shoes." He started swinging so hard he lost his balance after almost every swing. His swing from the first half to the second half of the season looked almost the opposite. In the second half of the seaon his swing looked more jerky, he was now giving maximum effort for much less power. He was speeding up the game. This is what took away his power and consistency. He just needs someone to work with him that knows how to use the body correctly. He could easily fix this, then he could relax and slow the game down again regaining his power, consistency, and timing.
To gain power and consistency you just need to learn how the body can pull the bat forward so much better than the arms. It is a process that when done in sequence correctly has amazing results. You look more effortless, slow the game down, have better timing, hit with much more power, see the ball better and have more consistency. You don't have to be a great athlete to be a great hitter if you are using your body correctly when you hit the ball.
If anyone would like more information about using your body correctly you can call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393.