By Dan Gazaway
The single best way to improve your bat speed is to work on the sources of your power and bat speed as a hitter. Hitting a baseball well is nothing more than moving the right parts of the body at the right time. Once you understand what parts of your swing mechanics are in charge of creating the most bat speed, you can target those areas with some baseball hitting drills. This is the first part to a three part series of articles that will help explain the three sources of power to your baseball swing. I will provide a good drill for you to use below.
The first source of power to improve bat speed is your back side. It’s a combination of movement of your back knee, thigh and back hip. Before I get into how this movement works, I need to make sure you understand how to maximize this movement. Prior to the pitch, it’s necessary to shift some weight onto your back leg. This “load” process will allow you to rotate your backside with some force IF you have enough weight loaded up on your back leg. Hitters who avoid loading properly won’t have any pressure on their back leg and consequently won’t rotate their back knee, thigh, and hip properly.
Ok, now that you understand what a proper load is, I’ll explain how this rotation occurs. After the pitch is thrown, the hitter begins to rotate his back knee, thigh, and hip toward the pitch. Simply spinning the back leg in a circle without gaining any ground on the pitcher is not effective and will not produce power. All of your baseball hitting drills should focus on taking energy towards the pitch. A good way to make sure you are doing this correctly is to see if your knee cap is closer to the pitcher than before you started your swing.
One good drill to work on is to begin in a pre-loaded position with a batting tee set up in the strike zone. At about 70% of your full swing potential, take some swings working on rotating and taking your back knee towards the pitcher. Keep in mind that it’s absolutely vital to keep your front leg fairly straight when you are doing this movement. A front leg that bends will prevent any power from being transferred into the second step.
When working on your baseball hitting drills on your own, work as long you can remain focused. Once you lose your focus, you’ll lose the intent of what you are working on.