Updated: Dec 6, 2019
Hitting development goes far beyond simply hitting baseballs off the tee, front toss, and “groove me fastballs” batting practice. In my opinion, true hitting development covers the following key areas: 1) Swing Mechanics - Movements 2) Bat Speed & Power 3) Pitch Recognition - Discipline 4) Game Performance and 5) Mental Conditioning.
2 Bat Speed - Power
Once a hitter is moving well they have a chance to maximize bat speed and power. Successful hitters hit the ball hard and generate high exit velocities. The good thing about using the Rebel’s Rack to improve the mechanical/movement patterns of the hitter is that you’ve already started generating more power in the swing simply by moving better. Hitting plyo-balls also helps reinforce intent and good bat path. The heavier balls require intent in order to hit them any distance - all while helping correct poor bat path. These balls will not travel a significant distance unless squared up by the hitter.
Weighted Bat Programming is another variable training method to develop power and barrel awareness. Hitters figure out how to move effectively with different weights. Through various weighted bats (regular bat, overload bat, and underload bat) the hitter will be able to generate more power and fast turns. The general guide is to add and subtract about 20% of the regular weight of the game bat.
Strength and Conditioning - a good strength training program compliments everything a hitter does. There is no substitute for a good weightlifting program with the intent to increase strength, endurance, and flexibility.
3 Pitch Recognition and Discipline Pretty swings and bad decisions are like oil and water - they just don’t go well together. Hitters who take strikes and swing at balls are not going to find much success. Training hitters to recognize pitches and make good decisions is vital. This can be done through live bullpens. Have your hitters stand in when pitchers throw bullpens and make verbal yes or no decisions. There are also some great pitch recognition apps/software available. Another creative idea would be to film your own pitchers throwing and clip each pitch a few seconds after release. Have your hitters play the clips and attempt to correctly identify the pitch thrown. The game of 42 is also a unique way to add pitch recognition into BP. The coach would instruct the hitter to hit the four-seam pitches and take the two-seam pitches. Lastly, tracking machine pitches is a good way for hitters to see game-like pitching. Have your hitters incorporate the Rebel’s Rack and work on moving through their sequence, on time, with the various pitches.
Stay tuned for part 3.
See you on the diamond!