In the clinch everyone wants to swing for the fences, to be the game-winning hitter. You should always play small ball – one hit, one base at a time – and depend on your teammates to do their job. Training for your desire, however, will increase your chances of going distance and placing the ball, even if that placement isn’t over the centerfield wall.
According to the experts, there is a lot more than power that goes into going yard. Backspin, wrist action and core training all play pivotal roles in increasing the speed and strength of your bat.
Each of the videos we’ve selected are long so we’re going to let the experts do the talking. We recommend, no matter your sport – baseball or softball – you give them each a good look. Every video offers unique detail for improving power, speed and placement.
Let’s start with backspin, which is what creates greater distance when a ball is hit. This video gives a solid explanation of what backspin is and how to know when you’ve achieved it. The video contains two different drills both requiring a hitting tee and some balls.
Once you get the feeling down, try this backspin progression drill. Designed to help you drive the baseball with backspin to the middle field, this drill should improve the distance, and help you control the height, on your hits.
Next we’re going to take a look at wrist action in relation to hip placement. Though the video runs long, each segment offers some great visual to accompany the tips so stick through to minute 8. To skip the cheesy introduction, join the video 20 seconds in. The next 7 minutes are worth your time. There are tons of tips, step-by-step, through your swing.
Finally, it’s time for power. Included in this article are four key exercises for increasing the power and distance of your hits. The introductory video includes a sledgehammer drill that not only works great on building functional core strength but can double as a nice release for negative energy.
Each exercise includes the science to help you understand the functionality of the exercise and how it relates to your physical goals at the plate. While each of the four exercises are described in detail, if you click the hyperlink within, you’ll be led to a video drill on executing the training.
Here’s your preview of the Cable Rotations exercise performed by Hall of Famer Jimmy Rollins
For anyone looking to geek out on the scientific aspects of ball speed off the bat, the University of Illinois has a really great resource site on all things relating to the physics of baseball and softball. It should make for some excellent reading through the winter months while you’ve got the time. Any new coaches out there might especially find these details helpful.
More mechanics work and intellectual information than normal, all these drills make for great review materials for your off-season cage work. We recommend videotaping your cage sessions, and regularly revisiting these videos, to check in on your progress.