Monday, October 31, 2011

How to use a Bratt Bat to Shorten Your Swing

2 years ago, I made a post describing how I used a weighted Bratt Bat to help some professional players improve their swing mechanics during their off-season workouts.  I am still using the Bratt Bat as part of my training program to help players improve their hitting, and here is another example of how it works.

From the previous post (linked above), here were the "rules":
What to do:

  • Use a weight appropriate for the strength-age-level of your player (65-75 oz. for high school, up to 100 oz. for stronger college players and pros)

  • Avoid a high volume of swings.  5-10 is enough to get the right feel, then switch back to a regular weight bat

  • Avoid trying to swing too hard.  Save that for your overload-underload swings.  Just get the feeling of the drill.

  • Focus on hitting line drives up the middle and towards the oppo gap

  • Remember this is just a drill and stick to the main principles of swing training for larger numbers of swings


Looking back, I still stick pretty closely to these rules.  But in the upcoming example, we're actually hitting a baseball off of a tee with a full swing (note: the Bratt Bat is not designed to hit baseballs.  It's better to use tennis or wiffle balls for higher volume or intensity of swings, as shown in our previous drill).

Now here is a comparison of a high school junior hitting off the tee with his regular bat (left side) and using a 75 ounce Bratt Bat (right side).  After he took several tee swings with his regular bat, all I did was give him the Bratt Bat and tell him to try and hit it up the middle (tee is placed right down the middle, a bit forward of where the stride foot lands).

[caption id="attachment_3011" align="aligncenter" width="573" caption="regular tee swing vs 75 oz bratt bat tee swing"][/caption]


Here's what happened:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Timing Issues in the Swing

"Hitting is timing"......"Get ready sooner"......"Get your foot down early"

You've heard these, right?

Timing is a critical component to good hitting, so this edition of Mailbag gives a pair of reference points to help gauge your timing.

Here is the question I received:

I have a quick baseball question if you don't mind helping me. I just got back to school off of summer baseball and I am way in front of all the pitching, I was thinking if I should move up to a 34 inch bat to try and slow my hands down a bit. I have been trying to wait back and go the other way but that leads me to trying to inside out everything and getting jammed on pitches that I should be hitting into the gaps.


Slow the hands down?  No way!  Most guys wish that their hands are too fast or that they have too much bat speed.  Having the ability to unload the swing with power is a great asset to have.

Inside-outing the ball to go the other way?  Now that's just another way of changing the way you unload or swing the bat (in a bad way).

If the issue is consistently being out in front on all types of pitching, that suggests a timing issue that is related to the PRE-swing move (or the load) rather than the actual swing (the unload).

[caption id="attachment_2944" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Loaded and Ready on time at Release"][/caption]

Here was my response:

Albert Pujols Home Run

Had to make a quick post with the Albert Pujols home run from the NLCS game 2 against Milwaukee...



I was just impressed with the way Pujols was able to maintain his hitting position and pull his hands in without rolling over (aka keeping it fair).

Pretty much looks like this:



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Justin Upton hits a bomb

Here's a nice video clip of Justin Upton's swing from the 2011 postseason.  He crushes a 3-1 fastball to deep left field and the clip shows a couple replays from the center field and side views for a good look at his hitting mechanics (and bat flipping style!):


One of the things I like about Upton's swing is that he generates tons of power but doesn't have a lot of "noise".  Specifically, he doesn't get far away from a good swing plane.  Here is an illustration of what I mean, just before Upton unloads his swing:


[caption id="attachment_2883" align="aligncenter" width="338" caption="Justin Upton swing plane"][/caption]


Lots of bat speed + consistent swing path = power AND consistency!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Creating Power in the Swing

This is a nice little video from Golf Channel's Playing Lessons with the Pros where 3-time major golf champion, Padraig Harrington, talks about creating power in his swing.  Obviously, the baseball and golf swings are different, but basic principles of movement apply to both - things like stability (on the back leg), rotation, connection (although I typically think or talk about it in the forward swing for baseball rather than the back swing) and the kinetic link.

The good stuff starts around the 13:10 mark...

[caption id="attachment_2857" align="aligncenter" width="309" caption="the Happy Gilmore drill"][/caption]