To get noticed by college and pro scouts this baseball season, you need to improve your bat speed. A major item on their checklist, bat speed is similar to velocity for a pitcher. This one attribute can make up for certain mistakes or create a larger margin for error.
Bat speed is one of the few skills that can't be taught. A player either has it or not. But several bat speed drills can help improve it.
Bat Speed Drills
Weighted Bat/Fungo Front Tosses
This bat speed drill's purpose is to create resistance in the swing and force the hitter to swing the bat harder through the zone. Your muscles ultimately will get stronger by adjusting to the bat weight.
Take a heavy bat, or place a 28-ounce bat weight on your game bat. Then take front or side tosses for two sets of eight to 10 reps. I prefer front tosses because they allow the batter to track the flight of the ball.
After you take a few rounds with a weighted bat, take normal rounds without the weight. You don't want to take too many rounds with the weighted bat, because you'll eventually train yourself to swing slower. Finally, take another few rounds swinging a lightweight fungo bat to get the feel of the bat flying through the zone. The goal here is to train your muscles to swing faster and develop muscle memory for incredible bat speed.
Inside Focus Front Tosses
Have a partner feed balls to your front hip, simulating an inside pitch. This forces your hands to be quicker through the zone to catch up to the pitch. If you're using a pitching machine, angle it so the pitches come at your front hip. This can also be done using front toss by angling away from the feeder.
Begin taking slow motion swings while a partner with hands on the barrel pushes against them. This creates resistance through the zone. You'll feel it in your forearms. It's a good replacement for traditional forearm exercises like Wrist Curls, because it uses actual baseball movements. Once you follow through on your swing, return the barrel through the zone in reverse. (Watch it in action.)
Medicine Ball Slams/Jump Slams
Hold an eight- to 10-pound medicine ball above your head with both hands. Continually slam the ball to the ground as hard as you can for a set number of repetitions or amount of time. After you do a set for 30 seconds, move to jump slams by adding simultaneous jumps as you slam the ball to the ground.
See Gordon Beckham's variation on the Med Ball Rotational Throw.
Medicine Ball Wall Punches
Stand approximately five feet away from a wall in your batting stance. Hold a medicine ball in your hands like a bat and face the wall as if it were the pitcher. Throw the ball off the wall by rotating your core, mimicking a swing. Perform a set of 10 repetitions or go for 30 seconds, then switch sides. The distance will vary depending on your strength and ability, but don't stand too far away, because you do not want to sacrifice proper mechanics to get the medicine ball to the wall.
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