Hitting is kind of a complex skill. Many of us spend hours and hours working with hitters trying to help them improve and ultimately try to perfect this very difficult thing. We know that perfection is a dream that will never come true, but the idea of improvement should always be at the forefront. One of the key things that I believe we need to do a better job of is helping our players understand some things a little more clearly.
Here is one area I spend a great deal of time on with my hitters.
Yes, we want to create bat speed and power. These explosive and dynamic ideas are pretty well universal and it seems to me that almost all players get this idea. They know that they want to hit the ball harder, see it go farther and, ultimately, have more success at the plate. This quest for increased bat speed leads many players on a path that really makes it harder for them to achieve this goal.
Many of our hitters confuse when they really need to be explosive. Too many players think that every part of their swing needs to be fast to achieve the bat speed increases they are after. Every phase of their swing is trying to go a million miles an hour which leads to many more problems than it does gains.
To sum it up, they are hurrying to hit rather than preparing to hit.
John Wooden had a saying that went something like this, “Be fast without hurrying”. My grandfather had his own version of this classic when he said, “The hurry-er I go, the behind-er I get”! So whether you want to listen to the Wizard of Westwood or Herb Studier, they both make a very strong point that many of our hitters need to learn.
You want the bat going fast from the point you decide to launch until you make contact and finish through the ball. How you get ready to launch will play a huge role in how ready you are and, as we’ve already touched on, hurrying to get there is probably a bad idea.
Being methodical in your preparation, taking your time getting ready to launch, being slow at the beginning so you can explode when you want to are all great ideas for a hitter to employ. These thoughts all add up to helping our hitters understand that, yes, they do want to be fast, but being slow and steady is a great way to get there.