The 2011 Perfect Game World Wood Bat Championship is back starting this Thursday and running through Monday here at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL. It is pretty cool to have basically the biggest amateur baseball tournament held locally in Palm Beach and get to check out some of the best high school talent in the country all in one place.
I attended the 2009 tournament and met a lot of nice people, so if you’re going to be there, send me a message.
Couple other event destinations – Alaska (yes, Alaska) and Los Angeles – coming up soon…
“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).
It’s basically like walking into a real life version of a baseball catalog.
I visited Superstar Team Sports (STS) in West Palm Beach for the first time (can’t believe I hadn’t heard about it before now) last week and was impressed enough to do this little write up. STS is a baseball and softball specialty store that has everything you’d find in a catalog like Baseball Express or Eastbay, but of course you can pick it up and try it out for yourself. They have metal and wood bats, gloves, batting gloves, helmets, uniforms, footwear, training aids….you name it.
Plus, their staff members – Mike, Brian and Shawn – are incredible.
Superstar Team Sports website
STS is located in West Palm beach at 3169 Forest Hill Blvd. (take Forest Hill exit off 95 and head west).
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:
Justin Upton swing plane
Lots of bat speed + consistent swing path = power AND consistency!
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.