Key Elements for Swing Training to Increase Bat Speed:
Swing training for baseball and softball bat speed has to do with specificity. The way I think of specificity is that the intended exercise is as close as possible to the full speed and range of motion necessary in the movement being trained.
Dr. Coop DeRenne’s book, Power Baseball, described specificity like this:
“Specificity of Exercise states that there is a positive transfer of training effect when the elements of the supplementary and overloading exercises (e.g., weight training) are similar to those of the primary activity, in this case baseball. The closer the supplementary exercise is to the primary activity, the greater will be the transfer of training effect. If specificity is adhered to, then exercises for throwing and hitting must be compatible with the alternating acceleration and decelerating arm movements.”
Weighted Implement Training
Stating that there is little that can be done in the traditional weight room to address the most specific needs of the swing is not to dismiss the relevance of weight training, but rather to put each in its place within an overall program. Training for baseball and softball bat speed can be split into three categories:
- General – example: traditional weight room exercises
- Special – example: medicine ball work
- Specific – example: weighted implement training
Weighted implement training is more commonly know as overload-underload training (or overload-overspeed). For hitting then, that would mean swinging weighted bats that are slightly above or below the weight of the player’s standard game bat. DeRenne reported that this range should be between 10-25% of the standard weight of the implement – experts adhering more closely to a +/- 10% range, and the +/- 25% range for beginners.
— see examples on the Results page —
Feedback & Measurement
Feedback can have a major influence on enhancing performance and increasing bat speed. Knowledge of Results (KR) is a type of augmented, or external, feedback that can reduce learning time and improve performance. KR can come in several forms:
- Verbal description from coach
- Measurement of bat speed
- Measurement of batted ball velocity
- Flight of the ball
Feedback and measurement also play an important role mentally, serving as a means of motivation for a player to develop a specific intent to accomplish a specific goal.
Bat Speed Research