This video from Stack gives a look at off-season hitting training with Philadelphia Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins. It shows some cage drills and batting practice swings along with some insight from hitting coach, Milt Thompson. Rollins talks a bit about bat speed and his hitting approach, especially in the cage – a controlled environment where you should be working towards perfection. Deliberate practice instead of just mindless hacks.
Pasted below is the abstract from a bat speed training article published by Chester Sergo and Douglas Boatwright in 1993. The italics and red text are emphasis added by me. Read the abstract, but I’ll summarize and make a few points:
- 24 subjects averaged 19-20 years old and were college students practicing in the off-season
- All the training was done with just dry swings, during practice. 100 swings in sets of 20 performed 3x/week for 6 weeks
- Group 1 (regular bat only), Group 2 (62 oz. bat), Group 3 (alternated sets with 62 oz. & fungo bat)
- Each group improved bat speed 8-9%, with no statistically significant difference. Group 1 (8.8%, highest), Group 2 (8.0% lowest), Group 3 (8.2 %)
- FYI the average bat speeds reported for these players began in the low 90′s and ended around 100 mph, measured by some light timing device made by the school’s engineering department
This video clip is of a college player who was looking for a way to improve after a redshirt freshman year at a Division I baseball school. I’d say he figured it out! This is one of the most drastic improvements I’ve seen in such a very short period of time. Bat speed work with overload-underload bats, reaction and timing training, several different drills for rotation and swing path…we did it all:
Made the post about Derek Jeter hitting the inside fastball, so here is Ryan Howard on the same topic. He explains his hitting approach and swing thoughts for pitches on the inner part of the strike zone:
One of the best points in there is that you shouldn’t be trying to swing at the ball too far in. There’s just not much you can do with it. Also a good point in your cage and batting practice is to work in the gaps and stay primarily in the middle of the field.
Back in the summer of 2006 there was a college player I worked with a handfull of times after he played his freshman season at a very competitive Division 1 program (they won their conference this year and competed in the NCAA baseball tournament).
We mainly did some video review and worked on mechanics as I tried to give him the information I thought he needed to put things together and make the most of his talent. I received this text message at the end of this May:
This is P***** P***** from **U. Just played my last game and wanted to thank you for working with me. You turned my career around. This year I hit .365 with 11 HR and 51 RBI. Thanks.
Bob Alejo is the strength and conditioning coach of the Oakland Athletics. This video from the strength power hour is from the 2007 NSCA sport-specific conference and he gives some baseball training tips, drills and exercises that address these areas of hitting: