Below is another bat speed training research abstract. This really was one of the best, if not the best, controlled research study that has been published regarding overload & underload training and its effects on bat swing velocity – and it was done all the way back in 1995!
The basics are that 3 groups of 20 college players were trained 4 times per week for 12 weeks under the following conditions: batting practice group, dry swing group, control group. The BP and dry swing group followed this swing training protocol using varied heavy and light weighted bats while the control group just dry swung with a regular weighted bat.
The results say that each group significantly imrpoved bat speed, but that’s a little misleading if you don’t read the whole study. The batting practice group improved 10%, the dry swing group imroved 6%, and the control group improved 1%.
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
A couple of years ago, I made a post about resistance training for bat speed that outlined a weight lifting program that has been demonstrated through research to improve strength for high school baseball players. It’s basic multi-joint movements and progressive overload principle provide exellent results.
Something I think that was overlooked there was that the original NSCA article by Dr. David Szymanski also includes a simple protocol for increasing bat speed using overload/underload weighted implement training:
What bat should you use in the on-deck circle while getting loose? Light bat, heavy bat, regular bat? Is a donut really that bad?
This isn’t a new topic, but an article in Scientific America brings up the issue again with a new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research:
Warming up with 5 swings of a light or normal bat appears to increase post warm-up velocity of the normal bat when compared with warming up with a heavy bat after a rest period of 30 seconds. Within the bat weight spectrum of this study, it is suggested that when preparing to hit, 5 warm-up swings with either a light or normal bat will allow a player to achieve the greatest velocity of their normal bat.
Here is another study that I was a part of at La Tech – this one was done to see if adding weight to the forearms while training (taking swings) would help improve bat speed and batted ball velocity.
Just came across this…
From: Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology Jul2007 Supplement, Vol. 29, pS92
In baseball hitting, a powerful bat swing needs to be produced by utilizing ground reaction force (GRF) and it should also be temporally coordinated relative to the flight of a pitch. Therefore, organizing a hitting movement to meet these task requirements is a key for a successful hitting performance. This leads to a presumption that a front-foot stepping motion adopted for utilizing GRF to produce power for a bat-swing motion should be temporally coordinated with respect to an oncoming pitch. The present study investigated the temporal organization of hitting movements by focusing on the timing of the stepping motion relative to the flight of pitches. Six participants hit pitches projected by a pitching machine with following task conditions: 1) hitting pitches traveling at a consistent speed and 2) hitting pitches traveling at fast/slow speeds, which were randomly delivered. The second condition was aimed at eliciting movement modulation to the difference in the pitches’ speeds. Ground reaction forces exerted by left and right feet during hitting movements was recorded by two force plates to measure the timing of the front-foot take-off and landing in the stepping motion. Hitting motions were also recorded by a high-speed camera for interpreting the change of GRF profile relative to the hitting movement. The comparison between the GRF profiles in the two task conditions revealed that the timing of the stepping motion and shifting weight forward for initiating the bat swing was modulated relative to the pitch’s speed. Temporal relation between successive motion phases was compensatory such that the early timing of landing the front foot relative to an oncoming pitch was followed by the late initiation of shifting weight onto the landed front foot, and vice versa. The timing variability in the successive motion phases progressively reduced up to the ball-bat contact. These results demonstrated the coordinative structure of the hitting movement for timing the bat swing relative to the pitch’s flight.