Effects of Weighted Bats on Bat Speed
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
I’ll add these points:
1.) This type of training is relatively easy to implement for any player or team. Even with just a regular bat and dry swings, players will improve if they set their focus on high intensity, quality swings.
2.) Heavy bats are not bad. I tried to suggest this in the weighted warm-ups post. Remember there is a difference between acute and chronic training effects. I would not recommend the volume of swings with as heavy of a bat as used in this study, but both overload and underload training components are valuable within a suggested range (see swing training page).
3.) The study makes reference to an unpublished thesis from 1970 which concluded that swinging a heavy bat in conjunction with weight training significantly improves bat velocity, whereas weight training alone did not.
4.) It doesn’t take tons of hitting drills or fancy weight room exercises to improve bat speed. Mechanics and strength training are important, but remember —> intent, specificity, feedback.
-Sergo, Chester; Boatwright, Douglas
The purpose of this study was to determine if baseball bat velocity could be improved as a result of training with both weighted and light bats as opposed to training with either bat alone. Subjects (N=24) from a collegiate baseball team were pretested for bat velocity and randomly assigned to one of three training groups (n=8). Each group dry-swung a bat 20 sets of five swings each with 20 seconds rest between sets, 3 days a week for 6 weeks. The control group used a legal bat of their choice. Group 2 used a 62-oz weighted bat. Group 3 alternated a 62-oz weighted bat and a light bat between each set.Subjects took their normal swing through a light timing device, using a 31-oz bat, as if hitting in a game situation. The average of the last five swings was used for data analysis. A 3 x 2 (Group x Time) ANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor was used for statistical analysis. The reliability for the testing procedure was determined by pooling the test-retest data from the pretest and posttest. Data analysis revealed no significant group effect, a significant time effect, and no Group x Time effect. The evidence suggests that swinging a bat of any weight under the training program’s guidelines would significantly improve bat velocity.
(C) 1993 National Strength and Conditioning Association