FIX A LONG BASEBALL SWING

THE GYM BALL SERIES

The following 4 step hitting drill series is designed to speed up a slow bat by isolating the upper half of the body in the swing. As the hitter returns to swinging with two hands, along with reintroducing his lower half, he will notice an immediate improvement with his bat speed and power.  This series is a small part of our huge range of Virtual Hitting Coach tools, including unique hitting drills and videos that provide simple hitting instruction on how to become a complete hitter.

Step 1 Seated Bottom Hand Gym Ball

Seated Bottom Hand Gym Ball is designed to isolate the bottom hand of the baseball swing, thus improving overall swing performance, as the hitter returns to swinging the bat with two hands. This simple hitting drill is great for teaching a hitter to stay closed off with his front shoulder, keep his head on the baseball, prevents rolling over on the baseball and is a great hitting drill for a hitter to stay through the baseball. The objective of this hitting drill is to teach the value of hitting the baseball with backspin to the opposite field.

Lead Hand Gym Ball - Teach A Short Baseball Swing

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You can access part 1 of this hitting drill series when you join The Hitting Project.

Step 2 Seated Top Hand Gym Ball

Seated Top Hand Gym Ball is designed to train the all important role of the top hand in the baseball swing. The top hand is especially important for right hand hitters and right hand throwers, as the top hand is the dominant hand and will be a key power source for the baseball swing. Seated Top Hand Gym Ball also teaches a hitter to keep his head on the baseball, to stay through the ball, hit with backspin and prevents the hitter from rolling over at the point of contact. This baseball hitting drill is particularly useful for hitters’ that have a long and slow baseball swing, the top hand plays a key role with keeping the swing short and compact, and specifically on the inside pitch, where the elbow will drive into the rib cage, an action that is required for keeping your hands inside the baseball.

TOP-HAND-GYM

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You can access part 2 of this hitting drill series when you join The Hitting Project.

Step 3 Standing 2 Hand Gym Ball

Standing Swing Gym Ball is a hitting drill that is designed to teach the core elements of the baseball hitting stance, reinforces the importance of balance and especially how to stay back when hitting a baseball. This baseball hitting drill isolates the swing from the waste up. The hitter will be unable to drive completely with his lower half, and as a result will have to generate most of his power by using his hands.

The best batting stance hitting drill

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You can access part 3 of this hitting drill series when you join The Hitting Project.

Step 4 Opposite Field Tee-Drill

The objective with this Opposite Field Tee-Drill exercise is to demonstrate to the hitter the improvement in both swing power and bat speed. On the first swing the hitter will notice a significant difference in how hard he hits the baseball. The previous baseball hitting drills were designed to isolate and improve the speed and power of upper body in the swing, now returning to 2 hands, the hitter will notice an immediate improvement in his swing performance.

Batting drill to increase bat speed Opposite Field Tee

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You can access part 4 of this hitting drill series when you join The Hitting Project.

WHAT CAUSES BAT DRAG OR A SLOW BAT SPEED?

FIXING A SLOW AND LONG BASEBALL SWING

BAD TRAINING HABITS

Batting Practice where the hitter attempts to pull or hit home runs every swing, will result in bat drag come game time.  It is essential that a hitter has a balanced hitting regime that includes a solid opposite field hitting approach.

DIPPING TOO MUCH WITH THE BACK SHOULDER

As stated earlier, flying open causes a hitter to drop/dip the back shoulder. Dipping the back shoulder excessively will result in a long swing. Once the angle of the bat head drops beyond the point of no return, there is little chance of catching up to a good fastball.

TIGHT GRIP ON THE BAT

A tight grip will cause tension in the forearms that results in a long swing and bat drag. There is nothing worse than watching a hitter tense up on the bat so much that he looks like Frankenstein when he swings. A loose grip equates to a quick and tension free baseball swing.

TENSION IN THE ARMS & ELBOWS

Besides the hands, the next worse spot to tense up is the arms and elbows. Tension in the arms will result in a long and slow baseball swing. It is important that a hitter minimizes tension in the upper body, especially as he is setting up in his batting stance.

AVOIDING BAT DRAG

FIXING A SLOW AND LONG BASEBALL SWING

  • TROUBLE WITH THE INSIDE FASTBALL: Once a hitter begins to drag his bat through the hitting zone, there is no chance of squaring up a good inside fastball. In order to hit the inside fastball the hands need to take the shortest path possible to the ball to meet the ball out in front of the hitting zone.
  • NO POWER: A hitter can forget about hitting for power with a long swing. Besides size and strength the next part of the equation for hitting home runs is bat speed. Of course bat drag equates to a long swing, and a long swing is a weak swing.
  • UGLY SWING: Let’s face it, bat drag does not look pretty and a long swing is an ugly swing. In order to have a “pretty baseball swing” a hitter needs to stay short as possible to the baseball.
  • FOUL BALLS: Foul balls are great when a hitter has 2 strikes against him and he is fighting off tough pitches. But when a hitter is fouling off too many fastballs down the middle of the plate, then this can be a sign that he has bat drag. Dropping the bat head will ultimately cause a hitter to foul off pitches right down the middle.
  • STRIKE OUTS: Bat drag/long swing is a major contributor to strike outs. A hitter that can’t catch up to a fastball will ultimately rack up an insurmountable number of strike outs. Bat drag causes “a hole in the swing”. By definition a “hole in a baseball swing” is the area of the hitting zone where a swing with bat drag fails to cover. Dropping or dipping the back shoulder too much will cause a hole in the swing, as it causes the barrel of the bat to drop, resulting in a “hole in the swing”.

EXTRA HITTING TIPS TO AVOID BAT DRAG

FIXING A SLOW AND LONG BASEBALL SWING

  • STAY CENTERED: Stay tall & centered with the upper body (the hitter’s cross). Throughout the swing stay centered from your head to belly button, all the way through the swing cycle. Once the head gets behind the belly button, this will cause a dip in the swing.
  • BE SHORT AND FAST: Take the quickest path possible to the baseball. A hitter with a long swing should be thinking “stay short”. This is especially the case when a hitter is beaten for pace by a good fastball, his thoughts should revert to “stay short & be quick”. The worst thing a hitter with a slow bat can do, is to not make any adjustments in the batter’s box.
  • SHORTEN UP: This is “old-school” mentality, however, sometimes a hitter has to swallow his pride and shorten up 2-4 inches on the knob of the baseball bat. What’s more embarrassing? Shortening up on the bat, or striking out 4 times in a baseball game? The hitter who is willing to make physical and mental adjustments during at-bats, will be successful.
  • MENTAL CUES: A hitter should have mental cues to remind him to “stay short” or “stay back” depending on the situation. As stated earlier, hitting is a game of adjustments, and mental cues can help a hitter to adjust from swing to swing. A hitter can tap his leg, stare at the label of his bat or step out of the batter’s box to clear his head. Each of these actions can be a mental cue  to remind the hitter of an important hitting instruction.
  • SELF-EVALUATION: A hitter can tell by the way he is hitting the baseball as to whether his “swing is long” or “bat drag” is taking place. Weak pop ups to the right side of the field for a right handed hitter, or to the left side of the field for a left handed hitter, are a strong indication a hitter has a long swing.
  • VIDEO/PHOTO ANALYSIS: Use a camera or your iPhone to capture the swing and then replay step by step in slow motion. Look for common hitting faults such as dipping, lunging and pulling the front shoulder off the baseball. When the hitter can see for himself what he is doing wrong, it is more likely he will make the necessary mechanical adjustments.

FREE BASEBALL HITTING DRILLS & TIPS

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CREATOR & CHIEF EDITOR OF THE HITTING PROJECT

CLINTON BALGERA

20+ years of international baseball experience. MVP Junior College Div II World Series – Back to Back championships Grand Rapids Community College. Awarded full scholarship to the University of Indianapolis. World University Games. Competed in Pro leagues in the U.S.A, Italy and Australia. Helms Award Winner (MVP) and Offensive Champion in the Australian Baseball League 2008. Former Hitting Instructor for the ABL National Champion Perth Heat. And an all round nice guy...

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