The Importance of Bat Speed

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This article appeared in the March/April edition of Junior Baseball:

by: Don Marsh

You already have learned some basic lessons on hitting, such as how to choose the right bat and how to properly set up in the batter’s box. Here’s a look at how to correct hitting mistakes that a lot of kids make.

Look at the player in the two photos on this page. You can tell that the boy is correctly set up in the batter’s box. He also has a bat that is the right size for him. But look closely. In one picture, he is holding the bat almost straight up. In the other picture, the bat is almost flat and sitting on his shoulder. When the pitch comes, which one of those bat positions will help the boy to hit the ball far?

If you picked the picture where the boy is holding his bat pointing upward, you’re right. In that position, the boy will have a faster swing and he will be able to pull the ball to left field. The way you hold your bat - straight up, slightly
tipped, or flat - creates an “angle”. Making the correct angle with your bat is an important part of “bat speed”. To be a good hitter, you must have bat speed. If you hold your bat flat or down, you will have a slower swing. The wrong angle makes it hard for you to create a fast bat speed.

Here is a great way to find out for yourself about bat speed: Set yourself up in your batting stance and hold the bat flat, like the boy in the picture on the right. Take one hand off the bat. Close your eyes and think about how heavy the bat feels. Keep your eyes closed, and have a parent or coach raise the angle of the bat until it is straight up. Does the bat feel heavier, the same, or lighter than it did before?

We’re pretty sure you will say “lighter”. This means you will be able to swing the bat more quickly, and you will have a faster bat speed. Remember this lesson when you are playing baseball, and you will soon become a better hitter.

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