Back to School!

School started today which means I’ll have very little time to update my website and my blog.  I’m going to try to put an hour of work in every day but some days I may not be able to meet that.  If you were wondering what a college player’s schedule looks like… here’s what mine will look like for the next month until we are allowed to get into real team practice.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

6:00-7:00 – weights

9:15-11:50 – class

2:30 – 3:30 – baseball **

Tuesday, Thursday

 

9:15 – 11:50 – class

2:30 – 3:30 – baseball**

4:00 – 5:00 – conditioning

** This is during an NCAA regulated time where you’re only allotted a certain amount of time with the coach.  That being said, if you’re not at the field for one or two extra hours… mental notes will be taken by the coaches.

Although it may look like a lot, now that I’m writing it down it’s not that bad.  When we get closer to season we will be allotted a lot more practice time and we’ll have games so it’s going to get a lot more hectic.

 

The Hype Around the Backspin Tee

Seemingly out of nowhere someone has decided that the conventional tee is no good and went and made a brand new design and it has exploded.  So what’s all the hype about?  If you have read or heard anything at all about the tee then you know that the purpose is essentially to stop players from hitting ground balls.

Normal tees cover up the bottom of the ball which is where you need to hit in order to get some lift.  I know a lot of younger players can get away with hitting the ball on the ground, but as you get older, the infielders get more range and make less mistakes.  So why not fix the problem before it becomes a problem?

Recently our college team bought a backspin tee and our coach loves having us use it.  About half the players like the tee and half the players don’t.  The only thing negative I have to say about the tee is that the ball comes off the bat slower because the ball has to be held up by the tee so there’s some friction slowing the ball down.  That and the fact that it’s different than what they’re used to, these are the only negative things I have heard about the tee.

That being said, the tee does everything it’s supposed to do.  It teaches you how to hit balls with backspin.  More importantly, when your swing gets too long and you wrap around the ball, you can tell.  Since the tee is on top, you can feel the bat hit the tee and the ball is forced down more than it would normally go.  It feels absolutely terrible, but it lets you know when your swing is getting too long.  Normal tees don’t reveal any flaws in your swing like the backspin tee does.

 

 

How to get a more Powerful Swing

First of all, where does power come from?

It all starts in your legs.

       Buster Posey                  Albert Pujols                    Kris Bryant

As you can tell, there are different ways to effectively load, but the point of these pictures is to see how, for all three of these players, there is a lot of weight that starts in their back leg.  The power that comes from that back leg and the transfer of that energy is what makes up almost all of the power in a good swing.

Efficiently transferring energy (heel touch).

Buster Posey               Albert Pujols                Kris Bryant

This is right before heel touch, as you can tell they are all fairly similar.  The power is moving from the legs slowly to the hips.  The power is all in the hips at contact which we will get to next.

Obviously squats are the primary form of strengthening your legs, but people often forget about the hamstrings.  And wouldn’t you know it, strained hamstrings are one of the most frequent forms of injury at the college and major league level.  Here is a great video for a hamstring workout you can do at home.  Also, explosive lateral movement exercises are necessary as this kind of movement is where a lot of power is generated.

There are resistance bands out there that are made to go around your legs and ankles that can increase the power in your legs and hips.  These bands are good for strengthening for power and can help your running speed.  These bands are being used constantly at the college and professional level.

resistance-bands-big-image

For a good instructional video click here and here.

 

Efficiently transferring energy (contact point)

Buster Posey                Albert Pujols                      Kris Bryant

At this point the energy has moved up through the hips and through the core and the arms.  The stronger your forearms, wrists and hands are, the less energy will be lost at contact point.  If you’re weak there the bat head will give on contact and the ball will come off the bat a lot slower.  You should not feel like the ball slows your swing down at all.  If you do, you need to work on your arms and core.  In high school I brought a small hand/ forearm strengthening device to school every day and worked on my grip strength.