Fundamental, old-school baseball still involves situational baseball in which hitting for contact is important. However, there’s no doubt that baseball has become a power game. There is increased importance to drive the ball, not only into the gaps, but over the fence for quick runs on the board.
How does one hit more home runs? Here are some keys to increase power.
Effectively Use Your Legs
A hitter can make contact using all upper body, but no power will be generated without proper use of the lower half of the body. Your legs and hips need to be very active in the swing. With a stance wide and legs slightly bent, you should be in an athletic position that can be used in other sports, such as basketball.
Be sure to stay inside your legs, loading the weight slightly to the back before the pitch. Shift weight forward into the pitch, stiffening the front leg to stop the weight shift. The hips and core should rotate with some force, bringing the arms and bat whipping through the strike zone with velocity. Without the leg drive and hip rotation, there will be limited power even if you make square contact.
Build Leg Strength
The stronger the front leg is, the more it is able to stabilize the body through the swing. This leads to the ability to be more aggressive with weight shift. In essence, a batter needs strong legs to be explosive through impact.
Swinging a bat while standing stationary is one way, but more effective is to drive your body weight into the pitch. When the front leg plants, it has to be strong and stable. If your knee bends or shakes, the potential for power diminishes.
Build Your Core Muscles
The core region, which involves the lower back, abdominals, and obliques, must be active and strong in a powerful baseball swing.
Remember, a baseball swing is much more than just the use of your hands and arms. Think of the swing as a complete process that begins with the legs, working up to the core, with the arms and hands following, whipping the bat through the strike zone.
The use of a medicine ball, rotational exercises, or any other exercise that works the core muscles will help with stability and strength. This will translate a more powerful swing, equating to more power on balls his off the barrel.
Develop a Solid Swing
Strength in the legs and core won’t help much without a solid, fundamental swing. Keep a good, solid, but not a death grip on at bat and keep the swing short and compact. What you don’t want to do is swing “at” that ball. Think of swinging “through” the hitting zone with the ball just happening to get in the way. A weak swing “at” the ball generally results in poor contact, often promoting a side, slicing-type spin on the ball. Keep the bat rhythm the same as that of the body, keeping it strong and athletic.
Choose a Bigger Bat
Make sure you don’t use a bat that is overly heavy, thus creating a “dead” bat. However, a bat that is too light won’t produce desired results either. Remember the basics in physics that force equals mass times acceleration.
Look for a bat that is big and heavy enough that you can control and perform all the fundamentals of the swing. Another benefit of a bigger bat is that is has a larger barrel, which naturally means a larger sweet spot.
A heavier bat and larger sweet spot with contact on the barrel equals greater distance and more home runs.
Keep Eyes Focused on the Ball
This one should be obvious, but solid contact means seeing the ball as long as possible. Many times players overswing, causing their front shoulders to pull off the balls. This accomplishes nothing. In fact, it makes the swing longer, slowing it down and pulling the eyes off the ball.
Since the goal is to make the most solid contact, the key it to keep your front shoulder in, which keeps eyes on the ball, throughout the swing. A baseball travels the furthest off the sweet spot of the bat. Doing this consistently means you must be seeing what you’re swinging at.
Hitting the ball off the sweet spot of the bat with consistency is the most important thing in your quest for hitting the ball with power, translating to more home runs.
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