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Monday, January 25, 2010

Tips For Improving Baseball Or Softball Bat Speed

By Jeff LeRiche

While there are plenty of softball and baseball players out there who will claim to have hit a home run, there are just as many who will truthfully admit that they have never hit a home run. Whichever club you find yourself in, hitting the ball over the fence will always require significant bat speed.

Okay we all know that chicks did the long ball, go big or go home and all that. But how about winning games? Facing a team that consistently utilizes the entire field effectively while stringing together hit after hit, coupled with smart base running applies pressure to a defense with the added benefit of frustrating the opposition too.

That said every softball or baseball player should strive to be as complete as player as they can be. Why limit yourself to being just one thing or another? Do not put limitations on your ball hitting potential. Putting one over the wall should not define your value to your team or you as a softball player. Many will tell you there is nothing better than absolutely destroying a ball and sending it to where it deserves to go. If you are ever fortunate enough to hit a few out of the yard, you will most likely still vividly recall that first bomb you hit in a game.

No matter what you are trying to accomplish at the plate, your plan should include hitting the ball hard every time you swing. The best hitters in any game will be trying to crush the ball every time. Sometimes the result is a 400′+ bomb other times a laser in the gap or screaming humpy in front of the outfield. The fact is that you don't get anything positive done at the plate without bat speed.

Here are a few tips, which with practice should help you to improve your bat speed:

Keep your hands loose. Maintaining a loose grip on the softball or baseball bat will gain you 5 mph of bat speed and 5-10 mph of ball speed. Tension in your hands will cost you bat speed.

Push with your back hand while pulling with your front hand. The push will increase your power and improve your follow through.

Release your top hand off the bat. Doing this will allow you more extension which translates to more power.

Keep your hands out in front of the bat. Throw your hands at the ball so that the bat head is the last thing that comes through the zone.

Hit the bottom half of the ball. This creates back spin which will carry the ball farther.

Shift your weight. Make sure you are shifting your weight from your back foot to your front foot.

Make contact slightly in front of where you are standing. This point is where you will be generating max bat speed. Too far in front and the bat will be decelerating when you hit the ball. Too early in your swing, and you will not be generating enough speed and leverage.

Adjust your grip. Drop your pinky finger off the knob to get more leverage.

Choose pitches in your "power zone". You have a zone where you hit with the most power. Learn it in batting practice, be patient & really work on pitch selection.

Head on the ball. Start your swing with your chin on your front shoulder, and end with your chin on your back shoulder. This will keep your head down on the ball and prevent you from opening up too soon & losing power.

Range of motion- Start with the bat back as far as you can. That complete range of motion will allow you to create as much momentum as you can prior to contact.

Each improvement or piece of knowledge that you add to your arsenal can mean one, maybe two, maybe even five mph to your bat speed. It is those incremental gains that you make to your bat and ball speed that gradually make you a better softball or baseball player. Nobody ever knows the limits of their potential. You will be surprised what you are capable of if you apply proven techniques and practice hard. If you desire to hit with more power and consistency, you can and will. It is up to you!

Jeff LeRiche is the President and Founder of OTC Sports, a premier baseball and softball bat retailer. With deep passion for the sport, Jeff managed and played on his own team traveling the country for the better part of a decade. He has served on various softball associations and boards including several years as the State Director. After years as the ultimate baseball/softball road warrior, Jeff held the position of DeMarini National Manager of Slowpitch Softball and during this period he became the voice of DeMarini slowpitch. Having recently ventured out on his own with OTC Sports, LeRiche strives to bring the best baseball and softball bats and accessories to players of all types and levels. Jeff continues to bring his passion and love for the game to OTC Sports everyday. For more information, see http://www.otcsports.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeff_LeRiche

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick