Exercises for Baseball Hitting Power
Hitting a baseball with power is the goal of nearly every player who steps onto the field. The ability to generate great bat-head speed prior to impact with the ball allows a player to drive the ball deep into the outfield. One of the factors that helps generate bat speed is strength. However, there's a lot more to power hitting than big muscles. Factors like wrist snap, rhythm and timing can help you hit with power. There are several drills and exercises you can do to to develop these skills.
Back to Tee Ball
Hitting off of tees is not just for preschoolers. The best hitters know the tee is a powerful practice tool to help a player develop a level swing. Use the tee for power hitting by putting a slightly deflated basketball on the tee and taking a level swing at the center portion of the ball. Do not stop after contact. Follow through is the key to power hitting. This can be difficult with a basketball because it provides great resistance. Make a conscious effort to finish your follow through. Take 15 swings at the basketball before taking a one-minute break. Repeat the set.
Lose the Weight
Although it is a popular practice to use weighted bats before hitting, in the belief that you can swing harder with a non-weighted bat after swinging the weighted bat, Craig Smith's "Wall Street Journal" article, "Baseball's Weight Problem," says that it is not the case. According to Smith, deviating from a normal swing just before hitting activates slow-twitch muscle fibers and results in a slower swing. The best practice is to warm up with a bat of the same weight and use the same motion that you use when you are at bat.
Opposite Field Exercise
For average-size players, this is one of the most important factors when it comes to hitting the ball with power. While bigger players may try to pull everything in order to hit with power, many of the best power hitters will get more distance on their long hits by hitting an outside pitch to right field--for a right-handed batter. A batter who tries to pull that pitch may end up hitting a hard grounder to shortstop or a fly ball to left field. By waiting a fraction of a second longer and hitting the ball to the opposite field, you will hit that pitch with as much power as the one you pull. Go into the batting cage and hit 20 straight pitches to the opposite field. Take a two-minute break and repeat the set.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.