The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Feb 7, 2015 12:15:00 PM

Thinking About Switch Hitting? Here Is Some Advice For You to Consider

Becoming a switch hitter is a difficult decision that some players will have to make. Before you make the decision to become a switch hitter, you need to be able to answer some questions about yourself. If you're a natural right handed batter, are you willing to bat left handed potentially 90% of the time? If you're a natural left handed batter are you willing to bat right handed if the game depended on it? If you're not willing to make these decisions/sacrifices, maybe switch hitting isn't for you. If you are willing to make these sacrifices, you at least have the mentality a switch hitter needs.

Although it's great to have the mentality of a switch hitter, it's going to take a lot more than that to be successful. It’s going to take a natural ability from the other side of the plate. If your initial feel for hitting on the other side of the plate isn't comfortable, becoming a switch hitter will be extremely difficult. When you step on the other side of the box you need to feel at least one distinct advantage. Hopefully the advantage you will notice will be your vision. Some players will step in the other batter’s box and instantly notice their vision is better on that side. This will obviously be a huge advantage to someone experimenting with switch hitting. Other advantages may come in the form of power or a natural swing plane. Without having a distinct and noticeable advantage to switch hitting, it’s difficult to justify the purpose of your experiment.

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting strategy, hitting approach, hitting, hitting power, switch hitting

Ryan Armstrong | May 6, 2014 6:30:00 AM

Baseball Drill of the Week | "Quarter Turns"

This week's Hitting Drill of the Week is "Quarter Turns"

Quarter Turns is a hitting drill we use to promote rotation and weight transfer through the swing. We do this by starting the drill in a "quarter turned" position, thereby already getting the hitter into a position on the way to rotation and transfer.

When doing the drill we just need to start in a regular stance and, as stated, just start the lower half into its rotation and weight transfer or "pinching" of the backside to the front side. From here, the hitter can simulate an at bat, either off a tee or with a partner doing front toss. We find that the Quarter Turn drill can help the hitter more naturally get better rotation and transfer after being artifically placed in a quarter turn start. Obviously the intention is that by working on this it will then help transfer to their regular swing. Coaching cues would be to watch for the hitter's finish to include full rotation as well as transfer to the front side with little to no weight on the backside while maintaining a balanced hitting position. 

Check out Coach Army with a demo below

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, rotational power, hitting, baseball drills, hitting drills, hitting power, hitting rotation, hitting mechanics, bat plane, weight transfer

Rick Johnston | Oct 3, 2013 8:17:00 AM

Minimize Hitting Variables Instead of Overcomplicating Them

We have all coached or worked with hitters and have experienced, tested and tried numerous techniques and styles trying to achieve the ultimate goal of hitting the ball consistently hard. It is also safe to say that during these styles and techniques that we have enlisted upon players, we have swamped them with endless oodles of information pertaining to the feet, hands, head, shoulders, grip, position in batter’s box and contact points to name only but a few. In doing so, many coaches (and trust me parents are sometimes worse) inundate hitter’s with so much “GOOD” information that they simply rob the hitter of natural actions and instead insert thoughts that rob the hitter of seeing the ball and hitting the ball.

It so clear and evident in numerous cases and situations that the infinite amount of “GOOD” instruction is creating so much tension, the hitter is unable to focus on the current task at hand. With this said, I cannot emphasis it enough, minimize or simplify the techniques you are trying to get across. Keeping these techniques simple and clear will help each hitter center their attention to a specific rather than an abundant of thoughts. Hitters have so little time, less than half a second to put it all together and hit the ball. These simple techniques, when delivered in a sound, progressive manner will yield positive results much faster than an overabundance of information in a short period of time. The concentration level needed for a hitter in a time frame of less than half a second cannot have outside interfering factors. 

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting, baseball coaching, hitting power, hitting posture, vision

SST Mississauga | Aug 4, 2013 2:00:00 PM

Baseball Exercise of the Week - Power Sled Hip Extensions

The SST Baseball Exercise of the week is the Power Sled Hip Extension with shoulder raise.

Baseball players need to generate a great deal of power from their hips when hitting and throwing. The hips are the key link between the upper and lower body extremities. We use a lot of hip extension work in our baseball programs to help strengthen the posterior chain (low back, glutes, hamstrings). This is important for baseball players as this movement will help teach you how to transfer force using the kinetic chain, starting with your feet and ankles, through the knees and hips to the upper body. 

Baseball players need the perfect blend of power, balance and weight transfer to generate the most force out of their body and any weak links or poor synchronization can result in loss of power and/or injury. That's why it's important to have a fitness assessment with muscular imbalance testing, to identify any weak links in the kinetic chain. Once you have strenghtened your weakest links, you can really start to develop as an athlete.  

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Topics: baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, baseball exercise, hitting power, throwing power, posterior chain, hip extensions

SST Mississauga | May 8, 2013 11:49:00 AM

Baseball Exercise of the Week | "Wrist Flexions"

This week's Baseball Exercise of the Week is "Wrist Flexions”.

When you look at some of the best hitters in baseball, especially power hitters, one of the most common physical attributes they each possess is big, strong, powerful forearms. Guys like Josh Hamilton, Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols all possess well developed forearms. These hitters also have what might be termed "quieter" swings than some others like Jose Bautista, and it is possible that their superior grip strength can help contribute to them being more “static” type hitters when it comes to generating bat speed (Don't go crazy - I am not saying they ARE static, just MORE STATIC than some other hitters). These hitters look like they just flick their wrists and the ball jumps off the bat! It is not that easy, but being strong in the wrists surely doesn't hurt at all.

Wrist Flexions strengthen multiple muscle groups that make up your forearm such as;  

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Topics: fitness tips, strength training, in-season strength training, baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, off-season strength training, baseball exercise, weight lifting, wrist strength, hitting power, grip strength

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