Over the years, baseball players have improved their playing skills and have now started playing classically with unmatched skills. This has been due to the advancements in the sports including hiring of experts such as nutritionists, use of new technology in designing bats and balls, and better weight training. Other developments in the sports include reduced levels of injuries, increase in swinging velocity, enhanced timing, and increase in hand speed. However, even with these developments, the common problem that most baseball players especially hitters face is slow/long baseball swings.
Defining a slow baseball swing
Usually, good baseball swings are short, fast, very efficient, compact, and maintains the body in a balanced position. Such swings enable the body to remain relaxed and ensure that the head and shoulders remain still. These swings are hard to achieve and at times, only pro-baseball players are able to repeatedly make fast and short swings. Ideally, the hands together with other body parts such as the upper body determine the kind of swing you are going to make. A good hitter does not necessarily need to be standing in a specific position so that they can make a good swing. You can still swing perfectly even when you are sitting on a bucket or are in any other position.
What causes a slow swing?
More often than not, a slow swing is caused by poor timing. In baseball, especially when swinging to hit the ball, timing is everything. Irrespective of how good you are in understanding the mechanics of swinging, if your timing is wrong such that you swing late, you will most likely make a slow and long swing. The secret to perfect timing when swinging in baseball is ensuring that you stand in a ready position at all times. For starters, when preparing to swing and hit the ball, you need to ensure that your stride foot is down so that you are able to recognize the spin, speed, and location of pitches.
When you fail to clearly identify how the ball is directed to you when you are playing in the hitter’s position, there are very high chances that you will make a slow swing and that you will have poor contact with the ball. Slow swings due to poor timing come about due to tightening the body too much; a common occurrence among young baseball players.
How to correct slow swings
There are 2 drills that can help you in correcting slow and long swings. These include:
1. Front Arm Drill
This drill aims at improving your swinging skills by enabling you to swing faster and make more accurate hits. When practicing the drill, you should use something light like a waffle bat and the hitter should stand in stance. While using the front arm only, the hitter should pull the bat across the playing zone and stop at the contact point with the ball. While practicing this drill, you should ensure that you do not let the front arm to lock before it reaches the point-of-contact. You should ensure that the hips, the back foot, and other parts of the body are maintained in a fixed position; they should not move.
2. No Stride Drill
In this drill, the hitter should start in a position such that the legs are spread out widely than normal. When the hitter makes a swing, the front foot should not move but should instead stay in the same position throughout the swing. The hitter can use the back foot to pivot the swing, but it is necessary that the front foot does not move. This helps in ensuring that the player is standing in a ready stance such that the hands are able to swing fast and the bat makes a perfect contact with the ball.
The ability of the hitter to make short compact swings is determined by the hitter’s ability to identify the right time to start making the swing. Most of the times, wrong timing is caused by lack of confidence in the hitter’s playing abilities. If the hitter is not confident of their playing skills, they are bound to make a wrong timing which in turn affects how perfect the swing will be. Sometimes, a few adjustments to the player’s playing skills can make it easy for a hitter to makefast swings.
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