How to Develop Bat-Speed
The top two areas for hitters to work on include the mental side/approach, and bat speed, of course.
Becoming a confident hitter with the bat-speed, and power/confidence to back it up, will be a game changer.
I always try to make hitting as simple as possible. Slow feet, fast hands with a quiet head, and attack the inside part of the ball.
Once you learn how to slow your feet down, quicken up your hands, and quiet your head, the ball will seem slower and you will be able to swing faster. Imagine if you came into the next regular season with 20% more bat-speed and 100% more confidence. That is what training the mental side of hitting can do for you.
When you hear “tall on the back-side” it is because a lot of kids drop their back shoulder and foul everything straight back. When that happens, it is because they are dropping their backside and not staying tall.
The action should be getting the bat head straight to the ball and staying on top and through the ball, without collapsing.
Your main goal should be to get better every day and get your best-self playing every game.
Over time, players develop a new body (stronger) and a new mind (wiser with better instincts). So, keep in mind the bigger picture. If you go 0–10 in three games, it doesn’t matter, unless you let it affect you negatively.
Keep showing up to the next pitch, the next at-bat, and get better every day.
The best exercises to improve bat-speed include:
1. Overload and underload swings
This is one of the only scientifically proven ways to improve bat-speed. When you do it consistently, it is guaranteed to work. But you cannot do it once or twice and expect results.
The way this works is to start with a lighter bat, maybe an old little league bat, broom stick, etc. and take 20–25 swings. You can take dry hacks, hit off a tee, do soft-toss, or whatever.
Then move on to your regular bat and do the same thing, 20–25 reps.
Lastly, move to a heavier bat. This can be with a bat weight or it could be multiple bats, and do the same thing 20–25 times.
Repeat all of this for 3–4 sets. That concludes overload and underload training.
2. Quick toss
This drill is exactly how it sounds. You will take regular, powerful swings, quickly back to back, for 5–10 swings. You can do this with someone throwing batting practice to you, or soft toss. Have them set up with 5–10 balls and quickly toss them to you one after another, in rhythm.
At the plate, as you are batting, you will focus on squaring up each pitch and hitting it hard on the barrel. Then quickly and smoothly getting your bat back to your load and hit the next pitch.
3. Weight room training
Now, there is only so much you can do on the field to increase bat-speed. So, let’s talk about the weight room.
No matter what sport you are playing, it starts from the ground up and having strong legs. So that is area number one. I would recommend squats, deadlifts, lunges, and running.
Number two, with any type of rotational movement like we do when we hit/throw, we have to have a strong core. So, work on strong abs and obliques. This includes planks, side-planks, pushups, sit-ups, or six-inches.
The third area is in your grip and your forearms. This will allow you to be more powerful with that last-second whip through the zone. Farmers carriers are helpful in building strength here. With farmers carries, you pick up a weight and just walk maybe 25 yards and walk back while carrying. You can also use cinderblocks etc. You can also hold plates with your grip for as long as possible and time yourself. You can do wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, squeeze a tennis ball, etc. as well.
These are just a few exercises that you can do. Take the time to do each, do it consistently, and continue to add other movements as well. The results will speak for itself!