6 Effective Tips to Build a Quick Connected Baseball Swing
Everybody claims to have the secret sauce when it comes to having the textbook recipe for the perfect swing. While some may be closer to the point than others, three facts will always be true about the flawless hack:
- Short: Everyone talks about the “short” swing but not everyone can explain what it is so well. To be clear, a short swing describes a swing that has as little movement as possible after the decision to swing. Now, this does mean that a lot of things need to be done right to accomplish that goal. Are the hands inside the ball? Do we see extra hitches to get out of the load? Where is the player’s balance? All these things and a ton more are essential to a short swing and learning them can be quite tricky for young players. That’s where we come in.
- Quick: Sorry, folks, but you can’t do anything without a quick bat. A timid hack that produces little bat speed isn’t going to work. For the younger crowd, this isn’t a huge deal quite yet. The little guys are still learning how to use their bodies, developing hand-eye coordination, and even developing their first bits of muscular strength in the first place. So a slow bat in a young man may not be too much to worry about. They’ll get there!
- Connected: This one is a little bit scientific and a newer addition to describing the components of great swings. A “connected” swing is one that is able to transfer the force of the ground out to the ball the best. “Okay, but what does that mean?” Let us put it simpler: It means the dude has pop, baby. All power comes out of the ground and a connected swing is going to create more power. This is a full body effort in actuality. It’s a big part of what makes one person seem “more athletic” compared to another. They just know how to get force out of the ground better. Luckily, this can be taught. Read on!
Let’s face it. Every player isn’t the same and trying to provide a one-size-fits-all approach for every ballplayer isn’t going to work. Baseball is just as much stylish as it is mechanical and your swing is a reflection of that.
And just like how every swing is done differently, so is the learning process for every player. There are probably no absolutes for how to teach every player ever their best swing – but we will give you 7 ways to learn a better swing that are general enough to apply to everyone.
1. Watch the Best to be the Best
This seems like common sense, but it has to be said. If you want to be better at baseball, then watch baseball. Seems obvious doesn’t it? But the majority of players just don’t do it and we don’t understand why. Flip on the tube and watch some of the finest game every created – and pay attention!
That’s the key, kids: pay attention. Whenever you see a guy blast a homer, you’re almost guaranteed to get a slow motion view of the swing from the side. That’s the time to lock in and watch how a pro does it. Often, the commentators will throw in their two cents on what makes that particular swing so good (for better or worse) and you as a young player can compare your own swing and see what you can see.
Don’t believe us that this works? Then, how about this. Every Major League Baseball player watches film these days. All of them. And they don’t just watch the opposition. The best of the best watch themselves. This is because they are so familiar with their own swing that they can spot where things are going wrong if they need to make an adjustment just through the beauty of video. If it works for the best in the world, you better believe it works for you?
Here is a great video from former professional players John Madden and Wil Nieves demonstrating easy swing drills that they recommend!
2. Swing Often…
Here’s another one that should go without saying but, again, gets ignored. You have to swing often in order to see any improvement. Oh, do I sound silly again? Too bad because it needs to be said!
Think about the last time the young player in your life (or maybe you are that young player!) took some hacks. Maybe it was yesterday but maybe it was two weeks ago. If you got lucky and you can say yesterday, when was the last time before that? You see, it probably wasn’t as often as it needs to be.
When your teacher wants you to be better at math in school, how often do you do math drills? Yeah, nearly every day. But does your baseball swing get that much work? We’re willing to bet that it doesn’t.
Again, we’re going to point to the Big Leaguers and say “here’s how they do it.” As we all know, during the season, they play every single day – and you better believe they work on their swing every day, too. The MLB guys have entire routines based on locking in their swing to as good as it can possibly be day in and day out. Of course, it’s their job to do that – but who is to say that young players can’t strive to do the same?
3…But Not Too Much
But hold your horses if you think you’ve going to be hitting 1000 balls every day. That’s not the way to go either and we’ll tell you exactly why: fatigue.
Remember the math teacher example we just used? Yeah, think about how tiring it is to do math. Every. Single. Day. Shoot, even the kids that love math get pretty tired of it when it becomes a monotonous mound of work every day. We obviously don’t want that to happen with baseball, right? That’s why we want to encourage you to practice often…but not so much that it ruins your swing.
In fact, we can say “watch what a Big Leaguer does” on this point to. Like we said, the MLB guys fine tune their swing every day – and then they stop. They set up daily routines that let them take as few swings as possible while still getting their work in. For the younger guys, we recommend letting them get their work in before they start getting tired too. A tired swing tends to let the barrel drop and slow down the hands, two things that we aren’t looking for in a swing. So, while we encourage putting a lot of work into creating a great swing, don’t go overboard.
4. Hit Weighted Balls
An interesting tool to help swing power could be a weighted ball. With some younger players, half the battle is getting them to not slow down after they hit the ball or maintain the power in their swing all the way through to their finish. Hitting a weighted ball like the Precision Impact Soft Slug could help this.
By hitting a weighted ball, players can notice a few things about their swing but we are going to focus our attention on the “connected” swing fundamental that we talked about in the introduction above. If a player isn’t connected to the ground strongly when they hit the ball, they will find their feet jarred loose. They should lose balance and the weighted ball might even flop over not too far from where they hit it. Teaching “connection” is probably one of the harder things to teach a young player so this could be the perfect tool to unlock the young man’s swing.
If you’re a data guy, then you’ll be a little miffed to hear that the guys with the ultra-mega-tracking systems and motion sensors that study baseball are a little split on how hitting with weighted balls helps. Some baseball scientists say it’s a big no-no while others say it’s a great idea. But here’s what we know from experience: If you try to hit a ball and you aren’t connected to the ground right, you’re giving up force. So, maybe it’s not an everyday training tool by the science, but we’re willing to say that it could be useful as a once-in-awhile aid to feel the connection from the tip of the bat to the ground.
5. Use a Swing Analyzer
Here’s our favorite way to hack a young player’s swing. For the young guys who are just getting to know their swing, they may benefit from the use of a swing analyzing tool. Like we said above, getting to know their own body is a task in itself for young players so have a tool that tells them where their best swing is could possibly give them some confidence and understanding.
We highly recommend the Blast Baseball Swing Analyzer as the best swing analyzer. It’s the official bat sensor of the MLB and players like Carlos Correa swear by their usefulness. The Blast Baseball Swing Analyzer connects to any smartphone and, through its app, gives you real-time information about what is going on with a player’s swing. All you have to do is place it on the cap of your bat, connect it to your phone, and swing. Then, you can check out your swing metrics like bat path angle, swing speed, time to contact, and way more to find out how you can improve.
So, how does this help a young player to get a better swing? Well, the young guys might not truly know when their swing speed, for example, was better during one of their hacks. It might have felt faster – but maybe that’s because they were just swinging different than normal so it felt weird. Or maybe they used a bad bat path angle to get there. So, with an analyzer like this, the player gets to know right away about what went right and what went wrong, helping them get better with the “quick” swing fundamental.
6. SWINGRAIL Training Aid
For those of you paying attention, the last thing we need to check off of our list is staying short. For a lot of youngsters, this idea is a bit difficult to wrap their heads around. Instead, the wrap the barrel of their bats around. These long swings will work while the kids are still young and nobody is throwing too hard at them but, eventually, they won’t be able to keep up with the heat.
That’s the very reason we highly recommend the SWINGRAIL Training Aid. This little tool was designed for ease of use, ease of understanding, and quick results. Just in case you don’t believe us, it won the Collegiate Baseball’s “Best of Show” award at the 2017 American Baseball Coaches Association and works wonders, according to them. The SWINGRAIL completely gets rid of casting and doesn’t let players drop their hands because it literally connects their hands to their upper arms. The Velcro strap holds the player’s body in a nice tight swing pattern until their hands are at the angle that they should start to move forward and away from their body. With this tool, you’re simply forced to be short.
We all know what it looks like when kids first learn to swing. They make that giant circle with the bat and who could blame them when they are so young. But, as they get older, this habit needs to start to go away. With a SWINGRAIL in a young player’s toolset, casting can be left at the fishing hole.
As you can see, all of these habits and tools can be used by any hitter. All 6 of these techniques should be easily applicable for any young hitter who wants to learn the correct way to take a perfect swing. We aren’t ones for advocating the same mechanics taught to every single ballplayer but these tokens of batting goodness should be of use to anyone. We kept them broad enough to be relevant for all hitters but specific enough that they can be valuable.
Oh, and we should mention that if you found any of the tools on here exciting in any way, just follow the links and you will find way more information on them. You’ll also be able to buy them for yourself. We can’t say enough about every product we mentioned above and how we truly believe that they could change any young hitter’s career.
Remember, folks. Stay short. Stay quick. And stay connected.