By: Eric Bunnell
Posted on September 1, 2015
Hitters are always trying to figure out how to increase bat speed, which is a skill pro and college scouts are looking for. Although bat speed is a trait that many great hitters are simply born with, you can still improve through daily work in the batting cage. Use a combination of the following hitting drills and weight-training exercises.
Shorter-Distance Batting Practice
Try a few rounds of batting practice at a normal distance, then a few rounds with either the pitcher or pitching machine closer to home plate. It may take a few swings or possibly a round or two to get accustomed to the speed, but your hands will eventually adapt, and you'll be squaring up pitches after a certain amount of reps.
Tire swings have a drastic impact on your bat speed. This drill is best done with an old wooden bat and a larger tractor tire. Smaller tires will also work, but larger ones are made with harder, more durable rubber that's better suited for the drill. There are a couple of ways to perform tire swings:
Hold a wooden bat at the bottom of the knob (your game-day bat will also work). Extend your arm in front of you and parallel to the ground, with the bat pointing straight up and down. Slowly rotate the bat 90 degrees to the right until it is parallel to the ground. Finish the rep by rolling your wrist 180 degrees to the left until the bat is parallel to the ground facing the other direction. Repeat this for two sets of 10 repetitions. Switch arms and repeat.
With your arm relaxed at your side, raise the bat 90 degrees for 10 reps. Then start the bat parallel to the ground and raise it another 90 degrees for 10 reps. Switch arms and repeat. You can also place a bat weight on the barrel for added resistance. This is another exercise that will strengthen your forearms.
If you're questioning how to increase bat speed, know it's not something that happens overnight. Mix these drills into your daily routine and keep up a diligent strength-focused workout routine to encourage big steps in your stroke's power.
Eric Bunnell is currently an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, where he works with infielders and base runners. During Bunnell's twelve years in college baseball, he has coached 17 players that went on to sign professional contracts. Bunnell also writes about baseball for the American Baseball Coaches Association and STACK.com. Follow him on Twitter @thecoachscave.