Being an Explosive Hitter By Coach Tim Wampler
The primary purpose of being a coach is to inspire excellence in your athletes. Training athletes to have an Explosive Swing with power and a high batting average has some unique challenges.
First, as a player and as a coach, you must be dedicated to building and executing a plan to accomplish an Explosive Swing that makes contact often but also drives the ball with outstanding exit velocity.
I feel the best swings look effortless; I call this “Effortless Explosion”!! Two Good Examples are Ken Griffey Junior in baseball and Lauren Chamberlain in girls’ Fastpitch Softball. Junior, whose most baseball experts consider his swing to be the best ever was described as “poetry in motion” on a baseball field. Junior had 630 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .284.
Chamberlain, a College All-American has the sweetest swing I’ve ever seen and was a collegiate All-American for the Oklahoma Sooners, which led her team to the 2013 Women’s College World Series championship team in 2013. Chamberlain is the NCAA DIVISION 1 career leader in slugging percentage and once held the NCAA all-time homerun record with 95. Her collegiate career batting average with all the power was an astounding .393 avg.
To train athletes to have a swing that is “Effortless and Explosive” they need to master the “short to it long through it swing”. The short to it long through-it terminology is heard quite often from coaches but in my 42 years of coaching baseball and softball, I have very rarely ever seen coaches putting drills and exercises in place to produce results!!
So, to better understand what “Short To It” means is this. Once the hitter comes to the top of their load (the C) they release their hands, and the back elbow comes to connection (arm slot) with the knob of the bat going toward the pitcher this is the shortest path too getting the barrel to the ball at contact. Long Through It means this, once the barrel (sweet spot) makes contact the hitter drives their hands toward the pitcher extending the bat on the ball as far as they can to what I call the Power V (Extension) . You may hear coaches saying something like hands inside the ball, to me that is not very clear and much harder to teach and create drills for.
“Long Thru It” is where the Explosion happens. To accomplish this a hitter must have the lower body, the core, and the upper body strong and working together for an Effortless Explosive Swing. **Here are 3 areas I have my hitters work on in their plan to have an Effortless Explosive Swing;
- A Lower Body Weight and Training Program
- A Core Routine consists of a variety of exercises including ab works outs with medicine balls for core stability and rotational power.
- Short Work batting drills to create a short path to the ball from the Load. Tee work with one and two hand Extension Drills
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