Exit velocity is a measurement of batspeed, and every player wants more of both.
Yet, it can be difficult to increase exit velocity in baseball. It's also not always clear why some players hit harder than others.
In this article, we'll explore where batspeed comes from and how players can improve their exit velocity.
Where Does Batspeed Come From?
Batspeed comes from a combination of factors:
- Swing mechanics
Tapping into all four factors and gradually improving on each over time is important to maximizing any player's potential.
Strength & Explosiveness: Putting More Force Behind the Bat
Strength isn't the complete picture, but it's a major part of it.
Baseball bats - especially wood bats - require a lot of power and torque to swing.
However, just because a person is strong, doesn't mean he can swing a bat well. The force must be created quickly and transferred efficiently through what baseball calls the kinetic chain.
But, explosiveness is critical, as a person needs to apply a lot of force to the bat in a short period of time.
Swing Mechanics: Transferring Power More Effectively
Having tons of strength and explosiveness is great, but if a player's swing is poor, he won't be able to tap into much of it.
We should think of swing mechanics as getting a player as close to tapping 100% of his potential as possible. Improving the swing each year is essential to maximizing batspeed in the long run, and making consistent contact, too.
Aggressiveness: Not Getting Cheated
If a player's swing is efficient and he's strong and explosive, he could still give some of his batspeed away by not swinging as hard as he should.
"Controlled chaos" is a good way to think about it, as players should swing as hard as possible while still maintaining excellent bat control.
3 Ways to Increase Exit Velocity and Batspeed
Okay, so let's get to business: here are a few ways to increase your exit velocity and batspeed.
#1. Work on Whole-Body Strength in the Weight Room
With exit velocity becoming more of priority for hitters, it's important to learn proper strength training fundamentals from a qualified strength coach.
If you want to increase your exit velocity this year, seek out a qualified trainer and work hard on a baseball-specific program that focuses on whole-body strength and explosiveness. If you are working at home without a coach, be sure to use proper form on all movements and focus on mobility especially in the hips.
#2. Improve Your Swing with Hitting Drills
There's no one-size-fits-all hitting drill, so get out there and try lots of different drills to see what works for you.
Working with a hitting coach and watching swing videos can help you become a student of the game and work to improve your swing. Using a radar gun to measure your exit speed can help you track progress.
Especially when making adjustments to your swing, drills using a quality batting tee like the Tanner Pro will pay huge dividends. Hitting a stationary ball allows you to focus more on your mechanics and less on hitting a high-speed pitch.
The following video shares a handful of great drills to try:
#3. Eat Like Your Career Depends on It
Some players don't get enough calories to make the progress they hope for in the weight room. Other players consume way too many calories from a poor diet.
There's a balance between going full vegan-Paleo-weighing-every-meal and eating fast food daily, but no one expects an amateur athlete to eat (or even have the financial resources) like an MLB star.
In high school we should be building good habits in preparation for the next phase of the game - where performance standards are quite simply harder to achieve and players of various shapes, sizes and abilility should look for any advantage they can.
Here are a few things to consider in your diet: low saturated fat protein from chicken, fish and turkey is better than red meat every day. Skittles and the like are not going to do anything for building muscles or your Recovery after a tough workout. Green leafy vegetables and berries will provide the vitamins and antioxidants needed to keep your immune dialed in. And finally, that salad of lettuce, cheese, bacon bits, and ranch is not doing you any favors!
To swing hard, eat smart.
Swing For the Fences
Every player can benefit from more batspeed and exit velocity, even those who aren’t necessarily power hitters.
Use these strategies and form great habits that can help you continue hitting the ball harder every season.