Let me say this up front.
I do not like aluminum bats . . . but I’ll win with them.
Practice with wood . . . and you’ll win with aluminum.
It’s really very simple. An aluminum bat swing can be mechanically flawed but still get results. Inflated averages & power numbers abound with huge aluminum sweet spots & tricked-out metal alloys!
But eventually bigger fields and better pitching eliminates many aluminum bat hitters well before High School . . . and it doesn’t have to be!
Allow me to explain . . .
Much of the physical side of the game is about:
Much of hitting is about:
TIMING & BALANCE (Strength helps too)
Wood Bats feel head-heavy, with much smaller sweet spots so any imperfections in a swing are magnified. (Are you getting the picture?)
Training with wood forces the player to become mechanically precise & builds bat speed and strength. Additionally, wood trains hitters to really learn the strike zone and not swing at bad pitches (ever hit one off the end or the handle? . . . it hurts. and many times it breaks!)
To successfully swing with wood.
- Trigger the hands earlier into the load position
- Keep your hands inside the ball (meaning hands closer to the body throughout the swing to make for a quick rotation to the ball)
- Stick with it until your muscle memory acclimates to this new weapon.
Dead Hands Kill Players!
The first thing a hitter must do is take away the pitcher’s fastball. In general, that is a pitcher’s best pitch. From Clemens, Johnson, Martinez & Maddux, to the baddest pitcher in your league. Spot the fastball and you are a real pitcher. Ok, hitter what are you going to do about it? You’re going to crush it. that’s what!
Hands Start The Swing!
Start your swing with your hands (it’s your timing mechanism). . . and you can time a jet or a fastball! Call it a trigger, load or hitch, it’s all the same. Just get some movement from your hands starting when the pitcher separates his hands from his glove with a movement toward the back shoulder.
Keep Your Hands Inside The Ball. What?
Keep your hands 4-6 inches from your body throughout the swing. Think about hitting the inside half of the baseball (the half that’s closest to you). This will train you to have a shorter, quicker stroke and will help keep balls straight and not allow them to hook foul.see Barry Bonds!
Use your wood bat instead of your game aluminum for tee work, soft toss, in a cage & when hitting live pitching & you’ll get the results you’re looking for!
Wood Increases Bat Speed!
Bat Speed Equals Power!
In summary, any player or team that trains with wood will hit the ball harder, plus increase contact and power over all who don’t. Ask any hitting coach.
Kids, like adults, do not necessarily care for change. Get creative, make it cool like real ballplayers and they may accept it easier. Use marker to put their number on the knob. Tape the handle. Buy some stick-em. Have them use a permanent marker and put their “Signature on the business end.”
Since January 1, 2001, high school players nationwide must use bats that weigh no less than 3 oz. of their length (meaning a 33″ bat can’t weigh less than 30 oz.). The barrel diameters have shrunk from 2-3/4″ to 2-5/8″ and the exit velocities were changed so that batted balls don’t “jump” off the bat as quickly. In other words, these bats more resemble the performance of wood.
Younger players take note! The college bat rules have changed, the high schools have changed, and the changes may not be finished. So, train with wood and you will win with aluminum.
Want more info? Check out a hands-on story about wood bat training by Jim Casolino called Training With Wood Builds Bat Speed.
Where To Buy Wood Bats
Need ’em cheap? – Try a K-Mart or Wal-Mart for around $25.
Need ’em great? – Check out Brett Bats (yes, that Brett family) at Baseball Tips.
Coach John Peter, presently aged 50 something, is the publisher of Baseball Tips.com and a lifelong student of the greatest game on earth. After being asked to find a more suitable occupation at age 26, many seasons after donning his first uni at age 7, he has transcended his skills into the much more important role of coach and especially as an instructor. He prides himself as never having charged any player or coach for a single lesson! “This game has been wonderful to my family and has afforded me a lifestyle to instruct any local player or coach who seeks my knowledge without charge!”