Hitting Drills for Power – Part 4, Baseball swing load

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There are 2 common mistakes that tend to happen during the load phase of the baseball swing which can dramatically decrease the power of your swing.

We’re going to cover these 2 mistakes and how to avoid them, and I’ll show you one super simple drill to detect improper hand load.

Baseball Swing Load – 2 Common mistakes

Mistake #1 – Pushing your hands back too much

When watching video of Major Leaguer’s baseball swing load, it can SEEM like he is pushing his hands back a lot. This is actually just an illusion.

What’s really happening is that the hands are staying tight to the hitters shoulder until the body moves forward away from the hands.

With some players, there might be a little hand movement, as they bring their hands to the shoulder into the power position. After that, the hands don’t go back anymore. Instead, the hands stay put and the body begins to step forward away from the hands (see video above).

When you push your hands back, it costs you power for several reasons.Baseball swing load common mistakes

  1. The more extended your arm is, the weaker it is. Just like when you’re trying to muscle out that last pull up, extended arms (position A) is a weaker arm position than B.
  2. Your center of rotation gets sloppy, which costs you bat speed. Like a figure skater in a spin – The tighter they pull in their arms and legs to the axis of rotation, the faster they spin. We want to keep everything tight until just the right moment.

As a side note, it’s not just power that is affected by pushing your hands back, as it would also have negative effect on barrel accuracy.

Proper hitting mechanics baseball - the baseball swing load and gather

Common mistake #2 – Weak leg position

Mistake #2 – Weak leg position

You’ve probably seen this image from us before. Maybe it’s because Major League camera angles often make it hard to see this, but this is a very common problem I see with young hitters

Your legs are far more powerful than your arms. They are also responsible for initiating the kinetic sequence that provides the majority of the power in your swing.

So a weak leg position is a sure fire way to turn end up with a deflated swing.

To keep the power in your base, make sure your knee doesn’t get outside your ankle. Keep it in, tight and athletic.

Hitting Drills

Here’s one simple drill for the baseball load. I like simple hitting drills, and this one gives instant feedback.

You’d only have to do this once or twice to know if you’ve developed the bad habit of over-loading, or pushing your hands back past the optimal position.

baseball load hitting drills

The “wall” drill

The wall drill:
  1. Take your batting stance with back foot against a wall (or net)
  2. Go through your baseball swing gather and loading motion (Don’t actually swing, obviously)
  3. Pay attention if your hands hit the wall behind you

Simple. Easy. Immediate feedback.

Coming Next

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About Author

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger's AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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2 Comments

  1. Doug,
    Good luck at Round Rock!

    I run a series of local summer camps and would like to know if you’d mind if we referred our kids to your site? Could we show them some of your videos as part of our instruction, giving you first credit? Thanks for your consideration!

    • Tim, of course! We want the info to help as many players as possible. And feel free to print out copies of our cheatsheets to give to the players as well. It’s nice to have something to take home and practice later! Do you have our cheatsheet for infielders? Or the 7 absolutes for hitting? I’m not sure what age your camps are for. Feel free to send my an email at Sarah@probaseballinsider.com if there’s anything else we can do to help.

      Sarah

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