4 Inches of Power
by Buz Brundage
The Philosophy at BABH is always centered on taking time tested principles of hitting from the great hitters that have played the game. Some of these principles have their roots set so far back in the game that they bring back names like Cobb, Ruth, Mantle, Aaron and others. Typically, these hitting principles focus on some mechanical aspect of the baseball swing. On occasion, we remind hitters of the proper thought process and mental approach to their at bats. This article is about learning a Secret to Hitting for Power.
As you may already know, hitting is an art that you continually learn and improve on no matter how long you've played the game. Something new will undoubtedly be shown to you at some point in time. Or, sometimes... you simply start figuring out a vital ingredient for your success at the plate all by yourself.
If you have read other articles on BABH you have certainly experienced us pounding the 3 components of hitting into you - POWER, ACCURACY and TIMING. In fact, we invented the Speed Bat Hitting System as an inexpensive aid to help ingrain these three components into a hitter. What we learned during the development of this system was enlightening and empowering. We want to pass that on to you.
There is an age old saying in baseball - Hitting is Timing. To help players develop that vital component we invented the Speed Balls. Little did we know at the time that we had developed a training aid that uncovered a secret to the success of some of the greatest hitters that ever lived. We knew we had a fabulously effective product. The results couldn't be ignored. The Speed Balls were turning hitters into run producing machines at all levels of the game. Top college baseball and softball players, US Olympic softball and MLB Professional hitters were improving their production. It wasn't until we added the development of the Speed Bat that we discovered the real reason why.
Most people equate Power hitting as a result of some big huge muscle bound hitter. But, the fact is that most of the power hitters are (and were) not "huge" guys. Rick Down explains it like this: Power is a result of Timing and Location. When you first hear that statement you probably don't understand it. It's such a simple statement, but it has very deep meaning. Let's go back to the phrase Hitting is Timing. Yes it is. For instance, let us take a look at a couple of pictures of current Major Leaguers in perfect Timing.
This is Aaron Hill of the Toronto Blue Jays. You can see that he is right on the button timing that pitch. You can also se that he is mechanically correct, driving the bat with tremendous power. Look at the flexion in his bat. Incredible stuff.
This is Alex Cora of the NY Mets. He is also right on the money with his timing. He is driving the bat to the ball: Hitting is Timing. These two pictures are worth a thousand words. But, here's the point we are trying to bring home to you. POWER is both Timing AND Location. These two players hit the ball hard, they were both singles. Why? Because of the LOCATION the ball struck the bat! In our development of the Speed Bat we discovered that the optimum location for the ball to hit the bat was 17-21 inches from the player's Top Hand. This was the LOCATION on the bat that resulted in the most POWERFUL hits! Every single time!
Take a look:
This hit from Daniel Murphy is a Home Run. Where did the ball strike the bat? What is the location? You can see that it is 17-21 inches from the top hand. There is no other difference in the three swings. They are all on plane, they are all squarely in contact with the ball. They are all on time. Two of them were hit hard, but singles... one of them flew out of the park.
We so strongly believed in this 17-21 inch theory that we challenged/commissioned Jeff Albert (Pro Hitting Instructor who owns SwingTraining.net) to study film and confirm or dispute our theory. What he discovered is the same thing we did! The truth! Here is an image that shows the distances measured out. This is also a Home Run. Look around for yourself. Study your own film. Watch SportsCenter. You'll find the same result!
In fact, here... I'll give a video to start your research with. Take a look at this video of Matt Kemp for a "super slow motion example" of the ball hitting the bat in that 4 inches of power that every single bat has. Just Click Here! But.. be sure to come back here for the rest of the article. Because the real secret is below.
Hopefully by now you've seen enough evidence to indicate to you that there exists a secret power source in every bat. Yes, you could call it the Sweet Spot. But, you've heard that your whole life and did that change your approach to hitting so that you could hit the ball on the sweet spot? Probably not. Because the Sweet Spot doesn't mean anything until you understand that it is absolutely the Power Source in the bat. I don't care how big you are. Learning to hit the ball in that 4 inches of Power on your bat is the key to your productivity as a hitter, Period!
So, let's go back to Rick Down who said that Power is a result of Timing and Location. Now, do you get what he's talking about? The location of where you struck the ball on the bat and the timing to hit the ball in the proper location during your swing. In other words, in the mechanically correct position as you see in these photos. But, as you learned (in photos of Aaron Hill and Alex Cora) ... hitting the ball with the right timing LOCATION will not result in POWER. You must have the timing LOCATION (proper mechanical position) AND the proper LOCATION on the bat!
Guess what we call this? ACCURACY!
Now we're getting to the meat and potatoes of our revelation when developing the Speed Bat Hitting System. That's a Home Run by the way in the above picture. The POWER generated is a result of the ACCURACY and TIMING that A-Rod put together on this swing. ACCURACY and TIMING equals POWER. That is the holy grail discovered in the Speed Bat Hitting System.
First, we designed the bat so that it was useful to ALL hitters. You don't need to choose a size. That defeats the purpose. The Speed Bat is designed to force you to hit the ball exactly 17-21 inches from your top hand. How? Simple, we force you to place your hands in a specified, mechanically correct location on the Speed Bat. Next, we made the hitting surface EXACTLY 17 - 21 inches from the top hand. Voila! Now, without you even knowing it you get a blue print in your brain of the proper spatial relationship of your hands to the impact position on the bat that creates POWER.
But, that's not all! Remember that POWER is a combination of Timing + Accuracy. Look at all of the ACCURACY components we force feed you with the Speed Bat Hitting System.
1. Small Ball
2. Small Barrel
3. Pre-Determined hand position
4. Pre-Determined impact location
Add in the TIMING component you get from the Speed Balls and you end up with.... POWER!
So, I ask you... Why would anyone that is using an underload training bat use one that gives their muscle memory the wrong memory? Why would you do that? Why would you go buy a 34" training unit that has a "sweet spot" 23, 24 or more inches from your top hand? It doesn't make any sense. All you do is teach your brain how to make contact with a ball in a location on the bat that will either result in a single or a broken bat!
You have a secret Power source in every single bat that you pick up. All you need to do is start paying attention.. I mean really paying attention to WHERE you allow the ball to strike your bat. Of course, the easiest way to develop this is with the proper training tool. Lucky for you that tool exists in the Speed Bat Hitting System.
Then you simply take the subliminal blue printing and muscle memory you receive from using the proper hitting aid and incorporate it into your normal batting practice. When you are hitting off of a tee for example, you simply must concentrate on the LOCATION you allow the bat to strike the ball. Think about it... the ball is not moving! There is no reason you should ever hit the ball anywhere except the Power Source that exists in that 4 inches of your bat. Concentrate. Do It.... and do it Right!
Need another reminder? Click the picture below and watch the top ten home runs logged in MLB baseball this week. Pay attention to where the ball hit the bat! Also, take note that the players that hit these home runs were not MONSTER HUGE guys for the most part. They are just professional hitters that pay attention to the formula for POWER. TIMING + ACCURACY = POWER!