Pure Hitter = Power Hitter
By Coach Buz Brundage
What do we mean when we say “Pure Hitter”? It’s simple actually. We want our hitters to swing to hit the ball “Pure”, not swing to hit the ball “Hard”. In the process of hitting the ball “Pure” (hitting the big part of the ball with the big part of the bat) you will naturally hit the ball “Hard”. Pure Hitter = Power Hitter.
Now, we are not saying to put a lame swing on a pitch. You won’t go very far in the game if you do that. Simply execute a sweet and accurate swing with about 85%-90% of your max power. You will find that you are much more accurate with the barrel. Trying to hit the ball with your max power most of the time is a recipe for splinters in your backside. You will strike out a lot. Or, hit pieces of the ball that result in weak groundouts and lazy pop flies. That usually results in a lot of time sitting on the bench. Not good.
Of course, you may hit some bombs when you catch the ball “Pure”. But, wouldn’t you rather have a higher percentage of hitting the ball “Pure” by scaling back your swing speed just a smidgeon? In the process you'll achieve a more accurate barrel to ball contact, resulting in harder line drives. Isn’t that the goal of hitting? We think so.
So, how do we go about achieving our goal? First, we would like to see players begin developing the proper swing mechanics. Build the foundation. Just like a golfer, get the swing down so that muscle memory takes over. Make the swing so automatic that you never have to give it a second thought. The swing just happens. How do we do that? By finding and following the proper steps in the swing (6 Steps to a Sweet Swing), separating them, ingraining them to muscle memory and then executing the swing in its proper sequential movements. Over time the swing becomes more fluid, more compact, faster, repeatable and powerful.
Once we have the proper swing down, we begin to implement the process of developing greater speed in the swing. We emphasize the ability to hit against a firm front side to assist in creating leverage and torque for the core body to spin around. By “Trapping” our weight during the shift from back to front we can effectively release the core body in rotation when we resist forward movement with the front leg. It must brace up, create resistance to get the proper torque in the hips and allow the hips and core body to aggressively release during the swing. This in turn releases the next sequence when the torque is transferred to the shoulders, arms, hands and eventually... the barrel of the bat. The last lever in the swing sequence. The result is bat speed. We want to develop as great a bat speed as possible in all of our hitters. This is extremely important. Tremendous Bat Speed is our goal! Developing a Sweet Swing with maximum Bat Speed will make you a better hitter, IF you subscribe to Pure Hitter = Power Hitter.
Wait a minute… didn’t we just say “We want our players to swing to hit it Pure, not swing to hit it Hard?” Yes, we sure did. Here’s the key: We want to develop our hitters swings to their maximum bat speed, this way when they “scale back to about 85%” they have more control over a bat which is, ideally, traveling at a faster bat speed than the average hitter when that average hitter is swinging as hard as he can! Does that make sense to you? Develop a faster swing so that you can then swing at less than maximum effort and with greater accuracy, yet STILL be swinging the bat faster than most other players! That is the concept.
With that in mind we can then go back to concentrating on the ball, the object of our Desire. With a swing that is fast and automatic, we simply need to embrace the fundamentals of “see the ball – hit the ball”. The swing takes care of itself. We can now concentrate on accuracy and timing. We achieve these objectives by paying attention to pitch counts, locations and speeds. This is a result of your mental ability to stay focused from the moment the pitcher takes the mound. What is he doing? What is his strategy? What pitch is he effective with today? What kind of fastball does he have? Can you approach this at bat with the confidence that you know the pitcher’s plan? If you know his plan, you should be able to battle for a quality at bat. You should be able to execute an accurate swing and hit the ball pure. That is your goal. You want to hit the ball pure, every at bat.
If you do that, you will find some amazing power numbers will follow. Pure Hitters = Power Hitters. Listen to the top hitters when they are explaining to the media what they were trying to do when they hit a game winning Home Run. More often than not you will hear the phrase: “I just wanted to put a good swing on the ball.” Or, “I just wanted to hit it square and give my self a chance.” That could easily be translated to: “I simply wanted to hit the ball pure.” In the process of hitting it “square” or “pure”, the player hit for “power”. Develop your swing. Develop your Bat Speed. Aim to hit the ball pure!
I hope this helps you to BeABetterHitter.