If youve watched any of the Little League World Series youve certainly noticed how hard the pitchers throw: 65, 70 even 73 miles per hour shows up on the gun. One of the big issues a hitter faces as he starts playing on regional and national levels is the ability to hit the high-speed fastball.
Typically you will see players swing a weighted bat on deck in order to gear up for the cheese. If this is part of your routine I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this will not increase your bat speed and, in most cases, will actually decrease itobviously not what you want.
This is because when you swing a heavy bat 15 percent or greater than your game bat you not only change your mechanics (which leads to inconsistent batting mechanics) you also teach your body to swing slow. Sure the bat will feel lighter in your hands, but you will swing slower. Now it is OK to loosen up the shoulders and wrist by moving a heavy bat around your body, just dont replicate your swing.
I know by now youre saying, Jon, if a heavy bat will hinder me, what should I do?
Its quite simple really, swing a lighter bat! Swing a bat 10-15 percent lighter than your normal game bat on deck 5 to 8 times. Try to be as quick as possible when you do it. This will increase your game bat speed because now your body will know what it feels like to swing faster.
This is a very simple tip, yet extremely powerful and effective.
(Jon Doyle is a former NCAA All-American baseball player who now works as a strength and conditioning specialist. For more tips check out www.baseballtrainingsecrets.com )
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Setting goals is one of the most effective ways to motivate an athlete. Goals provide a sense of direction while increasing effort and quality of performance. Teams and endurance athletes alike must choose goals carefully to follow a path towards success. I joined up with Toby Guillette, the endurance sports specialist, to provide a useful guide for setting S.M.A.R.T. goals in athletics.
1. Specific: These goals are most clearly defined by the five "W" questions: who, what, where, when, why? The answers to these questions will begin to bring your goals into focus.
2. Measurable: By establishing a system for measuring progress toward each goal you set, you will increase motivation by experiencing a sense of achievement when reaching the smaller incremental goals along the way. To prevent ambiguity and vagueness, make sure to incorporate an assessable time frame allowing you to carry out those steps and feel successful.
3. Attainable: Once goals are identified and specific increments are achieved, the larger goals that used to seem far away begin to grow closer as you grow as a person. It's truly amazing how one begins to figure out ways to make goals become reality. Previously overlooked opportunities manifest themselves and bring you closer to attaining your goals, all the while, new attitudes, abilities, skills and strategies develop to help you to reach them.
4. Realistic: By truly believing that your goal can be accomplished, your target will be realistic. This is something that you and you alone must decide. Be sure to set each goal so it represents ample growth. By following these guidelines, higher goals often prove easier to reach than lower goals, because lower goals produce a lower level of motivational energy.
5. Timely: Goals should be set with a starting point, ending point and fixed intervals along the way. This will perpetuate a
sense of urgency for you to act as target dates approach. Goals without deadlines tend to fade in importance and fall in rank of priority where less commitment is established.
No matter what skill level, goals that follow this outline will facilitate the growth of the athlete. Experiencing incremental progress during the journey toward your dreams and desires provides a steady reward that has the power to maintain motivation--as long as you keep in mind what you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there.
Day three of a summer travel fastpitch tournament in West Virginia. Must have been some rarefied air that day, because these girls hit FOUR homers in a row, in one inning. Nobody there had ever seen anything like it - may never see it again. Really exciting!