Home Run Power Secrets & Tips
Paul Niggebrugge The owner operator of "Be your Best Academy", Paul Niggebrugge enjoyed only two years as a professional minor league baseball player (a year each in the Mets and Red Sox orgs), but what he has done since then has made him much more valuable to the baseball community. Paul coached Caravel Academy over 23 years, where his team qualified for State Tournament 21 out of 23 years and he won 2 State Championships. Back in 1989 he founded his academy in Bear, DE, and since then Paul has reached out and educated thousands of youth, parents and coaches in both sports instruction and life's lessons throughout the world. Paul has received endorsements from both top baseball gurus and former MLB players who are themselves now instructors. He has been a friend of WebBall for a couple of years now and we are pleased to include him among our guest authors. (Click to close.)
We have over 600 muscles in our body that need to be synchronized and coordinated, not to mention all of the mechanical, electrical, and chemical circuitry with neurons bouncing all around inside the brain. Batters are expected to hit a round ball squarely traveling at great speeds in a very small contact point on a cylindrical bat in roughly less than ½ of a second! How is it possible to hit with Home Run Power consistently? To answer that question we must be aware and understand the Art & Science of Hitting.
Get beyond "Warning Track Power"...
Mechanical tips for hitting the long ball...
- Finding a posture and keeping it before or on impact sets the body/spine angle in a position to hit the ball. The body particularly the hips & shoulders not the hands, provide the necessary power. Stay 'connected', don't 'disconnect' by casting out or initiating the swing with the hands. The posture/spine position is a forward torso lean towards home plate where the buttock is up & back slightly.
- Hitters must be in an athletic and attacking posture where the hitter creates momentum. This momentum and movement must be continuous, smooth, and yet dynamic. The key is to convert momentum into rotational forces efficiently, effectively, and most importantly it must be repeatable.
- Hitters much get to the proper launch/ready/power position with timing and rhythm when the stride foot contacts the ground. Hands are about 4"-6" away & across from armpit with bat angled up at 1:30/2 o'clock position.
- The motor/engine of the hips & shoulders are primary to producing power. The “connection box” of arms to shoulders must remain in tact until right before or on impact.
- Gather & Go/Rhythm & Load is done by pinching the back shoulder blade towards the spine, turning front stride leg knee slightly inward/pinch and firing/pinching the Psoas muscle (back butt cheek/hip flexor)…all the pinches/stretch-reflex will maximize bat and ball collision power.
- Energy Absorption – at the point of impact, body parts must be locked out/firm, particularly the lead knee and lead arm. (Must absorb the least amount of energy versus having bent arms & soft/front knee.)
Long-ball hitting is also about mindset...
- Look for pitches in your 'Power Zone' middle-in. Contact w/ ball should be made between stride knee and slightly in front of stride foot to create momentum, quickness, and speed. The further the pitch is away, the deeper the ball travels and the less momentum you have to hit ball far.
- Timing is still and will always be the most important factor in hitting the ball well. Sweet spot of bat to sweet spot of ball produces sweet music. You can only be in 1 place at 1 time to be 100% on time.
- Ball-Exit Speed, Exit-Angle, incoming pitch speed are all major contributors to hitting distance.
- Bat speed is more important than pitched ball speed coming in.
- Bat quickness is most important...
- For each 1 mph faster bat speed; the ball will carry 5 feet further.
- For each 1 mph faster ball speed coming in; the ball travels one foot farther.
- Bat speed & wat weight should be optimized. Heavier bat is suggested, provided you have good bat speed.
- A curve ball hit on time will travel farther due to the top spin coming in, which is enhanced during impact.
- Hope for warm air, the ball travels farther the warmer and lighter the air is. Also, newer balls seem to exit farther and harder.
- Your mind must be clear and uncluttered, focusing on hitting your pitch only, not a pitcher's pitch. Deep abdominal breaths before each pitch puts you in a powerful state both mentally AND physically.
Speed, quickness, pitch selection/attention and consistency separate the best from the rest!
In summary, have fun, stay relaxed & aggressive with rhythm and don't try to 'muscle up'or increase bat speed during the game or competition. Stay connected and look for your personal “Bomb Zone”.
As the saying goes, "the chicks really dig the long ball." My guess is that all coaches, scouts, players, and parents like to see the ball leave the yard and disappear into the horizon. The subject of this article will feature some crucial concepts to hitting balls harder, farther and more consistently so all fulfill their dreams of achieving Home Run Power.
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