Clinton Balgera. Founder of TheHittingProject.com
There are many contributing factors to bat drag (or a long slow swing). Here’s our BIG 3 causes of bat drag:
1. Bad practice habits triggering poor hitting mechanics
2. Pull-the-ball/Home-run hitting approach
3. Inability to see, track and read movement
“He’s a good player but on the smaller side and has a real problem with casting her hands. He has been struggling with this the last few years as the other kids grew at a more rapid rate and he did not. He’s starting to grow but not near as strong physically and appears to be way to handsy as a result of not understanding how to use his core. I personally have been anticipating your Laser Strap Bat Speed Trainer as I think it could help him a ton!”
If you practice with a long swing, you’ll have a long swing in the game. Too much BP where you try to pull every pitch or hit home runs will result in bat drag and a slow bat.
Over time, you’ll develop bad habits as you start to lunge and wave at the ball. This will then transfer to your game-day at-bats, where you’ll find that you’ll have trouble hitting the inside fastball and you’ll jump out at the baseball to try and compensate (resulting in poor game-day performance).
In order to prepare your swing for a game-day inside fastball, you need to practice drills that allow the ball the travel deep in the hitting zone, forcing you to keep your hands inside the baseball (the key to a short swing).
Too much tension when you set up in your batting stance will result in a long/slow swing. It’s vital that you release all tension in order to allow for your fast, reactive swing to take over.
The main cause of tension in the batting stance and swing is a tight grip on the bat handle. This causes tension in the forearms that results in a long swing with bat drag. There is nothing worse than watching a hitter tense up on the bat so much that he looks like Frankenstein when he swings. Loose grip equals a fast/tension free swing.
Flying open with either the front foot, hips, shoulder or head will cause a hitter’s bat to drag through the zone. Flying open results in dropping the back shoulder, hands and bat head. Once the bat head drops beyond the point of no return (too much angle, the bat should remain as flat as possible), there is little chance of catching up to a good fastball. There are many reasons that you fly open, with the main ones being; not seeing the baseball (which causes you to rush you swing), lacking confidence (any doubt in your head will transfer to you rushing your swing and flying open too early), over-swinging, poor hitting approach (trying to pull every pitch) and nervousness in the box.