How to Increase Bat Speed Drills For Youth
Starting with a Young Player
Young players frequently have significant swing “strength” deficits. Increases in swing strength will lead to substantial increases in bat speed. After a certain point, when strength approaches a plateau, the under-load component of swing “speed” training becomes more significant.
It is critical to learn how to increase bat speed in youth baseball to achieve future success. Therefore, we often begin bat speed drills for youth players as early as nine or ten years old.
The Importance of Structured Training
We also advise that young athletes participate in an organized strength and speed program regularly consisting of but not limited to: resistance tubing, weight resistance (strength training), body weight movements (push-ups, etc.), ballistic (med ball) training, sprints, and direction reversals.
Remember that every 1 MPH increase in bat speed on an adequately launched ball equals to an extra 5-6 feet of distance. This is a crucial difference between what makes a player good versus elite. Bat Speed Recon athletes’ on average will increase their bat speed between 5-7 MPH in six weeks (with many pleasers increasing even more than that.) If you do the math on that, 5-7 MPH of bat speed will get a player about 25-35 feet on a purely struck ball. This is the difference between hitting a fly ball to end the game and a home run that wins the game.
Contrary to what many people think, using varied weights will not cause doubt in the player’s head. The more bat weight variation given to swing load, the better – especially when working with players at a young age.
The more a player’s neuromuscular system has to handle these variations, the more capable and experienced they become. Swinging more oversized loads forces the player to find more efficient joint muscle activation patterns – what is commonly referred to as self-organization.
One key notion in motor learning is that no matter how many times you practice and repeat the same move, the muscles and joints aren’t used in the exact same sequence. As a result, even the most well-learned skills aren’t done with the same joint and muscle actions, according to Nicholas Bernstein.
Although the movement may provide the same effects, the methods used to achieve the sequence of muscle joint motions are always different. Therefore, an essential aspect of hitting is the capacity to accommodate variations in muscle joint movements.
What is the average bat speed by age?
As you might imagine average baseball swing speed by age increases significantly as hitters mature. But if they do not do something to improve bat speed when they are young they may never make it onto a high school team, never mind college or the pros later.
That said the average bat speed for 9-year-olds is 40-50 mph, which is pretty much the same average bat speed for a 10-year-old. The average bat speed for a 13-year-old is approximately 55-60 mph, while the average bat speed for 15-year-olds is 60-70 mph. Once you make the jump to college and the pros the minimum average speed is around 65-70 with an upper bat speed limit in the mid-80s for most players, with a few venturing into the low 90s.
Here's a great video on bat speed physics:
How to increase bat speed for youth...
Earlier we touched on the need for things like resistance training, resistance tubing, push-ups, medicine balls, sprint and direction reversal drills and such. Let’s take a closer look at those now.
Resistance training for youth
Resistance training is a must for athletes at college and pro level, but must be approached with caution by youth. Any such training should be done under the supervision of a qualified adult and always be done using proper form to prevent injury. In addition, young athletes should limit the amount of weight they train with, focusing more on reps than powerlifting.
Resistance tubing (resistance bands)
Like free weights, resistance bands have been shown to produce strength benefits in young people. But also like free weights it is vital that the young athlete use proper form at all times and perform this kind of strength training in the presence of a qualified adult.
Push-ups are a type of training that uses the body’s own weight to create resistance for the muscles to push off against. There are distinct advantages to this type of exercise, including the fact that it is great for building upper body strength, it does not require special equipment, and the chance of injury is typically lower than with free weights or resistance bands.
Medicine ball training
When it comes to exercise, the medicine ball provides a kind of brute force training designed to activate a multitude of muscles. For kids to make the most of it they’ll need to consult with a PE teacher, coach or trainer.
Sprint and reversal drills
Sprint and reversal drills, also called change of direction (COD) drills, are useful for improving agility and for introducing the body to the intense lateral stresses that come with swinging a bat at high speed from a dead stop.
As parents and coaches, we want to see our young athletes achieve their most significant potential while still having fun. Bat swing speed has a significant impact on the child’s future potential. This is why we created Bat Speed Recon. It’s the ultimate device to help you train and improve your bat speed.
What is Overload/Underload Training?
Baseball bat measurements and physical training of any kind must be structured in a way that helps improve the functions of the movements the sport requires in order to our maximize success potential. Baseball training is unique due to the highly complex physical requirements the sport demands combined with the speed and explosiveness needed instantaneously in order to be successful.
Explore other sections to learn about some of the critical principles of a complete baseball training program. Check out the training programs we provide if you're interested in other areas like Overload and Underload training.