Batting Cheat Codes For Higher Exit Velocity

Special To Collegiate Baseball

PALMDALE, Calif. — I have always been fascinated by hitting things a long way. 

As a kid, I had many long bombs winning game 7 of the World Series with a bottom of the ninth homer that was really a rock clearing the neighbor’s fence off my broom handle bat. 

As a college player trying to figure things out, I was in search of hitting the baseball harder, with marginal success in power. 

Later as a golf professional, I worked on my third quest of crushing the ball. 

As I learned how each movement of the body affected the distance, I often hit three jumbo buckets (about 1,000 range balls) a night in search of that feeling of ‘striping it’. 

The essence of hitting a ball perfect was now my obsession. 

There are only nine possible ball flights, and these simple facts of physics rule over all golf swing issues. 

In other words, you can watch the ball flight and reverse engineer what the club did and eventually, what the golfer did. 

In fact, I was not approved as a golf teaching professional until I could perform all nine of these ball flights on demand. 

This took quite a while to perfect, but in doing so, I learned how ball flight tells volumes about the swing mechanics.

I also understood what body movements caused those different ball flights. 

At the time, baseball did not approach the swing through science. 

I never really learned to hit a baseball until after I spent five years teaching the golf swing. 

I was puzzled because no one ever explained the baseball swing as golf had done it. 

Stretch the right rubber bands in the body, and you immediately see extra yardage. 

Turn better and you add distance with less effort. 

In baseball, whoever was the leading hitter, everyone copied his swing and that was the most efficient swing that month. 

This is at least one reason why it has taken so long to get to the bottom of the science of hitting a baseball. 

While I loved playing golf, teaching golf was not in my blood. 

Eventually, I found my way back to baseball and immediately began implementing the precision of the golf swing into diagnosing the baseball swing. 

I know many coaches do not see how close the golf swing and baseball swing actually are, but hopefully this will help clear up some of that. 

In golf, they measure everything, including launch angle, attack angle, club head speed, club head direction before impact and in some sophisticated test sites, such as the Titleist Performance Institute, they take measurement to a whole new level. 

When I began studying the baseball swing seriously, baseball had nothing close to the tools golf had. 

We had only a radar gun and that could only measure tee exit velocity. 

We could not get an exit velocity of a pitched ball. So we had to improvise for measuring live swings. Now there is no longer that issue. You can measure virtually everything in baseball.

Does this mean we have answered every question on what swing mechanics hit the ball the farthest and most often? 

Not even close. 

There are still arguments in every aspect of this most complex act of hitting a pitched baseball.

We still argue about mechanics because the complexity of the act allows a lot of less than efficient movements to have success. 

Hitters with less than efficient swing mechanics can put together a good season, and we are back to square one. 

Golf is too precise to allow this to happen, and we are only dealing with body timing rather than both pitch timing and body timing in baseball. 

If Jack Nicholas had a major inefficiency in his swing, he simply would never have won consistently. 

This is why some golfers play for 30 years and are still 30 handicaps. 

In baseball, a hitter can be terribly late, hit the ball at 50 percent of his max exit velocity and flare a double just over the first baseman to win a game. 

Terribly inefficient, yet a hero that we try to copy. 

This is all ok until it comes to adding the word ‘science’ to it. 

There is an exact metric for every aspect of how well a ball is hit.

We just choose to ignore that, as long as we win the game. 

Taking Swing’s Vital Signs
Before we go any further, let’s take your swing’s vital signs. 

Just like a visit to your doctor or you golf pro, the first step is to get a baseline set of numbers to see if your swing is healthy. 

How hard do you hit it? 

How often do you hit it hard? 

How close to perfect is your launch angle? 

Which launch angle is best for your individual makeup? 

How strong are you at the moment of impact? 

How well do you repeat your swing? 

How close to perfect is your timing (yes, even off the tee, timing is a thing)? 

To answer these questions, we have to measure the swing output in some very simple tests.

What does exit velocity actually tell us about the swing? 

Having introduced this idea of using swing output data to diagnose swings to the public with the Hitting Is A Guess video, my thoughts were that it was raw power. 

Off the tee, with no help from the pitch, hitters can measure their ability to create hard contact. 

Max tee exit velocity is what the hitter produces without the additional help from the pitch. 

Average tee exit velocity is a metric to determine how close to 100 percent the hitter can perform at. 

This is a fantastic start that all hitters should test. 

If your swing isn’t efficient off the tee, it is highly unlikely that it will operate efficiently with multiple pitch speeds in game situations. 

It is possible to have a better game swing than tee swing, but I have found that the tee data always correlates in multiple ways. 

When we begin testing live pitch exit velocity, the water gets muddy.  

Some hitters are slower reacting but have a great swing plane that stays in line with the pitch longer. 

Others have incredible hand eye coordination, allowing them to make contact with very suspect mechanics. 

The truth is, there are many combinations of skills that can help hitters have success, depending on your definition of success. 

For some, hitting .300 is everything. 

For others, elevate and celebrate at all costs. 

Yet others walk their way to a high on base percentage and they are treated as today’s non-hitting heroes. 

For me, I want every hitter to reach their maximum level of swing efficiency. 

To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 5, 2018 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

Perry Husband delves into his tee exit velocity and target test with four important scores to look at, the heavy ball test, why the lead arm can give a hitter more power, the difference between pulling the bat into action and pushing it and why this is vital for faster ball exit speeds. Plus, Perry delves into heavy ball training, why hitting is about how well you miss hit the ball far more than it is about perfect contact and how to perform live BP tests and what they show.