There are a number of different factors that go into becoming a successful hitter. Hard work, proper instruction, mechanics, routine, and talent all certainly play a role. However, a forgotten aspect is the use of training aids. Hitting aids are becoming more widely available and are a great way to take your swing to the next level.
Here are some ways to improve your swing with a baseball hitting trainer:
1) Eliminate Topspin and Begin Creating Backspin
One of the biggest ways you can improve your swing is to eliminate topspin and begin creating backspin. What you will find is that your power will improve, batting average will go up, and ultimately misses will turn into doubles and home runs. Generating backspin starts with having the proper bat path. And in order to have an efficient bat path, you must first have the correct set up and load. A common mistake with hitters at all levels is that they tend to over-rotate their front shoulder inward with their pre-pitch load. The problems that this causes are two-fold. Number one- the first movement with your front shoulder is going to be to fly open. The result is a long bat path that gets around the baseball, creating topspin and ground balls to the pull side. The second problem is you aren’t putting yourself in a strong position to allow your hands to go directly to the baseball and create backspin. By loading your front shoulder more downward towards your back knee, you will find that your hands are now connected and in a position to go directly to the baseball. This allows you to drive any pitch regardless of location, and have a bat path that keeps you inside the ball and in the zone a long time. When your bat is going directly to the ball and in the hitting zone for a long time, this is going to lead to a lot of backspin and a lot of home runs!
2) Keep Your Direction Through the Middle of the Field
Another way to drastically improve your swing is to mold it to stay through the middle of the field. This is something that is extremely important to any hitter and finding a hitting aid that can help you with this is invaluable. Developing a swing that is geared up the middle will allow you to hit any type of pitch in any location. Once you establish a swing that produces consistent line drives up the middle, it’s simply a matter of pitch recognition. If the pitch is outside, let the ball travel a little deeper and drive the ball to the opposite field. If the pitch is inside, meet the ball out front and drive the ball to your pull side.
One of the more common mistakes that hitters make at any level is trying to pull the baseball too frequently. The result: a vulnerability to offspeed pitches. By keeping your direction through the middle, you are able to wait back on offspeed pitches and react to the inside fastball. This equals a complete hitter who gets serious results!
SWINGRAIL Launch Angle Training Balls provide direction off a tee.
3) Find a Hitting Aid That Keeps You Inside the Ball
Approaching the inside part of the baseball is fundamental to any swing and allows you to drive the ball with backspin to all fields. So what does staying inside the baseball mean? It’s simply leading with your front elbow and knob of the bat to the inner half of the baseball.
Inside half of baseball from a LHH perspective (Highlighted)
This produces a short swing (A to B) that is efficient and capable of handling offspeed pitches. When you swing out and around the baseball, your hands cast out away from your body which creates a long path to the ball. The result is a lot of ground balls with topspin to the pullside and weak pop ups. Finding a hitting aid that keeps you inside the baseball is going to lead to a shorter bat path that creates backspin and can handle velocity.
4) SWINGRAIL - The Complete Hitting Trainer
If you are looking for a hitting aid that creates backspin, develops direction through the middle of the field, and keeps you inside the ball - Swingrail is your answer. Here’s how SWINGRAIL accomplishes all three.
SWINGRAIL helps create backspin by making sure you have the proper set up and load. The design of SWINGRAIL ensures that you can’t over-rotate your front shoulder with your load while keeping your hands connected. By providing a small amount of tension between the bat and your back arm, SWINGRAIL puts you in a strong square position to attack the baseball. This leads to a bat path that is short to the baseball and in the zone for a long time.
SWINGRAIL keeps your direction through the middle of the field by guiding your hands directly to the baseball. SWINGRAIL is a great training aid to use for hitting line drives up the middle off of a tee. The rail that attaches to the bat should slide out of the green loop right before contact allowing you to finish your swing through the middle of the field.
SWINGRAIL keeps your hands inside the baseball through its unique design that provides immediate feedback. When done correctly, the rail that attaches to the bat should slide out of the green loop right before contact ensuring that your hands approached the inside part of the baseball. When done incorrectly, the velcro loop will detach from the rail meaning that your hands casted and were long to the baseball. This kind of immediate feedback makes sure that you can maintain a repeatable swing and routine.
I loved using the SWINGRAIL as a training aid, and so does my former AA teammate and current MVP candidate Cody Bellinger.
Here’s what he had to say about it: “SWINGRAIL helps me stay inside, take a really good path to the ball and create backspin.” - Cody Bellinger
Paul Hoenecke - Author
Paul was the State of Wisconsin’s High School Player of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. Following his senior year he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, but elected to play Division 1 baseball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he was name a First Team All League selection in 2012. Paul was then drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and went on to play in the Dodgers organization for 6 seasons in which he was selected to his respective league’s All-Star team 4 times. Paul retired from baseball in 2018 and now owns an advertising agency in Milwaukee, WI.