Early Bat Speed for Power and Average

Baseball and Fastpitch Softball


This Early Bat Speed for Power and Average article was excerpted from our new book, The Ultimate Fundamentals, Techniques, and Strategy Guide (click the link for book details). Early bat speed generates a large amount of force early by the optimal inner zone points of contact. Unfortunately, early bat speed is somewhat of a hitting secret to all but the best hitters.


For recommendations on how and when to use various training methods (dry, heavy bag, pylos, tee, toss, live, machine, etc.) and to shop for effective and durable equipment, click on the link Hitting Training Methods and Aids.


Increasing Bat Speed in the Inner Zone

Inner Zone Hitting

Inner Zone Contact Points

Hitters position themselves differently in the batter’s box and utilize various lengths of stride and approach. So, relative to the plate, hitters contact the ball in different places. The contact points (above) are for a batter who sets up in the middle of the box. These points represent the optimal location where the most productive contact occurs based on whether the pitch is inside, outside, or middle.

Optimal contact occurs when the hitter lets the ball travel deeper into the hitting zone. Inner zone hitting indicates the rear elbow is slotted at contact; no extension has yet occurred. When the back elbow is slotted, the degree of the hitter’s core and shoulder rotation positions the barrel differently based on pitch location. For the outside pitch, the ball has traveled more into the body, past the front knee. For the middle pitch, past the front foot. For the inside pitch, in front of the front foot.

Striving to hit the ball in the inner zone is crucial for 1) increasing the margin of error, and 2) increasing decision time, and 3) reducing time to contact, and 4) increasing quickness.

increasing bat speed

Inside Pitch

Inner sone contact just in front of stride foot – rear elbow slotted.

increasing bat speed

Middle Pitch

Inner zone contact just past stride foot – rear elbow slotted.

increasing bat speed

Outside Pitch

Inner zone contact just past foot knee – rear elbow slotted.


Benefits of Increasing Bat Speed Early in the Zone

There are many productive benefits to early bat speed:

  • Extra decision time.

Increasing early bat speed and inner zone hitting cuts swing time (time to contact) and increases decision time. Those extra milliseconds are perpetuities for a hitter facing advanced pitching; the ability to buy spare time is a significant advantage. The longer the brain has, the more accurate and detailed the choice.

To hit the ball further out front, the hitter commits to the pitch earlier.

  • Off-speed contact in the outer zone.

A focus on inner zone hitting creates a “cushion” of time and distance by enabling solid contact with off-speed pitches in the outer zone.

  • When pitching speeds increase and the ball travels deeper, more frequent base hits due to the improved ball exit speed and distance of all trajectories.
  • Allows hitting the outside pitch with authority.

Since the most productive outside pitch contact point is deeper, early bat speed is essential for driving the ball with power to the opposite field.

  • Increased confidence.

Hitters with high early bat speed know that no pitcher can throw the ball by them.


Key Contributors to Increasing Bat Speed Early in the Zone

Early bat speed is the product of the entire body working together. Here is a checklist of significant contributors (find the referenced Foundations, Pillars, and Chapters in our new fundamentals book, The Ultimate Fundamentals, Techniques, and Strategy Guide)

  • Front side in (see Foundation XXIX: Front Side In).
  • Loading hands on or inside the toe line (see Foundation XXXIV: Separate (Load) Hands).
  • Sound lower body mechanics that un-weight the rear foot (see Chapter 5 Legs).
  • Full core rotation (see Pillar VII: Core Rotation).
  • Hip and shoulder separation (see Pillar X: Hip and Shoulder Separation).
  • Rear shoulder row (see Pillar XIV: Rear Shoulder Row).
  • Rear elbow slot (see Pillar XIX: Rear Elbow Slot).
  • Shoulder tilt (see Pillar XI: Shoulder Tilt).
  • Bat lag (see Pillar XX: Bat Lag).
  • Hands connected (see Pillar XXII: Arms and Hands Connected).
  • Torque mechanisms (see Pillar XVI: Pre-Launch Torque, Pillar XVII: Top Hand Torque, Pillar XXVI: Rotational with Circular Hand Path).


Drills for Increasing Bat Speed

For drills to develop early bat speed, click on the link for our free article Early Bat Speed Hitting Drills.



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