Don't Be Afraid of a Little Gas
Former Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams once said, “You have to hit the fastball to play in the big leagues.” Considering that the Splendid Splinter is viewed by many to be the best overall hitter in baseball history, let’s take that advice to heart.
The quicker a hitter can become comfortable hitting pitches at high speeds, the better off they’ll be. So basically, don’t be afraid of a little gas, even if you can’t hit it. Using either the MaxBP or live arm, a hitter should face a speed and pitch distance combination that is “too fast to hit.” If the hitter is practicing this drill with live pitching, make sure to always wear a helmet!
Pitch intervals should give the hitter enough time to maintain game-like pace (on MaxBP the pace is setting 5 or slow). This is essential because an athlete doesn’t want to rush this drill and compromise the training.. If an athlete is hitting off the maximum speed setting and it’s still not posing a “speed” challenge, then move yourself and your flat plate closer to the machine or live arm.
This is a great drill for athletes 16 years and older. We’re not suggesting that you set the machine unrealistically or dangerously fast (or close), but the ball should be humming in there. This drill may be intimidating for some hitters at first, but eventually they’ll hit the gas and feel more confident in a game situation. In order to practice this drill a hitter need a MaxBP machine or live arm/L-Screen (with heat), a game bat or BetterBat Skinny Barrel Training Bat, a flat plate and a minimum of 30 balls.
The beauty of this drill is that it will really slow the game down for a hitter. It will also help them develop a quicker and more compact stride, which will allow them to hit speeds they thought were untouchable. It’s important for athletes not to get frustrated if they don’t hit every pitch in this drill. It’s supposed to be “too fast,” that’s the idea. If a batter is hitting the ball with ease in this drill, then that isn’t proper gas. At the end of the drill, slow the speed down to a traditional batting practice pitch, and take 10-20 swing with your game bat.