T Nation

Son's Basketball


#1

T-Nation:

I am calling on you for help...my 15 year old son is on the high school baseball team. He does great but lacks power at the plate. This is his weak point. What exercises can I get him to do that would improve his battng power. He has good hand eye coordnation, he simply lacks power at the plate. He has a good eye for the ball and often gets walked but when he hits it is not with power. I do not expect him to hit a homer everytime he bats. I want (and so does he) to increase his batting power. He already hits the weights with the team workouts but I am looking for that little extra he can do to gain an edge in this area.

Any help from my fellow T-Nationers is deeply apprecitated. Thanks.

MasterBlaster


#2

Random note: You say the kid plays baseball, but the title of this thread is "basketball". No big deal though.

First, I'm a little scared to ask, but exactly what is the team workout he's doing, and how often is it?

As to helping his power, I'd look at his swing technique first. Pivoting his feet at the right time, following through on the swing, all the "basics" like that.

For exercises, generally speaking: Dumbbell squats, chin-ups, push presses, russian twists or full contact twists, rack walks, and dumbbell swings or snatches. However, I wouldn't necessarily jump into some of those. It depends a lot on his current lifting ability.


#3

I think the title was meant to be baseball.

My first thought would be to add some rotational work. Bent presses, Saxon side bends, etc. Coach Jon Davies wrote an article that's given me lots of ideas.


#4

Chin-ups and deadlifts come to mind (right off the bat!).


#5

He sounds just like the type of hitter I was as a teenager. I have since corrected my problems (alas, only in the cages since I don't play anymore).

Typically, baseball team weight workouts are a joke. Batting power comes from the hips. Therefore, I would make sure he's doing deadlifts and squats as a minimum. The deads will also benefit his grip strength which also helps tremendously with bat control.

He may also have a swing mechanics issue. This is a tricky one because you don't want to screw up his swing. Try to get him to throw the bat head out there and roll his wrists just prior to contact with the ball. I was always trying to muscle the ball with my strong hand when in fact I should have been releasing it and getting both arms (elbows) fully extended. If this is the problem, it's a relatively easy fix.

I teach my son that there are two things to hitting the ball hard: 1) get a good swing and 2) keep your eye on the ball. In other words, don't "hit the ball". If you do those 2 things, good, hard contact will be the result.

Good luck,
DB


#6

I agree with the guys saying work on his swing moreso (but not instead of) physical strength, especially at 15. If you could describe his stance/swing that could help some as far as getting some advice, but some things to look at are his front foot, sometimes guys take too big of a step thinking it adds momentum when really it just throws off their balance, make sure he's getting good hip/leg drive, etc.

A couple things to toy with, and I don't know when his season starts so it may need to wait a bit, but play around with a little deeper stance at the plate. It helped me a lot with my leg drive and got me really driving the ball, I wasn't getting quite the lift I used to but I was hitting harder in general.

Also a little drill, have him stand facing a fence a bat's length away. Break his swing down step by step until he is turning his hips and getting his arms fully extended without hitting the fence. Eventually work up to full speed, it'll help him turn on inside pitches rather than giving a little inside out flip to the opposite field. Good luck.


#7

Grip strength. DeFranco said in one of his Q&A's that this is one of, if not the most important quality that he stresses for all athletes, especially baseball players. Have him do every single lift with a fat bar if you have access to one. If not, you can wrap a towell or two around the bar to challenge his grip. Towel chin-ups are also great as are crush grippers, farmer's walks and hex dumbell holds.


#8

Outside of the gym, have him chop wood, or hit a tire with a sledge hammer till his wrist and fore arms are killing him. Right handed and left handed. Upper cut, down cut, baseball swing, golf swing. Any kind of swinging motion. Always using his full body on every stroke.

p.s. don't practice a baseball swing using weights, just swing the thing around.


#9

I would suggest power/hang cleans would be the best lifts for improving explosion and power for a young athlete/lifter. Stick with the basics and lots of multi-jointed lifts for teens and have build strength through entire body.