Cornerstone is pleased to bring you this blog by Coach Michael Kuebler of Colonial Baseball Instruction. Coach K is an expert in baseball training equipment and uses many training aids with his high school team and in his camps.
There’s a new baseball training aid on the market that will change the way many coaches and hitting instructors carry out batting practice. It’s called the Swing XP Power Series Practice Bat and was launched this winter, which created a buzz at many baseball coach’s conventions and expos across the east coast. I first heard about the training bat from a well-respected High School baseball coach and friend of mine. He sampled their bats at the Mohegan Sun World Baseball Coaches Convention and he said, “ Mike, this bat is the real deal”. I took his word for it and invited the Swing XP owners to set up at our baseball EXPO in Williamsburg, Virginia the next month. I took a few swings with the Power 50 and I was sold. It was not long after, when the public entered our EXPO to demo bats, that they were sold too.
So What is the Swing XP Practice Bat?
This is a metal practice bat that has additional weight (20 to 30 oz heavier than your regular bat) added inside the handle placing the majority of the bat’s weight in the hands of the hitter. You can hit real baseball with it off a tee, soft toss or even batting practice.
Why practicing with a Swing XP Bat works?
The Swing XP practice bats promote improved hitting mechanics by forcing better positioning of a batter’s hands and feet. In order to swing this weighted bat with any speed, a hitter’s hands have to stay “inside” the ball, keeping the hands closer to the body. Once a hitter “casts” their hands away from the body, the swing gets “long” and slows down significantly making for an uncomfortable swing and ineffective swing. Even with the added weight in the handle, the Swing XP bats can be swung at the same speed as your regular bat when using proper hitting mechanics!
How to effectively use the Swing XP Practice Bats
The Swing XP Power Series practice bats should be used as part of a training program. Adding a few swings with the Swing XP within your regular batting practice regime daily will give you the best results. Furthermore, the Swing XP can be used as an excellent “on deck circle” warm up bat to reinforce proper hitting mechanics prior to getting into the batters box.
My Experience Using the Swing XP Bats With My High School Baseball Players
I started to use the Swing XP training bats with my high school teams this past spring. One of my seniors said “I’ve always been taught to keep my hands inside the ball but with this bat I can actually feel where my hands should be.”
Throughout the season, we had at least one Swing XP station when we did cage work every other day or so. Additionally, the boys would use the Swing XP on the on deck circle before they hit in the game. I had them swing a 3-4 times with the Swing XP as part of their on-deck routine.
Our varsity team BA was about 30 points higher than the previous season. On our varsity team, we started 6 underclassmen (one 9th grader and 5 10th graders) on any given day and they were hitting the ball hard. No Doubt, the Swing XP had a positive effect on our program last season.
My Experience Using the Swing XP Bats With Youth Hitters
I had close to 40 players in my 2 winter prep camp sessions, age ranges 9-13 years. During our hitting phase, my station used the youth model (Power 40 Swing XP) I had each camper hit a few baseballs off the tee with the XP then a few with their bat. You should have seen their eyes light up with the empowerment seeing the immediate results with a 40 oz bat! Our focus that day in camp was to stay inside the ball without letting the hands push away from the body. We had great results. Many of the campers asked if they could swing this bat in a real game (unfortunately the answer is no).
There are many “weighted” training bats on the market and many are worth merit. But the Swing XP is the only training bat that is weighted in the knob, can hit real baseballs and can swing at competition speeds. Keep one in your team bat bag and you will be sure to have a positive impact on your baseball offense.
Stay on plane,