Fun Youth Hitting Drills To Fix Bat Drag For Baseball & Softball Players | What Causes, What Is It, How To Cure & Stop Tips For Batting Swing Beginners
This newly UPDATED article (video isn’t updated) presents a fun youth hitting drills approach to help fix bat drag for baseball and softball players. We go over what causes and what is bat drag, how to cure and stop it tips for batting swing beginners.
#1 Youth Baseball Swing Fix To Deflating Bat Speed
Awhile back I posted the following youth baseball post to my Hitting Performance Lab Facebook fan-page (CLICK HERE if you haven’t “Liked” my fan-page yet…new content daily):
This video blog post will target one of the worst youth baseball swing offenders to deflating bat speed…bat drag. In this article, we’re going over:
- What is and What Causes Bat Drag?
- The science of Bat Drag (to hitting an unknown moving pitch), and
- 1 Way How to Fix, Cure, & Stop Youth Bat Drag
What Causes AND What is Baseball Youth Bat Drag?
Article UPDATE: Bat drag is when a young hitter’s upper and/or lower body rotates way passed the hands and bat to cause the back arm elbow to race passed the hitter’s belly button. We call this racing back elbow.
Youth bat drag is causes mostly by over rotation of the upper and/or lower half. It is NOT like what some coaches say, being caused by a dominant top hand or back arm, quite the opposite actually. Bat drag can be caused by a weak and disconnected top hand and back arm.
This article I originally posted back in 2015, and blamed bat drag on a barred out-front arm. I’ve since revised my position on this thanks to Perry Husband. A barred out-front arm DOES NOT result in a long slow swing, an early barrel in the hitting zone does. Specifically on pitches that are middle in. For a refresher on how barrel path changes based on pitch depth, then click this post.
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3 Common Myth “Tips” of Fixing Bat Drag
Myth#1 – sometimes coaches say get the back elbow up in the batting stance. We do teach this to help get the front shoulder slightly down at stride landing. Lifting the back elbow without this principle is irrelevant to fixing anything.
Myth#2 – the hips before hands argument is old and stale. This is EXACTLY what’s happening with bat drag, the hips are way out front of the hands, resulting in a connected swing. The two main problem with bat drag are 1) Not taking slack out of system (fix below helps with this), and 2) over rotation of upper and or lower half. Over-teaching myth #2 tends to promote over-rotation.
Myth#3 – again, hip rotation is not the end all be all to power, contact, etc. in the swing. It’s over coached. If anything, we should be coaching LESS hip rotation, NOT more.
Bat drag is a disease of over rotation, so rotating more will only make matters worse. Here’s a great place to start…
1 Way How to Fix, Cure, & Stop Youth Bat Drag
Typically, I have my youth baseball hitters practice the Catapult Loading System when we have an arm barring issue. The finer points before a hitter lands in the Fight Position are:
- Showing pitcher your numbers,
- Hiding hands from pitcher, and
- Slight downhill shoulder angle.
Another piece I’ve just added to the puzzle comes from Homer Kelly in his book The Golfing Machine. The following quote may shed additional light on “educating the hands” to combat arm barring…
“Power Accumulator #1 (for right handed golfer) – is the bent right arm. Even though the right biceps is active, the backstroke is always made with the right arm striving to remain straight. But the straight left arm restrains this continuous extensor action of the right triceps with an effortless checkerin action. Consequently , during release, the right arm can straighten only as the left arm moves away from the right shoulder.”
You see, the problem with bat drag at the youth baseball level isn’t the move itself, but how the compensation is triggered. What’s happening before the front arm bars out? Is the hitter properly activating the springy fascia within the torso?
If you “Click here to ‘Get Instant Access'” button below, you can get a free video that explains:
Why the following advice: “Power is all in the hips”, “Load and explode the hips”, and “The hips lead the way” won’t produce the repeatable power you’re looking for…
Where power really comes from – the answers to how the body actually loads are validated by science…
- The 3 Do’s & Don’ts that will help you execute this simple strategy without any hitches in swing quality…
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Hi Joey, would like to know How you fix a problem with the hitter NOT getting the back elbow in the slot position before the start of the swing. In other words the hitter throw the knob of the bat inside the ball on a linear move. Keep the good work. Thanks
Hey Lou, are you asking about not getting the elbow into the Slot Position (as per Jaime Cevallos?) before the Final Turn, or picking up the front foot? Next week’s blog article will talk about a new hitting aid that will help with the hand (or knob) first swing.
Joey…I could use some help. It seems to me that you do the first three correctly…show your numbers, hide your hands, and angle downward with you shoulders and STILL have bat drag. I have a kid that does those three correctly but then his hands drop backward when the rear elbow begins to move toward the hip and then the elbow gets to far in front of the hands and the front elbow straightens out. He can’t seem to break it.
Mike, I hear you on that. I have a couple hitters with the same issue. I call it racing back elbow. Try having the hitter create tension in the arms before the Final Turn. In other words, have them feel like they’re trying to “break the handle” between their hands. Also, see if this hitter is straightening out their front leg prior to or at impact. Most likely they aren’t, and are trying to develop power from the backside instead of the front. Have your hitter sync the timing of their straightening front leg (pushing the ground away) with the barrel accelerating down into the ground. Let me know if this makes sense…
I understand what you mean by creating tension in his arms before the final turn. However, it would seem to me that creating tension would cause him to be tight and being tight and tense makes for a bad swing. I took a video of him swinging and after looking at it, realized there is more to it than meets the eye. First of all, yes he is straightening out his leg. However, two things are apparent. One…he is not showing his number as long as i thought. Two…he is actually opening up to quickly. While he is keeping his head on the ball, I can see that he is actually beginning to open his hips while his front foot is landing. It just looks a little too soon…even if only by a fraction. I am not sure if this is affecting the bat drag issue or if it is a whole additional issue to deal with. With the bat drag, his hand and bat head drop backward when the rear elbow begins to move toward the hip. In fact, I think the rear elbow moves too far forward and gets to far in front of the hands and the front elbow straightens out. I am trying to figure out a drill to help him. Something he can do over and over to build the muscle memory. What do you think?
Mike, racing back elbow is a nasty habit I know. And one I don’t have an immediate fix for at the moment. It takes time for sure. Since he’s straightening the front leg just before or at impact, then it may not be his front side. Make sure your hitter gets these three things right: 1) showing numbers to landing, 2) maintaining a downhill shoulder angle to landing, and 3) keeping more of a vertical bat before the Final Turn. A flatter bat at the start of the swing can cause a racing back elbow compensation as well. Try these and let me know how it goes…
Mike, on the tension thing. We want to create tension in the springy fascial material. If we do it right, then the muscles will help “lock in” the stretched and loaded fascia, like the locked click of a gun hammer.
Joey…ok…trying to implement a few things we have discussed and doing some reading has led me to a couple of thoughts. Tell me what you think. First of all, if we can do something about that racing back elbow, we may get somewhere. I think I read somewhere where you mentioned putting a rubber ball between his bicep and forearm to help with bat drag. I was wondering, what if we also place a similar ball in his armpit simultaneously. Presently, I notice that his rear elbow is racing forward as his front foot is landing. In my mind perhaps holding the ball in his armpit will prevent him from moving that elbow forward to quickly or it will drop. Also, making sure he shows his numbers UNTIL his front foot touches. In addition, I am also wondering if the prohammer training bat will be of some help because one of the results of this racing elbow and thus, bat drag, is rolling his wrists. Am I way off here?
Mike, one of my readers Kyle Harrington has a good hold on the racing back elbow issue. Check out some of his comments on my two latest posts: 1) Baseball Online: Never Suffer From Bat Drag Again, and 2) Hitting Tips To Boost Barrel Time On Pitch Plane…particularly when he talks about swinging “around the ball” which is the complete opposite of bat drag and racing back elbow 😀
I have been struggling for the past 2 years with a player that lands with a flat bat. The initial gather looks great bat is in a great spot. But when the front foot lands the elbow starts to slot early and the bat flattens. Is this bat drag? It’s almost if his swing starts too early and his back knee and elbow start firing as the toe lands and then the heel lands the barrel flattens. I have done everything and cannot get this corrected. I bought your videos and there is no real fix to this. I need some guidance.