by BBCOR Dad
My 11-year-old son is 4’11” and weighs 78lbs.
In preparation for middle school baseball and while playing travel ball I purchased, and he has been using a BBCOR 31″/28″. Jumping from his little league bat 30″/19″ to this bat was initially a big jump but it hasn’t been too bad since he uses his lower body and hips to rotate the heavier bat and he has good form. But to aid in this transition I have been making him keep an 8oz doughnut on the bat when he warms up and swings on the tee and during his initial swings in the cage. When he gets tired he starts to drop his hands, so we take breaks and then eventually remove the doughnut. Do you see any draw backs to using a doughnut on the bat while he is swinging it, providing I am watching his hands and form and taking periodic breaks to recover?
COACH HENZE’S ANSWER
Thanks for the question BBCOR Dad!
There are varying answers that you will get from people around the baseball community when it comes to using weighted doughnuts while warming up and/or as a strengthening tool. I am one who always used a doughnut while warming up in the batters box. It got me loose for the actual at bat and made my bat feel very light when I walked up to the plate. Whether that was all mental or not, I never felt like a pitcher could get a fastball by me because I felt quick. They say that 90% of baseball is mental, so that is good!
I have to be honest… 🙂 I never played professional baseball, so I don’t claim to be the absolute expert. I just know that swinging a weighted bat in the on-deck circle to loosen up helped me. I also see many major league baseball players use a weight of some sort in the on-deck circle to loosen up also.
On to the other part of your question… Should kids use a weighted bat for strength training? The obvious problem is that he could teach his body to drop his hands, especially when he gets tired. Muscle-memory is a HUGE thing in hitting a baseball. Make sure you are teaching your kids the proper swing path and technique. In my opinion, I don’t think I would ever train my child using a weighted bat. Warm up, yes… Train, no…
In time, your child will get used to the heavier bats. We have all had to make that transition. I am sure you can find other training techniques that will help him gain strength that won’t have the possible consequences of training specifically with a weighted bat.
If you are looking for a great swing trainer, I would recommend the Insider Bat. This is the best swing trainer I have ever used!
Thanks again for the great question. If anybody else has a suggestion for BBCOR Dad, please comment below. I am sure he and the rest of MYB’s visitors would appreciate it!
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW – UPDATED ON 4/4/12
After doing some research and sending this question out to my LinkedIn Group, I was steered in the direction of Sports Science. The video that I have posted below has me thinking twice about telling players to even use a weighted bat to warm up.
I am usually a creature of habit which means I would have a very difficult time giving up on the doughnut in the on-deck circle, but I probably would after watching this video. My golf game may change also! Watch the video and then share your comments below.