Swinging a Bat With a Doughnut on it

By admin •  Updated: 09/27/13 •  15 min read

Should my player warm-up swing a weighted bat or a bat with a doughnut on it?

by BBCOR Dad (Virginia)

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?

The Coach ‘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.

See our complete article on this topic:
Baseball Bat Weights

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… 🙂

Learn More: Tips For the On Deck Circle

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.
Weighted Bat & Golf Club Sports Science Video

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Comments for Swinging a bat with a doughnut on it.

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Jun 14, 2013 On deck by: Anonymous I swing a weighted bat on deck not to make my hands feel faster, but to prevent myself from over swinging. If I take a lot of hard swings on deck trying to speed up my bat I am going to over swing in the game and miss hit the ball because the harder you swing the more likely you are to make bad contact, but if I take slower swings with a weighted bat on deck it allows me to loosen up and aids me in making more solid contact because I will not be trying to over swing once I’m in the box and my barrel tends to be much more accurate coming through the hitting zone.

May 09, 2012 Doughnuts/Sleeves for kids by: BBDad Thank you for guiding me to that link. My 8 yr old had picked a heavier bat for himself. He was hitting really well with it when he connected, but I could see he was struggling with the weight. Using my lifetime experience with warming up on deck with a doughnut, I got him a sleeve to practice with (per the league rules – kids are accident prone, so they banned the on-deck circle altogether) thinking he would be able to handle the bat more easily. It has resulted in him frequently hitting off the end of the bat, or being way ahead of the pitch. Now I feel bad. But glad I can cut it off early.

Apr 09, 2012 Agree with Underload and Overload training by: Del Have to agree w/underloading and overloading training being beneficial. Personally prefer the Jaime Cevallos’ MP28 and MP30 training bats for overloading, and I haven’t used anything heavier than his bats for some time now for overload training. For underloading, I use a progressive weight system and emphasize that hitters maintain a slot position swing. The on deck circle is void of any weight or device due to the negative effects that weights present later during the at bat.

Apr 09, 2012 Apples to oranges by: Ed I think we are comparing apples to oranges. What you use on the on deck circle and how you train are two totally different exercises. I would agree that a weighted bat in the on deck circle is a bad idea. But, I am absolutely sure that training with both a heavier and lighter bat increases bat speed. Every study that has ever been undertaken comes to this same conclusion. Underload/Overload training to increase velocity does work.

Apr 09, 2012 Weighted balls used by pitchers by: Dan Clemens This video didn’t address the issue of weighted balls being used by pitchers – that would also be an interesting study. I suspect that the findings might be different.

Apr 09, 2012 Weight bat creates muscle memory by: Dan Clemens The video Brent posted really nails the issue. The weighted bat showed – through scientific data collection, to have no impact (or slightly negative impact) to bat speed. The REAL issue though, is that the weighted bat created a muscle memory that was different than the player’s natural (or perfected) swing, and thus altered his timing. So while bat speed didn’t change much as a result of the weight, it messed up the timing so that when he did hit the ball, it wasn’t in the sweet spot. He hit the ball off the end of the bat or the handle because the arm muscles “learned” to do something different than his eyes (and presumably legs) were used to doing. It threw his body out of rhythm.Common sense is that a weight in the on deck circle would make you faster and stronger in the batters box. For me, that was “common sense” until I saw the video – after seeing the data and high-speed photography, now common sense seems to be that, of course it would mess up your timing . . . Coach Henze Note : Dan is the author of a great book for all youth coaches and parents to read. It is called ” A Perfect Season .” If you want to learn about great ways to keep youth sports in perspective, get this book!

Apr 07, 2012 MLB Players Batting Average by: Danny Thanks Larry. As for comparing to MLB players; I think we should find out how they got there but realize that they do a ton wrong also. The stats show it, BA continue to drop on average even though mounds are lower, bats are better, balls are harder, guys are stronger, guys use “supplements” etc. Teach your kids how to swing properly despite the juiced bats and they will be way ahead of the competition come high school.

Apr 07, 2012 Coop DeRenne by: Ed This is a very interesting discussion. I think if you do a google search for Coop DeRenne, you will find conclusive proof that weighted implements ABSOLUTELY increase bat speed AND throwing velocity. The question is how heavy does the bat have to be to overload the muscles. The answer is probably no more than 25% more than your own bat. I think most trainers would agree that specificity is very important to increasing strength for a skill like batting. Weighted implements that overload your system, without changing mechanics and this is very important, DO WORK. The overload principal for sport specificity has been around for over 50 years and has been proven to increase velocity time after time. This is not even really a question anymore. It would be crazy to compare MLB hitters, who are extremely gifted and an extremely small portion of the population, with a normal person. If you want to increase bat speed training with a weighted bat WILL WORK.

Apr 07, 2012 Quick hands by: Larry I believe that those with the quickest hands hit the ball the hardest. And I’ve posted that hitting is NOT a weight lifting contest. I can be twice as strong as someone else but if they have quicker hands they will hit the ball harder. I do agree with Danny that lower half is extremely important and that’s where hitting starts.

Apr 07, 2012 Comment on PAP effect article (cont) by: Del (cont) Try This: Add some volume while still increasing your intensity and building strength. With one of your core test lifts, whether it be the bench press, deadlift, front squat, perform two to three sets of the respective movement with a heavy weight and low reps (i.e., 3 sets of 2 to 3 reps). After the completion of those sets, perform two more sets with a slightly lower load for two sets of five or six reps. Create a new ritual for yourself with your next breakout performance by incorporating postactivation potentiation into your training. “Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you’ll never go wrong.” By Eric Johnson, CSCS

Apr 07, 2012 Comment on PAP effect article by: Del (cont) My comment on Eric Johson’s PAP effect article on http://www.mlstrength.com/on-deck “Nice information. Always liked the idea of kinesthetic overload for the PAP effect for shot and discus. Since I’m a hitting instructor, I’ve always stayed away from promoting it in the on deck circle after a college professor, Dr. Simpson, told us that the effect wears off after 20 seconds and the hitter actually becomes weaker than he was before temporarily. My hitters are taught to recycle after each pitch and work the count so they’re in the box a while. Del Pittman” Eric’s Article… Most rituals are born the same way as legends, from their great performances. Just think of your last accomplishment. You probably know your exact actions before getting that clutch hit, landing that overdue raise, or raising the bar for a new personal record. Those same actions, in some way, probably have become a part of what you do before attempting your next accomplishment. In the sport of baseball, superstitions and rituals are as big a part of the game as the seventh inning stretch, cracker jacks, and lucrative contracts. From never stepping on the foul lines to lucky hats and gloves, the most unique of them all may be a batter’s routine while on deck. Next time you are at a ball game or watching from the convenience of your home, check out a batter’s routine when on deck. Beyond their mental preparation and focus, finding the pitcher’s release point, and getting their timing down, you will see many players go through their own individual routines. Within that circle, each player has own way of warming up, analyzing the current situation, and preparing the mind and body for the task at hand. From little to major league, many players love taking some practice swings using a weighted sleeve or baseball donut. This phenomenon where the bat feels lighter when stepping up to the plate from their warm up swings is called postactivation potentiation (PAP). Through heavy loading, the central nervous system is stimulated to a higher degree and translates to greater motor unit recruitment and force. In simplest terms, the muscles are primed and prepared to function at that level of intensity when a lower stimulus is presented. So to break some of those same routines you have had in your training for the last year and still haven’t made any progress to show, take these same principles of the batter on deck and hit a home run with your next work. Here’s one way of taking a piece of America’s pastime into your next training session. (cont)

Apr 07, 2012 Lightness only lasts for only 20 seconds by: Del First, the good news is that the weighted bat in the on deck circle makes your bat feel lighter to provide more bat speed. The bad news is the effect only lasts 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, you actually become weaker than before you started swinging the weighted bat. See kinesthetic function and overloading on my blog. For added strength, you’re better off by taking advantage of the neuro-muscular response provided by squeezing the handle at contact. It’s the body’s way of enabling a natural strength boost. The not so good news is that overloading alters your hitting mechanics which plays havoc on muscle memory. Can you say, “Self-induced slump?” Conclusion: Nix the bat weight.

Apr 06, 2012 Strong arms do not equal bat speed by: Danny The weighted bat is another example of focusing on the wrong part of our body when swinging. You can have the strongest arms in the world and have slower bat speed than a 13 year old. We need to design an on-deck tool that attaches to the belt and adds resistance to the hips, now that would be helping bat speed. Lower half does all the work, top half is just along for the ride.

Apr 04, 2012 Lose the weight… by: Anonymous After further review… Hey guys! I was just sent a video that put this exact question to a test by scientists… You will be surprised by the results! Be sure to watch the video that I posted on this question. Maybe you have heard this from your better half before, but you may want to “Lose the weight!” Thoughts? Coach Henze (forgot to put that in the “Submitted by” area above and it won’t let me change it now.

Apr 04, 2012 Agree… by: Dave Larry, I agree. Anything you can get your ballplayers to do that enhance skill improvement and increase strength training is a good thing.

Mar 31, 2012 Weighted bat is a good choice by: Larry Cicchiello There are hundreds of exercises used to improve bat speed. My take on this is ….what better exercise can there be for hitting than swinging the bat itself? It uses all the required muscles for hitting, right? In my humble opinion, swinging a weighted bat is a very good choice.

Mar 26, 2012 Doghnut = slower bat speed by: Anonymous I was fascinated by a study written about in the NYtimes recently. It argues that weighted bats swung before an AB slow down your bat speed. That being said, I always used a doughnut for the same reasons coach listed in the article. Here’s a link to the study.