Any Hitting training aid you can utilize which helps you develop increased hitting skills is well worth looking at even if it appears a little unorthodox. It’s not unusual for a baseball training aid to address one specific need or skill set, whether it be hitting, catching or throwing the ball. Such is the case with this training aid.
I discovered Alex Rodriguez, the great New York Yankee hitter, used a modified shorter and heavier bat to specifically practice hitting pitches thrown inside. This aid helped him develop quicker and stronger hands, which led to increased bat speed, which we all know means more power in the swing.
I could immediately see the benefit this aid could provide the hitters on my team, so with great enthusiasm I headed out to the sporting goods store to buy one. Short version of the tale, I could find lots of weighted bats, donuts and sleeves, but these were designed and intended to be used when on deck waiting to bat, not hitting.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and in this case they’re right. I was determined to get a bat like Alex had even if I had to make it myself, which as it turns out, was exactly what I had to do.
I’m going to show you the procedure I used to make this training aid, you can follow my directions, modify or improve them. My players have had no problem with this bat, but be sure to thoroughly test it before you let your kids use it, because if there was anything done inadequately in the process and the lead is not secure inside the bat, it could pose a safety hazard.
Here are the steps I took to make this modified hitting aid.
* I bought a 33″ wooden baseball bat, weight obviously didn’t matter because I was going to alter that anyway. I did however, buy a bat with a thicker handle, assuming, at least at first, the hitters would have trouble swinging the bat and would be hitting quite a few off the handle.
* Securing the bat in a vise, be sure to wrap the bat in cloth or other material thick enough to prevent the vise jaws from digging into the bat and ruining it. I then measured in 3″ from the bat’s barrel end and drew a line around the entire circumference in pencil. I carefully wrapped painters blue tape around the bat’s circumference along the pencil line. This is to help stop the bat from splintering as you saw it.
I used a hand saw, but a power saw, jig saw or reciprocating saw would also do the job. It’s imperative the cut is square and even. I now had a 30″ bat.
* After making the cut I smoothed the bat head by hand rubbing it with sandpaper. Using a tri-square I drew two intersecting lines showing me the exact middle of the bat. You can use a different method if you want, but be sure you’re in the center or else the bat will be weighted lop sided.
* I took a 1″ wood drill bit and drilled 4″ down into the bat barrel.
* You’ll need to buy, depending on the weight and size available, a lead stick(s), actually they’re an alloy but they still call them a lead stick, with which to add weight to the bat. A plumbing supply house will always stock this if you have trouble locating it elsewhere.
* Using a ladle or other suitable holding and pouring devise, place the lead into it and melt it over an open flame. Be sure to use thick gloves or an oven mitt while holding the ladle as it will get hot.
* You have already repositioned the bat in the vise with the drilled hole in the cut off end facing up. Take the molted lead and carefully pour it into the drilled hole. A word of warning. You must have enough lead melted to completely fill the hole in One pouring. You can not pour hot lead bintang 4d over solidified lead as it will not bond together, but will remain two separate pieces which is definitely unsafe.
* Allow the lead to cool and harden. Remove the bat from the vise and going to a clear area free of anything you could damage should the lead come out of the bat, test swing it several times.
* I nailed in a corner alligator clip over the lead and spread several coats of polyurethane over the end of the bat to help seal the bat and secure the lead.