A challenge for many young batters is learning to swing the bat fast enough in order to make a hard, violent impact on a pitched ball. There are many methods to teach this skill – one that is effective utilizes a segment of rolled carpet.
Take a manageable roll, thick enough to absorb a harsh blow from a bat. Wrap duct tape around the roll for support and to keep the ends from unrolling. Draw a target the approximate size of a baseball at a spot in the center of the roll. Have a helper hold the roll (use extreme caution) in an upright position within the strike zone. The batter uses an old bat; don’t use a game bat because if the swing is hard enough the bat may dent. A homemade wood or metal bat is perfect for this drill.
Batter takes his stance and looks out toward an imaginary pitcher. Helper gives a verbal cue and batter begins his swing, aiming for the drawn target. The goal: initiate a swing fast enough and powerful enough to dent the carpet. Hold the bat against the carpet for a split second after contact. Use sound as feedback. The louder the impact, the greater the force. The batter should not allow the impact against the carpet to move him from a balanced stance.
Keys: 1) straighten and drive the front leg (closest to the carpet) as hard as possible into the ground. 2) Rotate the hips as fast as possible toward this front, firm leg. 3) Think “speed” and move the bat as fast as possible, as soon as possible, after the front leg is solidified. 4) Think of swinging with your hips and legs, rather than with your hands. 5) Attempt to drive your bat straight through the carpet, as if your bat were a sword. 6) Be violent and be precise. Hit the target every time.
When you smash the carpet roll, visualize the hits you’ll get in the future. Practice this carpet drill enough times, and one day a red carpet may roll out to hail the arrival of a new great slugger.