How does the aluminum bat hurt your swing?

by Dave Hudgens, New York Mets Hitting Coach

Every kid today uses an aluminum bat. Through the years, the aluminum bat has developed into a high tech, light weight lethal weapon, with which kids really have a tremendous amount of success. Recently I read an ad that sang the praises of the “large sweet spot” on the aluminum bat. What the ad doesn’t tell you is that this large sweet spot could keep you from maximizing your success as a hitter. Let’s see how the aluminum bat affects your swing:

The Aluminum Bat Increases the Habit of Creating a “Long Swing”
90% of kids that play baseball at the youth league level have long swings. They can get away with it for a while, but it eventually catches up to them as they advance in their playing career and face better pitching. It’s unfortunate because with the proper instruction, many of these kids could have a shorter, more explosive swing which would lead to success.

One of the reasons most kids today have a “long swing” is the muscle memory they’ve developed through the years of using an aluminum bat. Years of using an aluminum bat creates a “sweeping motion” in most kids’ swings, which causes them to actually drag the barrel of the bat through the strike zone. When you sweep the bat through the strike zone, you are incorrectly training your hands to take the wrong path to the ball. You do not want to incorporate any of these bad habits into your swing!

How Can the Aluminum Bat Ruin or Delay Your Career?
Year after year, I see newly drafted players with both an extremely long swing and an ego to match. These guys have been fooled into thinking they are professional hitters when, in reality, they merely had an aluminum bat swing.

One player with whom I worked had a typical aluminum bat swing. He had great success in high school and college. He was drafted, by our scouts, in the first round. Unfortunately he was determined not to change his swing.

For the first two years he would not listen to instruction. After two years of struggling in the low minors (when he thought he would be in the big leagues), he started to listen.

He realized he had to change in order to have some success as a professional ball player. He eventually advanced to the AAA level, but he never attained the success to which his potential could have carried him. His lack of instant success was because of the development of an improper swing and the years of training muscle memory incorrectly. He fell short of reaching his potential.

What if 99% of your practice time created a bad habit that could cost you a college scholarship or Big League career? When would you want to change that habit?

Dave Hudgens has been involved with the best of baseball for over 30 years. He is currently the Hitting Coach for the New York Mets. Prior to that he was a longtime hitting coach in the Oakland Athletics’ organization.

6 Responses

  1. How do you fix an “Aluminum Bat Swing”?

  2. Ok so how do you feel on the new bbcor standard for high school and college? I was watching a video with the head coach of the Gators and he says that the reason his team has had success with bbcor is because they practice with wood.

    • Hi Joshua,

      I do believe the BBCOR bats are a step in the right direction. We were seeing college baseball scores that looked like college football scores. At least that has changed for the better.

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