Has your coach been harping you about the need to improve your "swing path." Maybe he calls it "form," or refers to "the slot?" He's definitely told you to "shorten it up," or "make it more compact."
He's on to something, and you trust him. Problem is, while you understand what he's saying, you're not quite sure exactly how to do it. You need the right tool. Hitting off a Tee will certainly help, and there are training aids out there with two parallel bars you're supposed to swing through. But what these have in common is that they show you where your bat needs to go, not the best way for it to get there!
Repeat that in your head. Or say it out loud, because it's really important. "What is the best way for the bat to get from behind my ear to the point of contact with the baseball?" Learning the feel of a proper swing path, from the moment you recognize a pitch to after you've swung through, means more than just getting to the right spot. It means getting there as efficiently as possible.
The 3S Hitting System takes a total approach to training a hitter's swing. It also places special emphasis on the importance of a Swing's Path. It's name refers to how it works the 3 key areas of a great swing: Swing Path, Hand and Core Strength, and Bat Speed (get it, 3 "S"!!!). There's a reason why we chose to have "Swing Path" first. It's the most important, but often overlooked, swing element.
Is it really overlooked?
When it comes to hitting a baseball, we usually hear how having a fast bat and a powerful swing mean the difference between a rip that beats the shortstop, and a strikeout. Phrases like "catching up to a pitch" and "making solid contact," on the surface, seem to refer to speed and strength. Part of this has to do with that fact that we can measure both speed and strength. A radar gun can tell you how fast your bat's traveling. The numbers on the side of the weights at the gym tell you how much you can lift.
Swing path is tougher to measure. But just as important to your success.
Yeah, but why's it so important?
Put simply, you cannot have a powerful or quick swing if it is inefficient. It's too much of an uphill battle.
More specifically, it has to do with 2 majorly important things:
Maintaining the power you're creating
Moving quickly from the top of your swing to the point of contact, and through contact.
If this sounds like bat speed and strength to you, it should! You absolutely cannot separate the 3 keys of a good swing from each other. However, the "glue" in a great swing is the path your bat takes. If it's inefficient, it doesn't matter how strong you are, you will not transfer the energy from your core, through the bat, into the ball. Efficiency in a baseball swing is not talked about as much, but it means everything if you want to become a hitter that pitchers fear.
To the second point, training yourself to swing along the proper path will naturally help you increase your bat speed. All things being equal, the shorter the distance you need to travel, the faster you'll get from point A to point B. So if you have two hitters, both just as strong as the other, the one with the shorter path to the baseball will hit better. Plain and simple.
So how does the 3S Hitting System tackle the Swing Path issue? Basically, it provides resistance and acts like a stress test on your swing. It gives you feedback on where you start to become mechanically inefficient. It does this with the Swing Blaster bat attachment and it's corresponding resistance tube. If you are dropping your bat head or casting your hands, you will feel the barrel become difficult to move. If you stay in the slot you will be able to take the barrel to the point of contact. All the while the tube provides resistance causing your hands to get stronger.
Here's a run down of what the 3S Swing Blaster does to shorten your swing and make it more efficient:
Demonstrates how it feels to swing properly
Provides feedback when your bat begins to leave the proper "slot"
Strengthens your hands, wrists and forearms through resistance
Builds muscle memory so all this becomes habit
The 3S Hitting System's other main component is the Swing Stabilizer. It's role in teaching the proper swing path is more indirect. However, it's just as important in building a great swing.
The Swing Stabilizer wraps around your shoulder, and then your torso. Depending on which direction you wear it, it will either provide resistance, or "overspeed." Let's take a closer look at each of these positions and how they relate to improving your swing.
Keeps your front shoulder closed as you swing
Strengthens your hips and other core muscles
Shows you where you need to focus your weight to maintain balance
Helps train your legs, again for balance
How does this affect your swing path? By training your foundation. Your swing doesn't start in your arms. It starts in your legs. If you do not use your legs properly to transfer weight and create leverage, your hips will not rotate properly, throwing off the rest of your swing. Efficiency starts in your core.
Pulls your back hip through the swing
Forces your torso to "open up" with your swing
Trains your core mucles groups to move faster than they currently can
Also shows you were you need to work on your balance
The "overspeed" position for the Swing Stabilizer points to Bill Dailey's experience and expertise as a hitting instructor and coach. Of all the elements of the 3S Hitting System, this might be the most innovative.
In the "Overspeed" position, the 3S works on your swing path by pulling your entire body through the correct movement, literally from your feet to your shoulder. It's almost like it's saying "hey, this is what it feels like to move faster!" No other training device can do that.
The 3S Hitting System will improve your swing. It will make it more compact, effecient, powerful and fast. If you use it for just 15 mins a day, you will see results. It can go anywhere with you. You can hook it up to a door frame and practice inside on a rainy day. You can attach it to the fence on the field where you practice, or even before a game! If you're looking for the tool that will give you the edge to take your hitting to a whole new level, you've found it.