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Stay Connected To Consistently Hit Balls Harder

Written By: Luke Johnson

Stay Connected To Consistently Hit Balls Harder

A lot of coaches love to talk about connection, but few will describe what it actually is. It’s a term I heard all the time from coaches growing up but never understood what it really was. They would just say it and then that was the end of it, leaving me confused and back to doing what I was doing. It is not enough to say “HEY, stay connected longer”. That cue is meaningless if one: you don’t know what it means and two: if you don’t know what it feels like to really be connected. Hitters don’t swing disconnected because they want to, they do it because of years of bad habits and trying to reach for the baseball. 

If we reach for the ball, not only will we be losing power because we’re now pushing with our upper half, but we also lose time in the zone. The goal of staying connected is to allow our turn to work the barrel into the zone and be powerful, but to also keep us in the zone. We want to work behind and through the ball rather than reaching for the ball and forcing our contact point to be perfect. 

I like to use the Rebel’s Rack with my hitters because it allows them to feel the changes in their turns that are needed to access their power potential. This work will go to waste if as soon as we get back into the box, we begin to push our barrel to the baseball rather than turning it. This push to the ball is the loss of connection that I’m talking about. 

 

How to Fix Connection Problems

Another addition to this connection drill is to work off a tee at the deepest point of contact (just in front of your front hip, after stride). Working from this very deep point of contact is going to force you to really make sure you’re turning behind the ball early and staying connected.  If you struggle to get that pitch off the ground, it’s because you’re losing connection too early and pushing to contact. The goal is to drive this pitch up the middle to the top of the cage or where the top meets the back.

Why it’s Important to Stay Connected

  1. Time in the Zone

Good connection allows you to start working on plane with the pitch early and through the zone long. This allows you to work in the zone early and stay through the zone long, giving you a greater opportunity for success.

 

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2. Greater Power Output

Rotational power comes from our legs, hips, and core. This is why we practice our turns on a Rebel’s Rack so we can train the lower half of our body to sequence correctly and be the engine to our swings. What happens when we lose connection and push with our hands is we lose the ability to generate power with our lower half because our shoulders have to start our turn. This gets our swings out of sequence which then reduces the speed of our barrel through the zone which will reduce our power. 

 

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