Hitting for more power is a common discussion topic especially with parents looking for ways to give their young players an edge. For the past 10 years or so, I've been a sounding board for helping parents and players avoid the biggest misconceptions about hitting for power.
We all want to hit for power because it's cool. But at the end of the day, and if we're being honest, we just want to get hits, emmmiright?
It's hard to be a good hitter if you have these misconceptions about hitting for power bouncing in your head.
Here are three of the most common ones I've heard. Enjoy.
Hitting For Power Misconception #1
The Misconception - Hitting home runs pull-side means you have "pop".
The Truth - Pull Power is the most overrated tool if you're unable to drive the ball hard to all fields.
Once hitters reach the Highschool Varsity level and above, the pitcher will pitch them away on a regular basis. Especially when the hitter hasn't proved they can let the ball travel in the zone and still put a good swing on the pitch.
A hitter with true power should be able to drive the ball with authority to all parts of the field. Pull side, up the middle and to the opposite field.
Good hitters use the whole field.
Hitting For Power Misconception #2
Misconception - Hitting For Power Makes You A Good Hitter.
The Truth - Putting the ball in play while hitting the ball hard, putting pressure on the defense and swinging at good pitches, makes you a good hitter.
Hitting one home run when the bases are empty and you're up by five or down by 10 isn't as valuable as five Quality At-Bats where you hit three balls hard, drew a walk, battled with two strikes, forcing the defense to make tough plays...
...all while raising the opposing pitcher's pitch count.
Secondly, most big league hitters with plus, plus power, didn't hit for much power in highschool or college.
Josh Donalson was a gap-to-gap line-drive hitter. So was Albert Pujols. Now they have STUPID-POWER.
While waiting for the their bodies to develop into having "man-strength" they worked on being good hitters first, with solid, repeatable mechanics and a sound approach.
Be a good hitter first. Power comes later.
Hitting For Power Misconception #3
Misconception - Having the right launch angle will give you more power.
The Truth - It remains to be seen whether or not measuring Launch Angles to optimize a swing is here to stay.
However, I'm guessing Hank Aaron, Lou Gherig, Chipper Jones, Mickey Mantle, and Barry Bonds didn't obsess over their launch angles.
Measuring performance while experimenting with new philosophies is great for reaching peak performance.
Unfortunately, on occasion hitters have the tendency to have an early collapse in their back shoulder while trying to get "lift" on the ball with better launch angles.
In other words, they're swinging under the ball while trying to get a slight uppercut at point of contact.
Now, they've become susceptible to a high fastball and pitches on the inner half of the plate, since there's a hole in the swing.
To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you're overdoing it.
A good swing keeps the backside (shoulder) tall while attacking the inner half of the ball. Period.
This is how you achieve consistent back-spin.