What are you thoughts on Bat Chutes?
by Robert Canary
It seems a lot of coaches are trying to put weights on bats, and put a heavy warm-up bat on young kids that do not have the strength or good mechanics to work them.
I don't like donuts. A heavy weight seems to train your muscles to slow down, but be strong. While it is bat speed that produces good hits, it is true the strength of the batter allows them to follow through better on contact.
If you watch your kids trying to swing a donut (or weighted bat), you'll notice the batter will always drop the bat off their shoulder (usually midway of the upper arm) and literally pull the bat as though they are pulling on a rope tied to a truck. This is the only way they achieve the bat speed they are use to getting, while still handling the weight. So when the kid goes to bat, they bat exactly the same way. And their hands will always roll just at the point of contact.
I use a Bat Chute. The Chute is fastened to a junk bat of average weight and length, actually I use a 29in 17oz. As they swing the chute it fills up and drags down the momentum. Watch your kids using this versus a weight and you will see the difference. Tell the kid after about five or six reps on the chute, get their regular bat, and don't swing it until they are ready to hit the ball. You will see a tremendous difference.
From my experience the two things this will do is:
1. It keeps the kid in good technique with pulling the bat after they start their rotation. Not dropping it behind them and dragging it through they air.
2. The drag the chute creates will teach the kid to push through the resistance with a hand-up-hand-down contact zone.
What are you thoughts on this approach?
Here the link to the ATEC Bat Chute
Swing Smarter Response:
Robert, this is an awesome hitting aid and I'm not quite sure someone hasn't brought this one up yet!
I agree with everything you're saying about weighted bats, unless the bat is slightly weighted in such a way (like Jaime Cevallos's MP30: 38-40 ounces) not to be too heavy for the kid to swing (with his upper body), but will also teach moving the bat with the hips and not primarily with the shoulders, arms, and wrists most young hitters unknowingly do.
Yes, studies show weighted bats are horrible for bat speed as evidenced in this Swing Smarter post we did on just the topic.
Anyway, enough about that, I want to get into the Bat Chute. Sprinters, wide receivers, and running backs have been using parachutes and sleds, which accomplish the same thing, for decades to increase their off-the-line quickness and burst of speed.
Not only would the Bat Chute increase quickness of the bat but, like you said, aid in increasing barrel speed passed the point of contact, which as you know, we're HUGE on at SwingSmarter.com.
And the best part is?
Priced at around $20, you can't lose! Great post Robert, you da man :D