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Offseason Hitting Drills

Offseason hitting drills

The offseason is where the work gets done to prepare us for game play. Once the grass starts to green up in Minnesota, we know that baseball season is just around the corner. In order to get ready for opening day, us northerners use a variety of offseason hitting drills to prepare. These drills can be done on our own, or with a teammate or two.  You can also seek specialized coaching from one of MN’s great training facilities. Let’s focus today on some drills that you can do on your own, with limited space, and that require limited resources.

Tee Work

As we all know, baseball is a game of repetition. The best hitters in the game didn’t get that way over night or by watching a “how-to video”. At its purest form, baseball is one of the most mechanical and fundamental sports. The more repetition, the more success you may find. A Batting Tee is a small tool that applies to all abilities of players. There is benefit for your “tee ball” players up to your Major Leaguer.  A batting tee allows you to breakdown your swing to the most miniscule of details. It focuses on areas of weakness, and allows you to get many swings in a short amount of time. A tee is portable! You can do it in your basement when it is 20 below zero. Also works fine in your garage with a small net! The ideal spot would be a batting cage, as it allows for instant feedback letting you know exactly where you hit the ball and if you hit it properly.  Check out the Tanner Tee, best in the business.  Tee work is one of the best offseason hitting drills you can do!

Basics- Ball placement on the Batting Tee

 Try and place the ball on the batting tee with purpose. The saying “keep your eye on the ball” is an important focus of tee work. Hitting different spots on the baseball will create different outcomes.

Figure 1. Hitting downward on the top seam will create backspin that will make the ball go further.

Figure 2. Hitting the inside seam (right hand hitter) will create a better path to the baseball while also creating backspin to drive the ball further.

Hitting downward on the top seam will create backspin that will make the ball go further.Hitting the inside seam (right hand hitter) will create a better path to the baseball while also creating backspin to drive the ball further.

Basic Batting Tee Work

Basic Batting Tee work consists of moving the tee around the plate to focus on hitting pitches in different locations. Keep your typical batting stance and set-up when attacking these locations. By hitting the outside pitch, it allows for the ball to travel deeper through the hitting zone with the same swing. Up the middle contact should be somewhere between your stomach and your front foot after stride. Attacking the inside pitch, you will want to make contact earlier and out front so your wood bat barrel can make contact without compromising your hands or your stride.

Tee placement for ideal contact

Top Hand/Bottom Hand Drills

 The purpose of one hand drills is to isolate weaknesses in your swing, discovering limitations by being dominate with your top or bottom hand, and creating balance. By isolating one hand, it will help to create power as well as finding your ideal swing path.

Top Hand only- by letting the elbow lead through the zone, it will help by getting the wood bat barrel on plane with the pitch more quickly while developing bat control and balance.

Bottom Hand only- the bottom hand, even though most will be top hand dominant, will truly help you understand your swing path as a whole. Your lead hand will start the motion of pulling towards the baseball. Once you can control hitting line drives with one hand, the easier it will be with two. A couple training aids most popularly used are our one-handed trainer and the Hammer!

High Batting Tee Drill

We all have been in that funk where we start popping balls up and dropping our back shoulder. Here is a solution that will help you by driving down on the ball and generating that backspin with more line drives. By elevating the batting tee to somewhere between your eyes and your chest, it will create a bat path forcing you to stay on top of the ball through the zone while not allowing you to drop your backside shoulder. By setting your batting tee on a chair or bucket, it will allow you to achieve that ideal height for the tee. The ideal location to hit the ball is right back up the middle at head height. The focus is to square up the ball, where our Hand/Eye Trainer is ideal for hitting that sweet spot with immediate feedback.

Step Through Drill

Bat speed and Launch Angle are commonplace terminology within baseball and its developing at younger ages. This drill focuses on that as well as using our legs to generate power. The Step Through will also aid in keeping your hands back while we stride and get our front foot down first. While doing this you need to keep the bat back in the zone longer to swing at better pitches. The set-up will include starting at the back of the batter’s box facing straight towards the pitcher. The first step is taken with your right foot if you are a right-handed hitter towards the tee set-up in the front-middle portion of the plate. The left leg follows through as your stride leg into your hitting position.  After the swing the step through is the back leg finishing off on the ground or on your back toe. This is all controlled movement as to prevent “squashing the bug” as we are looking to generate back spin and more power!

Why Train with a wood bat?

Offseason hitting drills pared with a wood bat will really help you improve your game.  Swinging a wood bat has many benefits for the young player.  Wood bats give instant feedback. You will feel it if you don’t square one up on the barrel. If you hit one off the end or off the handle, the hands will feel the vibration off the bat. Simply swinging a wood bat can really help hitters develop faster. First off, wooden bats tend to be weighted differently than aluminum / metal bats.  This doesn’t always mean that a wood bat is heavier.  It means that because the barrel of wood bat is solid (instead of hollow like an aluminum bat), the weight distribution is going to be/feel different. This difference alone helps hitters develop the muscles they use to swing.  It really builds bat speed faster than just working with aluminum. Plate discipline and learning to swing at better quality pitches will essentially make you focus on hitting the sweet spot of the wood barrel and make your wood bat last longer. Wood is the bat for players looking to play at the next level!

Categories: Baseball Bats, Baseball Training, Bat Swing Speed, Wood Baseball Bats, Wood Bat, Wood bat company, Wood Bats

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Wood Bat leagues for players to fuel the need to play wood bat baseball

CanucksJust because your high school or college baseball career is over, doesn’t mean there aren’t outlets for you to get your baseball fix in. Wood bat leagues and wood bat tournaments are organized all over the place, and I recently had the pleasure of participating in one such tourney in Florida.

And as I’m about to land in Chicago for a short layover and get ready to connect to my flight home, I’m a little run down, a tiny bit hungover, utterly confused with the time zone changes with daylight savings, and a lot sentimental. My trip out east was supposed to be a simple nine day getaway and mixing in some play time at an international wood bat baseball tournament that I was lucky enough to be invited to.

The twenty-seventh annual wood bat event is called the Roy Hobbs World Series, and it’s held down in sunny warm (read ridiculously hot and humid) Ft Myers, FL. This place is filled with alligators, manatee, dolphins (we actually swam with dolphins!), and strip malls as far as the eye can see. I assumed I’d have some fun, but what I didn’t expect was the rewarding experiences, valuable moments, remarkable new friends, and memories that will be etched in my mind for a very very long time.

We played 8 nine inning games in six days…..that’s 72 innings in under a week, and I was on the field for 68 of those. We finished with a bronze medal going 5 and 3 (side note: we swept two doubleheaders. Not an easy accomplishment). What. A. Grind. By far the most games I’ve been on the field for in about 30 years of amateur sport. Anyone who says baseball players aren’t athletes needs to give that a whirl. I have a feeling they may have a change of heart. I played pretty well. Well enough to not completely embarrass myself, but that’s not the point here. The real reason this post gets the long-wind treatment is the colorful cast of characters I had the pleasure of suiting up next to. There were so many brilliant anecdotes, inside jokes, and puns for days. We ripped on each other like we’d the been brothers since birth and conducted ourselves like the four year old snot-nosed punks we really are. We fought like champs and overcame almost every adversity. This group was outstanding.

There was a sergeant of an organized crime unit from the Chicago Police Dept who gave us a glimpse into his chilling job description; a CEO of nearly a billion dollar company who timed out to fly to New York to close a deal with Baumbardier; a head coach of a junior college baseball team; and of course the Founder and VP of MaxBat…..a wooden bat company built from scratch whose customized products are used by hundreds of Major Leaguers. These are just a few of the back stories of the MaxBat squad.

I was accompanied by three other local Victoria, BC boys. We were the Canadian content and we represented our country well. I feel like we turned some heads and showed our American hosts we’re not all beaver-pelt hunting Zamboni driving igloo builders, eh. I remember hearing one of our Uber drivers say, “Victoria, Canada?? Not the first place you’d look to find good ball players.” We laughed. We knew what kind of players we were. We went about our business, prepared the way we know how, and crushed pints like true Canucks. It’s in the handbook.

In the locker room, we were the most boisterous and raukus of all the teams in there. We held kangaroo court after each game and awarded bucks for every slight infraction on and off the field. Wore the wrong color undershirt? That’s a buck. Come to the airport with an expired passport? That’s a buck. Lose all your gear in transit? Thats a buck. I did all of those things btw.To say we didn’t hold back would be an understatement. We owned the week.

Team MaxBat is filled with salt of the earth family oriented hard working men all brought together purely for the love of of this fickle game (and pints). I’m more than honored to call these people my friends. I can only hope they feel the same. Until next year, compadres. I wish you all the best.

Gordon Paterson

Categories: Wood Bat, Wood bat company, Wood bat manufacturer, Wood Bats

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Wood Bat business chosen as Top 100 Small Business in USA

Behind every successful small business is an owner with a vision for something that could be done better – and a community that benefits from that vision. Whether it’s a vintage shop that revitalizes a troubled neighborhood, a construction company that builds new homes or a small restaurant that SBR_Logo_Championed by Deluxeanchors a community, small businesses play an increasingly important role in bringing people together.

That’s why a wood bat manufacturer like MaxBat is being profiled as part of the Small Business Revolution project – a year long campaign that celebrates the vibrancy, variety and community impact of small businesses all across the country.

Baseball is America’s pastime, and wood bats and wood bat manufacturing is at the heart of it. MaxBat produces wood bats in their facility in the small west-central Minnesota town of Brooten. Producing wood bats for professionals, and amateur players around the globe since 2001.

“It’s very humbling to be chosen as one of only 100 small businesses across the country to be featured by Deluxe Corporation as a part of their Small Business Revolution campaign” said Jim Anderson, VP and Director of Sales for MaxBat.  “When this idea to create custom wood bats was hatched, it consumed my life and I followed my passion.  It’s the most rewarding venture that I’ve ever been a part of”.

The Small Business Revolution focuses on the importance of a personal touch and local involvement in an era when business is becoming increasingly impersonal. The campaign is capturing the stories of small businesses and their customers, families and friends – all of whom are a crucial part of what makes our communities whole.

And when you think about custom made wood bats, that is the essence of personal touch. Each wood bat being created for an individual ball player, one wood bat at a time.

“The hands-on customer service, the entrepreneurial spirit and the deep community involvement people find in the small businesses they frequent make all the difference,” said Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe Corp. “Telling these stories and putting a spotlight on these owners is our way of celebrating the best parts of American business.”

The Small Business Revolution story will be told throughout 2015, coinciding with Deluxe’s 100th anniversary celebration. Since 1915, Deluxe has helped small businesses grow and thrive by providing a range of business services, from websites and logos to social media and email marketing to checks and other financial services. In all, 100 small businesses will have their stories told on SmallBusinessRevolution.org

Categories: Maple Bats, Wood Bat, Wood bat company, Wood bat manufacturer, Wood Bats

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Differences between Maple Bats and Birch Bats

Wood bats give you options that metal bats do not. And the most obvious option, is that you can get a wood bat in a number of wood species…..Maple, Birch, and Ash are the 3 most common.

Recent numbers show that MLB players prefer Maple Bats over the rest, but you might be surprised to find out that Birch Bats have taken over the 2nd spot over Ash Bats in what pro players use in games.

So what’s the difference between the 3 species? First, let’s go over Maple Bats vs. Ash Bats. Maple bats are very rigid, and this gives them tremendous pop. Ash has more flex, and some players like this because the ash wood bat can feel like it gives them a little more whip. The downfall with ash is that it can break down with repeated use, and that’s simply because of the nature of the wood grains.

Now, explaining the differences between Maple Bats and Birch Bats is a little more difficult to do because the two species are so similar. Both species are GREAT for making wood bats. One species is NOT going to be lighter than the other, as a lot of people think…..but what is lighter? A pound of bricks, or a pound of feathers? They both weigh a pound folks. Same with Maple and Birch.

The biggest difference between a Maple Bat and a Birch Bat is the flex. Many players say that a Birch Bat is the perfect mix of a Maple Bat and an Ash Bat, because it has the hardness of Maple, but the flex of Ash. However, it’s really not that simple. Birch definitely has more flex than Maple, but it doesn’t compare to the flex of Ash.

So, what’s the best wood bat for you? That’s going to be your own personal preference. But now you know a little bit more about the wood species options when choosing a wood bat.

Categories: Baseball Bats, Birch Bats, Maple Bats, Wood Baseball Bats, Wood Bat, Wood bat company, Wood Bats

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Wood Bats, Wood Bat Companies, and Wood Bat Billets

FullSizeRender(1)Do a search for wood bats on any major search engine, and you’ll be amazed at the number of options that might appear. The average consumer might think that a wood bat is a wood bat, and there is not much difference between wood bat companies.

However, there are HUGE differences in the raw materials that are used between wood bat companies, and manufacturing methods need to be taken into consideration when choosing a wood bat.

First of all, all wood billets are not created equal. In order to produce a wood bat with the straightest grain, a wood bat manufacturer needs to start with a premium wood billet. MaxBat only uses hand-split billets, because of their straightness of grain, yield, and overall performance. These billets cost more than those produced from sawn logs, but the old saying is “you get what you pay for”, correct? We’ve found that by using these billets to make our wood bats, MaxBats can be produced with better results than most other wood bat companies in the market.

The size of the company should also be taken into consideration. Yes, it’s neat that pretty much anyone with a lathe and a billet can produce a wood bat, but if you’re a serious ballplayer, and want a consistent and high-performance wood bat, you really ought to avoid the hobbyist bat manufacturer who spins a bat now and then in their garage. Hats off to these guys who are passionate about the game of baseball, but the precision needed to make high end wood bats can’t be replicated on hand lathes.

Also be aware that there’s a difference between Wood Bat Companies, and Wood Bat Brands. Private Labeling is offered by some wood bat companies to baseball enthusiasts who want to simply put their own label on a wood bat. The bottom line is that private labeled wood bats are typically made from lower quality wood or wood billets, and it’s a great way for wood bat companies to get rid of their waste. MaxBat is approached by individuals all the time that want us to private label for them, however we want to avoid that and focus all of our energy and efforts into making our own bats, and not someone else’s. And since we use the cream of the crop in wood billets, we virtually have zero duds, therefore there isn’t much of a need to find a brand to private label.

So, just some tips for the wood bat consumers out there who are shopping for their first wood bat. All wood bats are not created equally.

Categories: Wood Bat, Wood bat company, Wood bat manufacturer, Wood Bats, Wood Billets

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