Monday, August 25, 2008

Why I like training baseball and softball players

Baseball players, especially hitters show amazing rotational power. Take note of how baseball players generate batting power, this is the same as how you develop punching power – get your whole body behind the punch. The hips and legs are the key to power in throwing strong punches. Baseball and softball players know this because when you hit a ball with the bat you are using your hips and legs for power. For a great example of this watch:

Watch how the leg and hips move first, then the shoulder and finally the bat. That is how a power punch is thrown – the hand or fist is essentially the end of a whip that begins with the feet.
Jack Dempsey is thought by many to be one of the hardest punchers in boxing and much of his power came from working as a lumberjack. His work as a lumberjack gave him tremendous rotational strength and power for hook punches (hip rotation and power is easily seen in hooks but applies to all power punches: straight right, power jabs even uppercuts). Old school boxing training involved actually chopping down trees, not realistic now but there are way’s to emulate this.
Rotational throws with medicine ball

You can perform this exercise as a partner exercise (what I use since I don’t have a concrete or cinderblock wall). It’s not as fast but you can vary it with distance between partners (the further away the harder you have to throw but the longer the time) as well as weight of the ball.
Tornado ball

It may not look like a lot of hip torque but you’ve got to try it to feel it.
Sledgehammer training
Sledgehammer or bat training on a tire (a bat on a heavy bag is bad idea – I’ve tried it and the bag breaks down to fast, save your bag for punching)

Looks like the hammer was to heavy but I hope you get the idea.
The following video is another is another illustration (the video is rotated 90 degrees but again, I hope you get the general idea),

These are potential supplemental drills to hitting the bag. In the end bag work is best (if your time is limited spend it on actual technique training) but these other training methods can provide you with the “feel” – how it feels to develop power through the hips and leg for rotation so that you know how it should feel when you punch the bag.
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