Rate of Force Development

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Rate of force development


For ballistic events like swinging a bat, the ability to develop force in a short period of time is the ultimate goal. The goal is to train an athlete to produce as much force as possible in as short a period of time as possible when swinging the bat.

Training speed does not usually equal game speed unless you can mentally simulate game conditions while training.

The neural muscular system learns how to perform a physical task by achieving a goal or objective. The closer the goal and objective are to the final event, the more efficient and effective the learning. That's why lessons and drills cease to be effective unless they are well-designed in the goals they present to the athlete and his motor muscular system.

Variation needs to be applied in all aspects of training. This includes the number of sets and the number of swings.

Hitting pliable weighted balls is good to mix in with training. Many teams, including colleges, do it. These balls weigh 7 to 9 ounces are and are not the same ones used by pitchers. Their main benefit is what happens before contact. It mentally prepares the hitter’s posture, alignment, and drive for a heavier load impact. It's similar to the concept of telling a player to follow through. Consciously thinking of the follow-through causes what happens before follow-through to get better.

Practice swings are not the same as game swings. They don't imprint the same information. That's why you need to stress the body and brain similar to game situations.

Fatiguing the muscles

Fatiguing the normally used muscle fibers while still maintaining maximum mental effort, the hitter must try to improve each personal best swing speed from session to session. He can't go too many sessions without variation. Also, there appears to be a fatigue level which, if maintained at the proper level for an extended period of time during training, leads to greater compensation when the body is allowed to recover.

However, if too much fatigue is allowed to accumulate it can be counterproductive. If maintained for too long a period of time, there is a loss of super-compensation at the end of the training. This is another reason why bat speed feedback is very important. It is a measure of the hitters' fatigue level.