Your Essential Guide to Baseball Hitting Aids
Baseball hitting aids can sometimes be a rip off, but other-times, if you make the right choice, they can change your game completely.
We've taken the best of what the market has to offer and broken them down bit by bit, to make sure that you get what you need to improve your swing, hit the ball harder, farther, and more often. Let's get to it!
BEST FOR KIDS
BEST FOR COACHES
BASEBALL HITTING AIDS:
1. Zepp 3D Baseball Swing Analyzer
The future is here - and it looks like this:
Headband's for men! 3D Baseball Swing Analyzers!
Wearable fitness technology has been all the rage for years now, and it's finally made it's way to your baseball swing. The Zepp 3D Baseball Swing Analyzer is our "BEST OVERALL" recommendation for Baseball Hitting Aids.
And for good reason...
This is a comprehensive tool that doesn't require high quality video or knowledgeable coaches to give you feedback. It's telling you what's wrong (or right) with your swing in real time, and with multiple metrics.
Crazy how Zepp help me with my swing....wish I had this 20 year ago!!!
Twitter - Oct 24 2014
What Metrics does the Zepp 3D Baseball Swing Analyzer Track?
- Full 3D Swing
- Bat Speed
- Hand Speed
- Attack Angle
- Vertical Angle of Bat
- Time to Impact
In the video below, Mike Trout demonstrates how he uses his Zepp to create an "inside out swing" and drive the ball to right center field with authority.
Why the Zepp 3D Baseball Swing Analyzer is So Good
- Advanced metrics that you can't get elsewhere
- Data in real time
- See if your adjustments are actually changing anything without the help of a coach
- Very affordable considering the technology that it provides
- Compatible with Both Apple and Android Devices
ZEPP 3D BASEBALL SWING ANALYZER
Hands down our favorite baseball hitting aid.
2. SKLZ Power Stick
The SKLZ Power Stick takes home our top prize for "BEST VALUE" because it's a great baseball hitting aid at the low price of $29.99 (at time of publishing this article).
That's a lot of bang for the buck. Let's take a look at what's so great about it.
Contact, Contact, Contact
If you find yourself swinging and missing a lot, this might be the baseball hitting trainer for you.
What you get with the SKLZ Power Stick is a very narrow barrel designed to be used with golf-ball-sized wiffle balls. After a few rounds with this hitting aid, your hand eye coordination should pop off the charts. Don't stop until your hitting line drives!
Our 11u travel team has used this combined with the Total Control mini whiffle balls. Great for hand eye coordination and letting the ball travel deeper into the strike zone.
Dick's Sporting Goods Reviewer
Weight (there's more!)
The Power Stick (as opposed to it's light weight cousin, the Quick Stick) is slightly over-weighted, which means that in addition to training your hand eye coordination, it also strengthens the many muscles involved in a baseball swing.
After moving from this tool to a full sized bat, it feels like you're hitting a beachball with a 2x4. I use this tool for batting practice before every game, just to get in the zone.
SKLZ POWER STICK
No more swings and misses!
3. SKLZ Hurricane Category Four Batting Trainer
Most of the Baseball Hitting Aids we cover in this article are great for both kids, and more advanced players. However, it's the SKLZ Hurricane Category 4 Batting Trainer (that's a mouthful) that takes the top spot of "BEST FOR KIDS".
It's a tee baller's best friend. For kids at the very beginning levels of baseball, it's all about forming muscle memory - and that means repetition. Unfortunately, that also usually means tees, balls, and a net (and time).
But with the Hurricane (I'm shortening it for the duration of this article because wow) your kids can hit away for hours and not need to chase any balls around the yard etc. Not only that, but the path that the arm takes, after hitting the ball, gives you feedback on whether you are squaring the ball up or not.
You'll feel when you hit it square and when you hit it "off". After a summer of using this tool, you're kids should be showing improvements in contact skills and batting mechanics - and they can do it all on their own if you don't have the time to help.
Why it's so good:
- Stationary - once it's set up, you can leave it up
- No need for a net or a bucket of balls
- Adjustable Height for different pitch types
- 4 elastic bands for different resistance settings
- immediate feedback based on trajectory of arm
- Easily portable
SKLZ HURRICANE CATEGORY 4 BATTING TRAINER
Repetition and feedback without chasing balls. Hit in the back yard for HOURS.
4. Junior Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine
ATTENTION COACHES/PROGRAM DIRECTORS/RICH DADS:
You need this pitching machine. No really, you kind of need it. Watch the video below and tell me you aren't just a little bit excited about this hitting aid.
This machine does everything, is portable, throws multiple styles of pitches, and basically blows every other pitching machine away*
*Okay, so it doesn't necessarily blow every other machine away. In fact, Sports Attack makes another machine for $3,300.00 that is just like this one, but throws 100mph. I'm here to tell you that this is pointless.
A pitching machine that throws 70 mph will look like 85 mph to the average hitter. Why? Because without the benefit of timing a pitcher's motion, you're not picking up the ball as quickly from a pitching machine, thus making the reaction time necessary a little faster.
Also, if it's a 100mph fastball that you want - move the machine closer to the plate. Done.
But don't take my word for it...
I am a professional batting instructor who owns 2 hack attacks adult machines. I also own 2 bata machines and an older style jugs machine. The most significant advantage of the three wheel design is that the batter can clearly see the ball as it enters the wheels. This really is an advantage in terms of the batters timing. The machine is also probably a little bit more accurate overall.
Checkswing.com Forum User
SPORTS ATTACK BASEBALL PITCHING MACHINE
Fastballs, curves, sliders, pop-flys, grounders - just an overall BEAST of a machine that you need for your practices. Plus it will fit in the trunk of your car (when your wife kicks you out for being at the field too much).
5. SKLZ Hit-A-Way Baseball Swing Trainer
Okay, this is the first baseball hitting aid that I'm not going to recommend. At least not enthusiastically.
The SKLZ Hit-A-Way Baseball Swing Trainer actually gets very good reviews on Amazon. So take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt before you make a decision on this product.
However, I have personally used this product before and I wasn't a huge fan.
Why I didn't like the SKLZ Hit-A-Way
- After using it once, I was already seeing A LOT of wear and tear on the ball and the part that fastens the ball to the line. I'm not sure how long this would have lasted had I not stopped using it.
- If you don't hit the ball just right, it won't rebound on the pole. Which means you have to stop what you're doing and get it started again by throwing it.
- If you're hitting the ball out in front of you (as though you were pulling the ball) the end of your bat can get a little tangled in the black ball fastener (triangular sleeve). This creates an odd feel and it's hard to tell if you were actually squaring the ball up or not. It also sends the ball back with less power and thus it won't return to you correctly.
What I did like about the SKLZ Hit-A-Way
- Using it to work on hitting the ball the other way. For me at least, this was the most successful thing about this tool. It seemed to work best when I was letting the ball get deep and hitting it back the other way. Which is a great thing to work on, obviously.
- Much like the Hurricane, you're not chasing after balls or in need of a second player/coach to help you. This is a completely solo way to train.
SKLZ HIT-A-WAY BASEBALL SWING TRAINER
I didn't care for it much, but others seem to LOVE it. Click here to discover which side you're on. Good luck!
6. Louisville Slugger L30325 Instructo Swing Batting Trainer
The Louisville Slugger L30325 is actually a really great hitting aid and it nearly made our "BEST RECOMMENDED" list. The best part of this tool is how it teaches you to keep your bat on plane with the ball.
There are a few different approaches to hitting, including "Rotational" and "Linear" - I delve into rotational hitting a little bit in this article. One of the benefit to this hitting tool is that it works with all hitting philosophies, so that no matter what you are teaching, this can help.
LOUISVILLE SLUGGER L30325 INSTRUCTO BATTING TEE
Get your swing on plane and keep it there! No more holes in your swing.
7. SKLZ Quickswing PX4
Ho Hum, another SKLZ Hitting Aid. Seriously, these guys have a million products. And most of them are pretty good.
The SKLZ Quickswing PX4 is designed with a few things in mind, but most importantly it's designed to improve bat speed.
Bat Speed = Power
The quicker your bat, the farther you'll hit the ball. That's just science. The Quickswing makes it imperative to have a quick bat otherwise the ball will fall to the ground with a demoralizing thud.
And there's no great technology here, either. Just gravity. The SKLZ PX4 drops the ball straight down, leaving you very little time to react and drive the ball. You can see how this type of training aid could be beneficial in cultivating faster bat speed.
A tool like this is great for a two strike approach. It's great for when you're letting the ball get a little deeper before making the decision to swing or not.
Daniel Russell, a professor at Kettering University in Michigan, found that doubling the swing speed of a 30-ounce bat can raise a BBS of 62 mph to 83.8 mph -- a 35.1 percent increase. In terms of turning a hit into a homer: Against a 94-mph fastball, every 1-mph increase in swing speed extends distance about 8 ft.
Benefits of the SKLZ Quickswing PX4
- Adjustable height for various levels of difficulty
- Automatic Feeder with timed release (Auto feeds 12 baseballs between re-loads)
- Comes with rebounder net for tee or soft toss simulation
SKLZ QUICKSWING PX4
Improve your bat speed, reaction time, and hand eye coordination.
8. Hitters Power Drive
This is kind of an interesting hitting tool. I debated whether or not to include this on the list, but ultimately I decided that I would because it's different in every way from all the other hitting aids listed here.
The Pavlovian Hitting Aid
For those unfamiliar with Pavlov and his dogs, click here. Are we up to speed? Good.
The Hitter's Power Drive is all about conditioning yourself to shift your weight from the back to the front of your swing properly. And the way that it accomplishes this, is with the sound of a"click".
When you're using this tool correctly, and driving your lower half through the ball as you should be, you'll hear a click. Good dog, here's a treat. Over time, you'll take swings in the batter's box that utilize this technique without even having to think about it. That's the idea at least.
Watch the video below to get an idea of what the Power Drive has to offer.
HITTERS POWER DRIVE
Get your lower half working correctly and drive the ball with more power.
9. A Wooden Baseball Bat. Yes Just a Wooden Baseball Bat
maybe not this exact model.
Babe Ruth would be rolling in his grave if he saw what you were swinging in the batter's box - science's latest alloys, sweet spots bigger than the moon, and even ROTATING FREAKING HANDLES.
If the Bambino could have used one of those bats back in the day he would have hit 1500 homeruns.
But no, Babe Ruth used a wooden bat, and so does every single professional baseball player.
Why Are Wooden Bats Good For Training With?
Because it's harder to hit with them.
Wooden baseball bats are heavier, have smaller sweet spots, have less pop, and just overall require a greater level of skill to use properly.
And that's why you should never take batting practice again without a wooden bat in your hands.
You don't have to use it in a game. In fact, if you don't have to, you shouldn't. But if you're taking your batting practice cuts with one of these bad boys, you'll learn how to square up the ball more often.
Nobody likes hitting weak ground balls and shallow pop flys (especially in batting practice). Yet the more you use a wooden bat, the less of those you'll be hitting. You'd be surprised at how quickly you'll adjust to the smaller sweet spot on a wooden bat.
The feedback you get from the feeling of the ball off the bat is priceless. And nothing, I mean NOTHING, feels and sounds better than blasting a ball off of a wooden bat.
But Don't Wooden Bats Break?
Only when you're not squaring the ball up.
But I don't want you to buy a gazillion wooden bats either - my guess is, you're not sponsored by a major bat company like the pros are.
That's why they invented composite bats. These are bats that are made from composited wood, and are treated/designed to be harder to break - although you can definitely (and probably will) break them. God knows I have. Consider this a fair warning.
DeMarini D110 Pro Maple Composite Baseball Bat
For my money, this is the bat that you should consider for a batting practice bat. It's one of the hardest bats to break that I've ever swung. I've seen these things really take a licking. It doesn't have all that much pop, but it's a great bat on a budget.
There are plenty of wooden bats out there, both composite and real wood, that you should check out. It may take you a while to find the one that you like the best, but the results are totally worth it!
COMPOSITE WOODEN BATS ON AMAZON
Start using a real bat while taking batting practice and see just how awesome you are when transitioning back to an aluminum.