Having barrel control is one of the hardest things for young hitters. Coach Lisle talks about how you can improve your barrel control in this week’s video!

Hitting is Hard

The first thing I tell coaches and players that I begin working with is this: hitting is hard. If you look at some elite level hitters, you’ll notice they make it look easy at times. But anyone that has ever picked up a baseball or softball bat knows that’s not always the case.

For barrel control and understanding where the barrel is going to be and where I’m going to hit it, a huge part of that is pitch recognition. But, at the high levels of baseball and softball, you’re going to see the same swing patterns regardless of the pitch or location. Elite hitters have it ingrained so much that the swing patterns are the same no matter where the pitch is. It’s so ingrained in them that we’re not talking about the swings too much.

How to Work on Barrel Control

Barrel control is a hot topic in baseball and softball. So much so that there is a new statistic in Major League baseball called “barrels.” For more information on this new statistic, check out blog post launch angles in baseball and softball.

“Created by Tom Tango, the Barrel classification is assigned to batted-ball events whose comparable hit types (in terms of exit velocity and launch angle) have led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage since Statcast was implemented Major League wide in 2015.”

– Coach Lisle

Do you have hitters that need to work on barrel control? I wish there was a secret sauce formula to get to that point, where your swing pattern is the same every time. But it really comes down to practice and repetition. Elite hitters have ingrained their bat path by doing hitting drills and taking millions of reps over the years.

Tips for Working on Barrel Control

  • If you struggle with hitting inside pitches or high pitches, try using a little longer baseball or softball bat in your training sessions. For example, if you swing a 31-inch bat, see if you can borrow an older sibling or coaches bat that might be 33-34 inches long. This will force you to work on getting the barrel to those locations more often.
  • If you struggle with hitting low pitches or outside pitches, try using a little shorter of a bat in your practice training. Again, if you swing a 31-inch bat, see if you can find one of your old bats that are a little shorter (in the 25-28 inch range). Using a shorter bat in practice will teach your body how to get the barrel to where you need it to be.

If you don’t have a shorter bat, you can always just choke up a few inches as well. 

Another fun way to work on barrel control is to get a broomstick or skinny wiffle ball bat and use some athletic tape to make a really thick but small barrel on it. Work on hitting mini wiffle or big wiffle balls and see how far you can make the ball go when you hit it right on the barrel.


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