On the eve of more suspensions in baseball, I wanted to weigh in on the advantage players gain by taking steroids. I often hear people say that hitters who take steroids still need solid hitting mechanics and great hand-eye coordination to be successful. While I agree with this premise, I believe they underestimate the dramatic impact steroids have on hitters. The truth about steroids is it’s all about Batspeed!
Hitters who take steroids enjoy dramatically increased batspeed. This increase in batspeed is not due to better hitting mechanics. Rather, it is simply due to the increased strength of hitters. During the “Steroid Era” in baseball, it has been pretty obvious that the body types of players have been evolving. Players who have ben implicated in these scandals over the past fifteen years have physiques that now resemble football players and body builders.
As I have written in several of my posts, increased batspeed means increased power. Increased batspeed also allows hitters to wait a split second longer before committing to the pitch. This benefit cannot be overstated. When hitters can wait longer before pulling the trigger, they gain a real advantage over pitchers. This also allows hitters to really “load up”, just like they do in the Home Run Hitting Contest during the All-Star Break. The results are higher averages and tape-measure home runs never seen before by hitters of all sizes.
Another big advantage that is not easily seen is the confidence that grows from increased batspeed. After a short period of time, my baseball and softball hitters can increase their batspeed 10-20 mph by developing and perfecting solid hitting mechanics. When they begin to notice how the ball is jumping off their bat like never before, I can see their confidence skyrocket. A confident hitter is a dangerous hitter.
Hitters who take steroids become highly confident hitters. They KNOW the advantage they have over pitchers is decisive. The baseball record books are in shambles because steroids give ordinary and already great hitters a high level of confidence and increased batspeed. This is normally a combination I would applaude. Unfortunatley, I’m not clapping.