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World Long Drive and Baseball & Softball's Influence on the Sport

As you go down the World Long Drive rankings, a few commonalities are apparent among the competitors. Over half of the competitors spent some time playing baseball or softball growing up and even professionally. In the Open division alone, there are ten plus competitors who spent time playing in Major League organizations, including players like Sean Johnson, Bryce Verplank, Jeremy Nowak, and Bobby Bradley, who was the 8th overall selection in the 1999 draft. A past in baseball does not necessarily give the players an advantage against their competitors, but the ability to use training and movements that were applicable during their days playing days is nothing but beneficial to their Long Drive career.

Swinging a baseball and softball bat may not look the same as a golf swing, but they share many of the same characteristics. To start off, a baseball player tends to put the weight on their back leg to “load up” their swing. A golfer does the same when they bring the club up in their backswing before swinging through the ball to maximize the distance. In both swings, the load-up dictates how much power will translate to the swing itself. Hitters in both sports will maximize their body weight as they shift forward to get the best contact possible. The two types of swings both use a transfer of weight and power to maximize distance and maximize the distance possible. Even though one ball is hit off a tee and the other is coming towards them at 90-100 MPH, both are still looking for the same contact.

            Once both swings get past the transfer of weight, the focus shifts to making the “perfect contact.” Golfers and baseball players can do everything correctly, but if the contact is not made in the center of the club or the “Sweet Spot,” the ball will not travel as far. Long Drivers can lose hundreds of yards if the ball is not hit in the correct spot, showing that finding the sweet spot is integral to getting the most out of the swing. While baseball players are hitting a larger ball, making contact a centimeter off the center can still be the difference between a Home Run and a routine flyout. As many sports do, golf and baseball share characteristics that make the lessons learned early on in life integral to their improvement in their new sport.

Dedication and hours of practice are integral to becoming a professional in any sport or profession. Luckily, the ability to use practices taught in other professions in the task at hand is a quality many of the long drivers possess. This ability to adapt to a different sport with lessons learned previously is what has catapulted players like Justin James, Devon Casazza, Bryce Verplank, Jeanine Minnick, and Sean Johnson into the Top 10 in their divisions Division. Golf and Baseball might not be the most similar sports on paper, but the athletes have benefitted from similar tactics and practices to become the best in the sport.

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