If you've got no idea what to expect when you pick up a ForceTrainBetter bat, here's what we found a while ago when we were trailing them. The bat we used in this trial was a T3, which we actually haven't put into production yet. We wanted something lighter and heavier, so we went with the T2 and T4. We also have the T6 available for those who really want something heavy. Here's how the T3 went though.
There's no not noticing the extra weight when you pick up the heavier bat, not with a T3 anyway. That initial feeling of yeah this is heavier is the idea though, and it is paid back later. The bat we used is the left of the two bats in the image shown on the right. It was smaller than the standard bat, but heavier at 3 lb 6.5. The standard bat we used was 2 lb 10.
Full and straight
I knew it would be harder to hold the bat correctly with my top hand as I played the straight drive. My top hand (I'm a right-hander, so my left hand) got a serious workout, which was great and exactly what I was hoping for. What I didn't anticipate was my body and core actually having to work harder to maintain it's correct position while swinging the heavier blade.
Full and wide
When I get at a wide half volley, I wait a fraction longer and get a full swing of the bat. Doing this used bigger upper body muscles and less top hand, so it was tiring but not as much as the straight drive. For the slightly straighter ones, or for those who's bat doesn't finish on the shoulder, it works that top forearm out nicely as well.
Clean bowled me. If you're anything like me, you hate being bowled. When you get a yorker, you try to clamp the bat down in time. As your bat is still in a high back lift position, you've actually got a fair bit of work to do to get the bat down "in time" as they say. As I discovered, this is much harder with the heavier bat.
Short and straight
Defending on the back foot wasn't too different. It was a little harder to get the bat in the right position in time and hold it there, but nothing too dramatic. Leaving balls was slightly harder because you had to work harder to get the bat up and out of the way.
Cutting, pulling and hooking
Cutting was interesting. Even though you're using bigger upper body muscles compared to your forearm, it's still harder to get the bat through in time. You've also got to work harder to hold your body in the correct position, as the heavier weight flying around throws you off balance. The same thing happened on the pull shot. I didn't get a really quick bouncer that tested my reflexes, but I'd imagine if I did my helmet would have got a workout. I'll probably save those for another day and use tennis balls, as I'll be wearing the majority of them.
Going Back To The Normal Bat
Like that initial, this is too heavy feeling you get when you pick up a weighted bat, you now get this wow this is like a toothpick feeling of picking up your normal bat. My immediate thought was I could swing the bat much harder, and I did, particularly at some wider ones. To the straighter balls, I found it easier to get my bat into the correct position and maintain my shape. Maintaining shape was an unexpected benefit but much welcome, particularly as hitting the ball back past the bowler is hard enough to master.
One of the unexpected benefits of the bat is the improvement it had on my balance. It was much easier to maintain my position in my shots after using the heavier blade. For this reason, I felt much more in control of my shots, despite swinging the bat harder.
After The Session
After the session with the heavier bat, I felt a little more fatigued than a normal 1 hour session. I would have hit 75% of all the balls with the heavier bat, so it was a fair bit of extra swinging. My top forearm was very tired, and it was sore for a day or two, just like any other gym workout you're not used to. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend such a long session so early with the heavier bat, particularly if you're training again in the coming days. Maybe 30 minute sessions using the bat 50/50 with a normal bat will help the forearm muscles to develop. A stronger top arm though will provide better control of the bat and help prevent it cramping during a long innings.
Want to give it a go? Bats are currently available for between $150 and $200 AUD plus shipping, depending on the size and model. Delivery time is 2 - 3 weeks. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for a price now.