Hitting: Ten Basics Players, Coaches And Baseball Parents Really Should Know
I truly believe that keeping baseball hitting advice very basic will help a coach, a player or a baseball parent who has a child that is struggling with his hitting. A baseball hitter should never feel overwhelmed at the plate. Here are ten very good guidelines that are very basic but very important.
1. Stand close enough to the plate so that when you’re bent over slightly at the waist, you can extend the bat and still reach the outside corner of the plate.
2. As far as your baseball stance, make believe its basketball and you’re guarding another player. That’s an absolutely great starting point for the width of the feet, the bending of the knees and the bending of the waist. It will also give you a very good foundation to encourage effective baseball hitting. Your weight should be on the balls and you should be leaning slightly toward home plate.
3. Relax and let the air out. Tension is a hitter’s worst enemy. An expression that’s been around forever and still holds true today.
4. Grip the bat where the fingers meet the hands. Not the palms. Use a medium grip because a tight grip will actually slow down your bat speed.
5. Your chin should be away from your chest. Your head should be facing the pitcher and completely relaxed, just as if you are watching television. Watch the pitcher’s cap, as it is a very good point to focus your eyes on because it is close to the height where the pitcher will be releasing the ball. Your eyes will be focused properly and will not have to refocus.
6. The height of the back elbow should be lined up like you are going to punch a balloon that’s about chest high and in front of you. In other words, the back elbow should be slightly lower than the back shoulder. Please don’t listen to that old cliché that’s been hollered out for decades to “keep your back elbow up.” It is one of the worst baseball tips on hitting you will ever hear. To have your back elbow up by your back ear works for very few hitters. The goal is to be in a good, comfortable baseball hitting position and having the back elbow up too high is not a comfortable baseball hitting position for most.
7. When the pitcher breaks his hands apart, shift your eyes from the pitcher’s cap to the pitcher’s window. (His window is simply where he releases the ball.) Go back and “load up” by cocking the wrists and the hips a split second before the pitcher releases the ball.
8. As the pitcher is actually releasing the ball, stride forward with your weight about 70% back on the inside of the back leg and about 30% on your front foot.
9. As the ball is pitched, you must turn your head and follow the ball into the hitting zone. If you leave your head turned and facing toward the pitcher, when the ball arrives in the hitting zone you will be looking at the ball out of the corners of your eyes which only makes baseball hitting tougher. Turning your head toward the point of contact is often referred to as “keeping your head behind the swing” and this must be done.
10. When swinging, keep the front shoulder and front hip closed! The baseball hitting is not taking place by your third base coach if you are a right-handed hitter or by your first base coach if you are a left-handed hitter. Not staying “closed” is a recipe for disaster.
If you do not keep your front side “closed,” three very negative things will occur that will prevent you from being efficient at baseball hitting:
1) Your head will pull off the ball when your front side opens up early and you will be looking at the ball out of the corner of your eye. Baseball hitting is difficult enough when you do see the ball well.
2) Any power you have will be lost because your body will be in a different spot from where the actual baseball hitting is taking place. It is taking place right in front of you and NOT to the side!
3) Tough low and away strikes will cause many baseball hitting problems for you. It simply will be physically harder to reach the low and away pitch.
Please note that the “load up,” “stride” and “swing” are three separate movements. They are separate but they should happen very quickly and be done as smoothly as possible. Remember that you go back slowly and you go forward quickly. It’s called the “calm before the storm.”
One of the best baseball tips on hitting you will ever learn is to keep the front elbow pointing downward at the start of your swing. If you don’t, you will be a fraction of a second late to the ball because you will have a very slight loop to your swing. A fraction of a second is an eternity when you consider a fastball takes less than a second to hit the catcher’s mitt. You must go from point “A” to point “B” in a straight line. The only way to achieve this is by keeping the front elbow facing downward at the start of your swing.
The ideal baseball swing is level only at the point of contact and not before!
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