“The hardest thing to do in baseball is to hit a round baseball with a round bat, squarely” - Ted Williams.
What is the hardest thing to do in all of professional sports? If you have ever tried, you know the answer is hitting a baseball. Learning how to hit a baseball is one of the most challenging, but rewarding endeavors you can ever participate in. If you spend a few moments and really pay attention to a Major League baseball player up at the plate, you will see how different each hitter is. But, if you freeze-frame all of the hitters at contact, you will notice how similar they all become.
Hitting a baseball is so challenging because there are so many facets to the baseball swing. A Major League baseball player is considered a Hall of Famer for hitting the ball three times out of every ten at-bats. They can fail seven times out of ten and still be considered great. That is how difficult it is to hit a baseball.
There are some basics to the baseball swing that we will go over today. The key to being a better hit is to consistently practice. There is no better baseball tool to use than the batting tee. Many kids find hitting off a tee to be boring, but it will help you to develop the most consistent baseball swing that you can. Check out some tips to be successful when hitting off the tee at How to Hit Off of a Tee.
Let’s take a look at some of the essentials that you will need to know in order to hit a baseball.
What’s Needed To Hit A Baseball
Step-by-Step Instructions To Hit A Baseball
Gripping The Bat
Many kids will grab the bat with both hands and keep their hands separated. This is not correct. If they bat righty, they should grab the lower handle of the bat with their left-hand fingers and place their right-hand fingers above it. If they bat lefty, they should grab the lower handle of the bat with their right-hand fingers and place their left-hand fingers above it.
Once their hands are on the bat, they should line their knocking door knuckles up with each other.
The reason for lining your knuckles up together is so that when you go to swing, you will make contact with your bottom hand palm down and your top hand palm up.
Check out Proper Baseball Hitting Grip to see this kind of grip and another grip suggestion in action.
Once you have your grip comfortably figured out, you will need to hold it up properly. This is one area where you will see a lot of Major League baseball players differ. Ideally, you want to have the bat over your shoulder and behind your back. The bat should be at about 45 degrees to the ground and your elbows should be out in a position that you could rock a baby with.
Footwork is extremely important when it comes to proper batting mechanics. Feet should be comfortably lined up shoulder-width apart. Players should be able to comfortably stretch their bat across the plate. Lastly, you should try to line up in the middle of the box.
One of the greatest baseball players of all time, Cal Ripken Jr, reviews how to get a comfortable stance in the batter’s box with his Grip and Stance video.
Lock And Load
Now that you are properly set up in the batter’s box, it time to get ready to launch into your swing. Just like in a bow and arrow, you pull all the way back, lock and load, and then release. As the pitcher goes into his windup, the batter should load their weight onto their back foot. As they do this, they will load their hands back with their front shoulders never passing their chin. The batter is now locked and loaded.
This picture demonstrates the load motion. The third picture in each series shows where your bat and weight should be as the pitcher is about to deliver the pitch.
Take a look at a live video of how to make sure that you Stay Back when taking your baseball swing.
Now that you are locked and loaded, you are ready to attack. As the pitch is coming, there are a few things you want to do as you contact that ball.
- Take a little step with your front foot towards the pitcher
- Shoot your hands to the ball (bottom of the bat should be a ball level)
- Drive your back leg to turn your body so your belly button is facing the pitcher
- Keep your eye always on the ball by keeping your chin down
Your weight will still be on your back foot as that is what is supplying your power. Your goal should be trying to hit the ball right up the middle. That will keep your body compact and balanced.
Check out this video that breaks down the follow-through as well as provides you with some drills that you can do to work on this aspect of your swing.
As you can clearly see, hitting a baseball is a complicated task. But, the best thing you can do is keep it simple and consistent. Breaking down the swing as we did here today will help you to focus on each of the five areas that go into the art of a good baseball swing.
I hope that you enjoyed this quick tutorial on how to hit a baseball. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions in the section below or, even better, share with other baseball hitting enthusiasts! Remember, hitting a baseball is hard, but you’ll never have a great feeling than feeling that bat hit the ball exactly where you want it.
Drills To Practice Your Hitting
Lastly, here are a few drills to get you started on working on your baseball swing. These offer a wide range of drills to help you focus on all five parts of your swing.
“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.” - Babe Ruth