When you stop and think about it, hitting a baseball is no easy feat. It requires the speed, strength, and hand-eye coordination to hit a small, fast-moving ball with a narrow, fast-moving bat. Although batting is difficult, it’s certainly not impossible. There are many ways to improve your technique for a better swing. Each batter is different, so play around with these tips to find what works best for you.
A great swing starts with finding a stable, balanced stance. Your body weight should be centered over the balls of your feet, not your heels. Bend your knees to create a stance that is balanced and primed for a swing. Feet should be a bit wider than shoulder width apart and should be parallel to each other. Keep your shoulders level and hold your hands a comfortable distance from your body, usually about 10-12 inches out. Once in position, relax your muscles so they aren’t rigid or tense. Also, don’t get happy feet: keep your feet in position instead of shuffling them around. For players who struggle to maintain good posture, yoga can be a fantastic way to work on body alignment and flexibility.
To accurately swing the bat, a good grip is a necessity. Your grip should allow you to have your bottom hand facing palm down and your top hand facing palm up when you make contact with the ball. Position your hands so that your middle knuckles are aligned along the bat. This will allow you to keep your swing stable when you make contact. Curl your fingers around so that they make full contact. Your grip should be firm.
The way you stride prior to swinging is a matter of what works best for you. Just make sure you don’t step outside of the batting box. Shorter strides are often better for maintaining control and moving quickly into the swing. Taking too big of a stride can cause you to get sloppy, but too small may reduce the power in your swing. Prior to starting your motion, make sure your weight is slightly shifted towards your back leg. As you are about to begin your swing, bring your striding leg up then forward towards the pitcher. Move steadily into your swing from there. Play around with these motions to find the stride that gives you optimum power and control.
Now, it’s finally time for the big moment: the swing. Your stride will lead you directly into the swing. Once your foot plants, the swing starts with a slight movement of the hips. As you prepare to swing, turn your hips inward towards the catcher a bit and pull your hands towards the back shoulder. When you rotate into the swing, let your arms follow your hips. This gives you power and torque to swing hard. During the swing, keep your back elbow up and close to your body. Use your lower hand and arm to guide the head of the bat to the ball. Keep your head still throughout to improve your balance and vision. As the pitch is released, bring your hands to the ball in a steady, level sweep. Once you make contact, try to increase force and follow through completely.
Perfecting your swing is a process that can take years. Watching videos of professionals is a great way to understand each component of the swing. Also, try using visualization to imagine the perfect swing every night before you go to bed. Many professional athletes swear by this technique. Above all, practice, practice, practice!