Knowing how to hit a baseball is a crucial skill if you want to stand on a baseball field. It’s common knowledge that hitting a baseball is one of the most challenging tasks to perform in sports.
Now I might not know what’s more complicated than hitting a baseball, but I can agree with that statement after many years in the field being a catcher. I have seen the struggles that batter faces since I squat right behind them while playing baseball.
Simply hitting a basic fastball is already challenging enough but adding on tops of that pitches like a curveball and 2 or 4 seams is harrowing. The throwing motion of a pitched ball has a lot of steps as well.
If you have been paying attention, I have called hitting a baseball challenging not impossible. The only way to consistently hit a baseball is through practice and more practice and even more practice. In that regard, we at bestbaseballreviews have made an instructional article on hitting a baseball for all you young players. Alongside the instructions are some baseball batting secrets to up your batting average.
As I have already mentioned, to hit the ball is no easy task, so you need to follow an exact process with minimal deviation. The fundamentals of hitting a baseball are relatively simple and the same throughout the different leagues.
While it’s true at the pro level, not all batters hit in the same manner, but they all knew the same basics. We will attempt to do the same as much as possible.
To learn how to hit a baseball farther and harder, we have managed to break down the process into two main parts and another part on how to practice hitting the ball. Here are the elements and the steps to properly bat a baseball:
Get into position:
- Properly stand
- Find your dominant eye
- Get into your stance
- Correctly hold the bat
- Raise the bat
Swing and Hit:
- Watch the ball
- Load & Stride
- Stabilize front leg
- Lifting the back knee
- Hip movement
- Strike the baseball
- Faster hip movement
- Batting tees
- Lighter to heavier balls
Getting into Position
When you are standing in the batter’s box, you need to stand correctly. For example, stand left of the home-plate facing the pitcher from your front shoulder width apart if you play with your right hand. Or stand on the right of the first base again, facing the pitcher from your front shoulder width apart if you play with your left hand.
Then extend and touch the home plate far end with your bat’s end. Next, pull your arm back until it’s fully extended.
To better understand standing in the batter’s box, a player should experiment with standing on either side of the box. Just because you are either right or left-handed doesn’t automatically decide which side you should stand on.
Plenty of players stand on the same side as their dominant hand. Moreover, the distance from the home plate is a factor as well. Stand too far will result in having a hard time hitting outside pitches and vice versa.
For those of my readers that are beginners, here is something valuable. In the beginning, stand directly from the plate and experiment, moving closer and further until you get comfortable.
By knowing your dominant eye, you will be better able to pick a proper stance. If you want to know which of your eyes on the ball is prevalent, it is pretty straightforward.
First, place something like a batting tee or a team player about 20 feet or six meters away. Then stick out your thumb and block the object or player from your vision.
Now close both your eyes on the ball before opening one of them. Whichever open eye lets you see the object again, that one is your dominant eye.
In general, right-handed players have a dominant right eye while left-handed players have a left dominant eye.
In baseball, batters have a choice between three stances, each of which has its benefits. Most batters make their choice of stance depending on which one lets their dominant eye on the ball.
Additionally, check to see which stance help with the baseball swing of the bat and the swing’s power. The place of the feet in the stance can increase the bat speed and control of the swing, to keep this in mind.
So here are the three stances of your choice:
- Neutral Batting Stance: Also known as the even stance, it’s the most common of the three stances. Both feet need to stay equidistant from the home plate in this stance, meaning slightly more than shoulder width apart. Also, the stance allows for the head to turn around over the shoulder with zero strain. It makes it easier to keep either eye on the pitcher.
- Open Batting Stance: For this stance, move the foot closest to the pitcher a bit back, meaning slightly less than shoulder width apart to “open” yourself to the pitcher. It’s the least popular stance since it removes you from the hitting position. It is, therefore, forcing you to take additional steps before hitting a baseball.
- Closed Batting Stance: For this stance, move the foot closest to the pitcher a bit forward to reach more of the plate. But this will cause more strain when moving the head over the shoulder to keep an eye on the pitcher.
Take hold of the bat’s grip with the middle of your fingers and not your palms. For the right-handed players, hold the bat’s grip using your left fingers about an inch or two from the bottom.
Next, place the finger of the right hand over the left hand. After that, extend the bent arms in front of you while making sure the left palm is down and the right palm is up.
In case you play with your left hand, do the opposite of what I said above. Following this setup will help in making the perfect swing.
Step 5: Raise your Bat and Hit Baseball
Make a straight line with your shoulders while looking towards the pitcher. Then bend both your elbows. The rear elbow will go up and back until level with the back shoulder.
From your chest, the elbows should be six to eight inches away. The bat should be 45 degrees over your back shoulder.
Hit a Baseball by Baseball Swing
- Watch for the Ball
To many, it might sound simple, but we players know how hard it is, Don’t we? Start by keeping your head straight and don’t move it around. Both eyes on the ball need to be steady and focused.
The moment the ball leaves the player’s hand, all of the batter’s focus should turn to the ball. Stay stock still while the ball is thrown and track the ball with your eyes on the ball. Once you are sure of the pitch location, that is when you should move.
To increase your ball tracking accuracy, you need to practice swinging the bat. By practicing bat swinging, you will be able to focus more on ball tracking, which will help you hit a baseball.
Through practice, the process of swinging a baseball will become ingrained; thus, you will be able to swing a bat without thinking about it.
- Perform Load and Stride
To perform a load and stride means that you are getting ready to hit the pitched baseball. For some, imaging that you are a gun getting cocked to fire helps to understand this process.
Now onto how a load and stride movement is done. First, you need to move all your body’s weight onto your rear leg. Do so until your back knee, and shoulder are in order. Second, raise your front foot and step forward a bit.
And that’s it; you have completed a load and strick movement of baseball batting.
Front Foot be Stable
After performing a successful load and stride, you firmly plant your raised foot and remember to keep that foot in place throughout the rest of the swing. Once the foot has been placed, bend the knee.
By planting your foot, you will prevent yourself from falling due to the leading movement.
Lift the Back Heel
Now we are getting into the swinging motion needed to hit a baseball. At the start of the swing, stand on your back toes. After that, shift the weight of your body using your front leg.
Important to note is the weight shift needs to happen in the direction of the pitcher mainly because that will put more power into your swing since all the momentum is towards the ball.
- Move with your Hip
When you swing a baseball bat to hit the ball, use your entire body and not just the arms. We use the whole body to ensure you hit a baseball farther and harder.
Start the movement with your rear hip in a bat swing and carry forward momentum with your arms and hands. Keep the elbows bent and buried as deep as you can. Planting the elbows will allow you to put more power in your swing.
Hit a Baseball
As the bat swings down from starting position, you need to keep it as horizontal as possible but keep it level to the ball’s path. For maximum swing speed and power, the rear hip and shoulder need to be forward enough that the torso is facing the pitcher.
Also, aim in a way that the ball meets the bat’s “sweet spot,” which is about five or seven inches from the bat’s top. Doing so will while swinging through the hitting zone or strike zone will hit a baseball farther and harder.
- Follow Through
You aren’t done yet since you need to swing “through the ball” after hitting the ball. Don’t stop applying force on the bat until the ball has been hit. After that, you can slow down once it passes the chest.
Baseball Hitting Drills
Finding your balance is the key to a good swing, in my opinion. From the beginning, you should go through the swinging process while staying balanced. In the practice stage, all that matters is doing the movement correctly and staying balanced.
For a more accessible practice session, break the swinging motion into four parts:
- And swing
After becoming better at each step, speed the process while keeping the balance fixed. This is the only way to become a good hitter and get the maximum distance.
Step 2: Faster Hip Movement While Hitting Baseball
As I mentioned in another section, swing with your hip and not the arms and hands. To increase your focus on hip movement, forget about other tasks and move your hip.
For example, mishandle the bat or use one hand on the bottom and the other on the top while moving your hip. Either way, you need to speed up the hip rotation for greater force in your swing.
Step 3: Start hitting baseball to with a Batting Tee
Before hitting live baseball pitches during batting drills, all batters should start with stationary balls during baseball hitting drills. Use a tee to learn to hit a baseball at maximum power and learn to do it consistently.
Also, the tee will help in getting your movements right and ingrained into memory. If you can, you should place the tee at different levels and positions to learn to hit other pitches.
Same as above, before hitting live pitches, batters should get used to lighter throws. Only start practicing hitting regulation baseball after your form has been deemed accurate.
Instead of starting with regular baseballs, use lighter alternatives such as tennis balls or practice baseballs. Since those lighter alternatives travel at slower speeds, they make for an excellent training tool.
In fact, the slower speed will help you with movement training and ball or pitch prediction, amongst others.
Due to the different ways of getting into position and taking a swing, thus there are many ways to hit a baseball. However, once you contact the ball, the difference fades away, and similarities occur.
If you were to look at any pro baseball hitter, you would see that most of their stances and poses are different, but at the same time, the way to make contact with the ball and follow-through are relatively similar.
Through much research and experimentation, we were able to identify seven tips that are seen in every pro baseball hitter when they make contact with the ball. In my opinion, young hitters should use these tips for an early edge.
When it comes to swinging a baseball bat, we don’t mean your front leg to be stiff. If you need to, you can bend it slightly but remember that the front leg is being used to drive the rest of the body’s momentum.
When you go from the forwarding drive to the axial rotation, you will need the front leg to do so. If you do not plant the front leg firmly, then you won’t be able to gain enough force and speed to hit the baseball farther and faster.
To gain enough speed and force for the swing, we have mentioned that you will need a good and robust hip movement. But that hip movement will be stopped by the firm front leg to allow for the axial rotation. Thus all that’s left is the back leg with its toes either on or off the ground.
However, by going down on your back toes during the rotation, you will be able to deliver all your generated force on the ball and not away from it. While it might like a simple thing, it isn’t.
At the same time, there are exceptions for everything, which is also the case for this step. Baseball player’s who hit a baseball to the same side of the field from which he bats, also known as pull hitters, can avoid keeping their back foot on their toes. An example of players that are exempted can be Derek Jeter, previously of the New York Yankees.
At the moment of contact with the ball, a batter’s hand is in the position of most power; it doesn’t matter if they are right-handed or left-handed.
If you are a right-handed hitter and asked to open your hands at the moment of contact with a baseball, then your right-hand palm would be facing up while the left-hand palm would be facing down. The reverse is also true for those left-handed hitters.
Another tip that seems simple and obvious, but in reality, it can be pretty challenging. To accurately follow a baseball traveling at speeds of 80mph from the pitcher’s hand and estimate its contact point or pitch location is anything but easy.
But like everything else in baseball through practice, it can be done and done well. For example, I was training with lighter balls traveling at a slower speed and gradually increasing the speed and weight of the ball.
In general, the idea is to make it so that the back knee, hip, and head rotate perfectly vertical. The purpose of upright positioning is to allow for the best possible rotation.
The rotation must not be too forward since it means losing power or too backward since it will mean getting the bat all tied up. Both of which will lead to unpredictable swings, thus lowering your batting average.
Using your head and feet, make a triangle that will help to stabilize your stance and allow for more force to be generated.
If you look around, you will see many objects, either natural or artificial, in the figure of a triangle, all of which have strong structural integrity. The same can be said for a human body that makes the same shape.
If you paid attention, you would remember that tucking in your elbows will help you generate more power. So it is best if you plant your elbow firmly to your sides.
For those who want the above statement’s science, the tucked-in elbow helps you get more torque as you rotate yourself horizontally.
Here is a video that shows some of what we talked about.
How to Hit a Baseball with Bat
Knowing how to hit a baseball is all well and good but you also need to know which type of baseball bat you will need. Most baseball bats are made using certain woods such as maple, ash, and birch but there are also composite bats. Each of these bats come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
First of all, this is the most desired baseball bat wood by all MLB players. The reason for this is simple: it is both hard and durable at the same time. Due to being hard and durable, it is rather expensive.
Secondly, maple bats are closed-grain wood bats which allows them to withstand high impact. Maple bats will hit harder when it contacts a baseball in the “sweet spot” with its composition.
However, maple is also known for being more porous, so it gains moisture more easily. From the beginning, maple is a heavy wood, but the wood will be even heavier after gaining more water.
After maple, the next best choice is baseball bats made with ash woods. While ash wood is the most popular wood used for bats, it is the least expensive. It is softer than maple or birch but more flexible, which increases the bat speed.
With the lower weight point, it is an ideal choice for youth baseball players. Additionally, wooden ash bats have the most significant “sweet spot” compared to other wood. While being less hard and durable than maple or birch ash wood is open grain, so less moisture gain.
Surprisingly birch wood is a combination of both maple and ash. While being more durable than ash, birch wood is also softer and more flexible than maple wood. However, it is not all good news. Birchwood bats tend to dent easily also; they require a break-in period to reach optimal play quality.
Most composite bats are made using layers of different materials such as carbon fiber. The coatings provide a more balanced bat or a more end-loaded bat. Compared to alloy bats, the composite bats have a larger “sweet spot.” Also, composite bats reduce that amount of sting from mis-hits.
Well, there you have it. I made a comprehensive article that detailed all that I knew and researched batting and hitting a baseball. Hopefully, this article gave young age players what they needed to increase their batting potential or taught them something they didn’t know already.