How many times have you heard that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports? Quite a lot I would think.
Well, that’s because it is. As a hitter, you don’t have a lot of time to determine whether or not to swing. The ball is coming towards you quickly but you still want to be selective.
But in order to learn how to hit a baseball consistently, you need to master the fundamentals of hitting. In this article, we will touch on some of the key fundamentals a hitter must have to be successful.
Learning to Hit a Baseball
Learning how to hit a baseball starts with understanding how to set up in the batter’s box and then the parts of the swing. Knowledge of what key body parts are doing during the swing is also important.
Where to Hold the Bat
This is very important so that when you swing, you are getting the right bat angel through the zone. You want to be comfortable and keep your hands by your arm pit. Make sure your bat and hands are close to your body, and your knob is facing towards the catcher. This will help get some whip when you swing and adds power. Take a look at our video to know more!
Getting into the ready to hit position all begins with your stance. This can be slightly different for each person. However, the main thing is that the hitter should set-up in a comfortable and balanced stance. Some players prefer a narrow stance while others like a wider one. With any stance make sure that your knees are inside of your feet.
Loading Weight to Back Foot
This is an important step for players as they begin their swing motion towards the ball. As the hitter begins to “load up” and transfer their weight to the back foot they need to keep their back knee inside the foot and move their hands back slightly, somewhere around even with the back shoulder.
Once your weight has been transferred to the back foot, players should get on the toe of their front foot. This puts them in a position to begin their stride towards the ball. Some players prefer a long stride while others simply use a small step. The bottom line is that the stride will begin the process of moving the hitter’s weight from the back to the front foot as they bring the bat through the hitting zone.
As you stride towards the ball and push off of your back foot, the hips should move forward with the bat coming behind. The knob of the bat should be taken directly to the plane or the height of the ball. At contact, all weight should be transferred to the front foot and that foot should be firmly planted.
Extension and Follow-Through
As you make contact the arms should still have some flexibility in them. As the swing continues hitters should then extend their arms fully and finish with a complete follow-through. Your shoulders should be turned and your head position should be like it is resting on your back shoulder.
Other than just the basic fundamentals, there are several key body parts involved in a successful swing.
As we discussed above, the feet play a major role in the fundamentals of the swing. Players need a solid and balanced foundation before they begin the swing. The balance needs to be maintained from the start to the finish of the swing so make sure your feet feel as comfortable as possible in your beginning stance.
How to Grip the Bat
The hitter’s hands are crucial in consistently being able to hit a baseball. Not only do they position the bat in the correct position during the stance, but they also determine the proper swing plane towards the ball. This is important because adjustments are needed when hitting a ball that is either low or high in the strike zone. You want your middle knuckles to line up ion the bat.
Not a necessity for all hitters, but is a good skill to that does help if a player is late on the ball. Here’s a video with some extra tips you can try at home!
It is important to keep your head on the ball and still during the swing. Your head should start over your front shoulder and end over your back in order to maintain the correct balance throughout the swing. Moving or lifting the head during the swing can affect the swing plane and proper contact with the ball.
So those are the basic fundamentals of how to hit a baseball. In order to be consistent, players need to practice their swing and determine what drills are best to maintain a repeatable swing.
They also need to be sure that key body parts, primarily the feet, hands and head, are working together in order to have a smooth and balanced swing.
As we said at the beginning, learning how to hit a baseball is not easy, but players can certainly improve their odds by mastering the fundamentals and practicing.
It also helps to have a practice partner that can hit pop up’s or grounders. Here’s a video on how to improve these skills.