Baseball: Hitting

One of the most fun parts of playing baseball is hitting. To become a good hitter, you need to practice, but you also need to practice the correct fundamentals. These include keeping your eye on the ball, using the proper stance, and making a good swing.

Eye on the Ball

In order to hit the ball, you need to see the ball. This sounds simple, but with all the distractions going on in a game, it’s not always easy. Try to watch the ball all the way from the pitcher’s hand to your bat. Focus entirely on the ball. Try and see if you can tell which way the ball is spinning.

Hitting Stance

There is no perfect stance for hitting a baseball. If you watch professional baseball players, you will see a number of different batting stances. However, there are some good general rules that should help young players have more success at the plate:

(for right handed hitter)

  • Stand sideways – your feet should be lined up with the plate with your left shoulder pointing at the pitcher.
  • Bend your knees – Bend your knees slightly so you aren’t standing stiff. Put your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Feet apart – Your feet should be apart, about as wide as your shoulders.
  • Hands up – Keep your hands up and even with your shoulders.
  • Hands together – Grip the bat with your hands right next to each other, not spread apart. The left hand is on the bottom and should be about an inch from the end of the bat.
  • Elbow up – To help keep your back shoulder from dropping, try and keep your right elbow up and even with your shoulders.
  • Relax – You should be balanced and relaxed with a bit more of your weight on your back foot than your front.

The most important thing is that the batter is relaxed, focused, and confident. Work on your stance during practice, but focus on the ball and hitting during a game.

The Swing

  • Stride – As the ball approaches you need to step into the pitch. This is a small step, around 6 inches or so, towards the pitcher with your left foot. This step will give you power. Be sure to step towards the pitcher and not to third base. Your left foot should slide forward as your right foot pivots.
  • Level swing – When you swing the bat it should stay level and parallel to the ground. This will give you a much better chance to hit the ball than a swing that swings up as if you were hitting a golf ball.
  • Extend your arms – Extend your arms as you swing through the ball. Don’t keep your arms all bent as you swing.
  • Follow through – Swing all the way through the ball. Don’t slap or chop at the ball. You won’t have any power if you don’t make a full swing.

Run!

Once you have hit the ball run as fast as you can toward first base. Don’t watch the ball. Run!