7 Baseball Hitting Tips That Even The Pros Follow
Here are six baseball hitting tips from conditioning your mind and body to choosing the right bat and the proper grip to ensure peak performance at the plate.
Baseball Hitting Tips
#1 Getting and Staying in Shape
If you play football or basketball in the off season that's a great help but baseball players use a whole set of different muscles. Playing football and basketball will help strengthen your legs and upper body as well as help your cardio-vascular development. However, hitting a baseball starts from the ground and moves upward to the arms and chest.
Start an off-season program that will help strengthen your legs, hips, abs, chest and forearms. Don't overlook any of these, they all are very important baseball hitting tips that will help you come spring.
Legs / Hips can be developed by running and weight lifting. Run short 40yd sprints to build up your leg muscles and do leg presses in the gym, as well. Start with light weights and gradually increase the weight each week. Usually you'll do fewer reps (7-10) to build up strength, completing the exercise three times with the heavier weights to strengthen those big leg muscles. This will build up your legs in a progressive manner. Always remember to work the quads as well as the hams and also remember to develop your calf muscles. Always check with a trainer or doctor before starting any exercise program and...Never go it alone!
Chest muscles are equally important when it comes to providing power in your swing. Your chest opens upon impact when hitting a baseball and you'll find that your baseball hitting drills can be done more easily if your upper body is in shape. There is no need to become "Joe muscle bound", in fact it may hamper your swing especially if you don't stretch those muscles. Again consult with a trainer or a doctor to help you put together a routine that is suitable for you.
Forearm conditioning is vital. Strong forearms will facilitate pulling your hands through the ball. The snap of the wrist upon contact will give the ball some added velocity and powerful forearms will directly affect this action. We have provided a "Free" downloadable forearm routine that will help strengthen your forearm muscles. You can grab it here... Powerful Forearms.
Baseball Hitting Tips
#2 Choosing Your Bat
Choosing the right bat is right up there for baseball hitting tips. It's extremely important to be able to control your bat, when it comes to hitting a baseball. While it sounds elementary, it is one of the most important of these baseball hitting tips. Believe it or not, every bat is different. Although a bat may be 33” in length and be the same model that bat can and usually will weigh more or less from another bat of the same length and model. The weight also varies because in today’s bat world you have composite wood bats, maple, ash, bamboo, aluminum and even composite aluminum bats just to name a few and each type will vary slightly from bat to bat.
Another important aspect in choosing a bat is the handle. Handles will vary in thickness. Some batters prefer thin handle bats that are top heavy at the barrel while others go for the thicker grips with a more even distribution of weight. Before you decide, try a variety of different bats at a batting cage. Then you will have a good idea of what bat gives you the best feel. Above all make sure the bat isn’t too heavy. In hitting a baseball one of the most important functions is bat speed. Bats, as I mentioned before, vary not only in length but in weight, as well. Various bat weights can range from a Little League bat of 22-28oz up to a major league 36oz bat. So if you think you’re mister “Joe Muscle” and choose a 34oz bat that you can just about lift off your shoulders...your batting average will suffer greatly. Ted Williams one of baseballs most prolific hitters said that bat speed is essential when it comes to hitting a baseball with any authority. So make sure you can control your bat and you're able to whip it through the strike zone.
Baseball Hitting Tips
#3 Your Grip
After you have chosen the bat that gives you the best feel the next baseball hitting tip is to make sure you hold the bat properly. Many young batters feel that they have to use the "grip of death" on a bat. It’s quite the opposite. Hitters need to hold the bat loosely in their hands with a grip that is similar to that of holding a golf club. Avoid putting a strangle hold on the bat. The handle of the bat should be in the balls of the hand (That part just below the fingers) not in the palm of the hand.
The best way to grip the bat is to first angle the bat from the handle at your thighs with the barrel resting on the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle. Next, put your lead hand (For right hand hitters it’s your left hand and for left hand hitters it’s your right hand) on the handle at the end of the bat and let it rest between the fingers and the palm of your hand. Next take your other hand and align the middle knuckles of both hands up so it makes a straight line or it could be just slightly off line but not by much. This is the proper way to hold a bat. Take a few cuts and try to time your swing with the pitcher’s motion while you’re in the on-deck circle waiting for your turn at the plate. Now you’re ready to step into the batter’s box. Click on the following link for more details on developing a proper The Batting Grip
Baseball Hitting Tips
#4 Relaxation/ Stance
Baseball hitting tip number three is relaxation. Just remember that no one can perform any task properly if they are tense and not relaxed. Hitting a baseball is no different and the more you step into the batter’s box and take your cuts the more relaxed you become. Relaxation is directly related to confidence. Your confidence increases each time you make solid contact with the baseball and the more often you can make this occur, the more relaxed you are when you step in the batter’s box to face any type of pitcher.
How do we become relaxed? We need to practice and practice perfectly because perfect practice makes perfect. Here are a couple of more baseball hitting tips for actually hitting a baseball. Another way to have fun and improve your hitting skills at the same time is to play challenging backyard baseball games like PGee Ball™ with family and friends. Also, spend time in the batting cage and practice your swing. When you go to the cages start out with a slow speed and increase as your confidence increases. An ideal speed for beginners would be somewhere between 55 and 60 miles per hour. Take a deep breath, relax your hands, keep them back in your stance at shoulder height in line with your back ear. Your back elbow can either be level with your back shoulder or slightly turned down towards the ground forming close to a 45 degree angle with your arm pit. Your feet should be shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent inward to give you balance and allow your hips to rotate. The toes of both feet should face the plate and be on a straight line that runs towards the pitcher. Click here for illustrations of The Batting Stance.
Baseball Hitting Tips
Concentration plays a major role when hitting a baseball and is our fourth baseball hitting tip. Like other sports such as basketball, where the shooter concentrates on throwing the basketball over the front rim when throwing a foul shot from the line, or hockey, where a player focuses on a certain part of the net to make that perfect shot for a goal, the batter must also focus on the particular point of where the pitcher releases the ball. Each pitcher has a certain release point and it's important to know where it is for the pitcher you're facing. Some pitchers throw directly over hand, others will throw three-quarters, some side-armed and others will throw a submarine pitch that looks like it's coming out of the ground, but they will all release the ball the same way each time because that's the way they throw.
Frame out a Window
A hitter needs to focus on a particular spot and that spot is the area where the pitcher releases the baseball. Each pitcher throws slightly different but a particular pitcher usually releases the ball from the same spot every time he throws the ball, no matter what pitch he decides to throw. The best baseball hitting tip is to maintain the utmost focus on the pitchers "point of release". To do this, square off and frame the area where the pitcher releases the ball from his hand each time he throws, it’s kind of like the frame of a window. This is your focal point and should be your only focal point. The reason this window technique is an important baseball hitting tip is because it helps you concentrate and allows you to pick up the ball much sooner. Let’s face it, if the pitcher is throwing between 80 and 100 miles per hour you don’t have much time to react so the sooner you see the ball the more time you have to react and the better your chance of hitting the ball.
This baseball hitting tip also gives you more time to pick up the spin of a curve ball. The next time you step into the batter’s box try this baseball hitting tip. Frame out the pitcher’s release point and block out every other distraction such as crowd noise, a yapping catcher, a swaying tree or fielders in the fore ground. It will definitely give you an added advantage.
Hit the Ball
Where it's Pitched
This then brings us to the next point which is hitting the ball where it's pitched. To become a consistent hitter you must be able to hit the ball to the opposite field and you can only do this if you commit your body and train your mind to wait on pitches that are thrown to the outside portion of home plate. Having patience on these pitches will allow you to hit that outside pitch to the opposite field. There are batters that have an inside-out swing where they bring their hands into the body forcing the ball upon contact to head in the opposite direction, but it's much easier to take an outside pitch and send it to the opposite field. Much too often you'll especially see younger hitters make the mistake of trying to pull the outside pitch. When this happens the batter will usually hit a weak grounder or a lazy pop-up to an infielder and make an out. The batter needs to let the ball travel through the strike zone. Because the batter let's the ball travel deeper into the plate the ball once contacted will jet out into the opposite field. These are the batters that consistently increase their batting average with solid contact which usually results in line drive base hits. This takes a lot of concentration and discipline.
Also, it's important to know where you hit the ball the best. This becomes your hitting zone. Ted Willams always said that you have three strikes to take before you are called out. Therefore, the only real time you have to swing at a ball is when you have two strikes and the next pitch looks like it's going to be a strike. Other than that you should set up your hitting zone. What pitch are you looking for and what's your favorite part of the strike zone. That is to say, where do you like the ball. That's the pitch you should be patient to see and then swing at. Your average will climb. Just remember, you don't have to swing at every strike and be patient for your pitch. Check out these illustrations at The Hitting Zone.
One of the main problems in hitting a baseball obviously would be in the swing. Some players tend to over swing while others don't follow through and some lunge at the ball and fail to keep their weight back.
The swing stems from the grip as mentioned above. Without the proper grip the batter will run into a lot of trouble with the follow through because his or her wrists will be locked and unable to turn over. Please refer to this page on the site The Batting Grip
Some batters sweep at the ball which means they'll have trouble hitting a fastball. The reason why is that their swing will take way to much time to develop. They seem to "Cast" their bat at the ball, like a fisherman casts his line sideways off a boat or from the shore, rather than actually swinging their bat. So instead of trying to hit the inside part of the ball in a somewhat downward motion they wind up coming around the outside part of the ball by sweeping the bat through the swing.
The proper swing happens when the batter actual seems to throw his bat at the pitcher in an attempt to hit the baseball. This must be done without flying open the front shoulder. The batter needs to explode at the point in which the bat meets the ball maintaining the swing by following through with the bat starting from the rear shoulder to the front shoulder(i.e. the term "Swing shoulder to shoulder").
Remember power of the swing is generated from the ground up. So, while the batter performs the above action the lower half of the batter's body, meaning the hips and legs, must also coordinate itself with this upper body rotation. The hips and back leg turn vigorously towards the pitcher so that the heel of the back leg raises and the toe turns forward on the ground. This action would appear to be as if someone were to be "squishing a bug on the ground". Refer to this baseball hitting tips page for the proper swing demonstration. The Science of Hitting.
Baseball Hitting Tips
#6 Get to a Hitter's Count
To often in baseball you'll see a hitter swing at the pitcher's pitch. By this I mean the pitcher has gotten to the position in the batter's at bat where he is in control and forces the batter to hit his best pitch. The main object of the batter is to get a pitch he can handle, a ball he can hit hard and drive.
Here are some startling statistics and pitching counts that favor the batter.
- 0-0 batters hit .320
- 1-0 batters hit .319
- 1-1 batters hit .283
- 2-0 batters hit .381
- 2-1 batters hit .364
- 3-1 batters hit .374
These are the so called hitter's counts because the pitcher is behind on the count and he needs to throw a strike. The only count he is not behind on the batter is when the batter first gets up to the plate and the count is 0-0. In this particular situation the pitcher is trying to get ahead of the batter by throwing a first pitch strike. In all the other counts the pitcher finds himself in a compromising position where he needs to throw a strike so he doesn't get further behind on the batter. Take note because these are the counts that place the batter in the best position to handle and drive the ball. If a hitter can work the count to his favor he will see his average climb, these are the counts where a hitters eyes should light up like a christmas tree. Most likely on all the counts mentioned above the pitcher will be throwing a fastball or a change-up.
On the other side of the coin the pitcher finds himself in control of the batter on the following counts;
- 2-2 batters hit .234
- 0-1 batters hit .232
- 1-2 batters hit .163
These are the counts you want to avoid if at all possible.
Baseball Hitting Tips
#7 Mentally Practice
The power of the mind is a force to be reckoned with. No one knows the true capability of what the mind can achieve. The average human being only uses around 10% of their brain and look at the accomplishments.
A Powerful Tool
Hitting a baseball can become a much easier task when the batter incorporates his brain power into the hitting process. What do I mean? As a batter you need to visualize hitting a baseball before you actually hit the baseball. Does that make sense to you? By painting the perfect picture swing in your mind (Mentally practiced) over a period of time prior to your actual at bat, you will step up to the plate with a confidence level that is much higher than anyone who approaches the plate without mentally visualizing the proper swing.
Mental Practice is as important if not more important that physical practice. Studies have been done in the past for different sports where athletes were divided into three test groups. The first group just physically practiced, the second group just mentally practiced and the third group did both. The performance of each group was followed over a period of a few weeks. The athletes that performed only mental practice were nearly equal to those that just practiced physically and the ones that did both mental and physical practice blew the others out of the water.
To make solid contact with a baseball you need to visualize and believe you can hit the baseball before you even attempt to hit the ball. A daily routine of mental practice accomplishes this goal and gives you confidence. Here's how it works. Each night before you go to bed, put yourself to sleep by mentally visualizing and seeing yourself perform all the proper hitting mechanics correctly. This mental practice routine embeds a positive mental awareness that empowers the body to make the right moves.
Follow these steps the night before a game to enhance game-day performance. First see yourself performing all the hitting drills correctly. Then imagine yourself in the on deck circle taking your practice cuts, then approaching the plate and stepping into the batter's box and framing your window. Then, visualize yourself hitting the baseball squarely and with power. Seeing and believing is the key to successfully hitting a baseball. While this may be the last baseball hitting tip on our list, it surely isn’t the least important.
Mental practice leads to relaxation which leads to confidence which leads to fun. Make it a habit to mentally practice every day. You will be amazed at the results.
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