How To Swing A Baseball Bat Like A Pro
You may have seen countless baseball players swing a baseball bat and thought that swinging a baseball bat must be pretty easy.
All you have to do is pick up the bat, take a few practice swings to get warmed up, swing as hard as you can, and swing with all your might. Professional baseball players sure make it look easy!
We’ve all tried swinging a few different things before, so swinging a bat should come naturally to anybody, right? After all, it’s just taking a piece of metal or wood trying to hit a ball.
However, just because it looks easy, it doesn’t mean it actually is easy. Baseball pros take years of hard work and dedication to learn how to swing a baseball bat and master that skill. While it is simple to swing a baseball bat, swinging a baseball bat correctly is challenging.
Being able to swing a baseball bat correctly is a crucial skill – one that will help you generate more hits, better swing speed, and more power with each impact.
Learning and incorporating proper swing technique and skill is an essential part of becoming a good hitter. You’ll be making consistent contact, enabling you and your runners to take those bases as needed. Learning proper swing technique is no doubt going to make you an even better hitter.
That’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to help you become a better hitter and help you clutch up so you can hit those grand slams when it comes down to the wire.
There are eleven steps to swinging a baseball correctly, but we’ve broken it down into three essential parts
- Getting the Stance Right
- Proper Grip Technique
- Getting the Swing Down
Getting The Stance Right
Like building a good house, you have to start with a solid foundation. The same thing applies to baseball swings. A proper stance is how you get a good foundation for your body and your swing
You might notice that batters of all kinds utilize several different stances and styles of batting when they step up to the plate. Generally speaking, though, they have to follow a consistent set of rules for a good stance.
Placing your Feet in Position
The first thing you have to keep in mind is your feet. They should be about shoulder length apart or just a bit wider than that
Positioning them too far or too close together will cause you to lose proper balance and dampen your power. Your feet should also be in a parallel position to each other, right underneath your shoulders
The weaker side of your body should be facing the pitcher (for example, if you are left-handed, your right side would be forward and vice versa).
Be sure that you’re looking at the pitcher! Have your head positioned towards the pitcher.
Once you’ve gotten into position, place your weight on the balls of your feet and not on the heels. This puts you into a position to react quickly and shift your weight freely on the pitch
Bending your Knees
Now you don’t want to have your legs straight when you’re planning to swing your bat. Having your legs straight is a position where you can’t shift your weight fast enough when you’re swinging
Instead, slightly bend your knees and sink down a little. You don’t want to be in a full crouch, but rather, a position where your thighs are just above parallel to the ground.
You’re aiming to create a lower center of gravity, enabling you to get out of your stance quickly using your hips and knees to generate that force.
Planting your Foot
The back foot of your stance should be the plant foot of your stance. This foot should be firmly planted on the ground. Your plant foot will help keep your stance steady and will be the foundation of the power you’ll generate when you swing the bat.
As you take your swing, take a small step forward with your front foot while simultaneously twisting your back foot for the follow-through.
Note that you want both of your feet to be in place when you contact the baseball. Otherwise, you’ll have less power in your swing.
Once you’ve placed yourself into position, be sure to relax yourself instead of tensing up. Tension in your muscles will make the swing motion crude and stiff and make it harder to perform a fluid movement. The stiffer you are, the worse it will be for you to generate power and make contact
Proper Grip Technique
While you are getting your body into position at home plate, you should be positioning your hands properly on the bat
Positioning your Hands
First, you want to lay the bat’s handle on the eight fingers of your two hands – not including the thumbs, of course. Take your fingers and wrap them around the bat. You want your less dominant hand to be the one to be at the bottom of the handle, with your more dominant hand taking the higher position (for example, for right-handed hitters, they would place their left hand below their right hand).
Don’t hold the bat by the palms of your hands to help your wrists rotate correctly as you go through the swing motion.
Place your pinky of the bottom hand near the knob of the bat. If you need to, you can move your hands up the handle (known as “choking up”) but don’t overdo it.
Knuckle Line up
As you wrap your fingers around the bat’s handle, you want the knuckles of your fingers to be aligned in a straight line. This position allows your bat to shift with the swing and enabling your hands to turn the handle naturally. That being said, you shouldn’t grip the handle too tight to allow that sweet turning motion.
That being said, if the straight knuckle position is uncomfortable for you, then you can go ahead and adjust your position slightly. If holding the bat is awkward or uncomfortable, then chances are your swing will be as well, lowering the chances for success.
When you’re finally in the position in the batter’s box, you want to point the bat so that it’s angled up and over your back and shoulder. Do not rest the bat on your shoulder or your back. The barrel should be raised off the shoulder so that it’s ready to swing. Ideally, the bat is angled about 45o from your hands.
This position is ideal and makes it easier to swing your bat with the most amount of power you’re capable of generating.
As you do this, you have to make sure that your center of gravity is centered over your feet. On the side of your planted foot, keep your toes, knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment, all in a straight line down.
Doing this will allow you to generate explosive power out of your stance and uncoil properly as the ball approaches you.
Getting The Swing Down
Once you’ve gotten into position, we’re ready to start getting into the meat and start working on your swing.
One Small Step Forward
First, you have to get ready for the ball to come your way. When the pitcher releases the ball from his hand, you have to step forward slightly with your leading foot. Make sure you don’t step too far, or you’ll lose balance. Don’t make too small a step either, or you won’t be generating enough power.
You aim to step about two to three inches forward. As you step forward, try and maintain your body alignment. All of this will allow you to generate as much power as possible behind your swing. Take care, though, as it’s easy to throw your balance off as you step forward. You can counter this difficulty by making a short and quick step.
Taking the short and quick step enables you to keep the solid base you need and puts you in an excellent position to make solid contact with the incoming baseball.
Twisting Your Hips
While it’s tempting to think that most of your power comes from the strength of your arms in baseball, you have to understand that a lot of the power you get comes from your hips.
What does this essentially mean for you? This means that as you swing, you want to rotate your hips. Doing this effectively creates a load of momentum behind your swing. You want to be sure that you perform this in one quick motion; else, you run the risk of misaligning your body as you twist.
Your hips should move in the direction of the swing, essentially leading your shoulders which should twist closely after your hips. Improper twisting, however, can injure your core muscles if you try to generate all of the power using your shoulders. Rotating only your shoulders puts too much pressure on the hips and the core of your body, so be aware of that.
Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
One of the most popular mantras in baseball, “keep your eyes on the ball,” isn’t just a saying. It’s something you have to do if you want to be a great hitter.
From the moment you start your swing and to the end of your swing, you have to make sure that your eyes are always on the baseball.
First, be sure to eye the pitcher before and during the windup phase of their throw. Then, as the pitcher releases the ball, try to follow its flight path from the pitcher’s hand to your bat as you swing and hit it.
As you do this, you want to keep your head low throughout the swing motion, making sure that your chin is dropped down as well. This is to ensure that your head stays properly aligned with the rest of your body during the swing. A point of caution though, don’t drop your chin to the point where your head is tilted to a position where your eyes aren’t level. When your eyes are not level with each other, this creates a mismatch and throws off your perspective, making it more difficult for you to focus on the baseball.
Be sure to practice this skill, as seeing the ball will help you see the different flight paths that pitches can make and help you react to them faster and better.
Shift Your shoulders
When you move to contact the ball, you want to swing your shoulders out and across the body. As we said in the tip on your hips, your shoulders should follow your hips as they go out and rotate.
Make sure that your body isn’t tightened up during the swing. What you want is for your body to act as a spring. This spring uncoils from the ground up – you twist from the feet to your hips and up through the shoulders.
As your swing the bat through your shoulders, you want to keep the bat’s shaft tight to the body during the first half of the swing motion. Doing so will give you more leverage and help you generate even more power for a substantial hit.
Once you hit the ball, your swing isn’t finished just yet. You still need to have a follow-through. What this means is that your swing has to continue to the end of its arc.
The follow-through of a swing is very similar to the follow-through. When you throw a ball, you have to finish the motion. The swing’s motion ends when the bat is extended out over the opposite shoulder, and at the end, your body should be facing the pitcher. The follow-through helps give you the power needed to drive the ball properly.
When just starting, try to keep both of your hands on the bat as you follow through your swing. Once you’ve mastered that, you can keep just one hand on the bat as you finish your swing – a common technique you see at the professional level.
As you can see, swinging a bat can be broken down into three core parts: the stance, the grip, and the swing. If you follow the steps above, you’re definitely on the way to mastering a more powerful, accurate, and successful swing.
While professionals may not follow these steps to the letter, they have the fundamentals down to the point where they can make adjustments that help fit their style of swinging.
Once you’ve gotten the basics of this guide down, feel free to make adjustments to make your swing more comfortable for you so you can get those consistent and powerful strikes.