Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baseball Basics Part 4 - Batting


Batter up!

OK, so you are on your way to mastering the basics of playing baseball. There is one component left – Batting.

Batting will challenge your eyesight, reflexes and strength. Becoming a good hitter requires hours of practice so let’s get started.

First, you need to select a bat. Choose a bat that isn’t too heavy. When you’re just learning to hit the lighter the bat the better. Batting gloves are optional.

Enter the batters box. If you’re right-handed you stand to the left of home plate. If you’re left-handed, stand to the right of home plate. Standing too close to the plate is called “crowding the plate” and can get you hit with a pitch. Stand far enough away so when you swing the widest part of the bat crosses over home plate.

Next up is your grip. Right-handers place your left hand on the bottom and your right hand on top. Lefties do the reverse – right hand on bottom and left on top. Your hands should touch.

When holding the bat, DO NOT rest it on your shoulder. There should be 6 inches between your shoulder and the bat. When batting, don’t stand upright. The batting stance has your shoulder facing the pitcher, feet shoulder width apart, knees bent with your weight mostly on your back foot, bat up waiting for the pitch. This position is the “ready” position for hitting.

Make sure you’re watching the pitcher with both eyes. This will help you see the ball as it leaves his hand. Watch the ball the entire time from when it’s thrown until it hits your bat. When the pitcher throws the pitch, pick up your front foot slightly. If the pitch is good, meaning it looks like it will go over the plate at chest height, step forward and swing at the pitch, shifting your hips through the swing. If the pitch is bad meaning too high, too low(somewhere below your knees) or outside or inside(not crossing the plate), finish your stride without swinging, let it pass and get back into the ready position.

When you hit, keep your elbows toward your body so the bat will travel in a tight circle. Remember to try to hit the ball as it is coming over home plate. If you hit it later, if will likely go foul.

As a beginner batter your swing should be level. Practice swinging the bat so that it starts and finishes at the same level. You should not start low and finish high as it will affect how the ball flies once hit. Be sure to “follow through” the swing. This means you need to swing the bat all the way around to give it the most possible power.


Lastly, DO NOT throw the bat! If you’ve swung, made contact and are finishing your swing, hold onto the bat through the follow through and drop it once the swing ends.  Letting go of the bat without completing the follow through is dangerous to other players.

I know, it’s a lot of information to just hit a ball. If you keep all this in mind and practice, practice, practice, you’ll be hitting well in no time.