No matter what position you play, every baseball player needs to have a killer swing.
From shortstop to catcher to even pitcher, wherever you are on the diamond, you need to be able to swing a bat like a champion when it’s your turn at the plate. The perfect baseball swing is a five-step process focusing around every aspect of the bat itself.
Here is how to master the perfect baseball swing.
A baseball player’s stance is a major part of setting up in the batter’s box before the swing. The most important part of the stance is making sure that you’re comfortable as you begin, and that can involve a few different factors. First, try and keep your legs slightly more than shoulder width apart. Then, balance your weight with slightly more on your back foot than your front foot — you’ll want to transfer that weight as part of your swing to generate power. Don’t be afraid to experiment with where you want to hold your hands and the bat as you set up. The most essential part is to make sure that, as you establish yourself in the box, you create a good view of the pitcher and the incoming ball. To do this, tuck your chin slightly in toward your front shoulder and look forward.
Logic holds that, if you’re not holding the bat correctly, you will not hit the ball correctly. First, you want to let the bat fall into your fingertips with its nose touching the ground, so that your grip is natural and fluid. Then, line up the knuckles closest to your fingertips, and make sure you aren’t holding the bat in the palms of your hands. If you’re holding the bat in your palms, it will feel stiff and clumsy as you swing. In the fingers, though, you’ll be able to create more bat movement, and more bat movement means a stronger strike on the ball with less effort expended by your body.
There are three main parts to hitting a baseball once the baseball has been thrown. The first is the launch. If you don’t get your swing off to a good start, it’s unlikely that the contact and the follow-through will be good either. Be sure to step with your front foot: it’s easy to forget and just leave your foot planted, but much of your power and potency will come from stepping into the ball. As you step with your front foot, pivot on your back foot so that you can send your hips moving forward into the ball and toward your front foot. That will help shift your weight into the swing. Finally, pull the bat in a fluid motion with your shoulder downward in tune with your feet — all these motions need to be of a singular motion.
Where you actually hit the ball with the bat is something that often goes overlooked. Making sure you hit the ball with the correct part of the bat requires one thing above all else: keep your eyes on the ball. It’s a cliche, but nothing will destroy your swing faster than taking your eyes off the ball. It’s essential that you look the pitch into the part of your bat that will help you maintain control and power — that’s the part that spans from about 50% to 80% of the way up the bat. If you strike it anywhere else, you’ll likely feel that nasty vibration through your hands, plus you’ll end up hitting a bad ball.
The follow-through is simple enough, but hugely important. It has two main parts. First, you should bring your hands directly to the ball in a downward motion and then carry that motion through. Second, always keep your head down. If you raise your head after you make contact, you’ll arch your shoulders and body upward, sending the ball into harmless pop-fly territory. If you keep your head down and strike through, you’ll hit a level, agile ball that will have power and be difficult to field. Don’t finish your swing prematurely; let the bat carry through to its natural end. Then, put it down and run.
Cover Photo Credit: Eric Kilby / Flickr.com