NDG Little League Baseball

Hitting Tips


Hitting Tips

Probably one of the hardest elements to teach in baseball is hitting. With so many different types of advice given by different instructors it's easy for new instructors and youngsters to get lost as to what's important and what's not important. Below are some useful links, videos, and instructional material. I hope you find it very useful.

Three Different Hitting Examples

In these three examples the back elbow is down, the bat about 45 to 25 degrees off the back shoulder, when the front foot hits the ground (the end of the stride movement).

No matter how you start your swing you must reach this position just before the bat is pulled forward by the hands through the hitting zone (done by using your front leg as a base to pull against). Keeping your head down and your eyes focused on the point of contact is crucial to hitting consistency and success.

Other Hitting Resources

Download Macromedia (Adobe) Flash Player to View Videos

Other Hitting Videos

Paul Molitor and Other Examples - Video

More Hitting Instruction - Video

Bunting Video


Basic Hitting Advice

Balanced Stance & Loose Hands

The aim is to begin from a balanced stance in an athletic position. When describing an athletic position I think of a tennis player or a basketball player getting ready to play defence. His legs are at least shoulder width apart, his knees are slightly bent and the weight is more towards the balls of his feet rather than on his heels. If your back on your heels when hitting you're not going to be a very successful hitter in the long run.

As for the hands. The grip should be firm on the bat but not so firm as to restrict hand speed. In fact, at a particular point, the harder you hold the bat the slower it moves into the hitting zone. The focus should be on relaxed hands. (See Hit Like Alex Rodriquez)

Don't tell a player to get his elbow up, this is probably the worst advice given to youngsters. The best advice is to tell youngsters to try and make an up-side-down V with their elbows and to place their hands off the top of their back shoulder. This puts their hands and the bat in the best position to accelerate the hands into the oncoming pitch.  Russell Martin shows the hand position perfectly.


You Have to Go Back Before Going Forward

You can't hit a baseball very well if you don't shift some weight back before going forward. You need to load up and cock your hands before pulling the bat through the hitting zone. Many players do this differently either by: lifting their font leg up and right back down again while cocking their hands to stay balanced, or just moving the front leg back towards the catcher a few inches and then stepping forward with the front foot as the pitch is released. The point is, you have to find some way to shift your weight back to a solid back side so you can load up your body before stepping forward into a solid front side. See Willie Stargel's Detailed Swing

At the same time this is occurring your hands are cocking (moving to ready the hands to hit). As you move your front foot forward to hit your hands should pull back towards the back shoulder to create an elastic band type feeing in the lead arm. Note: At this point the hips are slightly open, the back heel a little bit off the ground and the back knee will be pointed slightly towards  the pitchers direction because of the slightly opened hips that resulted from cocking your body to hit.



Stay Inside the Baseball

Here is Derek Jeter demonstrating the inside-out swing popularized by Tony Gywnn and Wade Boggs to name just a few. It's the most efficient way to hit a baseball as it allows a hitter to hit the ball to all fields with power. It also keeps the bat in the hitting zone longer than any other swing.

The focus of the inside-out swing is to keep your hands inside the path of the incoming baseball. Once you take your step to begin your swing and you have pulled your hands back into position to begin the swing (cocking your hands). You pull the bat through the hitting zone by using your bottom hand on the bat to pull the bat. With your front leg braced for support you pull the bat hard. (See Bob Horner's Detailed Swing). If the bottom part of your body was correctly in place before the hand-pull, the body will react correctly transferring the majority of your bodyweight from the backside back to the middle of your body. If this doesn't occur check the back foot. The toes should be pointing straight out, not to the right, or even slightly in towards the pitcher. This will allow your hips to open up when you pull the bat through the hitting zone. See Tony Gywnn Describing Bonds Swing

Once the bat is going through the hitting zone, the focus becomes the back hand and driving the back hand through the centre of the baseball. The swing should finish over your front shoulder and not around your back for a slight upward arc to the swing.



Keep Your Head Down in the Hitting Zone

Russell Martin of the Dodgers demonstrates probably the most important component of hitting, watching the ball to the bat and keeping your head down in the hitting zone until the swing is completed. For many young hitters this is the most difficult component of the swing to master but it's the most important. Charlie Lau, known Major League Hitting Guru noted that if you did everything right but didn't keep you head down and eyes on the ball when hitting, nothing else you did mattered.

To make it easier to teach, tell the kids their chin should start parallel to their front shoulder as they are looking at the pitcher and finish with their back shoulder touching the tip of their chin when they are finished their swing. If they lifted their head, there is no way the tip of their chin will be touching their shoulder when the swing is completed.



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