Hitting a baseball is the single most difficult task to do in all sports. You can fail 7 out of 10 times and still be considered one of the greatest to ever hit a ball.
There are some basic steps though that all hitters must follow in order to be successful at this.
- Have fun. Without having fun, baseball is not worth it. It is a game played by children and just so happens that grown men still get to play. Do not take it too seriously and remember to smile.
- The next steps must be practiced daily. You are training your nerves and muscles to work synergistically and be able to react to pitches.
- Find a bat that is comfortable. It should be a good length and a weight that is comfortable enough to swing. A good test is to hold the knob of the bat and lift the bat until it is parallel to the ground in front of you; if you can hold it here, the bat should be a good weight. The length should be long enough that you feel you may cover the entire plate. The length and weight difference should be no more than -3 for proper balance of the bat. (Ex: If the bat is 33 inches, it should be no less than 30 ounces.)
- Step into the batter's box. Ensure you can cover the entire plate, yet are far enough off the plate that the pitcher will not be able to jam you.
- Bend your knees slightly and be comfortable. The bat should be near your rear shoulder and you should be loose and comfortable.
- Look at the brim of the pitcher's cap until you can see the ball. This will ensure you see the ball as long as possible. This is crucial as you only have a tenth of a second to see the ball, know what pitch is going to be thrown, where it will end up, and decide to swing or not and to swing and make contact with the ball. Every moment counts.
- As the ball appears, look intently on it and concentrate. Don't take your eye off the ball!
- Your body should sway ever so slightly backwards and torque itself.
- Your hands should be moving forward towards the ball and your hips should be rotating at the same time.
- Connect the barrel of the bat with the ball in a chopping motion as if you were chopping a tree down with an axe.
- Follow through with the swing.
- As the ball is hit, run to first base and watch your first base coach for instruction.
These are simple steps that all hitters follow. Practice, be relaxed, have good form, and have fun!
Dr. James Goetz, MscD, C.S.C.S.