Image credit: SportSG
There are several key points that batters should be mindful of when hitting a pitch. From grip and preparatory stance all the way to the all-important swing and follow-through, it is necessary to pay attention to the seemingly tiny details. After that, the coveted home run will certainly not be as elusive as it used to!
The way that you grip the bat sets the stage for the perfect hit. Hold it, with the strength coming from your fingers instead of your palms, in a firm yet easy manner. For right handers, use your left hand to control the bat. Position it at the bottom, clutching the bat like you would a hammer. Your right hand should be placed on top of the left, lightly supporting the weight of the bat. Both hands should be in contact with each other, with the middle knuckles aligned in one straight line. The grip should be generally relaxed, with allowances for wrist movements. Swing the bat lightly to check if this is possible.
With your bat
in hand, position it near you, in front of the chest. Taking care not to tense your elbows and shoulders, swing the bat lightly back and forth again in order to loosen your grip and ensure unhindered arm movements.
Step into the middle of the batter’s box, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent a little. Transfer your weight to the balls of your feet in a preparatory stance. Next, move your hands slightly further away from your body, and bring the bat up to shoulder-level. With your bat pointed to the sky and positioned in a bit of a slant towards your body, face the pitcher and prepare to bat.
When you see the pitcher preparing to pitch the ball towards you, load by transferring your weight onto your right foot, then stride. To a batter, striding would mean a small step out with the left foot as you bring the bat up higher over the right shoulder. Your hips, shoulders, and knees should naturally follow the movement of your arms too.
As the ball travels towards you, keep your eyes on it at all times. Do not drop the bat head any lower than your hands when moving in to hit the ball. Keep your arms bent as you bat; straightening them too early will increase the size of your swing arc, losing considerable speed and force.
It is also crucial to not be in a hurry to hit the ball. Wait for it to arrive and hit it from a comfortable distance. When making contact with the ball, the bat must neither gain nor lose height. Straighten and extend your arms only after you have hit the ball.
Having made your ideal hit, it is always important to ensure a good follow-through, as this is the position that you will begin running to the bases from. After making contact with the ball, transfer your weight to the left leg and bring the bat all the way over the other shoulder. Subsequently, move to distribute your weight evenly between both feet while keeping your upper body straight in order to facilitate taking off.
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