One of the most important things to master if you want to be a better baseball player is your hitting mechanics. The sooner you can start performing a correct baseball swing, the sooner you can become the MVP of your team.
It doesn’t matter if you have aspirations of playing in the big leagues someday or if you just want to stop embarrassing yourself at your company baseball games. Either way, we’ve got some helpful tips for you.
Common Baseball Hitting Mistakes
Before we explore proper mechanics for your baseball swing, let’s touch on some common mistakes people tend to make. Addressing these mistakes will help you figure out what’s messing up your swing. That way, you’ll have an easier time improving and will feel less overwhelmed when you start breaking things down.
The following are some of the most common mistakes that can hold you back from hitting the ball with ease:
Lack of Arm Flexion
Often, baseball players will make the mistake of not flexing (or bending) their front elbow when they approach the ball.
A lack of flexion can contribute to a lot of problems when you try and swing your bat. For example, you may lose bat speed, or you may loop it under a perfectly good pitch.
Keeping the front arm flexed might feel awkward at first, especially if it’s not habitual for you yet. With practice, though, it can have a dramatic impact on your swing.
“Squishing the Bug”
Many baseball players also make the mistake of “squishing the bug” when they’re up to bat. This occurs when the back foot slides away from the field of play.
When you squish the bug, you mess up your weight transfer during the swing. This, in turn, can cause you to lose power and throw off your swing plane.
If your wrist starts rolling too early during your swing, you’re going to end up with some unwanted ground balls. The key is to roll your wrist at the right time to allow for more distance and power when you go to hit the ball.
Loss of Balance
It’s common for inexperienced baseball players to lose their balance when they swing the bat as well.
There are a lot of issues that can contribute to a loss of balance. For example, you may need to adjust your chin position or change your stride when you get ready to swing.
Small tweaks to your stance can make a huge difference when it comes to improving your balance and creating a sense of stability at the plate.
The Fundamentals of a Good Baseball Swing
Now that you know what kind of mistakes to avoid when swinging a bat, it’s time to dive deeper into what you should be doing when you step up to the plate. Here are some essentials to keep in mind when it comes to mastering good baseball hitting mechanics:
Great hitting mechanics start with a great stance. If you’re set up well when you get to the plate, you’re going to be in a better position to hit the ball in the most effective way possible.
The following are some basic checkpoints to consider when you get ready to swing:
- Is your weight over the balls of your feet, rather than sitting back in your heels?
- Are your knees bent?
- Are your shoulders level with one another?
- Are your hands a comfortable distance (usually between 10 and 12 inches) away from your back shoulder?
- Is your dominant hand facing up while your non-dominant hand faces down?
- Is your head directly in between your two feet (like the top of a triangle)?
- Is your front arm bent?
This might seem like a long checklist at first. The more you practice, though, the more these things will become second nature to you.
Your gaze and the direction in which you’re looking can make a big difference when it comes to mastering your swing. Even if everything else is right, if your gaze is off, your chances of hitting the ball will go down.
Make sure you’re looking at the ball with both eyes. Turn your head (but don’t tilt it to one side) so you’re not just looking at it out of the corner of one eye. Doing this can throw off your depth perception.
The position of your hips, as well as the way you move them, is very important when it comes to hitting the ball.
When you begin your swing, your hips ought to turn in toward the catcher. This helps to kick off the pre-launch torque that’s needed to drive your body through your swing.
As your arms begin rotating, your hips should rotate along with them to give you more power behind your swing. Make sure your hips follow your arms. If they don’t, you’ll end up with a weaker swing.
A good pre-swing is also essential if you want to hit the ball with maximum force. Part of the pre-swing is rotating your hips back toward the catcher.
There are some other steps you need to take at the same time, though, including the following:
- Tuck in your chin and front shoulder
- Pull your hands back
- Turn your head to look at the picture
- Make sure you’re holding the bat at a 45-degree angle
As with your stance when you first step up to the plate, there’s a lot to keep in mind as you get ready to swing. With practice, though, you’ll get the hang of all the elements of the pre-swing.
When it comes to your grip, make sure your hands are in the palm-up/palm-down position. Line the middle knuckles of each hand up on the bat as well. This will create a steady position and prevent your bat from jumping in your hands when your wrists start to roll over. Read our complete guide on how to hold a baseball bat.
When it comes to your stride, there’s a lot of room for personal experimentation. As long as you stay within the batter’s box, you can tweak this part of your swing to figure out what works best for you.
Keep in mind, though, that a shorter stride tends to be better. It allows for more control, and it helps you to speed up your swing, which can allow for more power when you hit the ball.
Now, it’s time to address the swing itself. During the swing, small adjustments to your batting form can make a big difference.
Keeping the head still is essential to helping you maintain your balance and create a rhythm when you go to swing the bat.
Make sure you’re bringing your hands to meet the ball, too, while keeping them still and level. This allows you to slice the bat through the air evenly without creating any pop-ups when you make contact.
Start Working on Your Batting Form Today
As you can see, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to performing correct hitting mechanics. If you keep this information about proper baseball hitting mechanics in mind, though, you’ll have a much easier time when you step up to the plate next.
Give these tips a try during your next game and you’ll be amazed at how much better your batting fundamentals can get.