If you are a baseball player there is nothing more satisfying than being able to hit the ball well. On the flip side of things, there is nothing more frustrating than being in a batting slump. Many people when not hitting the baseball well will try doing such things as using a different style bat, using a lighter bat or even standing back further in the batter’s box. What many hitters that are struggling often overlook is the position of their hands when holding their baseball bat. It does not matter what you change about the baseball bat you use if you are not holding your baseball bat correctly.
This is the reason why many professional hitting coaches have whole sessions about teaching their students how to hold a baseball bat. They realize how important it is hitting and getting on base consistently. Something as simple as improper hand positioning can really add to your struggle when batting.
WHAT PROPER HAND POSITIONING WHEN HOLDING A BASEBALL BAT CAN DO FOR YOU?
Maybe you are skeptical what proper hand positioning has to do with swinging a baseball bat well. Here are just a few things that how you hold your bat affects:
- Where on the bat you make contact with the ball; are you hitting it on the sweet spot to get the most power behind it?
- Swing speed; proper hand positioning will help you bring your bat through the strike zone faster.
- Bat movement; having your hands in the proper position on your bat will enable you to move quickly to hit balls that are up or down in the strike zone or make quick adjustments to hit balls pitched inside or outside.
- Proper hand positioning will help you relax when batting; perhaps there is nothing more important than this when batting.
So as you can see, holding your baseball bat properly is a lot more important to your performance when batting than people give it credit for.
STEP BY STEP EXPLANATION OF A PROPER GRIP ON YOUR BASEBALL BAT WHEN HITTING
Ok, so what is the right way to hold your baseball bat when hitting? Well I am about to give you a consensus opinion of how many professional hitting instructors suggest this be done.
When gripping a bat it does not matter which way the label faces if you are using a metal alloy or composite bat but it makes a lot of difference if you are using a wooden one.
Start by sliding your guide hand down to the bottom of the bat handle towards the knob; if you bat right your left hand is the guide hand and vice versa if you bat left. If you are using a wooden bat make sure you turn the label so it is almost facing you to keep your wooden bat from breaking easily.
You don’t want your grip with your guide hand to be too tight so separate your index finger from the other three fingers but still keep it wrapped around the handle. If you are holding your bat straight up your knuckle should be pointing away from the bat at a 45 degree angle. Move the bat around with your hand a little and you will see how much control and flexibility this grip gives you when swinging.
Another main point of emphasis is to try to hold and control the bat with your fingers and not with your palm. This will help you greatly when trying to swing through a baseball as you hit it.
Now place your other hand over your guide hand on the bat handle. You want to totally duplicate the grip you have with your guide hand including separating your index finger from the rest so your knuckle is pointing at a 45 degree angle away from the bat.
Hold the bat as loosely as possible for comfort and this will also greatly enhance your swing speed because you will not have to un-tense your hand muscles before strating your swing.
As you are waiting for a pitch keep focusing on the proper grip and keeping it loose before swinging. Your grip will naturally tighten up as you swing so it is something you will never have to concentrate on. Being relaxed is a huge part of gripping the bat properly so make sure you always emphasize having a loose grip.
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PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE
Now that you know how to properly grip your bat you just need to practice using it so it becomes natural and somewhat automatic over time. Once that happens you will notice you will be hitting pitched balls better in all parts of the strike zone. You will be amazed at the newfound bat control you have and it should show up in your batting average and how hard you are hitting the ball too.