Learn to take your first good cuts at the ball.
by Richard Todd, Head Coach, WebBall Baseball, as published on WePlay.com
First, you should know that making contact with the ball is not as hard as people say - if you start with bunting.
The really hard part is timing... to control the bat and get your swing right, so bat and ball meet when and where you want.
Coach's note: There is more than one way to break down the swing - especially the part between launch and contact. Young hitters should be allowed to experiment to find an approach that is good for them. And don't worrying about trying to teach "rotational" or "linear" hitting - the best swings combine both.
Start In Normal Batting Stance
- Balanced on inside balls of feet, knees in slightly.
- Finger grip loose to start.
- Hands shoulder height, arms relaxed.
- Head straight up over torso, chin to front shoulder, eyes level toward pitcher.
- Up on balls of feet with body leaning only slightly into plate.
- Keep weight a little more on back foot to start.
- Do short timing step forward, as arms load - opposite directions.
- Make the stride step firm - push the front leg into the ground (it's what you rotate around).
- Keep head steady over torso.
- Arms go-back during load, but best not to push them away from the body - instead rotate the body back to bring the arms to load.
Launch, Torso First
Bring back hip around by bring back knee forward and let back foot roll up. (We used to say 'squish the bug' but now it's more 'knee in - turn on toes'... to bring your back foot up.)
Two tips that happen at the same time...
- Take hands forward first, inside the ball path, keep barrel back (basically keep your hands and barrel between the ball over the plate and your body).
- Keep the front shoulder towards the pitcher for as long as possible.
- Flick the bat head forward as you extend the arms.
- One interesting suggestion: try to skip a rock with the back (top) hand, and fling a Frisbee with the front arm.
- Through contact zone, have one palm facing up, one facing down. Knob hand will end up on top of the bat, former top hand comes under the bat.
Follow Through and Go
Let arms extend out, bat head sweep up and around. Finish high.
To do a one-hand release - after contact - let the bat slide off the hand underneath, open the front shoulder fully, with the lead arm still extended
To maintain two-hand contact, bring the front elbow in - like a pitcher's throwing motion - and finish with both hands to shoulder height. (Sometimes called a 'punch swing' - back arm moves forward like a boxing undercut.)
Bust out of the box hard.
Check ball's flight only once on your second, third, or fourth step from box - depending on how hard you hit it, it should be at the fielding arc by then.
You'll know if its through, then pick up first base coach for signs.
More advance instruction by Richard Todd and other instructors is available at WebBall.com.