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Hitter’s check list: Tips on hitting

Believe me I am the biggest advocate of keeping things simple as a baseball player. Especially when playing, the only thing that I feel a hitter should ever focus on is the present situation, his approach, and staying internally balanced.

That’s it!

Throw whatever you have learned out the window, and let it fly. The whole point of practicing is to ultimately forget what you have learned so that certain concepts can come naturally.

Practice allows you to make “success” a habit.

With that being said, for those of you who are baseball parents or players that have established daily hitting drills, I just wanted to makes sure you are using certain hitting mechanics that are actually helping you so you can avoid practicing bad habits.

Simple enough.

Here is a check list

Stance

Balanced- Before you are in your swing, If someone attempted to nudge you would you lose your balance. If so, you aren’t balanced.

Knees are slightly inside the feet- This is a result of being in an athletic position. A hitter with his feet pointed straight is fine but may be subject to not being able to incorporate the full potential of the lower-half.

Toes pointed in= athletic

Pointed out= non-athletic.

Sorry…just my opinion.

Head above the center of gravity-Without your core, you can’t do anything physical. You incorporate your mid-section in almost every mundane activity. Hitting is no different. If your head isn’t directly above your core during your pre-swing and especially during the swing, then your not using your center of gravity, and therefore your not exploding through the ball like you can.
Imagine swinging while bent over from the hips. It’s not very easy-nor is it comfortable. Make sure your head is directly above your center of gravity.

Both eyes should be facing the pitcher- This is more important for some than others, mostly depending on which dominant eye a hitter is as well as whether he is a left or right-handed hitter. The point of making sure both eyes are on the pitcher is to promote seeing the ball as well as possible. A lot of times a hitter’s eye’s are registering only a portion of the visual information because his eyes aren’t in the right place. Take a look at any object to your side then turn your head so that you are facing it and compare the difference. Does you vision improve with both eyes locked on the object to your side?

Pre-swing movements  

Slight Weight shift or cock of the hips- As the swing starts there needs to be some sort of movement before a hitter attempts to generate bat speed. Some are an advocate of a simple cocking of the hips to get the swing going while others feel it’s better to get some weight moving backwards on the back leg before shifting the weight momentum and power to the front. My theory is that both are fine as long as

  •  you are using your hips to pull your hands trough the zone.
  •  you are shifting your weight back to center and not lunging forward.
  •  your head stays still so that you can pick up the pitch as early as possible.

Separation- This is an important part of the swing because its what allows for you to transfer the power from your core. Your core pulls your hands through the zone so they need to have some distance from the body to make this happen.

Foot down in time and is stable-  This concept probably is the most difficult to understand especially for younger players. Hitting higher velocities requires rhythm and getting the foot down in time is the “required step” to being on time on fast-balls. If your a hitter that is having trouble hitting the fast-ball try post-striding. Having the lead foot firm upon rotation is critical for being able to hit against this leg for leverage.

Swing

Correct Bat path- A lot of debate has been exercised about this topic. What is the correct bat path. Short answer. The path that keeps the head of the ball on the path of the pitch for as long as possible. You don’t swing across the hitting zone. You hit through it.

Little head movement-  The less the head moves, the better you will see the ball.

Short stride- The shorter the stride the less the head will move.

Firm foundation-squish the bug or heel to toe- I’m not to concerned with what happens with the back foot at the point of contact. Just as long as the hitter is balanced. Wether or not he is on the ball of his foot or on the tip of his toe is purely inconsequential to me.

Hand are inside the baseball-  Every hitter that has ever made it to the MLB has mastered the ability to hit the inner half of the ball. Even aggressive power-hitters hit the inner half of balls they pull for home-runs

Post Swing

Balanced- If some one can tip you over with a soft “shove” after your follow through….you’re not balanced.

 

Get balanced!!!!

Good luck!!

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1 Hitting habit you should stop now: Rotational or Staying on top?




Through the course of my baseball career I have heard a handful of baseball hitting terms like “throw the hands”, “stay on top of the ball”, “stay inside”, “get back spin”, “hit the innner half”.

A lot of young hitters have been taught that going straight to the ball means taking the hands from were they are in the hitting stance to the point of contact.

Coaches use the rule of thumb that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Yes this may be true, but we arent connecting dots we are trying to hit a fast ball coming down at an angle. The higher level we play at, the harder this becomes.

I’m not a fan of terms like “chop down on the ball”, “Get back spin”, or “go straight to the ball”, simply becuase the terms teaches the hitters to have their bat head cut the hitting zone in half instead of staying through it for as long as humanly possible.

Chopping down on the ball will take away the time that your bat stays in the zone, and ask any professional baseball players that see’s 90+ fast balls on a daily basis. Having the correct bat plane is everything.

If you need proof of what bat angle you should take, simply look at the bat head of any big league hitter. Imagine a square box floating above the plate. Look at the swing plane and you will see that the bat head comes through the side of the box, so that the swing plane is level with the trajectory of the pitch.

Their swing doesn’t cut through the box!

Luckily this is a simple adjustment that can be fixed with tee work. You can find a list of hitting tips and drills here. As well as other batting tips throughout this site.



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Batting Average: 3 secret tricks to increasing it



You can have the greatest mechanics in the world, with a great hitting approach, and skill, But even when you’re seeing the ball great, and hitting it hard, the game of baseball still doesn’t promise you success.

You can do everything right and still go hitless!

Fortunately there are some things that little league, high school and college coachs don’t teach that may help with you getting on base and increasing you’re batting average.

2 tips to know what pitch is coming

This is actually a tip I heard from an anonymous minor leaguer who would rather go unnamed for the risk of being infamous by opposing pitchers and catchers for this approach. He claims that he did them when necessary, and not only to help increase his batting average, but to help his team win.

Here is the first one…..

On occasion, right before the pitcher begins his delivery and the catcher has set-up on which ever side of the plate, call time out. As you step out of the batter’s box to take a few practice swings, in the corner of you’re eye notice where the catcher has set up.

Is it on the inner or outer half?

Depending on the game’s situation, where he is set up will tell you a lot about what pitch is coming. EX: If you have two strikes on you and the catcher has set up inside, guess what? He’s probably coming inside with a fast ball. How many times has a pitcher thrown you a change-up or breaking located in? NEVER! They’re supposed to bury those pitches or locate away right?

The trick is to do this sparingly, and on certain occasions.

If you aren’t slick enough to do this, then be ready to get hit. Catchers aren’t stupid.

#2 Have the hitter on-deck communicate with you on catcher’s setup while you are in the batter’s box.

This is another effective yet dangerous way of knowing pitch location. Figure out a system with a teammate on how to let you know when a catcher has set up inside or outside. EX: He can call out your number when a catcher sets up inside( let’s go two three!) Or have him call your last name when a catcher’s set up away( hit it hard castro!)

If I got a quarter for every time I saw a hitter smash a change-up away because his teammate warned him it was coming, I would be a very rich man.

Both of these tips are risky, so do them at your own risk! If you can do them right, expect to see your batting average rise quite quickly.

If you are a hitter with a little bit of speed and has the ability to get down the line pretty fast, anytime your in a situation with first base empty and a runner on second with less than two outs, try bunting toward the the first baseman. First of all, he should be playing back. If can get it past the pitcher it should be an easy hit. If your timing is right and your able to square around not to early but also not to late, you should be awarded a sacrifice if you happen to get out.

These three batting average tips, are considered scrappy. If you find yourself struggling at the plate, try these out, and tell me how they work!


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How to hit high-velocity fastballs: 93mph+

 

Stay tuned for up and coming baseball video tips that give tips on hitting high velocity fastballs.

Its just a simple fact of the game, the higher level you play at, the harder the pitchers throw on a consistent basis. A lot of hitters get weeded out early on because they never quite were able to make adjustments to the higher velocities.

In Division 1 and affiliate ball, you better believe that each team has at least three guys who were born with a fast arm and the god given ability to know how to throw hard.

A young player may look at higher velocities and think they will never be able hit that increased velocity of a fastball. I remember when I was 14; I thought that 88 mph was just way to fast!

Now it looks like how 80mph looked like my freshman year in high school.

It’s mostly about getting adjusted to it.

Just like lifting weights. When you have just started lifting weights a certain weight may be heavier, but as you continue to put in the repetitions and develop stronger muscles, the weight gets lighter. Its the same with hitting increased velocity. It takes repetitions for your eyes to get adjusted to the pitches. 85mph may seem fast but after seeing 88 to 90; 85 seems slower right?

I remember when I first saw 90 plus on a daily basis. I was afraid that I would never get used to it. After facing 2009s first pick overall, Stephen Strasburg, who topped out at 101 miles an hour that day, the next week I couldn’t tell the difference between 93 and 86-87. I just saw the ball differently.

Hitting higher velocities calls for a few things to be done:

1) Know how to use your eyes
2) Staying short to the ball
3) Get your foot down in time
4) Have a rhythm
5) Start your rhythm earlier than normal
6) Be aggressive

Another way I would prepare myself to hitting a guy who knew how to throw hard is while on deck I would time his delivery. I would calculate how long his pitching mechanics took him to throw the ball. Once I would calibrate that. I would just start my rhythm a little bit earlier.

Hitting high velocities is all about timing.

To put it simple with the above things in mind, it simply takes enough reps of seeing high velocity to get used to it but there are a few drills to mimic higher velocity.

Drill#1

While taking front toss; have a friend move the screen a little bit closer. This will give you less time to react. You can also ask him to increase the speed moving his arm at a higher speed.

 

Drill#2

Watch a televised game. Watch the rhythm of the professional hitters. Try to mimic the same rhythm. Chances are there hitting a 90 plus mile an hour fastball. Notice how they get their foot down.

Practice this timing.

Good luck!


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