Because of the different set ups and stances, there are different ways for how to hit a baseball. But once a hitter gets to the contact point that is where all the differences stop and the absolutes and similarities start.
If you compare Johnny Damon (who has a very open stance and a leg kick), to Albert Pujols (wide stance and has very little movement), and to David Eckstein (gets in his legs a lot, chokes up and stands very close to the plate) you would find that initially they look completely different.
BUT… when you strip away the pre-pitch rhythm, the leg kicks and all of the other movement that is personal preference, you find that they are a lot alike.
The 7 absolutes are seen at contact. No matter how a hitter gets to the contact point of his swing, all great hitters do the same thing.
How to hit a baseball – The 7 absolutes of a good swing
Every good hitter will do these 7 things on a perfect swing. Sometimes, depending on a pitch, not all 7 will be attained every time. It’s important to remember that hitting is a battle, and sometimes using your athletic ability to hit a ball will trump all the perfect mechanics we will talk about.
7 Absolutes of How to Hit a Baseball
*** Click here to get the PRINT VERSION of this diagram ***
1. Hitting against a firm front side.
This doesn’t always mean a stiff leg, you can have a slight bend but this leg is keeping the rest of your body and hands behind the baseball. This leg will stop your forward momentum and start the axis of rotation that you will now be hitting on. This is very important, you lose this firm front side you lose a lot of bat speed and your head movement drastically increases.
2. Have your back foot on its toe
When you commit your backside and decide to swing, the force you generate going toward the baseball will be abruptly stopped by your firm front side so you can start rotation, what’s left is your back toe on or slightly off the ground.
Click here for more about pivoting your back foot (there’s a few exceptions)
3. The hands are in a palm up, palm down position.
On a right handed hitter if you took the bat away at contact and had him open up his hands his right hand should be facing straight up towards the sky (or receiving the money) and the left hand should be facing the ground. This bat grip is the most powerful position you can be in at contact.
Announcement*** Need hitting drills? 20 drills + videos in this ebook, a project to support the 100’s of pages of free baseball instruction at PBI. Click here to learn more.
4. Head on the ball.
I.e. Seeing the ball at its contact point. This might be obvious, but it’s not simple. Knowing how to hit a baseball starts with knowing how see the ball. How to be a better baseball hitter – Seeing the Baseball talks more about the importance of this point, as well as some tips to improve your ability to see the baseball.
5. The Your back knee, back hip and head should be in a straight line.
A thought is to stick a pole in the ground through your knee, hip and head and rotate around that pole. That ensures you are not too far forward losing power and not too far bat getting tied up and having an uphill inconsistent swing
6. Your head should be right in the middle of your feet.
Think of it as a triangle draw 3 lines between your head and two feet. A triangle is a very strong structural object used in many applications (roof joists etc.) So being in a strong triangle will be the strongest possible position for your body. Also it allows you to rotate on an axis with minimal head movement.
7. Top arm is bent
Ideally you want your elbow planted firmly against your side. This is where you are most powerful. The closer your elbow is to your body, the more torque you can create as you spin. The farther your elbow gets as you straighten it, the more you are losing power and leverage and making the force of the baseball more powerful against you.
I hope you find this article on the 7 Absolutes of How to Hit a Baseball to be helpful. I welcome hearing your thoughts, comments or questions in the comment section below. – Doug