How To Hit A Home Run In Baseball Or Softball
A 6-Part Series on Mastering the Home Run Swing
Hitting home runs is all about perfecting your swing
Not every great home run hitter in baseball or softball has had a perfect swing. Some swings of great home run hitters were just terrible (I'm thinking specifically about Dave Kingman and Greg Luzinski, for those of you who can remember back that far). Those guys hit home runs by being unusually strong. I can't teach that. What I can teach you is how to become a better hitter and how to slug more home runs by making your swing better.
There are many people who have great baseball swings. There are a lot of people who are great at teaching others how to swing a bat well. These groups are not always the same people. Some of the game's great hitters are just awful at attempting to explain exactly what they do when they swing. A lot of them don't seem to know what they do when they swing.
Don Mattingly teaches a swing that is far different from the one he used to hit over .300 for his career. George Brett also followed some questionable teachings during his playing days, but thankfully didn't apply all those techniques to his own swing. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan probably wouldn't have made the majors with some of the things he teaches.
So how are you supposed to know the correct way of swinging a bat to get more power? The answer is simple: watch what the pros do. Forget about what they say, just watch what they actually do. I'm going to be giving you lots of examples with videos, so you can analyze why the pro level swing works and how it's different from some of the things that are taught.
MYTH: You have to be big and strong to hit home runs
The truth is, some of the best sluggers of all time were not very big. Ted Williams was 6'3", but only 205 lbs. Hank Aaron was six feet tall, but only 180 lbs. Ernie Banks was about the same. Willie Mays hit 660 home runs in his career, and he was only 5'10", 170 lbs. One-hundred and seventy pounds! Ken Griffey Jr has said that in the prime of his career he couldn't bench press 200 lbs.
The key to home runs is not being big, and it's not being a gym rat who can put up a lot of weight. It really all comes down to having a high level swing and making good contact with the ball.
Transferring power from the big muscles to the little muscles
People who don't understand the swing like to say that your power comes from your legs, or you need to use your big strong arms to push the bat into the ball. The truth is, the best swings use your whole body and transfer power from your bigger muscles in your legs and your core to your arms and your bat. Your legs rotate before your core, causing a stretching sensation in your hips. Then the core rotates before the shoulders, causing another stretching feeling in your midsection. The shoulders then rotate and bring the arms and the bat around. We'll get into the details a little later (we've got a lot of work to do before we get into the finer points of the swing).
I'm going to include some videos below of high level swings from some of the game's greatest hitters. Watch them over and over again and try to avoid looking for the point of contact. That's what we do when we watch baseball on TV, and it causes us to miss some of the details of the swing. Force yourself to watch the different part's of the hitter's body moving, from the front foot all the way to back shoulder.
Babe Ruth swing - notice his feet
Here's another video of a Babe Ruth home run
Barry Bonds had the perfect left-handed power swing
Slow motion look at a Ted Williams swing
Lou Gehrig swing
Willie Mays - not as smooth, but very effective for 170 lbs
Bryce Harper's Swing
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