If you have looked at my previous “how-to” article hopefully you have become a better fielder, why stop there though? Why not make all parts of your game better, and become the best player on the team? The only other thing that is essential to know how to do is hit the baseball. It is never fun to have someone pinch hit for you because you can not hit the baseball. You might as well just not go out for baseball. First things first, choice of what kind of bat you will use, size and brand.
Step 1: The kind of bat you choose is a personal preference. Everyone likes a different brand of bat, and some think that a certain bat has more pop in it then another. If you are in high school and are using aluminum bats, there are two brand that I would recommend. They are: DeMarini and Easton bats, I recommend these because I have used them and they are head and shoulders above the competition. Now that you have an idea of what kind of bat to get, now you need to choose how big of a bat you should swing. The bat has to “fit” you, when I say that I mean that you need to be able to swing the bat with good force. Also, it needs to be big enough for you. Anyone can swing a 28-inch bat, but not everyone can hit with that size of bat. You will not know until you swing all the bats that your team has till you are comfortable with just one, that is the one to use.
Step 2: Now that you have a bat, you need to know how to hold it properly. Now I know what you are thinking, “I am not dumb I know how to hold a bat!”. I believe you, but you are wrong there is a special way to hold the bat that will help you get your hand turnover quicker. Put the bat on your shoulder, if you bat right handed put your left hand all the way at the bottom of the bat by the knob. Now put your right hand on top of your left, and here is the trick to swinging. Align your knuckles so that they make a straight line from one hand to the other. Just a warning, that it will feel weird the first few times that you try doing this, but trust me it works. You will have to take a couple rounds of batting practice, but you will see a difference.
Step 3: The next step is your stance in the batter’s box, honestly whatever you are comfortable with is fine. There are a few things that you need to make sure happen in your stance and they are: that your hands are back ready for the pitch, that you load when the pitcher is getting ready to deliver the pitch, keep your head tucked in, and that your hips go first and your hands follow. To start with, stand in the batter’s box and get in a ready position with your knees bend ready for the pitch to come. Now when the pitcher is getting ready to deliver a pitch your hands should be back so that you can have a longer swing. In the video of Harper his hands are as far back as they can be, past his knee locked and loaded ready for the pitch. Now when the pitcher is going through his motion to pitch the ball your hands should be back and you should be loading your hips. Harper loads his hips and he has so much power that he twists his front foot to help get his hips through. If it helps be on your tip toe on your front foot and turn it like you are smashing a bug. Next, a lot of people will not keep their heads tucked in when they are batting. When you pull your head you lose sight of the ball, and then you just look like you do not belong in the batter’s box. When taking batting practice bit your shirt/jersey so that you will not pull your head. The last thing that you need to do is to make sure that when you swing your hips are the first thing that goes. When I say this I mean that you explode with your hips to hit the ball. When you do that, you body will naturally pull your hand through to hit the ball. The video shows Harper’s hips going and his hands following. There is a reason that he has one of the best swings in the major leagues, and it is because he is able to get so much power behind his hits.
Step 4: The key to hitting the ball is seeing it come out of the pitchers’ hand. If you can pick up the ball faster, the easier it will be for you to hit the ball and know what pitch is actually coming. For example, the reason Barry Bonds was such a great hitter, was because he said that he could pick up the rotation of the ball once it felt the pitchers hand. Meaning that he was able to tell if there was a curve ball, a fastball, knuckleball, you name it he could pick up the pitch better than most. Also, you need to be able to judge how fast the pitcher is pitching. If he is not pitching the ball fast enough, you can move up in the batters box to be able to hit the ball.