The game of baseball is difficult to master, and trying to hit a baseball is one of the hardest tasks in all of sports. To hit a baseball or softball harder, learn how to swing with good form with a wood baseball bat. It’s the only game bat that will improve your swing. Wood doesn’t lie; it doesn’t reward bad form or hitting outside of the sweet spot (the area to maximize your power, which is generally 2-6 inches from the end of the bat). To hone your swing and improve your performance, check out these 4 tips.
Tip 1: Hit on the proper side of your wood bat
With any wood baseball or softball bat, hitting on the proper side of the bat is critical to achieving maximum power—and having your bat last longer. The proper side, where more energy is transferred from the bat to the ball, is where the grain is stacked like layers. This is known as the edge grain.
For a wood baseball bat or softball bat, here are some quick and easy steps to master hitting on the edge grain:
- Have the Phoenix Bats logo and engraving facing you in your "ready" stance
- Take a practice swing, but stop at the point you would make contact with the ball
- At this stopped point, roll the bat with your top hand while keeping your bottom hand on the bat so the Phoenix logo faces the sky
- Now, take the bat back to your "ready" stance. The logo may not be facing you at this point, but it will when you strike the ball
- Follow these steps every time you adjust your hands, make contact or step out of the batter’s box—it takes just a few seconds each time
Note: If you are swinging a wood baseball bat with an ink dot on the handle (required for bats in the Bigs and Minors), the logo should be facing the pitcher or the umpire when you make contact, as it has been rotated 90 degrees per pro rules. Follow the same steps above, replacing “logo” with “ink dot” to ensure you are hitting on the strong side.
Tip 2: Pay attention to your footwork and hip rotation
The vast majority of your power comes from your waist down. Therefore, proper body balance and footwork plays a key role.
In your ready stance, load for the swing by shifting your weight to the ball of your back foot until you are ready to step into your swing. You should step forward with your front foot aligned with your back foot and swing your hips around as you begin your swing, keeping your hands close to your body and your back elbow tucked in. Knob or hands should come through the strike zone first, so the barrel comes through like a whip. One commonly taught technique is to pretend to have the knob of your bat swinging at the ball.
Tip 3: Use the feedback (visual and physical) to make corrections
Wood baseball and softball bats are great tools to improve your swing since they’re the only bats that give true feedback. Hit the ball properly and it will jump off your bat. Don’t hit it right, and your hands will sting a little—and the ball won’t travel very far.
To ensure you’re hitting on the proper side of the bat (as discussed above), examine your ball marks. If you see them start to creep away from the edge grain, it means that you’re not accounting for the rotation of your hands when you swing. It’s easy to correct by reviewing the steps in the first tip.
Tip 4: Don’t swing at garbage
Yes, we get it: you only get so many pitches in practice. And you probably are worried about frustrating your coach (or your dad) who is tossing batting practice. But developing discipline at the plate comes from swinging at the right pitches—not at all pitches. The more of the right pitches you swing at, the more your body and muscles will lock in to that motion.
There are some solid training bats that assist with improving hand-eye coordination like the Baseball Shorty Live BP Trainer and Youth Shorty Live BP Trainer. The above are 5 tips that improve your swing and enable you to hit the ball harder with your metal or wood baseball or softball bat. Do it with a wood bat, especially in the right wood tailored to how your miss-hit, to experience elite level performance.
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