Discover How to Hit a Baseball Harder with these Quick Tips
To hit a baseball or softball harder, learn how to hit with a wood 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).
Tip 1: Get a properly weighted – and properly weight distributed – bat
Most youth swing a metal bat with a big barrel that is extremely and unnecessarily light, with a drop weight of -10 or higher (bat weight = length less drop weight). Look at their swing: it looks like golf; with the bat moving from low to high. A baseball swing should be about driving through the zone to maximize lift and distance the ball will travel.
We recommend a -7 to -8 drop weight bat for youth 5-11 years old, with an approved 2.25” diameter barrel. For the 12-13 year old, we recommend a bat with a full-size 2.5” diameter barrel (to get ready for the size of a high school age bat), but at a drop weight of -5 to insure a level swing and great form.
Many high school baseball players suffer from the same big barrel issue in their metal bat. Even though at a -3 drop weight (due to BBCOR standards), oversized barrels yield weight out in the barrel end, creating slower bat speed and that more golf-like swing. It’s so easy to detect, just watch the swing. If it’s not level, it’s the wrong design.
To turn lazy fly balls into shots to the wall and beyond, seek a bat that is properly weighted for the age (to create a nice level swing), and proportionally designed. If the barrel is massive: stay away!
Tip 2: 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 to having your wooden bat last longer. The proper “side,” where more energy is transferred from the bat to the ball, is where the grain lines are stacked, like layers.
For a wood baseball bat and a wood softball bat, there are quick and easy steps to master hitting on the proper side:
- Have the logo and engraving facing you in your "ready" stance when up at the plate
- Take a practice swing, but stop at the point you would make ball contact
- At this stopped point, roll the bat with your top hand, keeping the 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. So, follow the same steps above, replacing “logo” with “ink dot” to insure you are hitting on the strong side.
Tip 3: Pay attention to your footwork and hip rotation
All of your power comes from your waist down. Therefore, proper body balance plays a key role.
In your ready stance, keep your weight on your back foot until you are ready to accelerate through the hitting zone. Your front shoulder should stay in its original position when you’re in your stance, moving forward only when you make contact with the ball. Knob or hands should come through the hitting 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.
Check out our infographic that helps you manage the timing of your swing here!
Tip 4: Use the feedback (visual and feel) to make corrections
Wood baseball and softball bats are great tools to improve your swing, regardless of swinging metal or wood. Wooden bats are the only bats that give true feedback. Hit the ball properly and the balls 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 insure you’re hitting on the proper side of the bat (as discussed above), examine your ball marks. If you see them start to creep around the “sides” away from the hitting area, 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 above.
Tip 5: 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 a number of solid training bats that assist with strengthening and hand-eye coordination offered by Phoenix Bats, and others. 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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