Behind every good hitter that has ever stepped onto a baseball or softball diamond there was a good coach, who at one point in time gave that hitter a priceless tip or two that made all the difference. It can be as simple as, “keep your chin up,” or as complicated as, “imagine you’re holding an egg in your back sided armpit and you don’t want to crush it.” I have heard several and each one has a central theme, making you a better hitter. But the frustrating part about teaching the art of hitting is that there is no universal tip that will translate to every hitter out there. The key is starting simple and make the refinement process one of central themes. Here is an outline of what I mean.
The simple start:
It may sound crazy but what I have found is that some of the best and simplest hitting lessons can be taught without a bat or a ball. The body is where the swing begins; it ends at the barrel of that perfect piece of lumber sending that ball over the fence. A hitter must first learn the right grip, stance and hip movement that leads to the perfect stroke before even worrying about what bat to swing or how to make contact. Here is a link to a set of drills that will get your young sluggers on the right track:
The best tip:
Now that you’ve got the early steps out of the way, and start to incorporate the ball and bat, the ball has to become the focus. If a hitter cannot keep their eye on the ball then all else is lost. Major league hitters who are in the zone always talk about the fact that during any hot streak they are seeing the ball better than ever. This starts with a coach who makes sure to repeat the phrase, “keep your eye on the ball,” until that white speck is nearly burned into your vision permanently. I found a drill that will test just how well you may or may not be seeing the ball, and improve your vision at the plate:
Perfecting your stroke:
While making contact is the hard part, being a successful game hitter is the really difficult part. You can find different swing tips from every coach on the planet. That is why every team in the big leagues has a hitting coach. There are however, a few central hitting themes that I believe separate the good hitters from the elite. The first and most important skill at the plate is being able to hit the ball the other way. This is an especially important skill for lefties who can’t seem to shake the fact that power only comes with pulling the ball. Hitting the ball to the opposite field will always keep the defense on their toes and take away any chance that you become a predictable hitter. Here is a good drill that can help any hitter develop this skill:
Another unique skill that can separate you from other hitters out there and make you a valuable addition to any team is the ability to switch hit. Most people think that this is a skill that only ambidextrous people can master, but it can be taught. Give this drill a try and see if it’s worth practicing for a few hours a day:
Watching the best:
To really refine your technique there is only one tool that can truly help, and that is a good example. Watching some of the best hitters in a game situation can show you the adjustments that sometimes need to be made to a perfect swing in order to get the job done at the plate. Sluggers who like to swing Phoenix Bats have several videos on the internet that show their silky smooth stroke in slow motion. Below are links to swings by big time hitters who happen to carry Phoenix Bats like Miguel Tejada, Miguel Cabrera and Vladamir Guerrero:
In the end practice makes perfect. So grab your best Phoenix Bat and head to the cage, before you know it, you’ll be at the plate in the big leagues.