It has been a proven fact that hitting a baseball is one of the toughest things to accomplish in sports. In the major leagues if you fail 7 out of 10 times you are still considered to be an incredibly good hitter. That statistic shows how challenging it is even for Athletes at the professional level to produce a perfect swing. In order to achieve this perfect swing there is a series of adjustments that must be made. In this essay I will show how hitting a baseball develops through 3 different stages of learning.
When someone is first starting off usually around the ages of 7 to 9 , they do not understand that the way a bat is held effects the outcome of the swing. In the beginning process many tend to place the bat in their palm and grip it extremely tight, without aligning their knuckles. They do not realize that holding the bat this way will reduce the range of motion in the swing, causing slower bat speed.
Another key component to hitting a baseball is the hitter’s stance. In the beginning stage many crowd the plate, with their toes pretty much touching the corner of the tip of the plate. The legs are extremely bent and the toes are pointing in two different directions. The hands are then placed right next to the ear with both elbows facing up. The hitters back is usually arched at the top, with their shoulders kinds of pushing in to the neck.
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As the ball is pitched the hitter does not take a step towards the pitch, instead they keep their feet planted on their heels. When the ball is getting closer they begin their swing by dropping the back elbow and lifting the front one up. As the bat begins to cross the plate the head begins to turn away from the ball, because they are using no hip action. The bat is stopped in front of their body, creating no follow through. There may be little or no contact at this point.
As a hitter progresses around the middle school stage, one thing they begin to change is the way they grip the bat. Now that they are a little more informed they begin to align the knuckles and place the bat on the fingers instead of on the palm. The hitter now has more flexion in the wrist along them to better their chances of hitting the ball.
The stance of the batter is now gradually changing as well. The batter is now able to get in a position to where they can feel a little more comfortable. The knees are just are just slightly bent still allowing them to have some mobility. The toes are both facing in the same direction but are still planted on their heels. The elbows are now facing down instead of up, and the hands are up just above the shoulders and away from the ears. The back is no longer arched and the hitter is now at a stance where they are not as stiff as they once were.
As the pitch comes the hitter now takes a step forward to generate some force, and prepare for his swing to begin. As the pitch is coming the hitter now keeps his eyes on the ball as it is coming in and extends hit arms out toward the baseball but slightly drops the barrel of the bat because of this, the hitter might have a tendency to pop the ball up instead of hitting a solid line drive. At this point the swing has now gotten better but still it has not generated bat speed to its full potential.
Once the collegiate level is reached the batter now understands all the key fundamentals to hitting a baseball. With many years of practice and execution the hitter’s swing is now at its perfect state making it much easier to create contact and power. At this point the hitter no longer has any difficulty with the grip of the bat, or stance. Their feet are at shoulder width length allowing them to be at their most powerful position. The hitter is on the balls of his or her feet and is no longer on the heels.
As the pitch is coming the hitter shifts his weight from the front leg to the back leg. The hitter is creating negative force by taking a step back, then going forward once again. At this point, weight should be about 70 percent on the back leg, 30 percent on the front leg. This allows the hitter to stay on the back leg to generate the most amount of power possible as they are swinging. While this is happening the hitter must also shift his hand back to generate more power in the upper body as well.
The next step is the key essential where many beginners go wrong when trying to hit a baseball. Many believe that the hands trigger the swing, but this is untrue. It is the explosion of the hip that creates the swing. The hips start to open and allow the hands to explode through the hitting zone at a much higher rate of speed than if the hands triggered first and were still inhibited by the body. This has been proven by some of the most respected hitting authorities in the world by using high speed motion detection software to analyze a hitter's swing.
Once the hips have started to open, the hands shoot through the zone. The hitter drives the nob of the bat to the ball, and keeps the bat through the zone as long as possible. This makes it easier to hit the pitch no matter where it is thrown. Once the bat has made contact the hips naturally finish their rotation as the hands leave the hitting zone and follow through. The weight shifts forward into contact, and all of the steps come together into a fluid, quick swing. Now the batter can produce hard linedrives or homeruns instead of soft grounders or pop ups.
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