If you’re reading this, you already know how to hit a baseball, but you’re interested in really connecting with the ball to hit it as far as you can.
Nearly anybody can hit a baseball, but if you want to consistently hit homerun balls, it’s going to take some work. Here are our top tips to hit a baseball farther than you ever have before.
Hitting ability is the primary skill of a successful baseball player. It’s not just a matter of swinging and connecting.
Developing a Better Batting Stance
It’s no secret: batting stance = better hitting power.
Stance is obviously one of the crucial elements of hitting power; it comes before the pitcher even throws the ball. Your feet should be planted firmly on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your weight should largely be on the balls of your feet. This allows greater freedom for swinging your bat.
If you’re having trouble developing the right batting stance, follow these five steps:
- Place your feet a little wider (>1 foot) than shoulder width apart
- Bend at your waist
- Bend at your knees
- Place your hands closer to the back shoulder than the front
- Keep your eyes on the pitcher
While technique is crucial to hitting a baseball as far as you can, it can only go so far. You also need raw power to create the momentum to drive the ball into the outfield; that means strength training.
Strength training is crucial if you want to become an excellent ball player; it’s not just the upper body you need to work on, either. Your legs, core, and torso all need work too. To create the optimal level of torque with your bat, you’ll need well-trained muscles. Here are some of the best exercises to improve your hitting power:
- Farmer’s Walk: grab a pair of heavy dumbbells, lock your shoulders, flex your knees, and walk around the gym or exercise area.
- Plyo Push-ups: Bench presses can only get you so far–take a push-up position, lower your body until your chest nearly hits the ground, then use an “exploding” motion to push your body upwards.
- Rotating Medicine Ball Throws: This core-strengthening exercise will help you drive the ball into the outfield every time. Simply stand facing a wall, feet shoulder-width apart. Bring your medicine ball in toward the right side of your body, then rotate and throw the ball at the wall. Catch the ball on your left side, then repeat. Easy as that!
- Romanian Deadlifts (Single-leg variety): Your hamstrings create much of your hitting power. Balance on one leg with dumbbells held out evenly on each side. Bend forward at your waist until the dumbbells are just above the floor, then return to the starting position.
There are many other exercises that can help you strengthen your necessary batting muscles, but this will give you a good start.
Proper Bat Grip and Angle
Your hits’ speed and power is largely determined by your grip on the bat. Forget “choking up”–if you want maximum distance from your hits, you should be gripping your bat closer to the bottom. Not only will this help you get more “whip” out of your bat, it will improve contact with the ball. To gain a better grip, just follow the steps listed here:
- Put the bat’s handle in the bottom of your hand and its end near the ground of your front foot.
- Make sure that the index finger of your bottom hand is separated from your other fingers, with your knuckle pointing upwards on the handle.
- Hold the bat in your fingers, not the palms of your hand.
- Replicate the lower hand’s grip with the upper hand.
- Maintain a light grip in your fingers; when you swing, your hands will contract automatically.
Here are a few notes on bat angle:
- Straight “Up-And-Down”: While this angle creates a “loop” in your swing, it will generate more power, given the length it adds to your backswing.
- Parallel to the Ground: This angle offers a parallel path to the ball, but will not generate as much power.
The Importance of Follow-Through Motion
Much of the power and momentum in a successful hit comes from the follow-through. It’s natural for many players to cease the bat’s momentum after they’ve made contact with the ball, but they will need to change this habit if they’re ever going to truly drive balls deep on a regular basis.
Hitting the Ball in the Right Spot
To truly connect and drive a baseball into the outfield, you want to keep your eyes on the ball, with your hands up and palms down. Your head should be roughly 50/50 between your feet. Ideally, your top arm will be bent slightly, and your motion will hinge on your back foot–on its toes.
Finding the Right Bat for You
Although technique is the crucial part of driving baseballs into the outfield, you also need to find the right bat for you. This is a matter of sizing and comfort.
For most adults, the standard range of bat sizes ranges between 28-34 inches, with smaller people selecting bats lower in this range, and taller people (especially those over 6′) selecting bats closer to the 33-34 inch mark.
Takeaway Points for Increased Hitting Power
If you’ve trained in baseball to the point of knowing how to hit the ball correctly, you owe it to yourself to develop the power to really drive the ball out there for the fielders to contend with. If you follow the steps we’ve listed above, you’ll be well on your way to achieving baseball greatness!