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Monday, October 19, 2009
Baseball Hitting For the Better
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By Chris Moheno
Once you have stepped up to the plate and starred down the pitcher, there is only one weapon of choice, a big stick. Baseball training, good training, leads to great baseball hitting. We all want to hit it out of the park whether it's at a company picnic or with friends doing the baseball pitching for fun. Swinging and missing just makes the pitcher shiver, there is an art to hitting a baseball. When mind and body connect with the bat and ball, it could be your shot heard round the world.
Swinging a bat takes more than just motion, it takes poetry in motion. Watch any major leaguer and he's not hoping he will hit, he is gearing up to smash it. The main focus on hitting a baseball is transfer of motion. You may have read or heard somewhere that Babe Ruth struck out more times that he hit home runs, it's true, but his RBI stats are seldom recognized. Why? It's because he was known as a home run hitter.
Before you can crush the ball and loosen the stitches, you have to learn what it takes to hit it first. Many people who have played baseball for a team when they were younger practiced a lot, probably more than they wanted to. They hit thousands of pitches and sometimes just making contact with the ball is refreshing enough. But those who want to hit it continuously know that the mind and body have to work together. You've got to train yourself to know where and when to swing.
Text is no substitute for practice, reading about how to hit a baseball effectively will only get you past the first page, but not past first base. To know how to hit you've got to get out there and get a feel for what it takes. Whether it's a pitching machine that's eating your tokens or a real live cannon in polyester, finding out where the strike zone is at means all the difference. You have to feel in control of your swing.
There are several ways to train your eye to see a baseball; you know the standard color is white. You can gauge when it's coming because your eye can see it, but how do you know when to swing? Swinging a baseball bat is like swinging a golf club, you keep your arms straight, and you use a fluid motion to transfer your power from one part of your body, your legs, to your arms. You can also practice with colored baseballs, train your eye to see the ball coming, it's the trajectory that you memorize. Hitting is an instinct; hone it to your advantage.
You can also set up a Wiffleball set in your backyard, continuously repeating the motion of bringing your arms across your body towards the ball will become second nature. Make contact and feel the shift in your hips. It doesn't matter if you bat right or left, the same standard movements apply. Get a good stance that holds you to the ground but doesn't anchor you. The balls of your feet are your spring, don't bounce too much or your upper body will have to compensate. Practice swinging a few times at hitting an imaginary ball, feel the motion that it takes to swing.
Once you have the familiar movement in your mind then you can understand what your body is supposed to do when a pitch is coming at you. When you swing at a pitch it's very important to not take your eye off the ball, of course you can't watch a pitch come all the way down the pike, which defeats the purpose. But you can know your swing will be consistent every time if you practice the motion of hitting. Knowing when to swing is also very important.
The strike zone is measured from the batters elbows to their kneecaps while they are at the plate. If you get down to low then the pitcher is going to throw lower to get you to chase those pitches called "worm burners". If you stand too tall then he'll be throwing "chin ticklers". Bending your legs slightly and resting on the balls of your feet will have him throwing right in your comfortable strike zone. You have to concentrate on your swing more than hitting the ball, if it's in the zone you'll get a piece of it. A hit is a hit.
When you have determined that swinging a bat and hitting a baseball takes the mind and body working together you'll begin to understand the science behind it. Baseball hitting isn't just stepping up to the plate and reacting, it's knowing the motion it takes to hit and achieving the process. There is baseball training that is designed to help you hit the ball with confidence and with power so you can get on base. Or, if you want to hit it out of the park.
Baseball pitching by a machine or by someone helping your practice should trigger your brain and signal your body what stance to get in to. Knowing that the ball is coming into your strike zone and knowing the motion in takes to connect with the ball will help you become a better hitter.
If you are consistent with your stance and know that your shoulders and hips are the real powerhouse you'll be invited back to that friendly baseball hitting in the park every weekend.
Chris Moheno has a long time passion for sports in general and for baseball coaching more specifically.
His goal is to spread the word about effective non-fluff baseball training techniques for both more experienced and young baseball players, to help them perform better during the game.
Discover more about baseball training secrets on baseballtrainingsecrets.
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