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Basic Fundamentals of Hitting

This may sound funny, but the most important thing for a young player is the size of the bat he uses. I can't tell you how many times I have had players show up with a bat that is way to big for them. Mom and dad just went out and bought it because Johnny wanted a bat and now he wants to use his new toy. The rule is simple if the player can't hold the bat at its base in their dominant hand and raise it to their side so that it is completely straight out for 20 seconds, then the bat is to big.

Once you have the proper bat selected, look at where your player stands in the batters box. Should they stand close to the plate, far from it or somewhere in between? If they stand to close they may not be able to hit the inside pitch and may become affraid of the ball, if they stand to far they may not be able to reach the outside pitch. The player should be lined up to the plate based on their size and the length of their arms. To help a player get used to where to stand have the player lay the bat down with the end in the middle of the plate, parallel to the line running up the side to the top of the plate. Wherever the knob of the bat ends is where they should place their front toe.

Next you need to look at the players stance. Players (especially young ones) should set up with their feet turned in towards each other slightly, and spread shoulder feet apart. Their weight should be on the balls of their feet. You can test balance by giving a the player a slight shove in the chest. After you knock them off balance they will usually get a better feel for where he should position the balls of the feet so that he can't be pushed over. If the player leans to far forward then push them from behind. Bending the knees slight will also help with balance. A trick you can use to help a player find good balance is to close their eyes.

Working on the grip of the bat will help your players acheive as much quickness and speed as possible. Think of quickness as how fast the bat starts and speed as how fast it moves through the strike zone. Bat speed has more to do with how far the ball travels than does bat weight. With the standard grip the player aligns the middle knuckles on both hands. A simple way for your players to do this is to lay the bat down in the fingers, not in the palms, across the calluses in the hands.

How your players hold the bat in ready position with make a difference in how they hit the ball. Many players hold the bat to high or to low which does not give the hitter an effective level stoke. Players should form a box with their shoulders, hands and arms. The bottom of the box runs along the bottom forearm. The front side of the box runs up the front arm. The top of the box runs in a line across the shoulders. The back side of the box runs down the back arm. Elbows should be even in a proper box. The bat should be held at a 45 degree angle.

Teach your players to turn inward. That is to rock back slightly with their weight before going forward. Tell your players that when they see the pitchers hip pocket, they should do the same. The hitter should tuck their front knee, front hip and front shoulder, effectively moving their weight back and the bat back about three inches.

Once the hitter achieves the inward turn they are ready to work on their stride. The stride should be short and at a 45-degree angle towards home plate, landing on the big toe of the front foot. The foot work shouldn't be fast but corret so that the hitter is ready to begin the swing.

When preparing to swing the hitter should be focused on the pitchers eyes and then move to the area of the ball at the release point. The swing begins from the waist down. At the end of the stride, the hitter has landed on the big toe of his front foot. Then the heel of the front foot touches the ground. This is the official start of the swing. The hips are release and the swing begins. The hitter then begins the movement of the back foot by rolling up onto the ball of the foot and thrusting his hips. The back hip rotates towards the ball. Finishing with the back heel in the air and the back knee turned towards the front leg.

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