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How to Bat In Baseball

Nov 25, 2007
Take a boy to the ball field and guess what he will pick up for the first time... a glove or a bat? Right. Just about everybody who plays baseball, or who ever thought of playing baseball, loves to bat. Some players have the gift of being "born" hitters; that is, they are blessed with excellent eyesight, quick reflexes, strong wrists and husky shoulders. These players usually become the better batters, but that does not mean the average player with normal build and strength cannot become a moderately successful batter.

Selecting a Bat - Take a bat and swing it. If it feels "good" and is not too heavy or not too light, try it out. Do not use a bat that is too long, stay away from a bat that is too short. To help you select the right type of bat, remember that the average school player uses one that is about thirty-four inches long. Also, the weight of the bat is equal to one ounce for each inch. Thus a 34-34 bat, in length and weight, is just about average.

Stance - Many batters approach the plate and do not know how close, or how far, to stand from the plate. Some batters wonder whether they should stand in front of the batter's box, others cannot decide whether it is best to place their feet to the rear of the batter's box. None of this is important in the learning stage of batting, but what is important is that the batter makes himself comfortable at the plate.

When a batter takes his stance, he is taking one of three stances: the parallel stance, the closed stance, the open stance. Each stance has its advantages, but the batter who feels most comfortable in any of the three should use that particular stance.

Again, just which stance to assume is strictly a matter of choice and comfort. However, the more advanced player may, on occasion, switch stances according to the type of pitcher he is facing, or the situation in the game.

In the closed stance only the front foot (the left if a right-handed batter, the right if a left-handed batter) is closer to the plate.

In the parallel stance both feet are the same distance from the inside batter's box line closest to the plate.

Spread - The spread of the feet is also a matter of individual taste. Some batters prefer to keep their feet close together thus making for a longer stride when swinging at the pitch. Others will take a medium spread, thus shortening the stride; and there are some batters who will take a wide spread and therefore cut down their stride to a minimum.

The average hitter normally spreads his feet about seventeen to nineteen inches and many coaches recommend this spread distance. The power hitter, however, will use a shorter spread since he gets most of his strength from a longer stride. Joe DiMaggio had just about the widest of all spreads and his stride was one of the shortest. But the average batter should not attempt to imitate great batters in spread and stride unless he feels comfortable doing it.

It is not good for the beginning player to take too close a spread because it may cause a lunge in the stride. The stride should be smooth and quick, therefore the proper spread is most important.

Grip - Just as in choosing a bat, taking a stance and assuming a spread, comfort dictates, for the most part, just how to grip the bat. Some batters keep their hands together; others may leave a bit of space between the hands when gripping the bat. No matter what type of grip, hands together or apart, the bat is not to be gripped too tightly.

By keeping the fingers securely, but not tightly, around the bat and the fingers aligned on the bat, the batter can get a better snap of the wrists when meeting the ball. Grip a bat too tightly and the arm muscles automatically tighten up thus permitting no wrist action.

Grasp these basics of baseball batting, and you will be off to a great start.
About the Author
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