"Baseball Hitting - Getting the Hands to the Launch Position"
Hitting a baseball is a skill that can be learned and improved with proper coaching and instruction.
It may be a difficult task, but with the correct fundamentals and techniques hitting can be one of the most rewarding activities in all of sports. There is nothing that is more satisfing and rewarding than hitting a line-drive in the left-center gap to help your team score the go-ahead run. Many kids often experience cush a great sense of accomplishment while others suffer the embarrasment, disappointment, and despair of with striking out time after time. They feel that they let their team down and they often feel that they embarrass their coach and parents. The quickest way to achieving hitting success is to identify bad mechanics and correct them as soon as possible.
I will now give a brief overview of 3 aspects of a solid batting stance, swing and finish.
1. The GRIP - knocking knuckles, (not fighting knuckles) should be aligned. This positions the bat's handle in the fingers and out of the palm. This allows maximum wrist quickness and hand speed.
Coaching Tip: Have kids check their grip by raising and pointing their index fingers. If they point in the same direction, they are aligned, if the point across each other, the grip is incorrect.
2. The BAT ANGLE at the start position. Keep in mind that the hands will move slightly back and away from the pitcher when the batter loads to the launch position. The bat's angle will not change during the loading process. The bat should be at a 45 degree angle over the shoulder. The bat should not be wrapped or tucked behind the head, this slows bat speed. The bat schoul be no more that 2 to 3 inches off the top of the shoulder.
3. The LOADING PROCESS is a simple and slight movement of the hands away from the pitcher. This is a movement that is so slight that many people do not notice it. The hands are the only things that move. If the batter is noticably shifting weight, moving feet, and moving other body parts, too much movement is occurring. Most times this movement is no move than 2 to 4 inches. It may be more for larger players. LOADING is getting the hands to the launch position from which the forward swing motion starts. Different players use different loading actions. Some batters simply move the hands straight back and batters move the hands back and up at the same time. The loading process adds power, developes important timing and rhythmn, and allows the batter's body to achieve a comfortable ready position from which to launch swing.
COACHING POINT: Make sure that players do not line their knuckles up when you are looking and then move their hands to an "ax grip" when you walk away. One way to teach the benefits of the "finger grip position" is to have the two batters take several swing from shoulder-to-shoulder very quickly using the two grips. Take two batter's of similiar ability levels and with similiar hand speed and do this demonstration. Have one player use the "correct grip" and one use the "ax or incorrect grip". Have the batters take 10 shoulder-to-shoulder swings. See which batter completes the 10 swings first. This shows the kids how much faster the hands move when the correct grip is used. Note: Make sure to move the batters at a safe distance from each other and from other players when performing this illustration.
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