We’ve heard it through the ages: “Get the bat off your shoulder!” It is a common phrase used by fans, coaches, parents, and players. The question is “Why is it so bad?”
This is what happens when a player moves his bat away from his body in his batting stance. As he does this, he pulls his hands away from his body, ending up most of the time with his hands on the plate in contact. This technique will produce only a swing of the arms, with no support for the body.
So why is that a problem? Let’s see it this way.
- If you had to arm wrestle an opponent, would you want your hands away from your body? Or would you prefer to have your hands close to your body for support?
- If you had to throw the best punch you could, would you keep your hands away from your body? No, you wouldn’t. Your hands would be in a fist right at the back shoulder.
- If you had to push a car, would you want your hands at your sides or would you want them in front of you? Your body gives push to your hands. So naturally you would want your hands in front of you.
Now stand as if you were at home plate with the bat over home plate as if it were in contact with the ball. What is behind your hands? Any! When this happens, your body doesn’t support your hands.
You might say… “I’ve seen major leaguers start with their hands away from their bodies. So it must be good.” They Yes. But major leaguers make an adjustment: Before they swing the bat onto the field, they bring their hands to their sides in the shoulder area. Usually we don’t see this, because it happens so fast. But research shows that’s exactly what they do.
So let’s be clear. He will always be in a better position to hit with good contact and distance if he keeps his hands up and close to his back shoulder in his stance. Now allow your hips to rotate, keeping your hands on the shoulder until they move to make contact with the ball. Now his hands are in front when they enter the contact zone, not on the plate.
So if you want to learn how to hit better in baseball, remember this rule: the only time your hands are separated from your body is when you move forward to hit the ball.