By Larry Cicchiello
Tension Is A Hitter’s Worst Enemy!
I’ve heard this expression dozens of times and could not agree more. No, let’s make that hundreds of times. If you have tension in your swing, it is next to impossible to hit the ball effectively. On the other hand, relaxing is a great asset to have.
An outstanding baseball coach I know has his hitters take a deep breath before every pitch and go into relax mode. Please note that I said outstanding coach and not good or very good. It is often referred to as “the calm before the storm.” Hitting a baseball well on a consistent basis is NOT an easy chore. If you have tension before and during the swing, it makes it an almost impossible chore. A smooth and gracious swing is what you want to strive for and tension will make it very difficult.
Like I’ve mentioned before, sometimes a slight waggle at the plate will help you to relax. Or you can wiggle your fingers on the bat while waiting for the pitch. It’s very difficult to have your body tense up if your body is moving. Learning how to relax at the plate should be very helpful to you!
You Must Be Short To The Ball!
1. You must go from point “A” where you are loaded up, to point “B” where you are making contact, in a straight line. The very beginning of the swing is NOT level at all. It is a DOWNWARD movement when going from A to B and NOT a horizontal movement. Way too many players level out their swing at the start. The reason it is such a common problem is because they have heard the words “level swing” hollered out to them since they were eight years old. I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a coach, parent or teammate holler those two words out. Only at the point of contact should the swing level out and NOT before that. You can not lose a valuable fraction of a second if it takes a fast ball a fraction of a second to get to the catcher’s mitt. Look at it as simple math.
2. Another possibility for your swing to be “long and looping” may be that you are dropping your hands at the beginning of the swing. This can cause you to be “long” to the ball and cause your bat to have a slight drag.
3. You may be pushing your hands out too far away from your body and that will create a longer swing. Remember the expression, “hands back and bat forward.”
4. You must keep your front shoulder closed. If you open the front shoulder too early, it will cause your bat to drag through the hitting zone. This is often referred to as “casting” the bat and not swinging the bat. “Casting” is what you do when you go fishing and not when you swing at a baseball.
Let’s face it. There are hundreds of baseball tips on hitting. Having a tension free swing, being “short to the ball” and keeping the front shoulder closed should be right near the top of your list! They are three things that are absolutely critical for successful baseball hitting.
Larry is the successful author of several very user friendly eBooks and CD’s covering 320 topics on playing or coaching excellent baseball. ANY player, coach or parent who wants to help their child will be fully equipped! Check out some FREE baseball tips on hitting and FREE baseball pitching tips at LarryBaseball.com.