Hitting Process Part 5 – Decide and Release

By Doug Bernier

This is the last and most important part of hitting. It’s where you decide if you are going to swing the bat. If so, release the barrel of the bat towards the baseball and try to square it up.

How to release the baseball swing:

After we decide to swing the bat, we take our weight shift and turn it into a rotational movement, to get the most bat speed possible. With your lower half out of the way all you have left is throwing your hands at the ball.

1. To start your baseball swing, take your back elbow and drive it into your body. At the same time your bottom hand will drive the knob of the bat toward the baseball. Your bottom hand is the guide hand.

Your back elbow is key once it comes into the slot (where it physically touches your body) you reach a point of no return. This creates a lot of hand speed and once your elbow gets all the way to your body you will not be able to stop your swing.
Once your elbow gets into the slot your barrel will almost be in the zone and will start going through the zone.
2. Once your back elbow gets into the body, your top hand will start to take over and dominate the bottom hand. Your top hand is your power hand, guiding the barrel of the bat toward the baseball.

3. The action of releasing your swing happens as everything rotates around your head. Keeping your head still will allow you to see the ball better and make consistently better contact.

4. Finish your swing by following through the baseball. Hit “through” the ball, not “to” the ball. In other words, follow through.

The old saying of “Short to and long through” is a simple way of explaining the perfect swing. Meaning, quick to the ball and long follow-through.

Final thought on releasing your swing

Once you decide to swing and fire your hands at the baseball, swing hard and don’t try to guide the bat to make contact. Sometimes it is better to swing and miss than to guide your swing to make contact and hit a weak ground ball to an infielder.

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games.

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