How to Field a Routine Ground Ball

By Doug Bernier

Whether you’re starting from scratch or fine-tuning your approach, this article will teach you how to field a routine ground ball like a Major League baseball player.

First Things

A routine ground ball is hit right at you, your first move is to…

  1. …see what kind of ball is it. Is it a chopper, a ground hugger, or in between?
  2. …how hard is it coming?

The purpose of all this is to compute in your head how you are going to get the ball: Are you going to charge or stay back?

What’s Next

With those two important pieces established, it is time to talk about how to use your feet and properly field ground balls. Remember, these articles are written from the perspective of a right-handed infielder. If you are left handed, you should do it the opposite way.

How to Field a Ground Ball

1. Stay Low.

As you approach the ball, stay low.  This allows you a better view of the hops taken by the baseball.

Also, staying low keeps you in a more athletic position.  It’s easier to come up to meet the baseball than to drop down and get it.

2. Gain ground.

Gain ground on the baseball until the hop makes you stop.  It’s at this moment that you will pick out which hop you want to field the ball.  In other words, decide if you going to get it on the long hop or the short hop.

It is also important during this stage to create the best angle as you advance on the ball.  A “V” shape angle is my preferred approach.  This takes some planning ahead, with the goal being to get yourself in a good position to make the throw after you field the baseball.

Taking a “V” angle to the ball will automatically get you to the right side of the baseball.  Being slightly to the side of the path of the oncoming baseball means you will see it better than if you are directly straight on.  You’ll field the ball in front of your body but slightly to your left – i.e. the left side of your chest is squared up to the baseball (more on this below).

Finally, the “V” angle puts you in a good position to make the throw to first base.

Pro Tip: First Step Quickness

In practice, try to get in front of as many baseballs as possible.  This will (1) improve your range, (2) condition your feet not to be lazy, and (3) best of all, it creates the perception that you have more range than the next guy.

3. Right, Left, Field.

That is, Right foot, Left foot, Field the ball.  This is the rhythm you want to have as you field the baseball.  It will keep you squared up to the ball, and its the same rhythm you’ll use for forehand and backhand plays as well.

4. Small Strides.

If you miss everything else in this article, pay attention to this piece of advice.  Keeping your strides small allows you to make quick adjustments to change direction, accelerate, and decelerate.

The longer your stride, the longer your foot is in the air.  If you are in the air, you can’t make any adjustments until you land.

Next time you’re watching a game on TV, pay attention.  You’ll notice that this is something that all the best infielders do.  If the ball takes a funny hop, they can make a quick adjustment and still make the play.

5. Work through the Baseball.

Your glove should stay in the “zone” as long as possible.  This means keeping a straight wrist and using your arm to move it through the baseball.  (This is especially true if you are backhanding the baseball).

6. Stay Relaxed.

Hands and feet that are relaxed work better.

7. Funnel the Ball to your Chest.

Once you field the ground ball, funnel it to your chest (see image).   In this position, you are balanced and free to move.  Now that your center of gravity is over your feet,  your hands are in a good position to throw and you can shuffle your feet as needed.

8. Don’t Rush.

Most mistakes happen because we try to rush.  You can speed up if needed, but stay in control.  If you are dealing with a fast runner and you feel like you need to be faster, your adjustments should be made in other ways.  You can take a step closer to the batter when getting into your ready position, or even choose to charge the ball rather than wait for it.  These adjustments will buy you more time without making you rush your throw.

Tips from a Pro

I hear many high school and college infield coaches say that they want an infielder to either have their feet squared to the ball or their left foot slightly in front, so they will have momentum and their feet lined up correctly when throwing to first base.
I like to do things a little differently.

  • Glove Position.

    I like to field the ball on the left side of my chest. I am still keeping the ball in front of me but instead of fielding it in the middle of my chest I field it off my left nipple. I do this because this is where my shoulder is and I don’t want to feel that I am reaching in front of my body to field the ball. I would like to field the ball directly underneath my left shoulder. This allows my glove hand to work freely and flow smoothly because I am not fighting my body. Let the glove work from this position.

  • Foot Positioning.

    Ideally I’d like to have my left foot slightly behind my right foot. I like this because I feel that since my glove is on the left side of my body it makes my glove work a lot easier and I don’t have to worry about my left leg getting in the way. I feel I have a lot more room for error I don’t have to be quite so perfect in reading the hops. It makes you work harder to get your feet in the right position to throw to first base, but you have to field it before you can throw it.

  • Making the Throw.

    To make the throw from this position you have two options:

    1. Take your right foot and place it in front of your left foot. Do this instead of placing it behind because when you place it in front your momentum is going towards first instead of falling away slightly. Take a mini hop or a shuffle step (whichever is more comfortable) and make your throw.
    2. Take your right foot and swing it around so your right foot shuffles into your left foot. Make sure you shuffle one more time so your momentum can be in a straight line towards first base. Then make your throw.

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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After a 17-year pro career, Doug has officially retired from playing and is now a scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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Mental Side of Hitting – Part One

By Doug Bernier

Every baseball player struggles from time to time. In these moments of searching for answers it’s easy to fall into the trap of chasing hits.

Tying your self-worth as a player to getting hits is a guaranteed ticket to an emotional rollercoaster, and in the end, it’s counter-productive to getting the results you want.

The mental side of hitting doesn’t need to be a roller coaster – from a pros perspective

During those slumps and moments of struggle, it’s critical to have attainable goals that can be achieved every at-bat.

On any given day, the outcome may not be what we would like – but if we stay consistent with our process and mental plan, the results will follow.

Attainable goals are a series of repeatable objectives the you can control. There are days when you do everything right. You put a beautiful swing on the ball and the outfielder makes a diving catch… and you just don’t get the results you were hoping for.

That’s why it’s important to make your list of attainable goals things that you CAN control. In the next couple posts, I’m going to give you some examples of this, and finally a checklist that I was given by a very smart hitting coach with the Texas Rangers.

The Mental Side of Hitting – Attainable Goals

We choose objectives that force us to pay attention to what is happening on the field and form a mental plan around our strength as a hitter that we feel will give us the best chance of victory for the next battle against the pitcher.

When I would struggle as a youngster I’d hear coaches and parents tell me to “make an adjustment.”

The problem is I only knew 2 adjustments… I’d either choke up on the bat or widen my stance. They were both physical and weren’t able to get me out of a funk or keep me consistent when I was going well.

In 2002, my first year of pro ball is when I saw the importance of having attainable goals as they relate to hitting. The Rockies taught us to work on a mental 2 strike approach as opposed to physical adjustments. Many big leaguers didn’t like to make a physical adjustment with 2 strikes because they were trying to compete with a stance or feel that was not overly practiced. Their thought was, if they were a better hitter by making certain physical adjustments, they would use them the entire at-bat.

One key that I will go into more detail in the next post is having an aggressive vs. passive mindset. Early in my career I had a mindset of “put the ball in play”, “swing at strikes”, “work the count”,”hit the ball on the ground.” I thought this was how a smaller guy with not a lot of power was supposed to hit. In some cases I was taught to think like this at the plate. I was constantly feeding myself passive thoughts.

One of my attainable goals was to realize this passive self talk and change it. I started to think, “hit this pitch off the center field wall”, “drive this ball in the gap”, “hit this ball hard”. This simple goal of changing my self talk is one key that turned me into a more aggressive hitter that drives the ball much more than I did early in my career.

The Mental Side of Hitting – Creating a plan that works for YOU

During most of my pro playing career, I struggled to explain this process with clarity. Then I talked to Texas Rangers minor league hitting coach, Chase Lambin who I played against for years. This guy was a grinder who got everything out of his ability. He has been really trying to relay this information to his players and he has helped me a lot to simplify this mental process.

Next:  Explanation of this process in great detail about concrete, attainable goals

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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

How to Field Like a Pro

By Doug Bernier

Everyone loves offense, but pitching and defense win games.  These pro tips for how to field a baseball will help you win games.

Tip #1: The Secret is to Use Your Feet

Many smooth fielders look like they have soft hands, but it is actually their feet that allow their hands to work so freely. In other words, FOOTWORK COUNTS! The better your footwork, the easier your glove work becomes and the smoother it looks. Once you stop your feet, your risk of letting the baseball dictate what is going to happen skyrockets. When your feet shut down, your hands follow, and your body tends to get stiff. So keeping your feet moving is a huge key. This is something I will explain in more detail in the following articles on fielding.

Tip #2: Position your Glove for Maximum Benefit

Another MUST for fielding ground balls is to take your glove hand and push the heel of your wrist toward the baseball (see pictures below). Ideally you want it more perpendicular than parallel to the ground. This allows you to use all of your glove. It will also prevent balls that take a little hop from rolling up your arm. This is something many infielders don’t get taught but helps a lot when the baseball takes a late tricky hops. To illustrate, this glove position (below) is NOT ideal, because doesn’t make full use of the glove’s surface area:

how to field a baseball - wrong way view 1

Wrong

How to field a baseball - This is what NOT to do, view 2

Wrong

 

 

 

 

 

 

This position (below) is much better because it lets you use the entire surface area of the glove, and it doesn’t allow balls that take late hops roll up your arm.  You’d be surprised how many fielders overlook this important detail.

How to field a ground ball in baseball - correct, view 1

Correct

Proper mechanics of how to field a baseball - correct, view 2

Correct

 

 

A good drill that incorporates proper glove position and moving your feet.  Start with your arm and glove exactly how you want to field the baseball.  Now when a ground ball is hit, move your feet ONLY and don’t move your hand or glove.  Use your feet to get the baseball.  Pre set your glove and field with your feet.  If you can get good at this drill you will make fielding a lot easier.

While we’re at it, here are a few more defensive tips for how to field a baseball.  Each of these tips will be talked about in more detail, in some of the following defensive articles.

  • Keep it natural

    When fielding a ground ball, do not make your glovehand cross your body. It is NOT ideal to catch the baseball in the center of your body or to your right side, but rather more to the side of your glove hand.  In other words, the ball, your glove, and your left pectoral should be in a straight line. This allows your glove to work more freely in front of you, since it doesn’t have to slide across your body. When the left hand is trying to work on the right side of the body, people tend to get tense. This is when mistakes happen.

  • Keep your hands extended

    This is for two reasons: (a) the ball and glove are always in your line of vision (!!!!); and (b) on a bad hop, you still have room to bring your glove into your body to make the play.

  • Relax your glove hand

    Relax your glove hand while fielding a ball. All of your reflexes are quicker when you are relaxed. Also, the ball seems to stick in your glove easier without tensing up and fighting it.

  • Start low

    With a short hop from a throw or a hard hit ball, start with your glove on the ground and work up to field this ball. These are very difficult plays, but it is easier and quicker to move up than down.

  • Attack

    Attack with your glove but most importantly with your mentality.  It is necessary to have an aggressive (but under control) attitude when approaching a ground ball.  A quality infielder dictates how he is going to field the ground ball.  A below average infielder lets the ball dictate how he is going to field the ball.

  • Stay balanced

    When the ball is secure in your glove, bring it to your chest. Keeping the ball in the middle of your body helps keep you balanced and in a strong position to throw.

  • Left arm as your guide

    After your glove is at your chest, get your shoulders turned to the base you are throwing to. Use your left shoulder and elbow, as your guide, keeping them in line with the base you are throwing to.

  • A Four Seam Grip is a must for an infielder

    Every time you throw a baseball, get a four-seam grip on the ball. This means your index and middle finger are across the horseshoe. No matter where on the ball your fingers are, you are never more than a quarter-turn of the ball away from getting that ideal 4-seam grip. This may seem difficult, but all infielders do this. This grip keeps the ball flying straight and with the proper backspin, and will help your throws to be more accurate. If you only get a two-seam, one-seam, or no seam grip, the ball will most likely sink, run, or dive. So work on getting a four-seam grip every time. (Click here to get these tips in a printable cheatsheet.)

    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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express

Where You Fit in the Baseball Lineup

By Doug Bernier

A good hitting philosophy should definitely depend on what kind of hitter you are. Are you a player that hits for a lot of power, do you try to set the table and get on base for the middle of the lineup, can you run, are you a good situational hitter, can you hit to all parts of the field or do you mostly just pull the ball.

Accurately evaluating yourself and knowing what kind of hitter you are can be difficult. The great thing about baseball is there is room on every team and in the big leagues for all types of hitters.

Players get in trouble when they want to be something they are not. This is fairly common and a problem most young hitters face. Everyone wants to hit homeruns. But not everyone was talented in that area. If you hit one homerun a year and most of your outs are fly balls, you are only hurting yourself.

The good hitters use what they are given and use it to the best of their ability. If you can run, hit balls on the ground and utilize the bunt. If you can handle the bat, try to hit the 3-4 hole (in between 1st and 2nd base) with a runner on 1st base, to get the runner to move up to 3rd base. Some hitters are trying to get on base any way possible, while others are in scoring position when they step up to the plate. Understand your game, and embrace it.

What Makes Up A Typical Baseball Lineup

The leadoff hitter

The typical leadoff hitter can usually run. He has a high on base percentage, good average and takes his walks. The leadoff hitter can handle the bat by bunting, good hit and run guy and doesn’t strike out a lot. He can create havoc on the bases when necessary.

The 2, 8, and 9 hitters

These guys are table setters, they can handle the bat. You need to be able to bunt, situationaly hit ( hit and run, hit a ball to the right side with a runner on second and 0 outs, sacrifice fly with runner on third.) These players should be gritty and battle.

Just because you hit eighth or ninth doesn’t mean you are not an important hitter. At some point all hitters, no matter where in the baseball lineup they are, will be up in a big situation.
If you are hitting in the spot before the pitcher (usually 8th) that can be a tough assignment. You will usually be pitched very carefully. The pitcher hopes you will expand the zone and swing at bad pitches. With runners on base don’t be surprised to get off speed pitches in fastball counts and fastballs that are meant for the corners of the plate. They know if you walk they have a weak hitter behind you, but they are hoping to get you to chase and get yourself out.
The number 3 hitter

The number 3 hitter is usually your best in the lineup. He most times will have a unique blend of batting average and power. He hits in this spot to drive in runners, and he is guaranteed to hit in the first inning. He can put runs on the board.

The 4 and 5 guys

are usually power guys that may strike out more than the others in the lineup but have long ball potential. Every time they step in the box they strike fear into their opponents.

The 6 and 7 guys

are very good hitters usually high average with a little less power than the 3,4,5 guys. They are very important to protect the power spots in the baseball lineup by hitting well and driving in runners. The 6 and 7 spots in the lineup can have big RBI potential. A team that has strong 6 and 7 hole hitters makes the baseball lineup so much deeper and a lot more difficult to pitch to.

This is a very basic template of a typical baseball lineup, this can change depending on the teams personnel in the lineup. Possible changes might include:

Your leadoff hitter may have the most power but he hits there because he doesn’t strike out very often and the coach wants him to get as many at bats as possible.
Your number 3 hitter may have no power at all but he hits for a high average and has been pretty successful with driving runners in. He is not your prototypical 3 hole hitter, but can be very productive in the 3rd slot.

I hope this overview of the baseball lineup can help you determine your own personal hitting philosophy and where you fit in the lineup.

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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express.
(Originally Posted at www.probaseballinsider.com)

How to Slide

By Doug Bernier

Sliding is how we get into a base as quickly as possible while maintaining contact with the bag (i.e. not over running it and risk getting tagged). Sliding can be used to stop or redirect our momentum, break up a double play on the bases, or make a tag play more difficult by using a hook slide.

There are three types of slides in baseball: Feet first (or pop up), head first, or hook slide.

Feet First or Pop Up Slide
This is the most useful of the slides, and the safest. When in doubt, go feet first. This method of sliding can be used in any situation. This is also known as the pop up slide because if you do it correctly you will be able to use your momentum when you hit the bag to pop up quickly and continue running if needed.

How to Pop Up Slide
One of your legs is going to be extended and will make contact with the bag. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. Your ankle of your other leg will be placed under your straight legs hamstring. This will look similar to the number “4”. You will keep both your hands up. This is so when you make contact with the ground you will not slam your wrists in the ground and break a wrist. You will make contact with the ground with your bent knee and the upper part of the back of your straight leg.

Head First Slide
The head first slide may get you into the base a little quicker than going feet first, but there is a higher risk of injury.

Benefits: Head first is thought of as the quickest way of sliding into a base. This is because you keep your momentum going forward opposed to having to sit back on your legs or back side.

It can also be beneficial because sometimes you can manipulate the slide a little by shifting your hands to try to avoid a tag.

Downsides: Head first should not be used when sliding into home plate at any time (the catcher with all his gear on can do some damage to your fingers and your shoulders if you come in head first). Also, sliding head first when trying to break up a double play is illegal, and you and the hitter will be called out.

Sliding head first can be dangerous. Some guys have broken fingers by hitting the base the wrong way, or if an infielder jumps and lands on them. Also, if a infielder jumps and comes down on your arms or shoulders you can really hurt your shoulders.

Some teams are really starting to advise their players to stop sliding head first and to get used to sliding feet first.

How to slide head first, and tips to prevent injury

  • As you are running start your lean forward.
  • Extend your body forward and try to keep your forearms and hands out in front of you.
  • Cock your wrist back so when your hands make contact with the bag, the heels of your palm will hit it and not your fingers. This will help to prevent finger injuries.

Hook Slide
The hook is a spin off of the regular feet first slide. The only difference is that instead of making contact with your foot, you will slide feet first but to one side or the other and grab the base with one of your hands.

This is very useful especially on a play at home plate. It gives the defender making the tag less body to touch. Also, when done correctly you can move your hand so you can avoid the glove that is trying to tag you. When hook sliding into home you can hit the back corner of the plate with a real quick hand movement that can be difficult to tag.

You can use this at other bases as well, especially if a throw is taking a defender to one side of the bag. In this instance you can slide to the other side of the bag and grab with your hand.

How to Hook Slide
The mechanics are the same as the feet first slide, except you’ll be sliding to one side or the other and reach back with your hand to grab the bag.

You can also use the hook slide when trying to break up a double play at second base. The rule in professional baseball, is you can make contact with an infielder as long as you can touch the bag with any part of your body.

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 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After batting .200 in 45 at-bats and fielding .950 during 2017 spring training with the Rangers, Doug was assigned to the Ranger’s AAA team the Round Rock Express.

(Originally Posted at www.probaseballinsider.com)

Hitting Process Part Four: Weight Shift

By Doug Bernier

Stage 4 of sound baseball swing fundamentals is the weight shift, which will create a rubber band like torque action for your hands and will propel them into the zone as fast as possible.

Your weight shift begins after you have completed your separation. You should now be in a strong, athletic, launch position. It begins with your front heel making contact with the ground, thus starting your back knee to turn and gain ground toward your front knee. Our goal is to move our weight in a way that starts our path to the baseball in a straight line through the baseball. The baseball swing starts from the ground up, and the weight shift is where we start our movement toward the ball.

Weight Shift Breakdown.

The separation step of the swing finishes with your front toe on the ground but the heel on that foot is still in the air. Everything starts with your front heel touching the ground to start your move.

1. Back Knee

Your back knee will start to turn towards the ball and gain a little ground toward your front knee. To help with this move you should feel like you are driving your back hip into home plate. This small move allows you to use gravity by staying on top of the baseball and swinging down hill. It puts you in the optimal position to hit a baseball.

Your momentum should be going towards the pitcher, while your back knee and hip are firing towards the ground.
This is where your weight shifting and rotation start coming together.

2. Front Leg

Your front leg is firm and not allowing the weight shift to get over your front foot.

3. Front Side

You should feel like your front side is holding this motion back, so once you start your swing, you will have a violent leg drive happen underneath you. This should place you in an optimal position for the best bat speed possible. Once the action hits your front leg and creates tension your front leg will halt any further forward movement and you will start to rotate around your head.

4. Front Leg

If your front leg collapses and doesn’t hold all of this momentum back, you will lose all of the built up torque you have built up in the load and separation portion of the swing. The result is a weaker swing, with less bat speed.

5. Hands

Your hands follow what your base does, so if you have proper strong leg drive in your weight shift, you will have a proper bat path towards the baseball. You will actually get your bat in the hitting zone quicker and it will stay in the zone longer, which is the ultimate goal. The longer the barrel of the bat is in the hitting zone, the better chance we have to hit the baseball with authority. Your weightshift will create a rubber band like torque action for your hands and will propel them into the zone as fast as possible. By using a strong and correct shift towards the baseball with your legs, you are allowing your hands to follow the path that your base started.

Final thoughts:

The weight shift heading into rotation will allow your bat to be in the zone longer than just rotating. It is this stage of your baseball swing that allows for last-second, mid-swing adjustments to tricky pitches.

Next: Decide and Release

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. Currently Doug is with the Twins’ AAA team in Rochester, NY

Separation (Part 3 of 5)

By Doug Bernier

During the separation stage of the baseball swing, you should feel as if you are in your most powerful stance before the violent assault happens on the baseball.

Separation (stage 3) is the portion of the baseball swing mechanics when we stride and separate the movement of our hands from our stride foot in order to create torque, in a strong balanced launch position.

Separation is essential for bat speed, and bat speed directly translates into power and distance. Separation also…

Starts at the completion of our load
Is finished after you stride, when your front foot makes contact with the ground.
It is during this phase that you will first see the ball out of the pitchers hand.
In this position you should feel as if you are waiting for the ball in the most powerful position you can be in before the violent assault happens on the baseball.

How we incorporate separation into the baseball swing:

Starting point.

This movement should start when the pitcher starts making his move towards home plate.

Hands.

At this point we want to have our hands back and in a strong position (from our load), usually around shoulder height.

Stride and Separate.

You will stride forward in a very controlled and soft movement, while using your shoulder and outside oblique to pull the top half of your body in the opposite direction.

Movement.

Our goal is to keep this movement slow and in control. This is important, because it will keep your head still so you can see the ball better.

Tension.

Once your front foot hits the ground and your hands remain back from where the load took them, this will create tension in your front oblique area.

This tension is like a stretched rubber band that will allow for a violent action toward the baseball. The more stretched tension you create, the more bat speed you can create.

Weight distribution.

At least 60% of your weight should be on your back leg
Your front toe is softly placed on the ground
With your heel on the same (front) foot in the air
Feet.

Your feet should be in line with each other out toward the pitcher. At this point of your swing, your stride should not be open or closed.

Bat.

Your hands are still back – at or above the height of your back shoulder – and your bat should be at a 45 degree angle.

Eyes.

This is where you pick up the ball as quickly as possible and determine what pitch is being thrown, and if you are going to swing.

Final thought on swing separation:

The separation portion of the swing allows your load to turn into momentum to help create as much bat speed as possible. The separation is probably the most difficult part of the swing to consistently repeat.

Next: Weight Shift

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. Currently Doug is with the Twins’ AAA team in Rochester, NY