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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Batting Tips - How to Grip the Bat Properly
Advanced Skills Batting Tee - AdvancedSkillsTee.com
Batting Tips - How to Grip the Bat Properly
By Rafi Goldmeier
Batting Tips: Gripping the Bat
You might think that you are a pretty decent hitter. While you know you can always improve, you think you have the basics pretty much locked down, and now it is only a matter of learning some tricks or minor adjustments. You might be right, but if you are really getting all the fundamentals right, you are probably not just a decent hitter, but an amazing hitter with a great batting average and be able to place your hits all over the field, hitting for power and for the bases, with the ability to do whatever is needed in any given situation you might come to at the plate.
Good for you. I am not like that, and most people are not like that. We can always learn some new tips, some fundamentals we might be missing out on, something maybe we did not learn how to execute properly and need to adjust now. If you work through all the fundamentals and learn how to stand properly, how to hold the bat properly, how to swing the bat properly, how to bunt properly, etc. you will become a great hitter, far better than however good you are right now. Today's batting instructional is going to be about the basic of the basics - how to grip the bat properly.
The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that you should be relaxed, and you should have a relaxed grip. If you are tense, and if you are grabbing the bat and holding it with a lot of tension in your hands and muscles, you will not hit well. It is fairly natural to step into the batters box and grip the bat with tension. You want to use your power and strength, and you do that by tightening your muscles.
While perhaps that is a good approach if you were goign to throw a punch or to lift weights, for swinging the bat it is completely wrong. For the guy standing in the batters box, you need to be relaxed, with a relaxed grip. if you are tense, you will jump on the ball quickly, you will not be patient at the plate, you will swing at bad pitches, and your swing will not be efficient. So the first point for gripping the bat properly is to relax and have a relaxed grip on the bat.
Giving it the Fingers
Now that you are relaxed, you still have to hold the bat and grip it for the best swing possible. The big debate is whether to grip the bat between the palm and fingers or completely in the fingers. It does feel more natural to hold the bat in the palm, with the fingers wrapped around it, so when you pick up the bat, you might slip into the tendency of gripping the bat in your palm. The problem with the palm grip is that it is not a strong grip. The bat will not be stable during a swing, if you are gripping it with your palm. The correct way to grip the bat is to grip it inside your fingers, right at the base, with your fingers closed and encircled around the bat. the bat will be completely held by the fingers, not touching the palm at all.
Think of it like this: Open your left hand (if you are a rightie. If you are a lefty, switch hands) and put two fingers from your other hand into the palm, close the fingers of your hand, and grip your two fingers. Now try to pull the fingers out. They should slide right out. Now, do the same thing, but have your two fingers gripped only by the fingers of your open hand - curl your fingers around the two extended fingers and grip them. Now try to pull. Much harder to get the fingers out, isn't it?
The grip around a bat is much tighter in the fingers than it si in the palm, and it will be reflected in your swing and when the bats connects with the ball - it will be a far more stable swing with the bat snuggled into your fingers rather than into your palm.
The nest step in gripping the bat is the knuckle sandwich. ou want to line up the knuckles of your two hands, so that the knuckles will be even with each other. Now, you might hear this a lot but have no idea what it means. Whenever you grip the bat, your knuckles are almost always going to be lined up. The problem is that those are the wrong knuckles. What seems like the most natural way to hold the bat lines up the last knuckles of the finger - the knuckles at the base. You need to line up the middle knuckles of the fingers. The middle knuckles of the top hand should line up with the middle knuckles of the bottom hand.
Doing this feels strange at first, almost like your hand is twisted, but when you get into your stance you will almost definitely feel the difference and the stability of the swing improving by lining up the middle knuckles correctly.
A great way to test whether your knuckles are lined up correctly is the goalpost test, and I found a video (see Ultimate Sports Resource website for the embedded video) that shows exactly how that works. Basically, you grip the bat and line your knuckles up. Now, you extend the pointer finger of each hand. If you lined up the wrong knuckles, the way most people do naturally, your fingers will be pointing in opposite directions. If you lined up the correct knuckles, your fingers will be pointing in the same direction, making what looks like a set of goalposts.
Keeping Hands Together
And last but not least, for this instructional, is keep your hands together on the bat. If you leave space, separating your hands on the base of the bat, your swing will be wavy. A wavy swing means you might not hit the ball, and even if you do you will not hit it with power. Even if you hit it decently, you will not be hitting it with a packed amount of energy and power. You might be hitting short singles, maybe grounding out a lot in the infield, maybe some short pop-ups, but you could be hitting much better. Keep the hands tightly together (relaxed though, not tense), and you will pack a greater punch. Your hits will even out and travel farther than ever before.
There are other issues related to batting and specifically the grip, such as choking up, bat drag, bat lag, and more, but we'll save that for other articles.
Rafi participates and is active in a variety of team and personal sports. He trained for and ran a marathon, and recently even made the switch from shod running to barefoot running.
Rafi's website, The Ultimate Sports Resource is on the way to becoming a premier site for sports information, and for information about quality sporting goods and gear.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rafi_Goldmeier
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