The Fundamentals of Baseball Swing Simplified For Any Parent, Coach, or Player To Understand and Apply
This article is meant to be a high-level overview for parents, players, and youth coaches to learn more about baseball swing mechanics from start to finish Following these concepts, exercises, and drills will help establish a solid fundamental base for your hitter.
This step-by-step guide was created after watching thousands of hours of videos, learning from some of the best coaches on the planet, and applying this information in the batter's box at the professional level against some of the best hitters in the game. Often times when a hitter is struggling they aren't doing one (or more) of these fundamentals correctly.
As I mentioned I've written this as a macro, high-level overview of swing mechanics. There are infinite pieces of the baseball swing to discuss and a tremendous amount of resources online. Thank you for coming to the site and for taking your time to help your hitter, yourself, or your players.
My goal for this post is to simplify the swing so any parent, player, or coach can digest and apply this information regardless of their knowledge base. If you would consider yourself an elite coach, then this is information you likely already know.
Hitting Fundamental #1: The Load
The first part of the swing is the negative move back, or the load of the swing. This is when the hitter loads and begins the process of storing the energy they will eventually unleash into the ball at contact. At the beginning of this video I mention the set-up. I cover the set up in one of my digital hitting programs you can get access to through an annual subscription to the website.
If you like digital learning and are interested in a subscription then feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd be more than happy to help get a better understanding of where you are in your hitting journey and which program would be the best for you to start with.
Below is a hitting drill you can use to learn how to properly load your swing.
Hitters often like to use momentum to power their load instead of properly building and storing energy. When hitters load the wrong way then the hitter will likely find themselves in the wrong mechanical positions throughout the rest of their swing. It's important to make the first move of the swing clean and efficient.
Hitting Fundamental #2: Stride and Separation
After the load, the next step is to create separation in the swing. I like to use the analogy of the slingshot as a way to help hitters understand what we are trying to accomplish during the stride and separation portion of the swing.
Below you'll find a drill to work on the slingshot
The slingshot is important for building power in the swing. Many hitters don't load their hands or have a positive stride towards the pitcher causing a wide variety of issues like rollover ground balls, lack of power, or inconsistency.
Hitting Fundamental #3: The Launch Position
This is arguably the most important position in hitting. Every MLB hitter gets into this position one way or another. There are subtle differences with bat position and angle but for the most part every great hitter has put themselves in this position when their front foot hits the ground.
Below is a video with a checklist for you to use when you are analyzing whether or not your hitter is in the correct hitting position when their foot hits the ground.
This checklist is a very simple way to go through your hitter's swing step-by-step to make sure your hitter is in the correct position at launch. You can use your phone on your camera or an app like Coach's Eye to record the swing and slow it down frame by frame.
Hitting Fundamental #4: Heel Drop/Heel Strike
At its core, hitting is timing. I found using the heel drop as an anchor point helped me understand how to have consistent timing. The video below talks more about the heel drop and also provides a simple drill to use to work on this.
Using this drill can also help hitters understand how to remove a hip slide or drift from their swing after their front foot hits the ground.
Hitting Fundamental #5: The Unload
The unload of the swing starts with using the ground to create force. Leverage and ground force are fundamental ingredients to having a powerful swing. Many hitters do not understand how to use the ground to properly unload/transfer their stored energy.
Hitting Fundamental #6: Sequence - Hips Before Hands
Many hitters lose power by letting their hands leak forwards before their hips start to rotate. Here's a simple exercise to work on that.
This drill with a pvc pipe is a really simple drill (ignore my hair) you can use with the hitter to teach proper swing sequence. You can also use a broomstick or anything else you can think of which allows you to push force into the ground while you hold your hips. I've also had hitters hold onto weight racks, walls, etc.
Hitting Fundamental #7: Slotting
Slotting the correct way is critical to consistency. Often times hitters who are struggling to hit the ball hard in the are not slotting the bat properly.
If your hitter is really struggling to keep their hands inside the ball then you should watch the video below which covers the inside seam drill. It's a really simple drill that helps the hitter understand how to create an inside the ball bat path. Just be sure that the hitter does not cheat and push their hands in front of their hips in order to work their hands inside the ball.
The inside seam drill is a very simple drill you can use with your hitter. This hitting drill will help the hitter learn how to create an inside the ball bat path which is key for hard contact, line drive, and consistency.
Hitting Fundamental #8: Hip Drive
See 1:19 in this video where I cover how to properly drive your hips/extend the hips through the ball. One simple exercise you can use with your hitter doesn't require using a bat - a kettle bell swing. Kettle bell swings are helpful in teaching the hitter how to properly fire their hips through the ball.
Hitting Fundamental #9: Extension and Finish
Extension is usually a sign that the hitter has properly accelerated their bat through the baseball causing their arms to "shake the pitcher's hand" so to speak. It's worth noting that many hitters are now more rotational and do not always get to a "fully extended" position after they make contact. I like to focus on having the hitter accelerate through the ball instead of being overly obsessed with their extension position as it's mostly a product of their pre-swing movements as opposed to the actual action of extending their bat.
Finishing the swing is critical and for young hitters they can forget they are trying to hit the ball as hard as they can as opposed to just hitting the ball. When hitters are just trying to make contact you'll likely see a swing where the hitter doesn't finish their swing. Remind the hitter to accelerate even after contact to help them finish the swing.
Balance is also critical in the finish of the swing. Make sure your hitter can hold their balance for a "one-onethousand" count after they complete their swing.
If the hitter isn't swinging hard enough then I will tell them to forget about balance and be more aggressive. After they are more aggressive then I have the hitter work on maintaining balance with their aggressiveness.
As I mentioned in the introduction, this article is meant to be a signpost and guide for baseball swing mechanics from start to finish. You can break the swing down in infinite ways, but the purpose of this post is to highlight the overlapping fundamentals that great hitters use to perform at a high level.
I constructed this guide from watching thousands of hours of videos, learning from some of the best coaches on the planet, and applying this information in the batter's box (against Cy Young Award pitchers like Trevor Bauer, Chris Sale, and Dallas Keuchel) and teaching hitters over the last decade.
I hope you found this information easy to digest and armed to work with your hitter with more confidence knowing you are creating the proper swing fundamentals that not only work at their current age, but at the highest level of the game.
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