Teaching a baseball swing that’s smooth and steady

To the average person who watches a Major League Baseball player hit a home run, it may seem as though their talent and strength were the reasons they were able to launch the ball so far. While those are both important characteristics of successful sluggers, even the most skilled and powerful batters in the game can find that they can't hit the ball out of the infield sometimes, as evidenced by Albert Pujols's lackluster showing during the start of the 2012 season.

When a hitter's mechanics are off by even the smallest margin, they can dip into a slump that seems impossible to get out of. There are so many ways a swing can be flawed: poor timing, dipping the back shoulder, opening up the hips too quickly and not following through are just a few examples. But oftentimes, any or all of these minor imperfections can cause a swing to be unleveled.

A level swing that remains parallel with the plate allows the hitter to contact the ball squarely, which makes sense considering that they are moving the bat through the same plane that the ball is traveling. As a result, they can optimize their power by creating as much contact between the ball and the bat as possible.

Coaches can break down every tiny piece of a swing in practice, and while that works in some instances, the whole swing eventually needs to come together. To work on keeping swings level, coaches can set up two tees that are roughly five feet apart, raised to the same height with a ball atop each. The goal is to have players hit the first ball directly into the second one by keeping their youth baseball bats level.

For more tricks and tips for younger baseball players, coaches should visit YouthBaseballPlans.com.