The basics of hitting a baseball

Ted Williams once said that trying to hit a baseball is the most difficult thing to do in sports. Simply put, you need to make square contact with a small, swiftly moving round ball using a thin round bat. But there's more to it than that – your mechanics need to be perfect and your timing needs to be precise. Needless to say, this can be pretty tough for anyone, never mind a young athlete who's taking his chops against live pitching for the first time.

When teaching young baseball players how to be successful at the plate, be sure that you emphasize the importance of the following things:

Hips – While of course the swinging motion is made with the arms, they simply aren't strong enough to lift the ball very far. In order to have a powerful, fluid swing, it needs to be powered by explosive hips that drive the arms and upper body into the ball.

Shoulders – Hips generate power, but for precision and balance, a hitter needs to have steady, (nearly) level shoulders. They shouldn't be at exactly the same level throughout the swing, but it's what batters ideally strive for. A little dip is natural, but if the back shoulder is too low, the ball is going to be hit sky high or missed entirely.

Eyes – You can't hit the ball if you don't see it. Keeping two eyes on the baseball from the millisecond it leaves the pitcher's glove is instrumental in being able to make contact with it.

Confidence – Sure, you won't hit anything without good mechanics, but if you don't believe you'll hit the ball, you'll probably be right. A good batter needs to have a good attitude, because otherwise, he only has a good looking swing and nothing to show for it.

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