10 Tips on How to Hit a Baseball Farther
Whether you’re a high school ballplayer trying to get scouts’ attention or just someone who plays softball casually in the park, there is one universal truth in hitting: there’s nothing more satisfying than a homer.
But how exactly do you amp up your swing and start hitting a baseball farther?
Below you’ll find a convenient list of 10 ways to beef up your swing. Follow these suggestions and soon you’ll be slugging with the best of them.
1. Pick the right bat
When it comes to choosing a bat, you’re going to want to pick the heaviest one possible while still being able to swing it comfortably. While swing speed is always going to be your bread and butter as a hitter, a hefty bat is important because force equals mass (bat weight) times acceleration (bat speed). In other words, you want to achieve a happy medium between speed and power.
A bigger bat provides something else important too. Namely a bigger barrel and sweet spot. The latter is the point in the barrel that offers the maximum hitting power. You want to make contact here because other areas of the bat, especially the end and the handle, don’t provide much hitting power. Not only do these areas provide little power, but contact with them also creates a stinging vibration.
As far as the composition of the bat goes, composite bats work best. Made with a reinforced carbon polymer, these bats are good to use in all but the Major Leagues. They marry the sweet cracking sound of a wood bat with the speed and power of a metal bat and keep kinetic energy high and tight.
2. Keep the bat supple
Once you’ve settled on the right bat, you’re going to need to know how to wield it. The bat shouldn’t feel like a dead stick in your hands but like something jumpy and alive. You should keep a good grip, though not an excessively tight one and your swing should be short near the hitting zone.
When swinging, you don’t want to cut down at the ball but into the zone. The former approach leads to inconsistent contact and insufficient loft. In order to maximize the chances of solid contact, you want to come into the hitting zone directly behind the ball. And, finally, the bat should have the same rhythm as your body, almost as though it’s an extension of your front arm.
3. Use your legs
But everything just said should be taken with a grain of salt; you’ll never hit the ball very hard if you’re only using your arms and hands. Your legs and hips are another crucial part of the swing process. They should stay very active, and your initial stance should be wide and your legs bent.
Essentially, you want to develop a similar stance to that of a basketball player guarding a shooter or a central defender on a soccer field; to keep your leg movements supple so that you can react at a moment’s notice, your legs should be bent. From this crouched stance, you should be able to move back and forth and stay inside your legs. You don’t want to rock up onto each leg but athletically shift from one to the other while never leaving your stable stance.
4. Strengthen your legs
It almost goes without saying that athletes need strong legs to maintain explosiveness. For hitting a baseball, however, it’s the front leg that’s paramount for harnessing momentum. The stronger and more conditioned the front leg, the stronger and more stable the body will be mid-swing.
A good exercise is to stand in one place and swing a heavy bat. An even better way is to drive your body and your body weight into practice pitches. As your front foot gets down on the ground, your front leg stiffens. This causes powerful rotation and brings the bat through the zone. If your front knee bends or wobbles, your ability to drive the ball with power will be very limited.
5. Keep your eyes on the ball!
Though this may sound obvious, this is actually extremely difficult to master. After all, there’s a reason great batters get on base only a third of the time. The secret to this is to watch the ball for as long as possible. While this is extremely difficult with fastballs that clock in at 80 or more, it’s pretty attainable with anything under that speed.
6. It’s not all about power
Although this is an article on hitting for power, it’s important to note that there are a lot of pitches that you won’t be able to hit with power. While a homer is always nice, batting is context-dependent, and some scores and situations call for different types of swings.
The difference between a good batter and a great batter is in learning how to hit every pitch in a pitcher’s arsenal. This way you can refrain from wasting energy on fruitless pitches, and maximize strength on fastballs and breaking balls that fall in your sweet spot. Simply put, if your sole goal is to hit homers, your baseball career won’t go very far. Managers and coaches prefer players with a diverse skill set, and that includes diversity in hitting.
7. Location, location, location
This may seem surprising, but playing conditions really do matter. If possible, you should pick a park that’s:
- At a high altitude.
This is because dense, cold, and dry air produces more friction, so the opposite conditions are best. Though these optimal conditions may only give you a few extra feet, those can be the difference between a fly-out and a home run.
8. Use a ball with low-profile seams
When every foot counts, even the seams matter. Flat seams make the ball travel farther because there’s less drag as it flies. By lowering the seam height a fraction of a millimeter, you can get another 10 to 15 feet added to your hits. And you may want to spend the extra money on an Official MLB ball because they have the lowest seam profile on the market.
9. Talk to coaches for help
As with everything, professionals know best. A list you read on the Internet can only take you so far, so if you’re really serious about hitting a baseball farther, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned coaching.
10. Strengthen your core
We’re saving the secret stuff for last. Once your swing is sound and your bottom half is strong, the next thing you’ll want to activate is your core. After your legs load your body up and shift your body weight into the ball, your hips and core unload all that energy into the ball. Actually, your arms and hands follow your core rotation, so a swing should never be thought of as something you do with your hands. Instead, a baseball swing should be viewed as something happening piece by piece, ending with the bat (and your hands) whipping through the zone.
Because your core is a central piece in all of baseball, any strengthening you do will help you on the field. While medicine balls and rotational stretching works well, the best workout money can buy is something called PureTorque – a core workout equipment that works by targeting every muscle in your core to increase rotational performance, PureTorque improves core strength, and maximizes stability. Unlike other abdominal rotation exercises, PureTorque directs force straight to the core, providing the most efficient and least injury aggravating workout.
It’s truly amazing how quickly you’ll see your baseball hit distance improve with PureTorque. Your core will muscle-up, your swing will feel more balanced, and you’ll be able to rotate with far greater ease. Switch over to PureTorque and watch the homers pile up.
If you’re more into softball, you can check out our extensive post on some of the top core workouts for softball players.