Baseball is known as America’s past time. It’s easy to understand why so many people love the game. All you need to get started is a bat, a ball, and a glove. Find a few friends and an empty field to get a game going. Of course, actually playing the game is a lot more complicated than that.
There’s a lot of strategy and rules at play every time you step onto that beautiful red shale. Of course, one article can’t cover all of the finer details of how to play baseball.
However, learning how to hit a ball and throw a ball is a pretty good place to start if you’re interested in playing the game.
Swing for the Fences: How to Hit a Baseball
There’s a lot of practice involved in between learning how to hit a ball and being able to hit a ball like rookie superstar, Aaron Judge. With that said, it doesn’t matter if you’re Aaron Judge playing in the big leagues or just another average Joe playing at the local ball diamond; the fundamentals of hitting a baseball are universal.
The first thing to do is learn how to grip the bat. A baseball grip is rather simple with both hands clutching the bat, one above the other. A lot of people will naturally rest the bat in their palms with their fingers wrapping around the bat. However, a much more effective grip has your fingers taking on much of the weight of the bat. You don’t want to grip too hard or too soft as this can affect your control of the bat when swinging.
Now it’s time to line up at home plate and prepare for the pitch. You want to face your hips, chest, and shoulders square with home plate and turn your head to watch the pitcher and anticipate the ball’s arrival at home plate.
Angling your body can help affect the direction of the ball when you make contact. If you are a right handed batter, close your hips away from the infield to help drive the ball out to the right. If you want to send the ball out to the left then you would open up your hips to the infield. Of course, the opposite would be true for a left handed batter.
Now, it’s time to actually hit the ball. This much easier said than done and, needless to say, there will be a lot of practice involved before you feel comfortable every time you step up to the plate. If you have ever heard the phrase, “keep your eye on the ball,” then you know one of the most important baseball tips there is.
You will have to anticipate the speed and angle of the ball to know when and where to swing. Of course, if the ball is way outside of the strike zone then not swinging at all is typically the best strategy. If you want to send the ball into the outfield then you will want to hit the ball on your upswing whereas a flat swing plane will create a ground ball situation.
Put Some Heat On It: How to Throw
Throwing a ball with power and accuracy is another skill that looks much easier than it really is. Making a short throw is achievable for most players but gunning out a runner at first base from your position at third is a tall task.
Use a full circular throwing motion to generate power with your arm. For more power, you will even want to incorporate your torso by turning as you release the ball. Another good tip to keep in mind is to use your wrist.
A flick of the wrist as you release the ball can add a lot of power and help maintain accuracy. In fact, practicing throwing with just your wrist and no arm motion is one great way to get a feel for the wrist motion you should be using.
Much like with batting, grip is very important when throwing. Hold the ball in your fingers rather than the palm of your hand. This creates less resistance as you release the ball and makes release easier. Gripping to hard can actually reduce the power in your throw. Imagine you are gripping an egg and you want to throw it without breaking it.
No Substitute for Practice
Quite simply, it is impossible to learn how to hit a baseball and how to throw a baseball without putting in practice time. Learn the fundamentals and then develop your own style around those fundamentals. If you are struggling to learn how to hit a baseball then experiment with various stances in the batter’s box. You can also try adjusting your grip position on the bat or angling your body a certain way as you prepare for the pitch.
Now that you know the basics, get out there and hit the field to put those skills into action!
Featured Image via Pixabay