Baseball is among the top sporting activities in the United States today. In its history which spans over a century and half this game has had immense impact across the country with the Major League Baseball ranking as one of the most watched leagues in the world. You can read about it here.
It is not uncommon to find youngsters aspiring to play like some of the past players that have achieved legend status. We are referring to the likes of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays and many other greats.
One thing that all of the above named players have in common is the fact that they were all outfield players. To be a great outfield player, you have to have mastery of the use of the bat. This brings us to our focus in today’s article which is batting tips.
We want to look at a few tips that can help improve your play as an outfield player. One of the major tips that we will be looking at is the choice of the bat itself. The bat is among the most important gear in the game of baseball. Much of the play revolves around it. Given this, it is important that anyone who wants to play this game starts off on the right note.
Choosing Your Bat
Before we can even begin to look at tips to improving your batting record, we must first address the issue of the bat you use. If you do not have the right bat, you will automatically be disadvantaged.
There are a few important things you need to note when choosing a baseball bat. Knowing and considering these factors before making a choice will help ensure you choose one that will enhance and not frustrate your play.
Let’s now look at some of these factors to be considered.
Size is critical to getting the right bat. Experienced players have advised that the best way to get the exact fit is to physically handle and swing it. This way, you can go with anyone that feels the most comfortable.
That said, there is guide you can use to determine what size will be best for you. You can watch a visual instruction in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-84xHV6K6U.
This is another important consideration factor. It simply refers to the weight of the bat and is measured by subtracting the weight (in ounces) from the length (in inches). So if the length is 32 inches and the weight 22 ounces, the drop weight will be 10.
A rule of thumb to note is that the higher the drop weight value, the lighter the bat will be.
Another important thing to look at is the material used. Traditionally, baseball bats were exclusively made of wood. Wood has continued to be the material of choice for professional leagues though other materials are consistently growing in popularity. With technological advancements, newer materials have been designed to offer optimized performances. Most of these are however still not accepted in top level leagues.
Some of these new materials include: composite, aluminum and hybrid.
When we talk about composite, we are simply referring to a type of material that consists of carbon fibers which are actually a mix of well-refined plastic, graphite and possibly titanium. This is probably the material that offers the lightest weight, making it ideal for younger players who can’t swing heavier options.
This option offers a lighter weight than wood but is heavier than composite. It is also great for younger players and will usually be found used in little leagues as well as high school up to college games.
With this option, you enjoy greater durability than composite and a greater pop than wooden ones.
This option is an attempt at combining the benefits offered by both aluminum and composite materials while at the same time reducing the draw backs of each. In this option, the handle and spine can be made of aluminum while the barrel will be made of composite materials that will usually be pressure-molded. This therefore offers greater durability while also not being as heavy as aluminum.
These are also pretty expensive, almost costing the same as composite
Finally, you should consider where the player you are buying the bat for will be playing. You will need to ensure that whatever option you go for meets the league’s regulations. You may therefore need to consider factors like the BBCOR certification and any other regulatory standards that have to be adhered to.
With these consideration factors duly sorted out, it will be easier for you to get the right baseball bat.
Some Batting Tips
Finally, you have gotten your own bat and it is now time to put it to the best use. We will quickly run through a few tips that we believe will help you improve your play.
After getting the right bat, the next thing to work on is your stance. This is the position from which your swing commences. It also shows how balanced, comfortable and ready for the ball you are. Here are a few tips to achieve this:
- Have a good plate coverage. This allows you easily hit either an inside or an outside pitch. Stand at a reasonable distance from the plate and ensure your stance aligns with the pitcher.
- Test your stance for balance and comfort by having someone slightly push you from different sides. If your stance is good, you will not lose it when pushed.
- Keep your knees in a slightly bent position and rest on the balls of your feet.
- To ensure good vision, ensure your head can turn such that you can have both eyes on the pitcher.
- As your hands move towards the ball, do not immediately push them forward. Keep them back as the swing begins so you can generate more energy with your core and feet before bringing them forward.
- The speed of your swing should gradually build up so that it is at its fastest just before making contact with the ball.
- Keep it still through the swing. You will know you’ve achieved this when your chin moves from one shoulder to the other during the course of a swing. Because it is your shoulders that rotate, as your chin remains still, the move of your shoulders will bring them close to the chin from one to the other during the swing.
While this is not a master class for improving your batting, some important things have been touched on. Start by picking out the right bat and then you can begin to practice more efficiently. The tips above will help you get started. You can also find more tips to further help improve your place.
It however all begins with the right bat.