Like most motions in sports, your swing starts with how you position yourself. You won’t have much power in your swing if you don’t start correctly. Proper technique when swinging a bat isn’t easy, so it’s imperative that you give yourself the best chance at a good swing, and begin with the right stance.
Most players are comfortable with their legs a little bit wider than shoulder width apart. This allows you to bend your legs properly. How much bend you like in your knees is up to you, but somewhere around a 45-degree angle is a good place to start. Much of the power in your swing comes from your legs, so if you are standing up too straight, your swing could be weak. But if you bend your knees too much, you may not be able to pivot correctly and stay balanced.
The next part of the stance involves the upper body. If you’re a right-handed hitter, you want to keep your right elbow pointing straight back. Your left elbow is tucked into your rib cage, pointing at the ground. Your hands should grip the bat, right hand on top of the left hand, and be positioned just below the right shoulder. So if you’re doing it right, your right shoulder and forearm form a triangle with the handle of the bat.
The best way to grip the bat is pretty simple to remember. Imagine the knuckles you knock on a door with and line those on your left hand up with those on your right hand. Most batters like to hold the bat close to the knob at the bottom of the handle but not exactly against it. If your bat is a little too heavy you can hold the handle a bit higher up on the grip.
Squashing the Bug
The motion of the back foot is the most important part of what the lower body does during a swing. The back foot, the right foot for a right-handed hitter, pivots 90 degrees. It can be thought of as a “squashing the bug” motion. This motion rotates the hips of the hitter. So at the end of the swing, the hitter’s hips are facing forward toward the pitcher. This rotation of the hips creates a lot of power so keeping the core strong is important for a hitter.
Hands Through the Zone
The best way to bring your bat through the strike zone is to lead with you hands. This means that you lead with the knob of the bat and bring your hands forward first. As your hands reach almost as far as they can go, you snap your wrists and bring the bat around.
Keep Your Head Still
Because your whole body is pivoting, some batters have a tendency to swing their heads around as well. But if you do this, it is hard to keep your eye on the ball. So a good hitter keeps his eye on the ball throughout his whole swing while he swings the bat. If you watch good Major League hitters, you might notice that they keep their heads down, as if staring through the strike zone during the entire swinging motion.
The Follow Through
It may look cool to take your right hand off of the bat during your follow through (if you’re a righty), but you lose power doing this. It’s best to keep both hands on the bat during the entire swing.
Those are the mechanics of the swing; go out there and practice. But remember, the most important part of hitting is to stay calm and never take your eye off the ball.