Columbus Baseball Organization

Hitting Fundamentals

To teach a young player proper baseball hitting mechanics, you don't actually want to think about mechanics. Instead, you want to think about "movements and feel."

Six steps at the plate:

1. The Setup – The setup is a pre-pitch routine that you perform consistently the same way every time you come to the plate. "I like my players to do something before each pitch to get themselves mentally back in tune, like stepping out of the box, taking a practice swing, taking a deep breath, whatever," Beck says. "It may seem silly, but it comes in handy when a player hits a ball poorly or swings ugly. Having a consistent routine is like hitting the 'reset' button, and keeps the mind nice and clear."

2. Load – "Loading is the process of gathering energy," Beck says. "At this point, you're getting down into your legs and core by using the biggest and strongest muscles of your body. When a hitter gets down into their legs, their shoulders and head can't rise, meaning you're less likely to "pull" off the ball or take your eyes off the ball due to excessive head movement. Getting both heels connected to the ground prior to launch is the key." You want to teach an athlete to load their legs on every pitch. Watch MLB players and you'll see they do this on every pitch at every at bat. Their legs load so they have all of their power ready to swings should they want to do it.

3. Launch – The pitch is on the way and you like it. You're going to take a swing at it. What's next? The stride toward the ball. "As you stride, you are down into your legs and ready to deliver a controlled and powerful swing. The rotation of your hips is sending power to your shoulders and hands."

4. Contact – The point where you hit the ball is going to vary depending on pitch location and pitch speed. "Of course, you're always trying to hit the ball on the sweet spot of the bat. The trouble is that's hard to do," Beck says with a smile. "The trick is to get the barrel of the bat on the same path as the pitch early. The trick to that is to see the release point of the ball." All that visualizing the athlete has been doing at the batting cage should be helpful here.

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