Over the course of a season, your every move is being watched by the masses, the coaching staff, and the team. When you’re called up to the plate, one swing is all it takes to salvage a game once thought to be lost, and claim victory for your city and your community. The difference between a mediocre batting average and a trail-blazing batting average can sometimes to be worlds apart. As a hitter, you shouldn’t be focusing on smashing the leather out of the ballpark each and every game, because your main concern is to be consistent. Like it or not, your batting average will be reviewed and scrutinized at the end of the season, and your contribution in this regard will be calculated, and your worth to the team assessed. Professional sport is filled with endless stints of pressure, and moments of glory and ecstasy. Baseball is a sport where you can go on a terrible run of misfortune and clumsy mistakes, but if you vanquish the opposing team at the moment of truth, you can become an icon for everyone across the nation. The key is to merge your inner burning desire and passion for the sport, with your equipment and technique.

Chien-Ming Wang pitching
By Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Chien-Ming Wang) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

See the pitcher as prey

You don’t need to be an expert at pitching know what may be coming your way. Simply by paying attention to the pitcher’s body movements, they traction, rotation, and release of the arm and wrist, you can predict which type of tactic they’re weaponizing against you. Most inexperienced pitchers are easier to mimic and retaliate against effectively. If you take the initiative and study the pitcher as if they were a prey animal in the wilderness, you’ll see patterns emerging in their behavior which telegraphs their intended strike option.

When you come to the plate, pay attention to his release point and releasing technique. Your aim should be to quickly see if you can recognize the ball’s rotation, which will give you a hint whether the ball will sink, rise, curve or sweep. Some pitchers don’t have a smooth technique, and if you look closely to jittery movements as they try to generate power, you will sense him telegraphing his offspeed pitches. Being a staple hitter in your team requires mental preparation and the ability to read the pitchers. Study and store the information about certain pitches which are causing your team trouble, and the next time you come face to face, you’ll be prepared to enact countermeasures against their tricks.

Batting styles and equipment

Linear swings are the traditional swing motion, the technique taught to newbies before they feel confident enough to venture and find their own unique style. The center mass stays close to the plate, and the shoulder rotates and brings the arms close together to eventually swing through. The hips and feet remain transfixed, and the head is kept upright and still. Although this style doesn’t produce the most power, because your weight is centralized, the swing can accurately place the ball in your chosen part of the field. Thicker base and straight wooden bats are the weapon of choice for the conservative batter. The weight distribution is relatively even from top to bottom.

The rotational swing focused all the body’s power and speed into a crushing impact. The body is treated like a coiled spring, with the weight on the backfoot. As the pitch speeds into the strike box, the batter rotates his entire body with the attempt to smashing the ball with extreme velocity in the hopes of hitting it far and wide. Pendulum bats are this styles’ choice as the majority of the weight is at the end of the bat, and the hands are wrapped tighter and closer together at the base.

Revolutionary equipment is being developed to create more accurate modern heavy sluggers which you can see for yourself, such as the Axe Bats Reviews – More Than Just a Revolutionary Design? Complex materials like carbon fiber are utilized to lighten and strengthen bats for prolonged and intense use.

baseball strike zone
By User Mori Chan on Flickr (Original version)User Num(Crop and Remix) (Originally posted to Flickr as “_MG_6169”) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Conquer the strike zone

Pitchers love to play games; it’s their forte. They will do anything to throw you off your stride, and that includes intentionally throwing outside the strike zone. A simple yet effective way to keep your batting average up is to develop an experienced repertoire where you know when a foul ball is approaching and refrain from swinging at it. If you’re on the backfoot and you’re two strikes in, then you can increase your swing range and don’t leave foul balls to chance of being called in by the umpire. Don’t become a deer in the headlights and attempt to follow the ball in, you simply won’t be fast enough as a reaction is a calculated response and a reflex relies on instinct. Judge where the ball will enter the strike box a few meters before it enters the strike zone.

baseball bunt
Image Source: Pixabay

An effective bunt can be a work of art

It the hit the opposing side dreads as it’s like a great white shark; striking out of nowhere. A good bunt will turn the tables on the pitcher and defense usually work to your advantage despite the enemy team having to run a shorter distance to the ball. A drag bunt or a squaring your bat off too soon will alert the defense you intend on deceiving them, and they’ll react accordingly. It may be the third baseman or the catcher who will position themselves to mitigate your bunt and run attempt to first. However, you could use this to your advantage by feinting a bunt and then retaining your previous swing position. This is sure to throw the pitcher off and through his indecision, cause him to lose command of his defense and loosen up the field for pre-pitch runs to take place. A productive hitter is never driven by his emotions of wanting to be the star of the show, show off to his team or poke fun at the other team by trying to get outlandish home runs at every swing. A bunt is still a confirmed hit, and it adds to your batting average just the same as a home run does.

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