How do you even hold a baseball bat?
Depending on who you ask, you will get a different answer but in general, the philosophy of how hitters should hold a baseball comes down to one word.
So much of hitting is based on TACIT knowledge.
It is often subjective, informal, and difficult to share or express because it is affected by our personal beliefs and values.
In other words, what feels good, and comfortable for you is what hitting comes down to.
Because if you’re not comfortable with how the bat feels in your hands, how the hell do you expect to execute controlled-aggressive swings with repeatable solid mechanics every single day?
At the highest level, there have been countless ways ballplayers have stood in the box, how they load and separate to fire the hands, and how their bat feels in their hands when getting the barrel to point of contact.
In general, it’s about making sure the bat feels firm and secured in the hands.
For 95% of us, it’s going to be placed somewhere in the fingers.
Doest mean that your knuckles are lined up, rather it means you have control of the barrel because that’s the name of the game.
Making the sweet spot of the bat hit the round ball as consistently as possible.
To help you do that, we’re going to discuss 3 ways, 3 mentalities, 3 frameworks, and concepts, to help you understand….
How the heck should you be holding the bat?
How To Hold a Bat Like An Athlete
Let’s talk about Gary Sheffield. He’s a total freak, with bionic wrists. You have a better chance of making it to the big leagues while leaving your bat on your shoulders the entire time than you do trying to swing the bat against pro pitching with a hitch and trigger like Gary Sheffield.
His grip and hand strength is a freak of nature.
The handle is purely in his fingers.
Having a trigger like Sheffield is not the point.
The point is this.
The moment you step in the batter’s box, you’re an athlete first, a ballplayer second.
What I mean is you have to be prepared to swing with total controlled aggression, and you have to do it from a place of rhythm.
You can’t be at a standstill in the box.
You have to have some movement that’s slow and calm, as you’re prepared to execute an explosive swing.
Sheffield's grip is purely in his fingers, and this gives him a fingertip feel for the bat.
With or with the hitch, he gets to point of contact because he’s geared up for the fastball.
How do you hold a baseball bat?
How To Hold a Bat Like An Hammer
Let’s talk about Hank Aaron. AKA Hammer" AKA Hammerin' Hank
Here’s a question. Imagine holding a hammer to drive in a nail.
How are you holding it? In the palm, deep in your grip, or in the fingers?
No brainer right?
When an object is in the fingers, we have more control in the direction it points towards.
Heck, it’s why we evolved fingers in the first place.
To take advantage of our dexterity.
Take a look at Hank Aaron’s swing and look just how much bat head he drops on the baseball, over and over again.
Now I know there are a dozen and a half takes, perspectives, and arguments on what’s actually going on in the swing, and I’m not here to debate what’s actually going on with the bat path, but I can at least take a guess about what he’s feeling, and what he’s telling himself while in the box.
“Drive down through it, achieve more backspin.”
It’s feel vs real.
How Hank Aaron held the bat, was how he held a hammer.
In the fingers.
Hence the nickname.
How do you hold a baseball bat?
How To Hold a Bat Like a Ballplayer
Look at the end of the day, there are only a handful of universal principles.
For every hard rule in hitting, there is a hitter at the big league level doing the opposite.
It’s imperative that the bat head stays on the plane, long and often, but Jim Edmunds had a straight uppercut.
You should stay tall in your posture to see the ball out of the release better, Mo Vaughn looked like he was gonna topple over before the pitcher even through the ball.
You should slow the feet down, and keep the head quiet. Well - Ichiro was like,
“Hold my beer.”
When it comes to the grip, there are players who did the opposite and thrived.
Alex Bregman and Brett Boone, and I’m sure many others held the bat deep in their palm, and it works and worked for them
Ultimately, you have to find what works for you.
This means you have to get the reps in.
You have to practice.
If it’s a priority, you’ll find a way to get better.
If it’s not, you'll find an excuse.
At the end of the day, there really isn’t one, because all you need, is a Tee, a bat, and a bucket of balls.
How do you hold the bat in your hands?
What’s your approach and philosophy?
I’d love to hear it.
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Be and stay a student of the game.
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