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Should your bat barrel be pointed toward the pitcher before the swing?

I have a coach saying keep your bat straight up in your stance to get the bat to the zone quicker,

I have mine angled toward the pitcher.  Don't most players have a bat angled toward the pitcher and don't you have to get to this spot before you hit anyway? Barrel toward the pitcher handle toward the catcher.  Thanks for help  See pics




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The bat is in the hand at 90 degrees to the forearm in a neutral position.  As the hands raise above the elbow, the bat slants forward.  Anyone who holds the bat slanted backwards, has his hands low and usually raises them at the start of the swing or they have a loose grip on the bat but they get to the proper grip before swinging.  It is all pretty much the same swing once they all get moving.

I prefer not to hold the bat vertical because I like the feel of the weight of the barrel in relation to the handle.  I prefer not to hold the bat slanted back because I like to use the momentum gained starting from a bat forward position.

I teach that once the front heel is down , the end of the barrel should be as close to the middle of the head as possible and about 45 degrees to the ground. Be sure that this position is relation to the hitters shoulders because many hitter turn their shoulder in some. The hands, they need to be to backside of the hitters ear out of site from the pitcher. If not, loss of power, bat speed an a whole lot of other stuff including a hole inside are now present.

the more vertical the bat, the lower its moment of inertia (it becomes easier to move in the desired direction). the pictures above show people in various stages of their swing, some have yet to stride and some have already completed the stride so the pictures are irrelevant.

I would say that stacked and still would be scientifically ideal hand position prior to stride, but batting is about feel and comfort. the bottom line is that people will do what feels right. the only time someone should look to change is if the hand position combined with everything else they do before slotting the bat is upsetting proper timing.

angling the bat forward will not make you a better hitter.

Artificially slotting the elbow can cause issues as well, such as "bat drag". Basically, the rear elbow leads the knob of the bat into and sometimes through the zone creating a longer swing.

What is artificially slotting? To me, it is when a player forces his elbow to tuck into his side, thus allowing, or forcing, the elbow to pass the knob during his swing.  Watch for this if you can see it, but video really shows it.

Lot of younger kids do this

They sure do, Kip and it in't good because it creates bat drag in most-not to mention the elbow going down is the primary reason the front shoulder goes up. Not a bad thing if that is after the front heel plants, but start this too early and the front shoulder is up before the front heel plants.  I try to get them thinking about keeping the back elbow back as long as possible. Some coaches/dads yell out 'get the back elbow  up', which is basically the same thing. The difference is that most of them don't know why they say that, just that they were told to do that when they were young.

The pictures above show hitters in their pre-swing movements and it doesn't matter, in most cases, where the bat is located as long as they get their hands and bat in position at Launch-front heel planted, back knee pinching in, back releasing form the ground, etc.  As far as linear hitters, it seems to me with laying the bat back behind the body causes some issues as well...to me a longer swing as they drag the bat through the back of the zone to the front of their front foot for contact. The end of the barrel is essentially 3-6 or more inches behind the back foot. 

Does anyone have any pics of hitters not in this position? Can anyone find one? 

This is a basic hitting position.

At foot strike, this is a base position. Not everyone gets there the same way, but guys who can hit get to the position shown in the above pics. 

Awesome place for thought sharing!

I should read more carefully.  I will add that stances are over coached. Launch position, stride, power position, trigger, etc. is a common goal.

KC, I think some are over coached and some are under coached. For me and what I've learned over the years is that most everything doesn't matter until the front foot is entirely on the ground. But once down almost every hitter at the highest level are all very very similar.

Although how you get there is irrelevant, I like to teach to use as less movement to get there as possible especially with the really young kids even up through high school unless the kids can already hit good pitching. Even then I try to ask the player to start with the front heel down so he gets the front heel down when he strides before and back side action begins.

I also don't believe enough people teach spine tilt so hitters can drive the ball gap to gap with the same power in both directions. And keep the hands out of the swing until the backside is finished getting to the ball.

As far as bat position, again I keep it simple and try to get my hitters to angle the bat 45 degrees to the earth and try to get the end of the bat to split the hitters head so he has good angles in his wrists. And then hold them there as long as you can until the bat head takes them forward and not throwing the barrel. Btw, nothing i say here about hitting comes directly from myself but rather years of learning from guys that could hit at the highest level. I take zero credit.

Great points Kip,thank you for posting .especially the part about spine tilt I think a lot of kids should realize how much that can help .and the power it can generate.

Alex Rego-

Ted Williams is the only hitter that comes to mind that was not in this position.  But he did ok I guess.

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