Turn Your Hips off the Tee
To start, set up a batting tee so that the ball is at waist height for your batter. Position your batter so he is standing at the tee as if hitting a ball up the middle. Have your batter hold a bat behind his back by bending both arms at the elbow and placing the knob end of the bat in the crook of his front elbow and the the barrel end in the crook of the back elbow. (Note: this drill works best when using the longest bat you can find. I’ve even used a long, large dowel with great success). Next, place a ball on the tee and have your hitter hit while keeping the bat behind his back, held in place by his elbows.
Encourage the player to:
1) Pivot on the ball of his back foot
2) Bring hips square to the ball at contact
3) Keep front leg straight and back leg bent
4) Keep weight centered (knees, hips, shoulders in alignment
5) See the ball with BOTH eyes
6) Maintain his balance
Give each batter a chance to hit 10 balls with the bat behind their back. This drill FORCES players to turn their hips correctly during their swing.
Four tips to correcting classic hitting problems
#4 – Poor eyesight
In many cases, struggling hitters simply have trouble tracking the ball because their eyesight is poor. Does the athlete wear glasses off the field? If so, can he have some sport goggles or shatterproof glasses made to play baseball in?
#3 – Swinging too hard.
If your hitter looks off-balance and out of control in the finish phase of the swing, he’s probably swinging too hard. Teach him to swing through the ball with a smooth, controlled stroke.
#2 – No “2-strike approach”
Many youth and high school hitters fail to make an adjustment for 2-strike situations. An easy way to increase your chances of making contact when the pitcher has the advantage is to choke up 2 inches on the bat. This shortens the swing and improves the chances of putting the ball into play.
#1 – Bat too heavy
Many young hitters have a tendency to use too much bat, causing them to pull off the ball with the front side. Below is a useful guide for bat selection, based on a study by the University of Arizona.
Little League (7-10 yrs)
Player Height Bat Weight
48-50″ 16-17 oz.
51-54″ 17-18 oz.
55-59″ 18-19 oz.
60+” 19-20 oz.
Youth League (11-13 yrs)
Player Weight Bat Weight
70-80 lbs. 18-19 oz.
81-100 lbs. 19-20 oz.
101-120 lbs. 20-21 oz.
121-140 lbs. 21-22 oz.
141+ lbs. 22-23 oz.
High School & College
Player Height Bat Weight
66-68″ 27-28 oz.
69-72″ 28-29 oz.
73-76″ 29-30 oz.
77+” 30-31 oz.
Note that weight is the determining factor for younger players, and height is more important for high school kids and above.
Determine Which Bat Fits Your Body
There are some standard rules of thumb in selecting the appropriate bat length. The charts below offer some guidelines based on age and weight and height.
Determine Your Bat Length by Age
|5-7 years old||24″-26″|
|8-9 years old||26″-28″|
|10 years old||28″-29″|
|11-12 years old||30″-31″|
|13-14 years old||31″-32″|
|15-16 years old||32″-33″|
|17+ years old||34″|
Determine Your Bat Length by Weight and Height
|Your height (inches)|
|Your weight (pounds)||36-40||41-44||45-48||49-52||53-56||57-60||61-64||65-68||69-72||73+|
|less than 60||26″||27″||28″||29″||29″|
Determining the Right Bat Weight
- Most bats are also weighted in ounces
- Manufacturers have done a great job in balancing the bat’s weight to its length
- Many bats have a weight-to-length ratio, often shown as -4, -6, etc.
- This basically means a 34-inch bat with a -6 ratio weighs 28 ounces
- Selecting weight really depends on two critical factors–your strength and your hitting style
- It also depends a lot on your personal preference in weight and length, so the following are simply guidelines to follow:
- Bigger, stronger players generally prefer a heavier bat since they get the benefits of both the heft and swing power
- Smaller players with less strength should consider a lighter bat to generate a quicker swing
- Younger players, too, should consider that a lighter bat increases control–great for singles hitters, while also reducing the risk of injury