Gripping a baseball bat should not be hard, but believe me or not, it can actually make or break a player’s game more than anything else. In this article, you will learn how to hold a bat, the different types of bat grip, and some indispensable tips to achieve the perfect swing!
Benefits Of Knowing How To Hold A Bat Properly
When a batter’s game fails, many would go as far as using a different stance, trying to find the best baseball bat that is lighter or of a different style, or even giving up being a hitter altogether.
However, one aspect that most hitters overlook is their grip and their hand position when they hold the bat. No matter how many times you upgrade into a better bat, you still won’t succeed if you are not holding it properly.
To help you understand better just how important properly holding the bat is, here are the things that the right grip can do for you:
- It allows you to control where your bat hits the ball. By doing so, you have a greater chance of hitting the ball on the sweet spot and transferring the maximum power of your swing to it.
- It improves swing speed. When your hands are positioned the right way, you can bring your bat through the strike zone more easily and quickly.
- It will enable you make quick bat movements. Holding the bat just right will let you make quick adjustments to hit balls that are pitched on the upper or lower areas of the strike zone and those that are thrown outside or inside.
- It will allow you to relax. If you are using the proper grip, your hands will be more relaxed and will experience less fatigue. This is one of the most important things for a hitter especially during long games.
How To Hold A Bat
So now you know the why’s of properly holding a bat, let us get to the how’s. Technically, there is no single perfect way to hold a bat. However, based on various interviews of professional baseball players and coaches, here is a summarized version on how it should be done:
First, check if your bat is made of metal alloy, composite materials, or wood. If you have a wooden bat, check where the label is.
To hold a bat, you need to decide which of your hands is the guide hand and which is the power hand. Generally, you use your dominant hand as the power hand, which is placed farther from the knob than the guide hand. So if you bat left, your right hand serves as the guide hand and vice versa.
Once you have established that, slide your guide hand all the way to the bottom of the bat near the knob. To avoid breaking a wooden bat easily, make sure to turn the label so that it almost faces you.
Next, you do not want your guide hand to grip the bat too tight so you can move your index finger a bit to separate it from your three other fingers. However, make sure that the index finger is still curled around the bat.
When holding the bat straight up, the knuckle of your index finger should bend at a 45-degree angle, pointing away from the bat and up the barrel. Try moving the bat around a bit with your hand. You will notice how much flexibility and control this grip provides for your swing.
Also, and I could not stress this enough, never try to control and hold the bat with the palm of your hands but instead, do this with your fingers. This allows you to rotate and flex your wrists when you swing or make sudden changes to the position of the bat.
Then, take your other hand and place it next to the guide hand on the bat handle. Your goal is to duplicate the same grip of your guide hand on your top hand with the separate index finger and the 45-degree angle of the knuckle. The second knuckles of the fingers on your two hands should be lined up.
While you wait for a pitch, focus on maintaining the proper grip and hold the bat as lightly and loosely as you can. Constantly remind yourself not to grip too tightly before you swing.
This does not only improve your comfort but also increases your swing speed since you do not have to release tension from your hand muscles before beginning to swing the bat.
Besides, your grip will automatically tighten as your swing progresses, peaking its strongest at the time when the bat comes in contact with the ball. If you relax your grip, the muscles of your upper body will also be relaxed.
This is crucial because the more relaxed you are before swinging your bat, the more powerful and explosive the movement will be.
To know more on how to hold a bat properly, watch this video:
Door Knocker Grip VS Box Grip
It’s also useful to know that seasoned athletes and professional baseball trainers have a long-running debate about which grip is better: the door knocker grip or the box grip. The previous step-by-step instructions is for doing a door knocker grip. Here are some of the main differences and distinct features of the two:
Door Knocker Grip
The door knocker grip derives its name from the way the second knuckles in each hand, a.k.a. the knuckles you use for knocking on a door, line up vertically along the handle of your bat.
Some say this is the only “proper” way to hold a baseball bat. While I and other players are not thoroughly convinced about that, I do admit that it has its own charm and benefits.
First of all, the door knocker grip is very comfortable and allows you to control the bat better since the handle is close to your fingertips. This is especially great and useful for contact hitters who value control more than anything.
The box grip is another way to hold your bat. Unlike with the door knocker grip, your hands form some sort of a box shape with your knuckles being the sides. In other words, instead of all your second knuckles lining up, the second knuckles of your top hand are aligned with the last knuckles of your guide hand.
This is a more common grip that you can observe among players of various skill levels and age groups, probably because this grip feels more natural. You will also see this grip on pictures and videos of professional baseball players.
If the door knocker grip works best for contact hitters, the box grip is preferred by power hitters. It generates the most power by promoting more torque throughout your swing. It also keeps the back elbow up, making it harder to roll the wrists before and during ball contact.
This also allows the palm of your top hand to stay facing up upon contact, which is great for swing mechanics.
Both the door knocker grip and box grip are acceptable ways to hold a baseball bat. However, you will usually find that one of these work better and feels more comfortable to you. For some people, a grip that falls somewhere in between may be more feasible.
More Tips On How To Hold A Baseball Bat
When lining up your knuckles, they don’t have to be perfectly aligned. You also have to make sure that your grip is not forced or that it does not require too much concentration on your part so you could focus more on your swing.
The index finger of your guide hand or bottom hand should come in contact with the pinky of your top hand. Even a slight gap between your hands, which many young players are prone to have, will reduce the pivot or whipping force that you want your hands to translate to the bat swing.
Your wrists should be flexed and hinged. This reduces the angle between the forearm and the palm of your hand, which helps create the whipping force for a faster bat speed. This also makes it easier to keep the bat in the hitting zone for longer periods of time, giving you a higher chance of squaring up on the ball.
Keep your elbow up and back. You might often hear the phrase “Elbow up!” repeated by coaches to remind their players about this particular posture. This allows you to stay on top of the ball by using your top hand. When your elbow is down, you might dip on the back side and lose your balance once you swing.
The right of how to hold a bat depends on the goal you want to achieve and what feels comfortable for you. After that, you just have to practice, practice, and practice until you can consistently and successfully hit the ball like a pro.
Well, did you like this article? If so, please do leave a comment down below and share it with your friends and family! For similar articles and reviews of the best sports and fitness products, you can also check more articles in our page.