Insider Hitting Point 2 – The Grip
The player must have a correct grip to be in a good position at point of contact. An incorrect grip will make it difficult for the player to hit the ball squarely and with any consistency. The grip seams like such an easy thing to get right but when I watch players hit I can tell you most of them have a grip that doesn’t allow them to be successful. Getting a correct grip on the baseball bat is necessary to ensure the hands don’t bind up robbing you of much needed swing speed.
Most coaches will tell you to simply line the knocking knuckles up and the grip is set but I really think it requires more discussion than that. You have to remember that players have different size hands so simply telling them to line their knuckles up and you have a good grip is ridiculous to me.
I don’t want to make more of the grip than is necessary but I think there are three key check points that lead to a successful grip and lining up knuckles is not one of them.
- First, the grip should be checked at the point of contact position which requires the palms of each hand to be facing each other. At point of contact the bottom hand should be palm down parallel to the ground while the top hand should be palm up parallel to the sky. The hands should also be parallel to each other as well. The bat must be sitting across the upper palms of both hands just below the start of the fingers.
- Start by setting your players up in this position and ensure their bat is set in the correct position every time. Have them practice this until they all get it right. Once it’s set and you feel the players can repeat it over and over again you need to ensure the player can take the grip from this position and keep it in place while getting setup correctly. Again practice this until the players get it right.
- Secondly, the grip cannot be so tight that it causes the player to bind up when they swing the bat. So many players, especially young ones will grip the bat so tight that you can see the whites of their knuckles and by doing this they will not be able to break the hands correctly as they go through extension. The swing will appear to be very stiff in nature and it will be impossible to hit the ball hard with good consistency.
- Third, at set up make sure the back of the bottom hand is facing the pitcher and not way from you the hitter. This will ensure the hitter has the correct wrist cock when the swing enters the hitting zone or point of contact.
You must ensure your players or child relax their hands enough to keep control of the bat but not bind themselves up. Each player is different so you have to experiment with it.
Now it brings us back to lining up the knuckles. If the player has followed the advice above their knocking knuckles will either be lined up or the knocking knuckles of the top hand will be aligned in between the knocking knuckles and big knuckles of the bottom hand. Where is dependent on the size of the players hands so now you know why I don’t think taking a grip with the simple knuckle alignment is the answer for every player.