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Hitting A Baseball - Use The Gaps Please
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Hitting A Baseball - Use The Gaps Please

By Nate Barnett

How do you tell if a hitter is creating the correct energy and movement at bat? One simple way (there are obviously more technical ways) is to observe where most of the balls are traveling while hitting a baseball. If a hitter is directing balls into the gaps (regardless if they are ground balls or fly balls) he's on the right track. On the flip side, if a lot of balls are being sliced down the opposite field line or hooked to the pull side, some mechanical alterations are necessary. Two common causes are found here:

1. The most common root cause of hooking or slicing while hitting a baseball is improper control of the front side of the body. A good baseball swing begins with the movement of the back part of the body (specifically the back knee and hip). During this brief period of time the front side of the body (basically all joints on the front side) need to remain relatively unmoved. The purpose of this is so that the back side of the body moves towards the play. If the front side moves at the same time as the back side of the body, momentum is being taken away from the pitch. It is then more difficult for the athlete to keep his bat moving through the zone. Instead, the bat cuts across the zone and creates a lot of side spin on the baseball as well.

2. Another cause of hooked or sliced balls is how the hands enter and pass through the strike zone. The path any hitter needs to take with the hands is a direct and straight path into the hitting zone. Unfortunately, the problem of a weak front side (described in #1) tends to drag the hands away from the body. The end result is hands that progress through the zone in a sweeping fashion. This type of problem only increases the likelihood that side spin will occur while hitting a baseball.

About the Author

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball http://bmibaseball.com and is based out of Washington State. His expertise is in the area of hitting, pitching, and mental training. Coach Barnett's passion is working with youth in helping expand their vision for their baseball future. After finishing a professional career in the Seattle Mariners Organization, Nate pursued his coaching and motivational training career. His instructional blog is located at http://bmibaseball.com/blog

His new FREE ebook, Toxic Baseball: Are you polluting your game? can be found on the main BMI Baseball website.

Hitting 101, an ebook on complete hitting mechanics will be released by June 1st, 2008. Features include numerous illustrations, video clips, and a special offer to discuss your hitting questions over live on the phone strategy sessions.

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