Determining the perfect swing for a batter in baseball is a tough nut to crack, because there is no right answer. Usually, the only way hitters know there is something wrong with their swing is when they can’t squarely place the bat on the ball. Because the kinetics of a bat swing involve so many factors, it can be tough to isolate just one thing that needs improvement. However, there are a few general drills that you can use at any level to improve your mechanics and ultimately better your performance in the batter’s box.
The old adage that practice makes perfect does apply to your bat swing. Consistent repetition helps develop much-needed muscle memory to help you ingrain the mechanics of your swing as a reflexive action. Take 100 dry cuts each day without actually trying to hit a ball. This drill will improve your swing and help you maintain your mechanics over time. Focus on generating bat speed while keeping your feet properly planted, leading with your hips and maintaining an upright posture. Perform the drill every day.
Use a heavy or a weighted bat for batting practice. This drill works best at a batting cage or on the field using a pitching machine. The increased weight of the bat will require you to put more force into each swing, engaging all of the muscles necessary for effective hitting, and it also encourages you to follow through after making contact with the ball. Regular heavy batting practice – once or twice each week – will also help you increase bat speed.
Fungo is a soft-toss hitting drill. In this drill, you aren’t hitting for power. The point isn’t even to drive through the ball. Just take a short swing and make contact with the slow ball. A coach or partner will have to soft-toss balls to you from a few feet away and off to one side. Once you make square contact – placing the sweet spot of the bat directly on the center mass of the ball – pull back your swing. Do 50 to 100 Fungo swings each session.
Develop your foot work and batting stance. The stance you use is just as important as the mechanics of the swing itself. Your foot placement determines how you drive the ball and how much power you’re able to deliver through the swing. It also determines whether you keep the ball fair or foul and whether you pull the ball or hit it to the opposite field. If you keep your lead foot perpendicular to the angle of the pitch, you’re more likely to drive the ball straight on or to the opposite field. If you angle your foot so that your toes point more toward the field, you’re more likely to pull the ball cleanly.