Just like a math problem in school, there are ways to double-check your baseball swing for accuracy. When batting during practice, I highly recommend taking your time between swings to double-check your work. It’s too often that players and coaches are in a rush to get to the next swing. Unfortunately, both are missing out on a great opportunity to see if the techniques being taught are actually being used! Instead, take a few seconds to observe three checkpoints that can guide you to the correct swing.
Three Things Should Be Pointing at the Pitcher After Your Swing:
1. Shoelaces On The Back Foot - In an earlier post on http://www.ocbaseballcoach.com, I stressed how important your back knee is to a powerful swing. A great way to check your back knee involvement is to look down after your swing to see if the shoelaces from your back foot are “looking” at the pitcher. To do this, the batter needs to be on their back toe and would have rotated 90 degrees from the original batting stance. Also, your back knee will need to travel forward during your swing, which keeps you from lifting your entire body to get on your back toe. If done properly, your back knee will be in the shape of the letter “L”.
2. Belly Button - While in your stance, the belly button will point toward the opposite batter’s box. After your swing, it should point towards the pitcher. When this is accomplished, you know that you have had a complete rotation of your hips and core. If you take a swing without using your hips and core, you are simply using your hands and arms causing a very weak swing. This is a simple checkpoint that kids of any age can understand.
3. Knob of the Bat - If you complete your swing and the knob of the bat is pointing at the pitcher, you know you had a full follow through. Imagine that you “completed” your swing, but the barrel of the bat is looking at the pitcher and the knob is looking at you. That wouldn’t be much of a follow-through, would it? Instead, finish your swing with your hands above your shoulder and the knob of the bat looking at the pitcher. If you follow through even more, that it fine; just don’t have an incomplete follow through. To get to this point, the batter must roll their hands over after contact is made with the baseball. Be careful that you don’t roll your hands too early. Your top hand should have a punching motion through the point of contact, then you can roll your hands over for the follow-through.
The next time you are in a batting cage or hitting off of a tee, take a second after each swing to make sure your back shoelaces, belly button and the knob of the bat are all three looking at the pitcher. If they aren’t, make the appropriate adjustment(s). If you need help, sign your kid up for private lessons with Coach Ed by emailing him at email@example.com. Happy hitting!