Learning how to hold a baseball bat can be the push you need to take your game to the next level. While picking up the bat and getting it in your hands is the first step, mastering the art of batting requires a certain degree of finesse so you can connect with the ball while preventing injury to yourself.
Learning how to hold a baseball bat correctly includes knowing where to place your hands and fingers on the handle of the bat and understanding how to grip the bat for the best connection with the baseball.
Once you can accurately hold the baseball bat, your drive will be stronger, your body will be more relaxed, and your bat speed will improve. Check out more details on the steps for both right and left-hand players below, as well as other useful tips on grip, bat angle, and how to teach children to hold a bat.
Steps to Properly Hold a Baseball Bat
By refining the following steps, you can improve how you hold your baseball bat:
- The Handle Placement: Before you swing the bat, you need to learn where to place the handle. You’ll put the handle in your bottom hand, your non-dominant hand.
- Fingers on Your Non-Dominant (Bottom) Hand: The index finger on your bottom hand should wrap around the bat, separate from the other three fingers, which will wrap around the bat’s handle. Tip: The knuckles on your bottom hand’s fingers should point up toward the bat’s barrel.
- Palm and Finger Location: The majority of the bat should be held by your fingers and not sitting in your palm.
- Time for Your Dominant (Top) Hand: This’ll be your dominant hand. Use it to grab the bat the same way you did with your other hand. If the bat position is correct, your top hand’s second knuckles should align with your finger knuckles on your bottom hand.
- Lightly Grip Before You Swing: Once your hands are in the appropriate position, you should keep your grip light. While you swing the bat, the grip will naturally tighten and become the tightest as you hit the ball. By making sure not to tense up before you swing, your overall performance will benefit.
The following chart tells about the benefits of each step and what happens if it isn’t done correctly:
|Step/Technique||Benefits||What happens if it’s improper?|
|Handle Placement||– Increased control in swing, power, and angle||– Potential to use unnecessary energy|
– Wrist injuries
|Fingers on the Bottom Hand||– Flexibility to change the bat’s position during the swing|
– Ability to maneuver the bat
|– Hands will become tired and sore, making long games difficult|
|Palm and Finger Location||– Split-second adjustments||– Slower reaction time|
– Missed balls increased
|Top Hand||– Steady endurance|
– Consistent power
|– Decreased efficiency|
|Light Grip Before the Swing||– Relaxed upper body|
– Chance of furthering the ball’s distance
– Decreased distance
– Tension can slow the ball down
How Do Left-Handers Hold Bats?
When holding the bat, a left-hand player will place their right hand on the bottom and left hand on top (opposite of a right-hand player). Remember to keep the muscles in your arms and shoulders relaxed. Then, you’ll find a comfortable posture and stand on the right side of home plate.
The Grip and Angle of a Baseball Bat
By improving your bat grip, you will ultimately:
- Improve your bat speed
- Have less tension in your body
- Have a better position for contact with the ball
- Be able to maneuver and make adjustments on the fly
Using the steps above will give you a starting point of how to grip your bat. Your grip should be light before your swing and become naturally tense with your movements. An excellent reference to know if your grip is tight is to remember that your body will usually be as relaxed as your grip. If your body is tense, so is your grip.
There are two standard batting angles that baseball players use when swinging:
- Straight Up and Down – Recognized by the time it takes to get to the baseball. Usually, the back part of the swing will take a bit longer. When done correctly, this angle can create a powerful hit because you can build speed with the extra time in your swing’s back piece.
- Lying Flat or Parallel to the Ground – Opposite of the other angle, there’ll be less time for your swing to get to the ball. The angle gives you a direct path to the ball but won’t allow you to build up your speed since there’s less distance.
Teaching Children to Hold a Baseball Bat
While the steps are similar, there are a few extra factors you’ll want to consider while teaching your child the ropes of properly holding their bat, such as:
- Invest in the right bat. Smaller players will benefit from using a smaller bat. At this point in their game, you’ll want to get a shorter and lighter bat until your little leaguer is comfortable with their grip, angle, stance, and swing.
- Work on the grip. The grip will be the same for smaller hands. Younger children will want to hold higher up on the bat to have more control over their swing, which is known as “choking up.” This will benefit them because they’ll see the difference between having control and not having control over their swing.
- Let them swing the whole way through. This is why it’s essential to start with a lighter bat. After your child is comfortable with their grip, help them practice their swing without a ball. Your child’s swing must be in their hips and their whole-body twists (instead of just their arms). This is also a great time to train them to watch the ball through the plate.
- Start with lighter balls. Some good starter balls include wiffle balls, practice baseballs, or tennis balls. These options are softer than your average baseball and can be easier to hit. Using a lightweight starter ball gives your mini athlete the chance to develop confidence, master form, stance, and proper swing techniques. Confidence is an important foundational piece that they’ll use to be more comfortable with the sport.
- Decide whether you want to use a tee or not. Again, this stage is all about building a proper foundation. Using a tee can help to improve the batting stance and swing with a stationary object. Little batters will be able to get the hang of aiming and controlling their swing before practicing with a moving object.
Let’s Wrap it Up
Once you enhance your grip and angle, your hitting game will take off. Knowing your dominant hand’s position on the handle and where your knuckles line up will help you get a grasp of how to hold your bat and reduce the chance of injuries associated with improper grip.
There are two angles to choose from when learning how to hold your bat. Each angle has its benefits, but the “straight up and down” angle allows for the batter to build up speed and increase power when hitting the ball because of the extra time between hitting and the back of the swing.
Children learn to hold baseball bats very similarly to adults though there are a few extra steps to take when teaching them the foundation. While the grip is mostly the same, children may “choke up” the bat, meaning they’ll hold it higher than the grip. This helps build control and benefits them in the long run.